Articles Posted in Emergency Medicine

KIDlogo-300x150Federal watchdogs set a shameful low in 2019, allowing the most kids in almost two decades to die due to defective products before ordering their recall, a noted children’s advocacy group reported.

Kids in Danger (KID), a Chicago-based organization that says it has tracked the child-protection activities of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) since 2002, assailed the agency’s recent performance, asserting that lax oversight contributed to 38 youngsters’ deaths before regulators ordered recalls. That was the highest number fatalities since KID began its tracking, and 37 of the 38 deaths involved inclined infant sleepers, specifically the Fisher-Price Rock ‘n Play and Kids II rocking sleeper.

KID said in a news release about its latest, published annual report:

While alarms have been raised about the nation’s ever-increasing numbers of suicides, mental health experts, educators, and medical researchers also are making urgent pleas for grownups to pay heightened attention to the spike in cases in which youngsters are taking their own lives.

As the independent, nonprofit Kaiser Health News Service reported:

“[S]uicide by children ages 10 to 14 has gone up and up. The suicide rate for that age group almost tripled from 2007 to 2017. Newly released 2018 data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention show a 16% increase over the previous year. While experts point to a host of explanations for the alarming rise, scientific proof about cause isn’t conclusive. Some research shows correlations with social media use, cyberbullying and the internet, but studies citing them as a suicide cause are less decisive.”

faucifacegrimace-300x210Even as Covid-19 wreaked unprecedented harms, there also have been actions that might lead even the most jaded observer to cry out:  What were these people thinking?

The pandemic’s global toll has risen to hundreds of thousands of infections and thousands of deaths. The U.S. toll at the end of the third week in March, the New York Times reported, exceeded 21,000 infections and nearly 300 deaths, with 1 in 5 Americans also now living under tough restrictions that have shut non-essential businesses, schools, colleges and universities, restaurants, gyms and health clubs, and sports and cultural events.

In the throes of such calamitous circumstances,  consider:

curveflatten-300x175Across the nation, and throughout the DC region, Americans — finally — have started to come to grips with the gravity of a fast-spreading, new respiratory virus’ infections. The novel coronavirus has infected almost 150,000 internationally, killing thousands as part of what now is officially a global pandemic and a national emergency.

Cases of Covid-19 have been detected in Washington, D.C., Virginia, and Maryland, as public health officials have urged the public to increase safeguards against contracting the disease, notably by staying home and practicing not only hygienic measures (washing their hands, covering their coughs and sneezes, and foregoing handshakes and hugs) but also keeping their distance from others.

Businesses have urged their people to work from home. Schools have shut their doors. Concerts, plays, museums, and cultural events and institutions have closed and canceled. Professional and amateur sports have suspended play. Travel, domestic and international, has screeched to a halt. Panic buying has broken out at groceries and big box warehouse stores.

calguardvirusaid-300x169The coronavirus outbreak spreading across the globe may be providing Americans with an unhappy view of the dirty downsides of the too-often dysfunctional U.S. health care system as it grapples with spiking Covid-19 infections.

Congress has appropriated more than $8 billion, so the federal government can provide the nation the support it needs in battling the respiratory illness that exploded out of central China a few weeks ago. Almost 100,000 people globally have been infected with the virus, which has killed thousands. The deaths in this country are rising into the dozens, while infections are increasing into the hundreds. In Italy, the government took a drastic step in dealing with steeply rising infections and ordered a virus-related quarantine of much of the northern part of the country — a tough lock down because the Lombardy area is the largest economic powerhouse of the nation.

In the U.S., federal efforts to stockpile needed medical supplies, notably masks, gloves, and gowns — personal protective equipment or PPEs — continue to lag. The administration is under fire for its slow and ineffectual roll-out of virus testing kits. Vice President Pence promised that big numbers of screening supplies would be available quickly — at least 1 million, asap — but he since has been forced to walk back that pledge. Even as he talked about 75,000 test kits becoming available soon, the Atlantic magazine reported that as few as 1,895 Americans have been tested so far for the virus.

GovMikePence-300x200The viral outbreak that exploded out of central China suddenly has captured the rapt attention of Wall Street, the White House, and Americans from coast to coast. The rising pitch and politicization of the important conversation about Covid-19 — a respiratory virus that already has posed a growing global health threat — can only be described as worrying.

For ordinary folks, the guidance emerging from all this: It may be time for smart preparation — definitely not panic.

The Trump Administration apparently has gotten the message that viral concerns are high, and the president and his men have conducted two news conferences in almost as many days, including announcing the first coronavirus death of an American in the continental U.S. and travel restrictions affecting Iran, Italy, and South Korea.

churchkoreavirus-300x159U.S. public health officials have gotten off to a rocky launch with their plans for more routine testing in at least five cities for Covid-19, the respiratory virus that has sickened tens of thousands and killed thousands, mostly in central China around the city of Wuhan.

The American screenings signal how authorities around the globe have begun shifting from one big C in combating the coronavirus — containment — to a new focus on another big C: clusters.

Uncomfortable questions already are jumping up about efforts to detect viral outbreaks of any size outside of China due to problems with the accuracy of available tests for Covid-19. American plans for screenings, for example, may be hampered by lack of supply and “inconclusive” results produced by test products. Public health officials had hoped to use these screens in the existing system for flu detection to find scattered viral infections to prevent them from spreading.

kidneylabels-300x200For tens of thousands of patients anxiously awaiting lifesaving transplants, a new media investigation has provided what must be heart-breaking news on the laxity with which dozens of donated organs get transported, causing them to be lost or delayed “cargo” and rendered unusable.

The nonprofit, independent Kaiser Health News Service and the Center for Investigative Reporting deserve kudos for following up on the jaw-dropping story of how a human heart got left behind in 2018 on a Southwest Airlines flight. Medical specialists involved at the time downplayed the incident, noting that surgeons had not planned a direct transplantation of that heart in a patient in dire shape, taking various of its valves and tissues, instead.

Still, when reporter JoNel Allecia dug into the ghastly gaffe, she found an organ transplant nightmare. As Allecia described it:

cdccoronavirusmapjan31-277x300A viral outbreak in central China — centered in its province of Hubei and its largest city of Wuhan — officially has burgeoned into a global health emergency.

The United States also has reacted to the pneumonia-like infection with its toughest warnings about travel to China and restrictions on Americans returning from it, as well as temporary bans on non-Americans entering this country after recent visits to areas around Hubei and especially Wuhan. Major U.S. airlines have canceled China flights and retail operations in China  of global enterprises like Starbucks and Apple have shut down for now.

Global markets have been rattled by worries about the wider spread of the latest outbreak of coronavirus (see recent map from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)— an infection from a large family of illnesses that includes the common cold, as well as SARS (aka Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome) and MERS (Middle East Respiratory Syndrome).

cdctbi-300x213The nation’s commander-in-chief did a big disservice to recently injured service personnel and others who have suffered traumatic brain injuries by dismissing what happened as “not very serious” and just “headaches” of little consequence.

Pentagon officials sought to deflect attention from President Trump’s comments at a global economic forum in Davos, Switzerland — off-the-cuff remarks assailed by veteran groups.

Trump, asked about the rising number of service personnel who have been sent for advanced diagnosis and treatment at facilities outside the Mideast, where they were subjected to an Iranian missile attack, made this counter factual comment:

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