Articles Posted in Emergency Medicine

cdcjanjuly21covidcases-300x180The sunny optimism that the coronavirus pandemic might finally be quelled is fading as fast as a two-scoop ice cream cone in the summer swelter.

The stark rise of the Delta variant, with its fast-surging infections, hospitalizations, and deaths, has reminded experts and the public of the pandemic’s gravity, as well as its ability to not just sustain but to mutate rapidly and require quick-changing responses.

Officials across the county are urging people anew to cover their faces indoors, distance, and, for heaven’s sake, to get vaccinated if they have not done so already. Maybe the unvaccinated could be paid $100 by states from coronavirus relief funds to get the shots, President Biden has suggested.

covidhotspotsjuly242021mayo-300x219As coronavirus cases surge, hospitalizations rise, and deaths tick up — mostly among the unvaccinated — the national conversation has returned to familiar controversies over public health measures like getting people shots and getting them to cover their faces again.

But with the Delta variant tearing mostly through those who haven’t gotten shots, a new twist also has emerged. Could the latest trend by dubbed, “enough is enough?” Patience with the resistant and reluctant — a little under half the U.S. population — may be running out.

The largest hospital association in the country told its members that it is past time to require health workers to get vaccinated. These valuable individuals already work under mandates for other inoculations and the latest coronavirus surge, which could result in spiking deaths in the fall, is cause enough for a vaccination mandate, the group said.

cdcnytopioidcrisisjuly2021-183x300“It’s huge, it’s historic, it’s unheard of, unprecedented, and a real shame. It’s a complete shame”

That quote, reported by the New York Times and made by Daniel Ciccarone, a professor of medicine at the University of California, San Francisco, tragically summarizes the latest  federal data on the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis. As the newspaper and others reported:

“Drug overdose deaths rose nearly 30% in 2020 to a record 93,000, according to preliminary statistics released … by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It’s the largest single-year increase recorded.”

Coronavirus infections have increased in just a week by 70%, with hospitalizations increasing 36% and deaths rising by 26%.

Public health officials blame the Delta variant for fueling the latest surge in the coronavirus pandemic, the New York Times reported, noting:

fentanylillustration-300x99Just as attorneys generals for more than a dozen states inch toward a multibillion-dollar settlement with a drug maker faulted for its big role in the start of the opioid abuse and drug overdose crisis, that health menace is taking a new, deadly turn in the region around the nation’s capital.

In Washington, D.C., Maryland, and Virginia, officials report they are grappling with spiking overdose deaths, numbering in the hundreds, and blamed on the rise of fentanyl. It is a synthetic, prescription painkiller developed to assist late-stage cancer patients. It packs a wallop. And Big Pharma companies pushed for its wider use with aggressive marketing and sales campaign that landed some drug executives in jail.

The excessive promotion of fentanyl also led to its illegal manufacture, notably in chemical factories in China. Its increasing abuse, along with other opioids, also opened the door to big problems with illicit drugs.

covidvaccinepartisansplitjuly21-300x153The rest of the planet may be seeing what roughly half of Americans cannot: The coronavirus pandemic is far from over and it is savaging humanity in a way that is now sadly preventable.

The disease’s global toll now has exceeded 4 million deaths, a number that is likely far under reported, according to the World Health Organization.

The United States still has tallied a disproportionate number of virus fatalities — more than 600,000 deaths.

billsmedical1-300x200Federal regulators have taken a welcome initial step to bar insurers and health care providers from holding patients hostage in their all-too-common fee fights, with draft rules out now to crush “surprise” medical bills.

The politically riven, do-nothing Congress shocked critics by ending 2020 with an actual new law, included in legislation dealing with the coronavirus pandemic, that gave patients new protection from nightmares created when insurers and big corporation sought to reduce their health care costs with so-called narrow networks of pre-approved health care providers.

This scheme allowed insurers and companies to negotiate with doctors, labs, hospitals, and others for preferential prices, and, effectively, guarantees of patient business, in exchange. Patients began howling when their long-time caregivers were excluded from insurer networks, which also often also excluded big-name practitioners as well as well-known academic medical centers and big hospitals.

cdcheatwarn-263x300Climate change — to those who indulge in counter-factual thinking and who hold anti-science beliefs — may be an abstraction and a mere theory. But weather extremes became a startling, real, and deadly health threat to tens of millions in a swath of the Pacific Northwest in this country and Canada.

Days of unrelenting, record-shattering heat have been blamed directly for at least 100 deaths, with hundreds more fatalities occurring during the historic torpor, the New York Times reported in a news article describing the toll in Washington, Oregon, and British Columbia.

Surges in emergency departments

clevelandmask-300x236With every recent holiday, health officials have warned the public to exercise great caution and to maybe even avoid celebrations in hopes of holding down the spread and deadly consequences of the coronavirus pandemic. But not today.

Independence Day, 2021, is different. Optimism prevails across the country about the quelling pandemic. Tens of millions of Americans hit the roads and took to the skies, traveling with gusto for summer vacations. Gatherings, many of them huge and public, are common.

Will this hustle and bustle cause a difficult and divisive surge in coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, and deaths? And will July 4, 2021, mark not only the country’s 245th  birthday, but also the deeper divide of the United States into two nations — one vaccinated and with significant safety from a killer illness, and the other going without vaccines and their protection?

fourthfireworks-300x257Hoorah, the spectacular Fourth of July fireworks display will return to the National Mall — and with a throng expected to watch in person.

Here’s hoping the celebratory pyrotechnics in Washington, D.C., also will be confined to this and other public displays — and not creating mayhem for the next few weeks in neighborhoods across the region and the country, too.

C’mon, scofflaws with fireworks: The country’s return to normality isn’t license to harm yourself and others, keep the law-abiding up at all hours with firecracker explosions, and to terrify humanity’s four-footed pals for no good reason.

Patrick Malone & Associates, P.C. listed in Best Lawyers Rated by Super Lawyers Patrick A. Malone
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