Articles Posted in Hospitals

bugatti-300x118If big hospitals really want to keep surgeons happy and provide them with greater comfort during procedures, why not build giant, sanitary glass garages next to operating rooms and let docs park their Bentleys, Lamborghinis, and Bugattis there for ogling and maybe even to take a break under the vehicles’ hoods?

Okay, maybe we’re being a bit too snarky.  Yet that hyperbolic scenario just might be cheaper and more medically justifiable than the sustained embrace by specialists and profit-seeking institutions of fancy robotic surgical devices costing more than $1 million annually — and for which patients, ultimately, pay. Here’s what the New York Times reported of yet another published meta-analysis of dozens of studies on the devices and their outcomes found:

“Surgical procedures performed with the aid of a robot is sometimes marketed as the ‘best’ form of surgery. But a recent review of 50 randomized controlled trials, testing robot-assisted surgeries against conventional methods for abdominal or pelvic procedures, suggests that while there may be some benefits to robotic surgery, any advantages over other approaches are modest … Some surgeons believe that these robots allow more precision during the operation, shorter recovery time, and generally better clinical outcomes for patients. But the review found that in many ways, compared outcomes from the robotic and conventional procedures showed little difference.

deltadixieft-300x187The coronavirus has killed almost 630,000 Americans, with the pandemic adding in its fourth surge now under way 1,000 deaths a day or 42 fatalities per hour.

The disease has infected almost 38 million of us, with more than 145,000 new cases occurring each day in recent weeks.

More than 90,000 coronavirus patients were in hospitals nationwide in the last week, more than in any previous surge except last winter’s, the New York Times reported.

medscrewsuw-171x300Patients, regulators, hospitals, and doctors themselves need to open their eyes and ask tougher questions about the eyebrow-raising trend occurring among a specialized set of “sawboneses” — orthopedists and neurosurgeons.

Hundreds of them are profiting handsomely, not on their  medical skills  but rather their investments in and relationships with surgical hardware. The specialists also are increasingly reliant, in dubious fashion, on medical device salespeople.

Fred Schulte, an investigative reporter with the independent, nonpartisan Kaiser Health News service, has written a pair of detailed news articles raising yet more questions about medical devices, specifically the $3 billion that floods a peculiar pipeline between those who operate on patients’ backs, knees, hips, and shoulders and the companies that provide the surgical hardware for the procedures.

covidhotspotmap08142021nyt-300x180As the latest coronavirus surge worsens, public health efforts to quell the pandemic are targeting two groups that might be dubbed the can’t-s and won’t-s.

Federal regulators sought to assist the first group by approving coronavirus vaccination booster shots for a select group of patients — those whose compromised immune systems could not generate sufficient protection with standard shot regimens.

Experts say that individuals who have undergone organ transplants or who may be undergoing cancer treatments or otherwise have low immune systems may benefit from the booster shots.

From the It’s-about-time department: Nursing homes and long-term care facilities finally have started to require their health workers to get vaccinated against the coronavirus.

The federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has reported as of Aug. 6 that ~1.6 million long-term care residents and 1.3 million health workers in the care facilities were fully vaccinated.

But with coronavirus cases, hospitalizations, deaths, and community spread spiking this summer — especially due to the unvaccinated and the Delta variant — nursing homes have seen worrisome signs of their own of the pandemic’s resurgence. And they, along with other health care institutions, can no longer ignore the safety and effectiveness of the coronavirus vaccines, the New York Times and other media organizations have reported. As the newspaper noted:

kffvaxvunvaxhospitalized-300x235Kids are flocking back to school for in-person, fall classes — and they are getting eye-opening views of how grownups continue to react to the gravest public health crisis in a century. What kinds of lessons are the next generations taking away from us?

Public health officials are moving with urgency not only to get youngsters 12 and older vaccinated but also to persuade decision-makers in districts across the country to ensure that the young cover their faces and distance — measures that have helped reduce the coronavirus’s spread.

The world, of course, is well past weary of the pandemic. But with the Delta variant causing spikes in cases (now averaging 100,000 per day), hospitalizations, and deaths (averaging 500/day), officials say they have few choices but to rely on public health measures that have helped to quell viral outbreaks.

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.

debtmedicalnytjuly2021-300x250A scandal of the U.S. health system may be far worse than imagined, with the medical debt sold to collection agencies alone amounting to a staggering $140 billion.

The $140 billion estimate came from researchers who published in a medical journal and found that such unpaid sums had increased significantly from an $84 billion calculation in a similar 2016 study, the New York Times reported (see excellent chart, courtesy of the newspaper).

The newspaper noted the debt estimate is an ugly number hanging over the finances of tens of millions of patients who are too often poor and uninsured — debtors who could benefit significantly, if politicians in their states had expanded Medicaid coverage for them as allowed under the Affordable Care Act:

lotsapills-300x200Consumers have gotten eyebrow-raising views of Big Pharma’s ugly business practices and the tough and sometimes sketchy efforts to rein in the industry’s ravenous pursuit of profits — in settling claims over distributors inundating the country with lethal painkillers, or with a maker’s behind-the-scenes campaign to win U.S. approval of an Alzheimer’s medication based on dubious data.

Patients are unlikely to come out ahead, or even satisfied with the outcomes of the cases involving how Johnson & Johnson (J&J), Cardinal Health, AmerisourceBergen, and McKesson handled opioids, and how Biogen and the Food and Drug Administration have dealt with Aduhelm.

A major opioids settlement

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.

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