Articles Posted in Primary Care

catholicmedicalcenter-300x123He cut a dashing figure in ads and billboards for a New England community hospital, which had an administration desperate for a lucrative heart care program in a region  with famous academic medical centers. Dr. Yvon Baribeau, a Canadian-trained heart surgeon, seemed a perfect fit for the Catholic Medical Center, a place where he told colleagues he practically lived because he became one of the institution’s best-paid and busiest specialists.

He earned more than $1 million annually, and just one of his many operations brought in $200,000 to CMS before Baribeau suddenly retired at age 63.

What patients and the public didn’t know about the much-promoted surgeon was his shocking mistreatment of patients in a variety of ways, a notoriously poor medical performance that the Boston Globe has reported made him the holder of “one of the worst surgical malpractice records among all physicians in the United States.”

PrEP-pills-150x150While increasing numbers of Americans tell pollsters that they are forgoing religion and seeing its practice diminish in importance in their lives, those with religious fervor are finding a federal judiciary willing to delve into the complexity of faith and medicine in deeply polarizing ways.

The looming midterm elections, pollsters say, already have been upended by the U.S. Supreme Court’s overturning of a half-century of settled law in turning back to the states critical decisions about women’s reproductive health and the allowance of abortions, including in cases involving rape and incest.

A federal judge in Texas with demonstrated extreme views has further stoked the increasing fires over religion and health care by ruling unconstitutional the process by which Obamacare decides what kinds of preventive health care must be covered by private health insurance, as the New York Times and other media outlets have reported.

eats-150x150The Biden Administration this month will tackle one of the major, persistent challenges that perplexes and damages the health and well-being of most regular folks: what they eat, as well as their regular sources of food.

The scheduled Sept. 28 White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health will be only the second of its kind in modern history and the first in almost a half a century, NPR has reported, adding that it will be a timely and notable event. As Dariush Mozaffarian, a cardiologist and dean of the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, told the broadcast news reporters:

“We’re really in a nutrition crisis in this country.”

battery-150x150As manufacturers press to shrink electronic devices, small children across the country are getting put at high risk of big harms by swallowing small button- and lithium coin-batteries, research shows.

The round, shiny, and ubiquitous batteries have proven to be irresistible to the pint-sized and curious, who gulp them down after they find them scattered around or pry them free from an array of gadgets, including, the New York Times reported, “television remotes, key fobs, thermometers, scales, toys, flame-free candles — even singing greeting cards.”

Grownups can be shocked by the damage the objects can cause, the newspaper reported:

fingersxd-150x150The quality of medical-scientific information is strained — and patients should know this, be warned, and watch for ways to protect themselves from bungled communication, bluster, hype, misinformation, and disinformation.

Although regular folks may have unprecedented access via the internet to resources on medical services and developments, a trio of recent news articles underscore the importance of the familiar warning Caveat emptor (buyer beware):

coronavax-150x150As summer ends, millions of Americans should pop around the corner for a healthy double — that is, a pair of vaccinations, one targeted against the latest, widely circulating coronavirus Omicron variants and the other shot to fight the seasonal flu, federal health officials say.

The newest booster for the BA.4 and BA.5 Omicron variants should be available at drug stores, clinics, and doctors’ offices this coming week, regulators at the federal Food and Drug Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Infection have decided.

The coronavirus shots, as occurs with annual flu vaccines, will be based on existing products that have been given to huge populations globally — safely, with great effectiveness, but now without extensive clinical trials that were conducted of previous formulas of the vaccines.

pickleball-300x178The newly familiar thwack, pop, and crack of the pastime of pickleball, alas, is increasingly accompanied by some other sounds — the moans and groans of picklers who find themselves with injuries that can be more than annoying for older aficionados of this trendy sport.

Noe Sariban, a pickleball instructor, former pro player, and a physical therapist who markets himself as the Pickleball Doctor, told the New York Times about the rising list of injuries he sees regularly from a game that is played in a constrained space and purports to offer a less-strenuous alternative for those who can’t quite cover an expansive court any more in other racket sports:

“Achilles’ strains or tears, shoulder problems, rotator cuff injuries, lower back problems such as disc injuries, muscle strains …”

smokingjoint-150x150Generation Z and young millennials have become the nation’s leading group of stoners, setting record highs for their use of marijuana, hallucinogenic drugs, nicotine, and booze.

This has occurred even as federal regulators have gotten called out for failing to crack down, after chest-thumping promises to do so, on the noxious but popular practice among the young of vaping.

The National Institutes of Health has conducted its annual “Monitoring the Future” survey of behaviors and attitudes of young adults since 1975, providing a much-watched, longitudinal snapshot of the lives and health of Americans ages 19 to 30. Its results this go-round are unsettling to those who monitor substance use and abuse in this critical age group, as the Washington Post reported:

fordlogo-300x123Even the strongest believer in the wisdom of juries in civil lawsuits had to take a pause. But, yes, the verdict in an Atlanta case has been correctly reported.  Jurors deliberating on the damages caused in roll-over of a Ford 250 truck did, indeed, order the automaker to pay the family of two people killed in the auto wreck a sum that apparently set a record in such a Georgia proceeding: $1.7 billion.

Jurors awarded that sum after years of litigation, described by the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, thusly:

“Voncile Hill, 62, and her husband Melvin Hill, 74, died after their tire blew out on a Sumter County highway in 2014 and their 2002 Ford Super Duty F-250 pickup rolled over. They were farmers traveling from their Macon County home to Americus to pick up a tractor part, said James E. Butler, [an attorney with the firm] of Butler Prather [representing the couple’s family] … The children sued Ford and Pep Boys, among others. The jury determined Ford had sold 5.2 million ‘Super Duty’ trucks with weak roofs that would crush people inside during rollovers. The flaw was present in all ‘Super Duty’ models between 1999 and 2016, Butler said.”

faucipic-150x150This fall our nation will go once more into the breach, with federal officials hoping that another big push for vaccinations against the coronavirus and flu will stave off the deadly surges of contagions that have caused the fundamental health measure of life expectancy to plummet in a historic way.

Still, the announced retirement of Dr. Anthony Fauci, one of the nation’s foremost fighters against infectious illnesses — and the sharply divided reactions to his planned end of year departure from a half century of public service — continue to show how fraught vaccinations and public health have become in the U.S.

Fauci, who joined the National Institutes of Health in 1968 and was appointed the director of its infectious disease branch in 1984, has advised every president since Ronald Reagan — seven in all. He became a political lightning rod twice in instances of illnesses with enormous medical effect, with the outbreak of HIV-AIDS and the coronavirus pandemic.

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