Health Care Safety Index – July to August 2014

Jessica Firger, for CBS News, on increased reports of West Nile Virus in western, central and southern states. Early signs and symptoms of the disease include fever, headaches, body aches, joint pains, vomiting, diarrhea and rash.

Robert Preidt, for CBS News,an article appearing in BMJ that concluded that light to moderate alcohol consumption can result in heart damage.

Nicholas Bakalar, for the NYT,on a study appearing in the journal Circulation that calls into question the necessity of fasting before undergoing blood lipid tests.

Nicholas Bakalar, for the NYT,an article appearing on Obstetrics and Gynecology that concluded that sutures are safer than staples when closing incisions following cesarean sections.

Robert Preidt, for CBS News,study at Harvard which suggested that vasectomies can increase the risk of fatal prostate cancer.

Liz Szabo, with USA Today, that the child “Mississippi baby” previously diagnosed as cured of HIV by the NEJM, was found to have a return of the disease.

Gretchen Reynolds, for the NYT, a recent report from the Center for Disease Control and prevention that concluded that children in the United States are becoming less fit with every passing year.

Stephen Reinberg, for CBS News, on a study that concluded that people who are severely obese (BMI >40) are 2.5 times more likely to die of heart disease, cancer or diabetes.

Elisabeth Rosenthal, for the NYT, on the inexplicable rapid price increases of some generic drugs over the last few years.

Janet St. James, for ABC News, that the Texas Attorney General is investigating Johnson & Johnson for its polypropylene mesh which is used in surgeries for hernia, stress, incontinence and pelvic organ prolapse.

The AP announced that House and Senate negotiators have agreed on a compromise plan to deal with the health care crisis in the veterans’ health program. The plan purportedly authorizes billions in emergency spending to lease 27 new clinics, hire more doctors and nurses and implement measures to make it easier for veterans to obtain outside care when they cannot get prompt appointments.

James Gallagher, of the BBC, discussed the approval of intraoperative radiation therapy by the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence, which reduces the frequency of post-operative tumor removal radiation therapy to a single dose following breast cancer surgery. This is a promising development for women who have discover breast cancer in the early stages.

Dominic Hughes, of the BBC, reported on the latest efforts to reduce all cancer screening to a single blood test.

The editorial board of the NYT published a series of articles supporting the federal legalization of marijuana.

Brendan M. Reilly, M.D., in the NEJM, wrote an interesting piece on the challenges teaching hospitals pose to patient centered care.

Nicholas Bakalar, for the NYT, discussed a recent article in Neurology that indicated that low vitamin D is associated with an increased risk for Alzheimer’s disease.

Catherine Saint Louis, for the NYT, reported on an article in the Lancet that discussed a promising new vaccine for the mosquito borne chikungunya virus.

Joyce Frieden, with MedPage Today, discussed the continuing problems created by misdiagnosis.

Rebecca Kaplan, of Tech Times, discussed a recent study appearing in Cancer Prevention Research in which an analysis of stool samples from patients’ guts proved to be an effective screen test for colon cancer.

Rob Stein, for NPR, wrote about possible changes to the rules about the waiting lists for liver transplants, which currently favors patients living in the Southeast and Midwest.

Kendall Hatch, for the MetroWest Daily News, reported that serious medical mistakes in Massachusetts sharply increased in the last year. Some commentators have suggested that the 70% increase is due to the change in the definition of “serious reportable events” under the law.

Eryn Brown, for the LA Times, reported on how the death of Robin Williams has refocused attention on Parkinson’s disease and depression.

Reed Abelson and Eric Lichtblau, for the NYT, reported on the frustration associated with investigating and prosecuting Medicare Fraud because of the decentralized prosecutorial efforts of private contractors and the backlog of appeals.

California Healthlinereported on a study appearing in BMJ Open Kaiser Health News which revealed that charges related to outpatient blood tests can vary by hundreds and even thousands of dollars with no rational explanation for these disparities.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *