Health Care Safety Index – June 2014

Tim Darraghreported that there are 43% fewer medical malpractice cases being filed in Pennsylvania today than there were ten years ago. The article attributes the decrease two new rules which require (a) medical malpractice cases to be filed in the county where the malpractice took place and (b) the filing of an affidavit of merit at the outset of a case.

Dennis Slattery, for the Daily News, wrote about the New York Judiciary’s adoption of a program formerly run by Judge Douglas McKeon in the Bronx which seeks to reach early settlements in meritorious medical malpractice cases filed against municipal hospitals. The program has resulted in decreased litigation costs and safer care because hospitals have implemented safety programs to learn from the mistakes.

Steven Reinberg, for CBS News, wrote about the rise in the mosquito-borne chikungunya virus. The virus has still not been contracted in the United States, but it is predicted that it could arrive this summer. The virus causes high fevers, joint pain and swelling, headaches and a rash. In rare instances it is fatal.

Andrew Pollack, for the New York Times, reported on how health insurance plans are lowering drug costs by requiring pharmaceutical companies to choose between discounting their drugs or not being covered.

Liz Szabo, for USA Today, discussed the whooping cough epidemic in California, which is related less parents refusing medication and more to the limitations in the vaccines that are being currently used.

Gretchen Reynolds, for the New York Times,reported on a study that revealed that exercising only on weekends is beneficial and makes people healthier than those who do not exercise at all.

Jessica Firger, for CBS News, revealed that scientists discovered that mutations in the APOC3 gene lowered heart attack and stroke risk by approximately 40 percent. The hope is that this could lead to a drug alternatives to statins.

Elsevier discusseda study that demonstrated that an increase in the size of the amygdala in children’s brains correlated with high anxiety levels.

John Von Radowitz, for the London Evening Standard, reported on a study out of Harvard Medical School which indicated that UV rays from sunshine stimulate the production on endorphins, to the point where sun exposure can be addictive.

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