A decrease in a hospital's financial profit margin leads to a higher risk for mistakes in the treatment of surgical patients
"These results suggest that financial pressures limit a hospital's
ability to make costly investments in patient safety improvements and
lead to a safety culture problem across the hospital."

Doctor shortages are shutting down ER's in Canada
"The emergency room at Roseway Hospital in Shelburne is shutting down for one night because of a shortage of staff.

Two doctors are off on vacation and another is semi-retired, so the hospital will be closed from midnight to 8 a.m. Saturday."

A jury has awarded $8 million to the husband of a woman who died after chemotherapy that wasn't necessary
"The attorney for Charles Pandrea says a private autopsy showed that his wife Janet did not have the cancer she was treated for.

Attorney Michael Ryan says Janet Pandrea had a benign tumor in one lung, which could have been operated on. He says she developed side effects from ...

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It has been suggested that 93% of physicians practice defensive medicine today to avoid malpractice lawsuits. Defensive medicine is defined by the AMA as such:

Physician practices just to reduce risk of a liability claim, eg, performing diagnostic tests of marginal value.
Defensive medicine is one of the leading factors in driving up health care costs today. The purpose of this series is to breathe some real-life examples into ...

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Health courts make sense
"Health courts, along with non-economic judgment caps and tighter regulation of the insurance industry, might constitute an effective approach to solve the problem of how best to reform medical-malpractice litigation, a panel of experts said."

Of course, the lawyers are balking: "Carlton Carl, director of media relations at the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, told United Press International the whole idea of health courts ...

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New Hampshire votes for real over half-assed malpractice screening panels
"Local physicians working as unofficial lobbyists played a major role in the stunning decision Wednesday of the House of Representatives to embrace screening panels that examine medical malpractice lawsuits.

The House vote of 218-115 to embrace a Senate-passed bill (SB 214) came less than three months after it chose mandatory mediation to try to reduce the number of ...

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Canada's Supreme Court strikes down a ban against private insurance
"Opponents of changes to Medicare claimed it could force Canada into a two-tiered health care system in which those who have deeper pockets get faster, better service from doctors who opt out of the public health-care program."

Tom Cruise gives medical advice
"I can recall an incident on the set of 'Days of Thunder' where a stunt driver had a horrible, high-speed accident, just barreled into a wall, and unfortunately he had been harnessed incorrectly. He was screaming in agony, his legs and several ribs were obviously very badly broken, and the first instinct of everyone on the set was to get him airlifted to a ...

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Did Jesus have a pulmonary embolus?
"An Israeli researcher has challenged the popular belief that Jesus died of blood loss on the cross, saying he probably succumbed to a sometimes fatal disorder now associated with long-haul air travel.

Professor Benjamin Brenner wrote in The Journal of Thrombosis and Haemostasis that Jesus'Â’ death, traditionally believed to have occurred 3 to 6 hours after crucifixion began, was probably caused by ...

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The whistle-blower at Pfizer is being isolated
"First, his employees stopped reporting to him. Then his supervisors stopped returning his calls and now he does not know whom to report to. His secretary left, he said, and he was moved to an office near Pfizer's security department at a company building in Peapack, N.J. The latest blow came Monday, the morning after Dr. Rost, 46, appeared on a segment ...

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The push for open-access scheduling continues
"Open access can reduce the number of no-shows, a source of lost revenues for physician practices, and can make it more likely that patients get needed preventive care, such as vaccines. And with most practices still not prepared to offer same-day appointments for even routine care, it can offer those that adopt it a competitive advantage."

A man sues his surgeon because his operation was delayed
"WBAL-TV 11 News reporter Lowell Melser said Fultz did hear that his doctor, Dr. Udayan Shah, wouldn't operate until he took a break for dinner and a rest.

'The doctor told me that he was going to leave the hospital because he had been doing excessive work and he needed to go home and rest,' Fultz said. 'He needed ...

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Health care costs are one reason why GM cut 25,000 jobs
"General Motors' chief exec spelled out Tuesday why U.S. manufacturers are getting their economic butts kicked. And a big reason has nothing to do with the productivity of our workers or the quality of our products.

It's because our health care system is killing us.

Addressing GM shareholders, Rick Wagoner said runaway health care costs are ...

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Should Medicaid be in the business of handing out lifestyle-enhancing medications to anybody?
This columnist says no: "No, of course not. It should focus on necessities. Medicaid is about people who need a temporary hand up, about chronically sick children or ill seniors in long-term care. As Florida's health secretary, Alan Levine, put it: 'It's a safety net. They didn't think of Medicaid as a program for lifestyle-enhancing drugs.'"

Chloramphenicol for bacterial conjunctivitis will be the first antibiotic sold OTC
"It said the antibiotic, used to treat bacterial conjunctivitis, could be safely sold to the public.

However doctors fear widespread use of antibiotics could increase resistance."

Can this be the first step down a slippery slope?

A recent study (via Clinical Cases and Images), suggested that many turn to the search engine first for information on their health:

Google, the internet search engine, has now become one of the patientÂ’'s best friends, second only to the family doctor.

A survey of 1,000 people found that 12 per cent turn first to Google. Fewer consult family and friends, the media or medical encyclopaedias when faced ...

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MedGadget hosts Grand Rounds this week
Come get the weekly best of the medical blogosphere.

Patients in Massachusetts must wait more than six weeks on average to visit primary care physicians
Lack of primary care access is a major factor in emergency room overcrowding.

Remarkable medical survival stories
"An 18-year-old Arizona man survived having his head literally ripped off in an accident with a drunken driver. Marcos Parra's car was hit by the other vehicle in January 2003 so hard his head was detached from his body. Only skin and some vital internal circuits held it on.

Marcos was rushed from the scene to the emergency room of a hospital ...

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In the UK, the "perfect" general practitioner is young, female and Asian
"Dr Ramesh Mehta, the president of the British Association of Physicians of Indian Origin, said that the news did not surprise him.

'Naturally, everybody prefers good-looking young women. Asian GPs are preferred because of their politeness.'"