medical errors

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Strange, that the meningitis-tainted steroids in Tennessee  make me think of the chocolate bar case from Oklahoma. Two young, and it seemed to me, perfectly honest if somewhat histrionic  young women who found worms in their Hershey bars — the hard way.  Both were unemployed and mothers of several children each, and one was pregnant.  They were enjoying their chocolate bars in a dark room by the light of the TV set when one noticed something funny. Comparing experiences, the other one agreed that the bars tasted “off.” Turning on the lights (and — pardon me — spitting out the foul tasting candy) they saw a horrible sight.  The almonds were infested with worms. Oh, it was  scary, and one in particular told me she started throwing up, and had lost weight.  She had developed some sort of a phobia for chocolate bars in general, and had poor sleep, and was 3 months pregnant.  They both had the classic signs of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder — they could not stop thinking about and reliving the ordeal, they developed an avoidance of any chocolate or other type of candy bar, and they had a violent “startle” reaction if they encountered a TV commercial or if somebody they saw in public was eating a candy bar. Now the expectant mother did not particularly want to medicate for fear of damaging her unborn child, and that was fine with me.  I recall we tried to use a little relaxation, or NLP  (neurolinguistic programming), or anything, really, non-medical to calm  down this young lady.  We succeeded, at least somewhat, but not entirely. She did tell me that the Hershey bar had  “been around” for a  little, but I was unaware of any expiry date existing for Hershey bars;  checked some at the supermarket, and never saw a date. Read more on Meningitis and Hershey Bars…

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I have spent as little time as possible on the staff of hospitals.  The interface between doctors and administrators has always seemed to be dominated by petty politics.  People are interested in money, and secondary to that, some vague sort of reputation or power.

A large and prestigious Midwestern hospital used to have a certain kind of meeting every few months.  This hospital had only the vaguest of University associations — just enough to make it look academic and research oriented.  I knew perfectly well it was neither.

It was a luncheon meeting of the medical staff and a few administrative types — uncommonly well-catered. There were about 25 folks, but only two other women who looked as uncomfortable as I was.

The meeting was to discuss certain hospital statistics, including some case details.  As the meeting agenda was passed around, the head of the hospital reminded us of the meeting “rules.”  We were gently reminded that no recordings were permitted and neither were extraneous notes.  We each received an agenda, which were carefully counted out as they were distributed.  We were told that at the end of the meeting they would be collected — and counted — before any of us could leave. Read more on Hospital Accountability Is An Ideal (Not Always Reality)…

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It’s always convenient to have somebody else to blame, but I’m afraid that doctors are mostly to blame on this one.   They call them hospital acquired infections” and they are killing patients who should otherwise be just fine.

Like this writer’s father, who walked into a ritzy New York academic hospital with what used to be called “walking pneumonia.”  He went on to die of – you guessed it – a “hospital acquired infection.”

Walking pneumonia is basically an infection of the lungs that may cause a cough — or even a painful cough — and makes it hard to breathe. Typically, it does not hurt the patient’s general well being enough to make her or him an invalid, a hospital inpatient, or certainly not an intensive care inpatient. This guy’s dad should have easily made it home. Read more on Medical Science Develops Harmful Products…

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Seems to me that doctors are starting to think like insurance companies.

And it seems to me they are making decisions for the wrong reasons.

No.  This is the wrong way to think. Read more on Unnecessary Medical Tests…

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When I was a very junior neurosurgical resident in France, I always thanked my lucky stars I had not overused coffee.  Mme. M., who ran the cafe below my apartment throughout the first part of my studies, which were mostly classroom, had an Italian espresso machine and little demitasses (half-cups) of potent brew — so potent that I could not consume more than one in the morning.  Arabica, fragrant, and aromatic, it was a true joy.

After I moved closer to the hospital center, I heard for the first time the expression “pump yourself full of coffee.” (se pomper pleine de cafe)  It was foul tasting stuff, consumed in an infinity of Styrofoam cups, and strong — really strong.  There were rumors that it came from the same “common market supplier” as the wine, which was supposed to also be from a a mixture of common market (it had not yet become the European Union) countries.  All the food was free, as we were government employees.

Nobody ever figured out where the coffee had come from.

There was an open bar 24/7, about as well outfitted as Mme. M’s.  I was afraid to be in the same room with it.  I am delighted to report that I never saw anyone use it on an on-call night.

This is the place I could access a small bed — iron tubes for headboard and rails, mattress probably stiffened with starch.  The joke, which may well have been true, was that it was Napoleonic non-issue, meant for a barracks.

After the first night I lay upon it sleepless, answering a beeper that whenever it rang told me to call the operator and they would tell me who to call, my then-young back was killing me and I was fighting tears. Read more on Save Lives — Let Doctors Sleep!…

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Solange MagnanoSomeone who “has it all;” a beauty queen from Argentina, seems to have died in an effort to improve her buttocks.  A life risked, and lost, for a “firmer behind.”

Our friends at Wikipedia (I never had a patient who went for one of these) call it a “Brazilian butt lift,” so I expect it is some kind of a South American “point of interest.”  The procedure, however, seems to have little to do with what happened to the ex-beauty queen.
Read more on A Tragic Loss: Beauty Queen’s Plastic Surgery Is Fatal…

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