Ratings for safety
Yesterday, Consumer Reports published its annual hospital ratings, and this year it focuses on hospital safety. Why? Because hospitals can be hazardous to your health.
Infections, surgical mistakes, and other medical harm contribute to the deaths of 180,000 hospital patients a year, according to projections based on a 2010 report from the Department of Health and Human Services. Another 1.4 million are seriously hurt by their hospital care. And those figures apply only to Medicare patients. What happens to other people is less clear because most hospital errors go unreported and hospitals report on only
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Will there soon be a blood test?
My father-in-law recently passed away after suffering with Alzheimer’s for several years. I also have an aunt who is currently living with some form of dementia, probably vascular.
Few diseases strike more fear into those over the age of 50 than Alzheimer’s. Needless to say, both my husband and I worry when we find ourselves saying:
“Oh, what’s the word I want?”
or “Where did I put it?”
or “Why did I come in here?”
So when I read the prevailing health headlines this week about a blood test to predict Alzheimer’s, … Continue reading
A doctor posted this photo the other day. It’s a typical lab result slip with a twist—look closely and you’ll see a column for “cost”.
When doctors want to treat an infection, they generally get a “culture and sensitivity” first. That is, they take a sample of whatever is infected (urine, skin, blood, or other) and send it to the lab. The lab grows (“cultures”) and identifies the bacteria, and then tells the doctor which antibiotics the bacteria is “sensitive” to, that is which will kill it.
Antibiotics can be extremely expensive, especially the newest ones that can cost … Continue reading
The latest report
Most of my nursing career was in breast cancer, so I like to stay current on the most recent research on screening, diagnosis and treatment.
Earlier this week, the British Medical Journal released a pretty stunning report:
In conclusion, our data show that annual mammography does not result in a reduction in breast cancer specific mortality for women aged 40-59.
In normal language that translates to “annual mammograms don’t save lives.”
Aaron Carroll, MD, writes on his blog:
This study is going to make a whole lot of people upset. It’s a large, well designed
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CDC reports low rates for key vaccinations
Last week the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) published its annual report on adult vaccination rates in the US.
Vaccination coverage levels among adults are low. Improvement in adult vaccination is needed to reduce the health consequences of vaccine-preventable diseases among adults and to prevent pertussis [whooping cough] morbidity and mortality in infants, who need the protection afforded by the Tdap vaccination.
Besides yearly flu shots, other vaccinations adults should consider are:
- Td/Tdap (tetanus, diptheria, pertussis “whooping cough”)
- Varicella (chickenpox)
- HPV (human papilloma virus)
- MMR (measles, mumps, rubella)
- Hepatitis A
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“I need to sleep!”
As a nurse, I’ve always known that a hospital is a lousy place to be sick. Why? You can never get a decent amount of sleep! And who needs sleep more than someone who is recovering from an illness or injury?
I loved this YouTube video I ran across while reading an article about patient-centered care:
It was made by 15-year-old Morgan Gleason, who, according to the article
First…contracted meningitis while getting an infusion for an autoimmune condition. Then, hospitalized, Tuesday morning she got fed up with how she was being treated, and laid down
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Nuts associated with longer, healthier lives
Last November, the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) published the results of a huge observational study that showed a lower death rate among people who ate several servings of nuts (including peanuts) every week.
Previous studies have pointed to other health benefits of nuts: reduced risk of diabetes, heart disease and cancer. The NEJM is the first study that looked specifically at death rates.
Over 115,000 people (nurses and other health professionals) were followed for 30 years. Diet questionnaires were filled out every 2 to 4 years. That is a lot of people … Continue reading
The nasty H1N1 swine flu is back
Reports indicate that flu (influenza) season is in full swing—the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) website shows widespread flu cases in most states.
I also like to look at Google Flu Trends, which shows an increasing number of Google searches using keywords related to the flu:
The H1N1 swine flu seems to be the predominate strain this year. We last saw this flu bug in the pandemic of 2009.
H1N1 is considered particularly strong, or virulent, because it hits relatively young (under 65) and healthy adults very hard. Why? Because … Continue reading
For most, multivitamins are a waste of money
I’m always trying to do two things:
- Save my money
- Be healthy
It’s not easy when everything about health care costs so much.
So I really don’t want to throw money away on expensive drugstore products that are poorly regulated (if at all) by the FDA, and whose benefits are not supported by the latest scientific research.
Related post: The Quack Miranda Warning
I’ve written several posts about the lack of demonstrated benefit (and possible harm!) of several supplements:
And now the multivitamin is the latest … Continue reading
“Do you know who I am?”
I’ve always been a fan of the Pulitzer-prize winning author Anna Quindlen, and last week I ran across the text from an address she gave to a roomful of doctors and medical students at the Association of American Medical Colleges in November. (Note: the full text will only be available through this link until January 31, 2014.)
A mother and DES daughter, Ms. Quindlen describes herself as “medically adept.” She has also dealt with the illness, injury and deaths of both her parents. She is an intelligent, educated, motivated health care consumer, or … Continue reading