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Depressing study about patient safety at hospitals

A new study taken over the last decade indicates that efforts to improve patient safety and cut down on medical errors at hospitals have not had much effect.

The study, conducted from 2002 to 2007 in 10 North Carolina hospitals, found that harm to patients was common and that the number of incidents did not decrease over time. The most common problems were complications from procedures or drugs and hospital-acquired infections.

“It is unlikely that other regions of the country have fared better,” said Dr. Christopher P. Landrigan, the lead author of the study and an assistant professor at Harvard Medical School. The study is being published on Thursday in The New England Journal of Medicine.

It is one of the most rigorous efforts to collect data about patient safety since a landmark report in 1999 found that medical mistakes caused as many as 98,000 deaths and more than one million injuries a year in the United States. That report, by the Institute of Medicine, an independent group that advises the government on health matters, led to a national movement to reduce errors and make hospital stays less hazardous to patients’ health.

We’ve just gone through a bruising fight on health care reform, but patient safety is something all of us should be able to agree upon. We need national standards to help reduce medical errors.

Sarah Palin is an idiot – slams First Lady’s anti-obesity initiatives

Obesity is a national epidemic, and First Lady Michelle Obama is trying to do something about it with an emphasis on exercise and healthy food like fruits and vegetables. But that apparently is a real problem for Sarah Palin. Here’s her idiotic quote:

Take her anti-obesity thing that she is on. She is on this kick, right. What she is telling us is she cannot trust parents to make decisions for their own children, for their own families in what we should eat. And I know I’m going to be again criticized for bringing this up, but instead of a government thinking that they need to take over and make decisions for us according to some politician or politician’s wife priorities, just leave us alone, get off our back, and allow us as individuals to exercise our own God-given rights to make our own decisions and then our country gets back on the right track.

Palin is a complete buffoon.

Big insurance companies and the fight to protect profits

This story is disgusting.

As health care costs soared nationally, a small Michigan firm gave Ford Motor Co. a proposal to cut its physical therapy costs. The automaker signed up for an in-state pilot program, which was so successful Ford expanded it last year to cover about 390,000 employees, retirees and their families nationwide.

Yet the cost-saving program created by Pontiac-based TheraMatrix has come under attack from Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan.

Court records allege Blue Cross used its position as the state’s dominant insurer to try to crush TheraMatrix as it worked to also sign up Chrysler and General Motors. A USA TODAY review of hundreds of pages of e-mails and internal documents that are part of a lawsuit TheraMatrix filed against Blue Cross indicates that TheraMatrix’s efforts to carve out a niche market in managing outpatient physical therapy costs was seen as a threat by officials at Blue Cross and by some Michigan hospitals.

In one sense, it’s not surprising that a big company will play rough with an upstart competitor. But in the health care area, where costs are exploding, this is indefensible. Also, Blue Cross is a nonprofit – go figure.

Alison Young then goes on to write the following, which gets to the crux of the issue:

The aggressive tactics employed against TheraMatrix raise questions about whether relationships between hospitals and insurers are inflating medical prices and stifling competition needed to control costs.

The government needs to get tough with insurance companies.

The benefits of free-range eggs

Here’s some interesting information on the benefits of free-range eggs over regular eggs. Basically, they are much more nutritious:

This only makes sense considering the chickens are allowed to consume their natural diet, which includes seeds, insects, green plants and worms. Compared to U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrient data for commercial eggs, eggs from chickens raised on a pasture may contain the following: two-thirds more vitamin A; two times more omega-3 fatty acids; three times more vitamin E; and seven times more beta carotene. The problem with eggs labeled “free-range” is that the USDA defines free-range as chickens having access to the outside. The problem with this definition is it doesn’t define their diets or what “outside access” means. Under this definition, the chickens can have access to a cement courtyard while eating an unnatural diet that includes soy, corn and cottonseed meals, and still be called free range. (Mother Earth News. Oct/Nov, 2007)

Now you need to figure out where you can purchase real free-range eggs.

Obesity accelerates as teens become young adults

This is bad news considering the obesity epidemic with kids today.

Heavy teenagers are often destined for skyrocketing weight gain in their 20s, a new study shows.

About half of obese teenage girls and about a third of obese teen boys become severely obese by the time they are 30 — meaning they are 80 to 100 pounds over a healthy weight, the new research says.

We see a tremendous amount of weight gain during those years,” says Penny Gordon-Larsen, senior author of the study and an associate professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.

Other research has found that heavy children are more likely to become heavy adults. But this is one of the first studies to show what happens to teens who are obese — that is roughly 30 or more pounds over a healthy weight — as they reach adulthood.

It’s critical that we find ways to address obesity in children. At some point they will be a lost cause.

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