A Must Read Critique on Health Care in America

We all expect doctors to make us well but can they do harm?

Dr. Otis Webb Brawley, the chief medical officer of the American Cancer Society wrote, “How We Do Harm: A Doctor Beaks Ranks About Being Sick In America”.

He describes the ways in which the whole medical system is broken and who is responsible.

Spoiler: We all are.

It is amazing the number of health care professionals who seemingly reject the scientific method. They prescribe treatments they believe to be appropriate as opposed to therapies that are known to be appropriate based on objective scientific evidence. This form of ignorance is a root cause of much of the overuse of medical therapy.
Too often, doctors fail to distinguish what is scientifically known from what is unknown, from what is believed. This is beyond mere disagreement about interpretation of the science. There is often selective reading of the science, especially by those trained in a specialty wanting to advocate for it.

How Doctors Die

What your doctor knows about dying might influence your end of life care decisions.

Shannon Brownlee’s book, “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer”, Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007) sheds light on what physicians know about extraordinary measures used in the ER and in intensive care units and why many physicians opt out of such care.

Dying in a hospital bed attached to tubes is not how many in the medical field would choose to die.

Why would doctors be so anxious to avoid the very procedures they deliver to their patients every day? For one thing, they know firsthand that these procedures are most often futile when performed on a frail, elderly, chronically ill person. Only about 8% of people who go into cardiac arrest outside of the hospital are revived by CPR. Even when your heart stops in the hospital, you have only a 19% chance of surviving. That’s a far cry from the way these procedures are portrayed on TV, where practically everybody survives having his heart shocked and undergoing CPR.

No Jobs for Smokers

Pennsylvania is one of 19 states which allow employers to screen job applicants for signs of smoking, according to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics.

Following the lead of the Cleveland Clinic in 2007 to create a smoke free campus the Geisinger Health System, a facility located in the eastern town of Danville, PA., will institute its no-nicotine policy on February 1, 2012.

Gary Burtless, a senior fellow at the Washington-based Brookings Institution, said the measures are commonly adopted to reduce future health-care costs.
He said “there is no denying” the subsequent drop in cost, pointing to a 2003 study that revealed a range of between $500-$2,200 in additional annual medical expenses for smokers when compared to non-smokers.
Dr. Steven Bernstein, a professor at Yale University, added that smokers are also likely to take breaks more often, reducing hours worked.

Best Books About Healing for the New Year

Being an informed consumer is the best way to maximize the many health choices available.

Great books have been written this year:

The Sublime Engine: A Biography of the Human Heart
by Stephen Amidon and Thomas Amidon

Your Medical Mind: How to Decide What Is Right for You
by Jerome Groopman and
Pamela Hartzband

County: Life, Death and Politics at Chicago’s Public Hospital
by David A. Ansell

The Panic Virus: A True Story of Medicine, Science and Fear
by Seth Mnookin

Invasion of the Body: Revolutions in Surgery
by Nicholas L. Tilney

Find reviews of these five must read healing books .

New regulations, health care policy changes and an aging population makes staying on top of new developments imperative.

New Reporting Requirements to Help Reduce Hospital Acquired Infections

Hospital infections are a leading cause of death among patients in American hospitals.

A few simple changes could drastically reduce infection and death:

Keep the surgery ward absolutely sterile

Fumigate the operation theater after every surgery

Autoclave or sterilize all the equipment after every surgery

Use disposal equipment whenever possible

Recovery ward should be kept clean and hygienic

Maintain the hygiene of diabetics and low immunity patients

Keep the necessary emergency drugs at hand to combat the infection effectively and promptly

Train the hospital staff in hygiene maintenance during and after surgeries

Switching from stainless steel to copper fittings could reduce spread of infection by as much as 40% according to recent reports

To tackle this serious menace, the federal government has introduced a new reporting system that will be available to the general public for evaluation. In addition, from 2013, those hospitals that have improper records and fail to follow the norms will face a 2% loss of Medicare funding. Surgery records have to be compulsorily updated and reported till the case is closed. An estimated two million contract hospitals acquired infections and spend about $6.5 billion extra to treat such affected patients.
The hospitals will now have stringent norms to follow and it has been made compulsory that they report all the cases of nosocomial infections or hospital related infections and the number of deaths thereafter. This will give an idea as to which areas and hospitals are more prone tro these types of infections and steps can be taken to curb these. Using faulty catheters, improper sterilization of tracheostomy tubes, and other methods of intervention are the major causes of hospital related infections.

Related Posts