“Why People Visit The Emergency Room” (Data Visualization)

From Flowing Data (via Boing Boing):

You can see this in injury data collected by the Consumer Product Safety Commission. They sample US hospitals and cull product-related injuries each year, which, from the CPSC documentation, includes the following:

  • All poisonings and chemical burns to children under 5 years of age.
  • All injuries where a consumer product, sport, or recreational activity is associated with the reason for the visit or related to a condition treated.
  • Illnesses only if a consumer product or activity is associated with the onset of the illness.

So this data doesn’t include stuff like chronic conditions. That said, the 2014 sample includes about 367,000 records that represent 13.8 million visits. For each record, a main product is specified.

This chart shows the top 250 products, month-by-month.

University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics alerts 1,500 patients to bacterial infection risk

From Becker’s:

The University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics has sent infection risk letters to roughly 1,500 patients after one patient was diagnosed with a potentially deadly bacterial infection linked to a surgical heating-cooling machine used at the hospital.

Theresa Brennan, MD, UIHC cardiologist and CMO, told The Gazette the hospital was informed of the patient’s diagnosis Jan. 19, and connected the infection to the heating-cooling device the following day. By Jan. 23, the hospital replaced their four old devices with new equipment and increased maintenance and disinfecting procedures. Given these measures, UI officials said they are confident “the risk of this bacterial exposure has been eliminated,” according to the report.

Opioid abuse epidemic catching attention of Missouri politicians, law enforcement

From the News-Leader:

Getting on top of Missouri’s abuse of prescription painkillers is made more difficult because Missouri is the only state in the union that does not have a prescription drug monitoring program. Such a program would prevent a person from taking a doctor’s prescription for painkillers to more than one pharmacist.

A bill introduced Jan. 20 in the Missouri House of Representatives by Rep. Holly Rehder, R-Sikeston, would correct that by creating a monitoring program, but it could encounter the same headwinds that previous efforts have faced.

Telemedicine Reliable for Diagnosing Seriously Ill Kids

From Medscape:

Clinicians who used telemedicine connections to diagnose seriously ill children with fevers and respiratory distress did almost as well as clinicians who were able to make their observations at the bedside, according to a prospective observational study published online February 5 in Pediatrics.

“[W]e found excellent agreement between bedside and telemedicine observers, suggesting that the [Yale Observation Scale] YOS can be applied reliably by using telemedicine. The YOS predicted serious underlying illness,” Lawrence Siew, MD, from the Department of Pediatrics, Section of Pediatric Emergency Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, Connecticut, and colleagues write.

“We found the highest degree of agreement between bedside and telemedicine observers with the clinical impression of respiratory distress. The prevalence of a score of ‘present’ for respiratory distress was high, noted in 56% in our study subjects. Such strong agreement by observers that a subject was in respiratory distress suggests that clinical impressions or ‘gestalt’ is not lost with telemedicine,” they add.

Hospital CEO and his brother, an Emergency Physician, arrested for prescription drug fraud

From Becker’s:

Michael Gowder, DDS, CEO of 45-bed Union General Hospital in Blairsville, Ga., was one of six arrested by federal agents Thursday as part of a multi-state prescription drug sting.

Dr. Gowder was charged with two counts of fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance and one count of conspiracy to distribute, according to WSB-2 Atlanta.

The ring involved four of Dr. Gowder’s family members, including his wife, brother, sister and niece. His brother, George, is a former board member and emergency room physician at Union General. Each of these individuals face counts for unauthorized distribution of a controlled substance, fraudulently obtaining a controlled substance or conspiracy to distribute.

This is a very happy pair of Emergency Physicians

It was a good day, apparently…




Could Hospital ERs Provide Missing Data On Police Shootings?

From NPR:

As American College of Emergency Physicians board member James Augustine sees it, muddling a hospital’s mission is bad for patients. “The hospital is not a good place for legal and law enforcement activities to infringe on people’s rights for health care,” says the veteran emergency medicine doctor. “In the emergency setting, this is not a priority.”

But he doesn’t dismiss the idea outright. The health care system plays a vital role in amassing data, he says. In fact, many trauma centers already collect reams of information and submit it to the National Trauma Data Bank. Stripped of names, it’s used to track everything from auto accidents to clothing-related burns. It might be feasible to add information about violent police encounters to those data collection efforts, Augustine says.


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