Doctors say ERs not ready for a disaster

From the Mercury News:

In September, emergency physicians from across the country gathered in Washington to rally for additional government support. More than 3,000 physicians attended and spoke in favor of a measure that would increase Medicare payments to emergency doctors and hospitals by 10 percent.

But the bill so far has only two sponsors. Emergency physicians say they are amazed that the Bush administration is willing to spend billions to stockpile Tamiflu for a possible super-flu outbreak – even though it’s not clear the medicine would be effective – while showing disinterest in aiding emergency hospitals that would have to handle flu cases.

Emergency departments are the perfect cauldrons for a dangerous strain of flu to spread through large numbers of immune-compromised people, said Kellermann, the Grady physician. Emergency centers should be expanded to have respiratory isolation areas and other services, he argued.

“We’re worried about a flu pandemic and we’re parking patients cheek to cheek,” he said. “That’s just mind-bogglingly stupid.”

Millions of adolescents on road to diabetes

From the Chicago Sun Times

Nearly 2 million U.S. children ages 12 to 19 have a pre-diabetic condition linked to obesity and inactivity that puts them at risk for full-blown diabetes and cardiovascular problems, government data suggest.

Researchers from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the National Institutes of Health examined the prevalence of abnormally high blood sugar levels after several hours without eating, a condition called impaired fasting glucose, or IFG, that is measured in a blood test.

One in 14 boys and girls in a nationally representative sample had the condition. Among the overweight adolescents, it was one in six.