CPR saved life; shows need for more

From Cincinnati.com:

Anthony Neal doesn’t remember anything that happened Nov. 23, or even the day before that.

But thanks to two teen lifeguards who performed CPR on him, the 66-year-old Liberty Township man lived to hear the tale of how he almost died from a heart attack that day.

“No one’s really made a big deal out of it, but I truly in my mind see those kids as heroes,” he said.

Cincinnati needs more heroes, says a local emergency room doctor.

Increasing CPR training and improving other emergency cardiac care measures could save thousands of lives every year in the U.S.

Changes in emergency rooms cater to older people

From the St. Louis Post-Dispatch:

Muted lighting, warm blankets, supportive mattresses and a quieter environment are all part of an effort to meet the urgent needs of older patients at Des Peres Hospital, which opened geriatric emergency rooms this month.

“85-year-old adults will typically access emergency departments twice a year,” said Deborah Wilke, a registered nurse and director of Des Peres’ emergency department.

It’s common for hospitals to specialize their care based on changing demographics, much like emergency rooms were transformed years ago to meet the needs of pediatric patients.

Ten years ago, people older than 65 made up 13 percent of the U.S. population. By
2030, that proportion is expected to reach 20 percent.

How to tell a family that their loved one has died

A guest post on Kevin MD:

Compassion and sympathy mean to share feelings with another. In this case, to share suffering with another. We don’t want to suffer and we do not want them to suffer. We’re sorry for your loss is only a way of deflecting a suffering we hope never to know. The death of someone we love may not be the worst experience of our lives, but the unexpected death of someone young has little competition for the worst experience

CMS makes adjustments to reflect pay-cut delay

From Modern Healthcare:

The CMS announced that it would be making adjustments to Medicare’s physician fee schedule to reflect the temporary stay on physician payment cuts through February 2010.

President Barack Obama recently signed a spending bill that prevented a scheduled 21.2% cut to physician payments from taking effect on Jan. 1, 2010. Instead, the measure provides for a 0% update to the 2010 Medicare physician fee schedule for a two-month period, beginning Jan. 1 through Feb. 28. The measure was signed to give Congress extra time to come up with a permanent solution to Medicare’s sustainable growth rate, or SGR, formula, which has been threatening cuts to physician pay since 2003.

Ice Rescue: Here’s the Bill?

From JEMS:

Ohio authorities are making changes following last winter’s stranding of 130 fishermen on an ice floe off the Magee Marsh shoreline. The rescue operation cost the Coast Guard more than $245,000 on Feb. 7, after a huge chunk of ice broke away in the lake. More than 20 different agencies were dispatched to help, including Canadian and American rescue teams. Agencies dealt with about $20,000 in costs. Ottawa County Sheriff Bob Bratton says rescues from lake ice will now be coordinated by fire departments, and they will decide whether any fishermen will face civil penalties effectively billing them for the local services. The sheriff’s department will determine whether any criminal charges are in order. Sheriff Bratton said he wants fishermen to be accountable if they choose to go out on the ice, especially in bad conditions. If they do, a lot of lives will be at risk, both fishermen and emergency teams. A Coast Guard spokeswoman says it does not seek to recover costs related to rescues.

Man fires flare gun in Md. hospital emergency room

From WTOP:

CHEVERLY, Md. (AP) – Prince George’s County police say a Capitol Heights man fired a flare gun in the emergency room at Prince George’s Hospital Center.

Police say the man and his wife apparently went to the hospital Sunday evening and began arguing with staff members.

Police spokesman Officer Henry Tippett says the man pulled out a flare gun and shot it “up in the air toward the ceiling.” Tippett says no one was hurt and the man fled.

Tippett says the man’s wife told officers that he had a history of mental instability.

Some hospitals post wait times for ER patients

From Press of Atlantic City:

In part to ease the minds of those seeking emergency care a growing number of suburban emergency rooms around the country are advertising wait times.

Some post the times on their Web sites. Others tweet, send text messages or display the times on huge highway billboards. A few are testing a service by a start-up company that allows patients to register online, pay a small fee and hold their place in line while they wait at home.

Getting info to the people: “Emergency rooms are so taxed in this day and age for a lot of reasons – access to health care providers, available beds, nursing shortages and ever-increasing populations,” said Jean-nette Skinner, chief operations officer at Methodist Stone Oak Hospital in San Antonio, where the hospital posts and tweets its emergency-room wait times. “For us, the main driver was to give the community some control. … We want people to be able to see this and make their own decisions.”

Louisiana Doctors Drafting Guidelines on Access to Critical Care During a Disaster

From the ProPublica:

Louisiana health professionals are developing guidelines that specify which patients would get access to lifesaving treatments – and which wouldn’t – during a severe pandemic, bioterrorist attack or natural disaster that overwhelms the medical system.

Around two dozen hospital leaders, health professionals and ethicists in Baton Rouge began crafting the guidelines last summer after the emergence of the H1N1 flu, also known as the swine flu. In November, the state’s Department of Health and Hospitals sent an early draft to representatives in Louisiana’s nine public health regions asking them to reach out to hospitals and the medical community for feedback.

The draft identifies several categories of patients – including those with incurable metastatic cancer with less than six months life expectancy and those with a very low predicted survival from extensive burns – who would not be admitted to hospitals when beds and ventilators are no longer available. Instead, the draft guidelines call for patients in these categories to be offered care for pain and discomfort at home or in other facilities.

Insurer settles ER disputes

From The Morning Call:

Her insurance company, HealthAmerica of Harrisburg, refused to cover the emergency room visit, something it’s done enough to trigger an investigation by state insurance and consumer protection authorities.

”You pay all this money for insurance, and then they don’t cover this,” said Sheridan, of Palmer Township.

She and her husband, Rick, were told the emergency room visit wasn’t ”medically necessary.” It wasn’t an emergency, HealthAmerica said, because the pain had started three days sooner.

”In this case, it is not cost-efficient or appropriate to receive non-emergency services in an emergency facility,” appeal coordinator Cindy Gorczyca wrote in March when denying their appeal for the August 2008 hospital visit.

Hundreds of other consumers have run into the same problem with HealthAmerica rejecting emergency room claims, prompting the state investigation.

A settlement was reached earlier this month, under which HealthAmerica will pay previously denied emergency room claims of 631 Pennsylvania residents, totaling about $446,000.

Emergency department doctors despair over pub injuries

From the Courier Mail:

‘TIS the season to be jolly, but not for frontline hospital workers.

The holiday period is traditionally a frantic time for hospital emergency departments as they fill with victims of road crashes, fights and acts of stupidity – often fuelled by alcohol or drugs.

Dedicated emergency room doctors and nurses admit the senseless carnage can leave them angry.

Princess Alexandra Hospital trauma surgeon Martin Wullschleger said a man died recently after being pushed through a glass door in Brisbane, an incident involving alcohol.

“I do get angry, especially with intoxicated people just doing very silly things,” Dr Wullschleger said. “Also, then people come in who . . . have done everything right but they got hit, got smashed.

“The impact can be huge if you smash somebody with a glass. People have to take responsibility for their own lives and for others.

“Society is just getting worse somehow. Boys and girls don’t know how to deal with their lives. It’s very sad.”