Malpractice cases drop, but views on why differ

From the Des Moines Register:

Iowa patients are suing their doctors for malpractice half as often as they used to, which has helped drive down malpractice-insurance premiums for many physicians.

Doctors speculate that malpractice lawsuits are becoming rarer because they have cut down on medical mistakes. But plaintiffs’ lawyers say they’re filing fewer cases because it’s become more expensive to press lawsuits.

Despite the decline in cases, the two sides continue to debate whether malpractice lawsuits help drive up health care costs.

Australian Paramedics Want Pool Cues Banned from Pubs

From JEMS:

Queensland’s ambulance officers want licensed venues to stop using pool cues and glass ashtrays to reduce the risk of being assaulted.

Last year the State Government banned glasses from some pubs and clubs to stop so-called “glassing” attacks.

Now the union representing Queensland’s ambulance officers says pool cues and glass ashtrays have become a “weapon of choice” for drunken patrons who turn on paramedics.

Maryland Woman Bitten by Cobra; Assistant Curator Responds with Anti-Venom

From JEMS:

It was a strange story from start to finish, but the Philadelphia Zoo helped steer things toward a happy ending. A woman told fire department emergency responders in Baltimore that she was getting into her car at a shopping-center parking lot Sunday night when she was bitten on the hand by a cobra, which she had picked up thinking it was a stick.

The woman, who officials didn’t identify, apparently got the snake into a bag and brought it with her to a walk-in medical center, where it was isolated in a trash can, said Baltimore Fire Department spokeswoman Elise Amacost. Fire department personnel rushed the woman from the clinic to Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Hospital thanks backers of new Emergency Department

From the Carroll, IA Daily Times Herald:

Ed. ACUTE CARE, INC. is proud to be affiliated with St. Anthony’s.

The place hadn’t officially opened, yet the boss was already trying to drum up business.

As St. Anthony Regional Hospital dedicated its expanded Emergency Department, CEO Gary Riedmann jokingly took credit for the slick subzero conditions outside.

“Considering where we’re at tonight, I wanted to make it as icy, as slick, as possible for you to appreciate our product,” he kidded Tuesday night during a reception to thank contributors to the $4 million project.

St. Anthony renovated and enlarged its ER to address an increase in patients and privacy concerns for staff, those being treated and their families.

ER visits jumped from 5,767 in 2005 to an expected 7,140 this year.

ED staff erroneously assumed to obey administrators

From the Washington Post:

Ed. Sadly, not an Onion post.

A New York City woman pretended to be a hospital administrator, called an emergency room and tried to get hospital staff to take the baby of her husband’s mistress off life support, prosecutors said Thursday.

Need to find an AED? There’s an app for that.

From Medgadget:

First Aid Corps, an organization working on helping the public respond to sudden cardiac arrests, has unveiled an iPhone app that can pinpoint the location of the closest automatic external defibrillator (AED) within seconds.

Currently the database is just beginning to fill up but First Aid Corps has partnered with The Extraordinaries, a volunteer organization, to have people locate and photograph AED’s in their community.

The app is free and you can download it and get started mapping AED’s and maybe help save someone’s life.

Medical Simulation Training

From the New York Times:

Medical simulation training, which is similar to that used in aviation and in the military, uses mannequins, computers, virtual reality or actors posing as patients to teach doctors, nurses and other clinicians. While simulation training has been used in medicine for nearly 40 years, it has until recently been limited primarily to teaching standard techniques like chest compressions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation or pelvic exams.

But over the last few years, as the technology and training techniques have advanced, experts in the field have begun to broaden the scope of training. No longer confined to isolated procedures, simulation can now recreate entire clinical situations, giving clinicians the opportunity to develop skills in what is often identified as one of the major causes of errors and quality issues in health care: poor teamwork and communication.