EPI Life Cellphone Can Record Your ECG, Provide VIP Emergency Service

From Medgadget:

CNET Asia reports that Ephone International’s EPI Life is the first cellphone with integrated ECG functionality. Unlike other portable ECG devices, the EPI life does not send data back to your doctor directly, but rather to Ephone’s servers, which are monitored around the clock by a team of cardiologists. Should the doctors notice any abnormalities in the ECG, they can have emergency services sent to your location or get you priority admission into partner hospitals.

ER doctors learn the nature of guns at police weapons demonstration

Ed. Huh?

From Mlive.com:

Dr. Dilnaz Panjwani had never fired a weapon, but in her career she will treat the damage done by bullets to human flesh.

The 27-year-old Canadian is entering her third-year residency in the Synergy Medical Education Alliance and will be chief resident. She was one of 27 resident physicians who attended a trauma demonstration by the Saginaw Police Department on Thursday at the Saginaw Field and Stream Conservation Club in Thomas Township.

“We’ve always felt that the residents get to see the terminal end of gunshot wounds, but many of them are not people that shoot guns or are even around them,” said Dr. George Moylan, an attending physician at St. Mary’s of Michigan hospital and an instructor for the emergency medicine program. “We wanted them to see why we do the things we do in the ER because of the kind of damage that’s done.”

Fact Check: “Emergency Medical Conditions and Women in Labor Act”?

From the Post-Bulletin:

An emergency room nurse at Lake City Medical Center-Mayo Health System failed to assess the condition of a severely disabled student who was brought to the emergency room and sent the child home with a hand-written note saying the child didn’t need attention, according to an investigative report from the Minnesota Department of Health.

The child, however, had open lesions on his vertebrae, was losing weight and was excessively weak, a school nurse found a few days before, according to the report. The day after the visit to Lake City, the boy was taken to another hospital and was “admitted several days due to severe malnutrition, starvation, bedsores and uncontrolled seizures,” the department reported.

Because of the failure to screen the boy’s condition and record the visit, a department investigator recommended the Lake City hospital should be found out of compliance with federal Emergency Medical Conditions and Women in Labor Act.

Routine Oxygen Harmful for AMI patients?

From Cochrane Reviews:

Most guidelines for the treatment of people who are having a heart attack recommend that the patient should be given oxygen to breathe. We looked for the evidence to support this practice by searching for randomised controlled trials that compared the outcomes in patients given oxygen to the outcomes for patients given normal air to breathe. We were primarily interested in seeing whether there was a difference in the number of people who died but we also looked at whether administering oxygen reduced pain.

We found three randomised controlled trials that compared one group given oxygen to another group given air. These trials involved a total of 387 patients of whom 14 died. Of those who died, nearly three times as many people known to have been given oxygen died compared to those known to have been given air. However, because the trials had few participants and few deaths this result does not necessarily mean that giving oxygen increases the risk of death. The difference in numbers may have occurred simply by chance. Nonetheless, since the evidence suggests that oxygen may in fact be harmful, we think it is important to evaluate this widely used treatment in a large trial, as soon as possible, to make sure that current practice is not causing harm to people who have had a heart attack.

Painkiller Abuse Soars, Matches Illegal Drug Abuse

From MedPage Today:

The number of emergency room visits for nonmedical use of prescription painkillers more than doubled between 2004 and 2008, according to a CDC estimate.

The increase was part of a trend that saw emergency room visits for nonmedical use of all prescription and over-the-counter medications reach the same level as those for abuse of illicit drugs, the agency said in the June 18 issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

One implication of the findings, the agency said, is that “stronger measures to reduce the diversion of prescription drugs to nonmedical purposes are warranted.”

ER Visits Soaring for Prescription Painkiller Misuse

From MSN:

Recent years have seen a steep rise in U.S. emergency department visits by people abusing prescription pain drugs such as OxyContin, Vicodin and Dilaudid, a new report finds.

In fact, between 2004 and 2008 the abuse of opioid medications like these increased more than 111 percent overall, and a whopping 29 percent during 2007-2008 alone, the researchers say.

“What we are seeing is a startling increase in the number of emergency room visits for non-medical use of narcotic pain relievers,” said Peter Delany, director of the Office of Applied Studies at the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), which along with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) collected the data for the report.

“This is a significant public health concern,” he said. “So much of a concern that this is one of the center points of the Office of National Drug Control Policy’s strategies to look at prevention and treatment.”

The study used data from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network (DAWN) emergency department system, which examined emergency department visits for non-medical use of prescription drugs.

Pain drugs abuse requires urgent action: CDC

From Reuters:

Emergency department visits involving the nonmedical use of pain drugs such as oxycodone rose to 305,885 in 2008, from 144,644 in 2004, according to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“We urgently need to take action,” CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in a statement, noting that trips to the emergency department for nonmedical use of prescription pain drugs are now as common as those for use of illicit drugs.

“These prescriptions medicines help many people, but we need to be sure they are used properly and safely.”

SAMHSA Administrator Pamela Hyde said the increase in emergency department visits is straining the health care system.