FDA: Methemoglobinemia risk associated with benzocaine

From MedPage Today:

The FDA warned healthcare professionals and customers of a methemoglobinemia risk associated with the numbing agent benzocaine.

The new warning reinforces an earlier caution issued by the agency in 2006, after the Veterans Health Administration decided to stop using benzocaine sprays to numb the mouth and throat for minor surgical procedures.

Since then, the FDA has received 72 new reports of methemoglobinemia incidents — including three deaths — related to the use of the numbing agent. That brought the total number of adverse event reports to 319 and the death total to seven, an FDA statement said.

Why the Grey’s Anatomy Myth Clouds the Real Value of Emergency Care

From Time:

A few weeks ago, the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) launched a campaign to derail proposed policies to reduce the use of emergency departments (EDs). ACEP’s problem with the campaign is the logic that underpins it: policymakers think that ED use, in aggregate, is a costly problem and a major driver of unnecessary health care costs in the U.S. ACEP claims that rather than delivering unnecessary care, EDs treat many patients who have no alternative when they need comprehensive medical care in a timely manner; that is, EDs deliver altogether necessary care.