HOUSTON, TX—Wouldn’t you know it? Just as Mike Sanner got to the head of the lengthy emergency room queue, a guy with a power auger sticking out of his chest was wheeled in.

From The Onion

Ed. Sorry. That’s it. Just the headline. I thought it was funny.

Paramedics are probably right when they suspect strokes

From News-Medical:

If a paramedic suspects a patient is having a stroke, the paramedic is probably right, a Loyola University Medical Center study has found.

Researchers examined the records of 5,300 patients who were brought to Loyola’s emergency room by emergency medical services (EMS). Paramedics were able to identify stroke patients with a 99.3 percent specificity. (In diagnosing disease, a high specificity rate indicates there’s a high probability the patient actually has the disease.)

“If a paramedic thinks a patient is having a stroke, that should be a reliable indicator that the hospital’s stroke team should be activated,” said Dr. Michael Schneck, a co-author of the study, which will be presented at the 64th annual meeting of the American Academy of Neurology in New Orleans.

Wyoming hospital CEO indicted on fraud charges

From the Powell Tribune:

Former CEO Paul D. Cardwell and Michael J. Plake of West Lafayette, Ind., have been indicted by a federal grand jury in Wyoming’s U.S. District Court on 15 criminal counts — 12 of mail fraud, one of wire fraud, one of conspiracy to commit money laundering and one of conspiracy to commit mail and wire fraud, say documents obtained by the Tribune.

According to the indictment the Tribune received Wednesday, the counts are based on allegations that Cardwell conspired with Plake to defraud Powell Valley Healthcare out of nearly $848,000 between March and September 2011 — the time Cardwell was CEO.

The grand jury’s indictment alleges that Cardwell and Plake came up with a “fraudulent billing scheme” in which Cardwell would send money to Plake’s company, Plake and Associates, for the purported purpose of recruiting physicians and other staff to Powell. In reality, the indictment alleges, Plake was doing no work. Instead, he would send roughly 75 percent of the money back to Cardwell while keeping 25 percent for himself, says the indictment.

7 in 10 Ambulances Positive for Staph Isolates

From Health Leaders Media (Hat Tip: Steve Flugrad):

Drug-resistant strains of infectious bacteria are hitching a ride into hospitals through an under-appreciated path—the ambulance—according to a sample of 71 Chicago-area emergency response vehicles.

Hospitals investigate parody video made by ER staff

From The Spec:

Kitchener’s two hospitals are investigating a video made by local emergency department staff that parodies patients and was filmed in Grand River Hospital without permission.

The video was made for the annual Tri-City Emergency Medicine Conference, an independent event run by staff at Grand River, St. Mary’s General Hospital, Cambridge Memorial Hospital and Guelph General Hospital for people in the field of emergency medicine. This year’s event was held in Waterloo on Wednesday, although the video causing concern was created for a previous conference.

Health Care 911: A chronicle of frequent ER use

From the Center for Health Reporting:

I am waiting for the metal jailhouse door to open. The woman whose profile will be the last chapter in a five-part series on frequent users of the emergency room is about to emerge from behind it.

Her name is Joan Kloh.  And she has generously allowed us to make her the embodiment of a government/nonprofit effort to reduce taxpayer costs generated by frequent use. Almost as an aside, I wrote in the story, the effort will try to extract her from a life of substance abuse and homeless.