Hospital Charges Surge for Common Ailments, Data Shows

From the New York Times:

Charges for some of the most common inpatient procedures surged at hospitals across the country in 2012 from a year earlier, some at more than four times the national rate of inflation, according to data released by Medicare officials. While it has long been known that hospitals bill Medicare widely varying amounts — sometimes many multiples of what Medicare typically reimburses — for the same procedure, an analysis of the data by The New York Times shows how much the price of some procedures rose in just one year’s time.

Check out the Times’ study here.

Injection-Induced Axillary Nerve Injury After a Drive-Through Flu Shot

From Consultant360:

Millions of Americans receive influenza vaccines every year in part due to expanded community access. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), vaccination coverage tends to increase with increasing age, as older adults are considered one of the high-risk groups for flu-related hospitalization and death. During the 2011-2012 influenza season, the CDC estimated that approximately 65% of older adults aged 65 years and older in the United States received an influenza vaccine. Vaccination is most commonly given via intramuscular (IM) injection, with side effects of headache, muscle ache, and tiredness commonly reported. The IM injection process is considered safe, and case reports of shoulder injuries following IM injection in the United States are rare. There are reports of occasional unexpected neuromuscular complications to the axillary, radial, and sciatic nerves documented in India, Nigeria, and Korea. In these settings, adverse consequences after IM injections may be in part due to less rigorous training of personnel, but the greatest hazard is the pervasiveness of IM injections.

In communities across the United States, the convenience and low cost of vaccination offered through health drives, community centers, health departments, drive-through flu shot clinics, and retail pharmacies have resulted in a higher vaccination rate. More vaccinations are likely to result in more complications. Thus, healthcare providers should be cognizant of potential complications of vaccination.

In this article, we present a case of an older man who reported pain for approximately 8 weeks after receiving an IM influenza injection at a drive-through flu clinic. The cause of his pain was diagnosed as injection-induced traumatic axillary nerve injury. Following the case report, we review the diagnosis and treatment of this injury. For physicians, pharmacists, and nursing professionals who administer the flu vaccine in various care settings, we review administration techniques that should be used to minimize the risk of this type of injury.

Read the case study here.

Lifetime cancer risks from X-rays for children ‘relatively low’

From MNT:

Overall, the team found that the cumulative dose of ionizing radiation for the average child in the study was lower than the annual background exposure in the US.

Though this finding can certainly put many parents’ minds at ease, the team did find that some children with complex heart disease who are exposed to large cumulative doses of radiation have increased lifetime risks ofcancer – up to 6.5% above baseline.

Hit by a car, an emergency doctor experiences firsthand the shortcomings in ER care

From the Washington Post:

Having spent many years as an emergency physician, I knew that you’re not supposed to move a patient, but instead splint her where she lies so as not to injure her back or neck. In those fleeting moments, I debated whether to stay where I was and risk being run over or allow myself to be moved and risk further injury. I tried to mentally assess the damage to my neck and back and asked the two men to get me off the street.

They carried me through the pouring rain into a nearby restaurant, where I waited for the ambulance. When the emergency medical technicians arrived, they placed a C-collar around my neck and positioned me on a backboard for the short ride to the hospital.