(Not Satire) Constipation emergencies on the rise

From Reuters:

The number of people going to U.S. emergency rooms for constipation has been going up, and so has the cost of those visits, which reached $1.6 billion in 2011, according to a new study.

“Constipation is often thought of as not a serious disease – particularly among doctors. Patients complain about it but it’s often not thought of as being medically that relevant,” said Dr. Anthony Lembo, the study’s senior author from Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.

(Satire) Uber Rolls Out New ED to ED Transit Service for Drug Seekers

More from the Gomer Blog:

Filling a niche in a market that has been underserved for years, on-demand transportation company, Uber, has rolled out a novel transit service for drug seekers designed to get them from ED to ED more efficiently. Results for the service, offered 24/7 for local inter-ED transport only, have outpaced even the wildest predictions from experts in the industry.

Uber founder and CEO, Travis Kalanik, shared with us the following official statement: “As a service to the unfortunate cohort of customer afflicted with intractable pain management needs, we have been excited to offer our exclusive transportation options to this underserved market. We are thrilled to provide a means for our customers to search for, and receive, as many potential life-saving unique medical opinions and treatment modalities as necessary per day to manage our customers’ various chronic pain afflictions.”

Do Behavioral Health Visits Correspond to the Full Moon?

From Freeman White:

We’ve always heard that behavioral health emergency department visits correspond to the full moon. Because a literature review found no significant correlation, we decided to delve into the data to see for ourselves. Our quick and dirty informal analysis revealed some surprising conclusions.

We gleaned arrival patterns for 120,000 behavioral health patients from two emergency departments. To view and manipulate the data, click here. You may select one or both facilities and the category of behavioral health patient in the center pull-down menus.  The bar charts at the top indicate monthly total behavioral health volumes.  The lower chart displays daily volumes. The black full moon icons on the lower chart indicate the full moon dates, and the brown footballs indicate game days for Facility B.

We conclude from the data that fewer behavioral health patients presented to the ED on full moon days than the monthly average volume. We found no measurable difference between the number of full moon visits on weekdays versus weekends.

University of Minnesota opens nurse practitioner clinic

From Becker’s:

Recent legislation passed in Minnesota paved the way for the April 6 launch of the University of Minnesota Health Nurse Practitioners Clinic in Minneapolis, an entirely nurse-led primary care clinic.

The law granted nurse practitioners, nurse midwives, clinical nurse specialists and nurse anesthetists practice authority to help alleviate the growing physician shortage. At the clinic, nurses will be able to provide basic primary care to Minneapolis’ growing community, and refer complex cases to specialists at the U of M. The clinic will also serve as a training site for clinical pharmacists, undergraduate nursing students and other primary care providers.

Rural Hospital Closures Increasing

From the Daily Yonder:

Money problems are causing a rash of rural hospital closures — 48 since 2010. Declining reimbursements, especially in states that chose not to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, are the primary culprit, experts say. Could we be headed for a repeat of the 1980s and ’90s, when 440 small hospitals closed before Congress took action?


NC Rural Health Research ProgramRed pins designate rural hospitals that have closed since 2010, according to the North Carolina Rural Health Research Program. Yellow pins designate hospital closures from 2005 to 2009.

National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome stands behind the research science

From the Standard Examiner:

he National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome is speaking out against a Washington Post article that reported the condition as a widely-debated diagnosis being used to wrongfully convict individuals.

In a formal statement, executive director Ryan Steinbeigle said while any wrongful conviction is a terrible injustice, an overturned conviction does not disprove the existence of Shaken Baby Syndrome and Abusive Head Trauma.

“Many who read the Washington Post piece were misled to believe that there is disagreement among the mainstream medical community about the mechanism of injury or even the existence of SBS/AHT,” Steinbeigle said.

New heart attack test could speed Emergency Department diagnosis

From UToday:

A new research study underway in the emergency department at Foothills Medical Centre shows promise for speeding up the diagnosis of patients who arrive with heart attack symptoms.

Researchers are evaluating the reliability of a new blood-screening procedure that shortens by several hours the time it takes for physicians to rule out a heart attack. If the test proves accurate, not only would it improve care for cardiac patients, it would also improve flow in congested emergency departments.

“Patients who arrive at hospital with chest pains are given priority because it is essential for doctors to quickly identify which patients need to be treated for a heart attack,” says Dr. James Andruchow, the lead investigator in the study and a specialist in emergency medicine.

ED Physician Says He Awoke to Group Stabbing Him with Knives and Syringes

From People:

Michigan police are investigating after an emergency room doctor says he awoke in his home under assault by four people who attacked him with knives and syringes.

“All I can say at this point is, we’re investigating an incident, although we’re not sure exactly what kind of incident it is,” Grosse Pointe Woods Public Safety Director Bruce Smith told The Detroit News.

Hospitals’ uncompensated care costs fell by $7.4B last year

From Becker’s:

Uncompensated care costs at U.S. hospitals fell by an estimated $7.4 billion in 2014 due to the expansion of healthcare coverage under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, according to a recent report from HHS’ Office of the Assistant Secretary for Planning and Evaluation.

ASPE estimated hospitals’ uncompensated care costs would have been $34.7 billion in 2014 if the uninsured rate had remained at its 2013 level. However, actual uncompensated care costs for 2014 were estimated to be $27.3 billion.

Fake Uber service wants to cut your ambulance wait time in half

From Mashable:

Jimmy Kimmel announced a brand new, totally fake Uber app on his show late last night.

In response to reports that the median wait time for an Uber in New York is less than half of that for an ambulance, Kimmel and his team put together a new service, appropriately called “Ubulance.”

It may sound a little sketchy, but don’t worry. Your Ubulance driver has gone through an extensive four-hour online training course to ensure you receive the best possible emergency medical care.