NEWS ABOUT: hospitals

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Hospital-Stay Infections, Still Bad? Try 650K a Year

Infection rate is down, but 200 Americans still die daily

(Newser) - About 4% of US hospital patients acquire an infection while hospitalized, which added up to 648,000 people in 2011—75,000 of whom died, the Washington Post reports. The most common infections, according to a CDC survey : pneumonia (22%), surgical site injections (22%), and gastrointestinal infections (17%). Hospitals have... More »

Report: Aborted Babies Used to Heat UK Hospitals

British TV show reveals practice in two major hospitals

(Newser) - British hospitals have incinerated more than 15,500 aborted and miscarried fetal remains over the years, at times to generate power for heat in "waste-to-energy" plants, the Telegraph reports. A UK television show revealed the practice tonight, but health officials beat them to the punch by banning the practice... More »

Doctor Breaks Neck, Sees Reality of Hospital Care

A Harvard physician undergoes treatment for nightmare injury

(Newser) - Arnold Relman was in pretty good shape for a 90-year-old—until the day he fell down the stairs and fractured three vertebrae in his neck, he writes in the New York Review of Books . He was rushed to Massachusetts General, where a crack medical team saved his life by performing... More »

Suits: How a Hospital Chain Schemed to Boost Profits

'NYT' looks at lawsuits against Health Management Associates

(Newser) - The New York Times today takes a look at whistle-blower lawsuits claiming for-profit hospital chain Health Management Associates employed a strategy to up admission—whether or not patients needed care—in order to boost Medicare and Medicaid payments. The paper shares one tactic, in which ER scorecards were posted daily,... More »

Why Hospitals Can Charge $500 Per Stitch

'NYT' takes an extensive look at hospital billing

(Newser) - Hospital billing is notoriously complicated—and treatment at a US hospital is notoriously expensive. The New York Times highlights those issues in an extensive piece today, and uses stitches and similar treatments as an example of both points: One patient at a California hospital was billed $2,229.11 to... More »

'Definition of Evil': Lab Tech Guilty of Infecting Patients

David Kwiatkowski gets 39 years for infecting people with hepatitis C

(Newser) - A hospital lab technician in New Hampshire was sentenced today to 39 years in prison for using syringes that later infected at least 46 people with hepatitis C, ABC News reports. David Kwiatkowski, 34, admitted that he stole syringes intended for patients, injecting their anesthetic fentanyl into his arm and... More »

US Most Expensive Place to Give Birth in the World

Average delivery is $9,775

(Newser) - The average hospital baby delivery in the US costs $9,775—$15,041 if it's a Caesarean—more than any first-world country in the world, the New York Times reports. It's $3,541 in France, and $2,641 in Britain. And the price hike is not because US... More »

Icky Hospital Problem: Getting Staff to Wash Hands

Many are trying high-tech monitoring, or even prizes as incentives

(Newser) - And the award for Heebie-Jeebiest Story of the Day goes to this gem from the New York Times , headlined: "Hospitals Struggle to Get Workers to Wash Their Hands." Turns out that, left to their own devices, hospital workers don't wash their hands all that often while interacting... More »

When Hospitals Botch Things, They Profit: Study

Preventable mistakes in surgery earn $30K more

(Newser) - Hospitals are literally profiting from their own mistakes. A new study of 12 hospitals found they made an average of $30,500 more when a patient had preventable surgical complications, because insurers pay for the longer stays and extra care that ensue, the New York Times reports. The researchers emphasize... More »

How Hospital Bills Are Killing the US

Trumped-up bills 'drive the federal deficit': Steven Brill of Time

(Newser) - Getting Hodgkin's lymphoma was bad enough. Then Ohio resident Sean Recchi received his hospital bill: $83,900. You can blame his limited health insurance, but Steven Brill at Time looked behind the numbers to see why MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston charged so much. What Brill found: shocking... More »

Newborns Addicted to Pain Pills Up 300%

Hospitals trying to invent treatment programs

(Newser) - Heartbreaking medical news: Cases of babies born addicted to pain pills are up more than 300% over the past decade, forcing doctors and nurses to invent treatments on the fly, the Wall Street Journal reports. Crying non-stop, vomiting, jerking their limbs, these newborns are the result of America's addiction... More »

Hospitals Plagued by Unbeatable 'Superbugs'

'USA Today' finds thousands of cases in recent years

(Newser) - US hospitals are quietly fighting an incredibly high stakes war that they look unlikely to win against "superbugs" that resist even the most potent antibiotics available, a USA Today investigation has concluded. The paper has compiled evidence showing that hospitals across the country have seen thousands of infections from... More »

MRI Machines Go Super-Size for Chubbier US

Accommodating obesity 'a design requirement'

(Newser) - As the US gets heavier, makers of MRI machines and other medical scanners are rushing to cope—by literally enlarging their equipment. But for some Americans, the process isn't going fast enough. The Wall Street Journal recounts the story of a 630-pound Maryland mechanic who's been out of... More »

'Superbug' Killed 6 at NIH Hospital Last Year

Maryland breakout highlights dangers of antibiotic-resistant bacteria

(Newser) - A "superbug"—deadly, antibiotic-resistant bacterium—rampaged through a Maryland hospital last year, killing six patients. The revelation was not made public until today, notes the Washington Post . It all began in June 2011, when a patient harboring the superbug known as Klebsiella pneumoniae checked into the National Institutes... More »

Hospitals Should Be More Like ... Cheesecake Factory

Atul Gawande argues for standardized health care

(Newser) - Medicine is plagued with inconsistency—different doctors have different preferred procedures; outcomes and costs are not predictable—and in an extensive New Yorker piece, Atul Gawande offers up a proposed solution: "Create Cheesecake Factories for health care." The doctor and author is serious—so serious that he spent... More »

For-Profit Hospital Chain Found Shady Procedures

HCA hospitals uncovered iffy cardiac work in Florida

(Newser) - Doctors performed needless and dangerous cardiac treatments for years at America's biggest for-profit hospital chain in an apparent attempt to bring in more money, the New York Times reports. Prodded by a nurse in 2010, hospital giant HCA uncovered cardiologists who couldn't justify their procedures at Florida hospitals... More »

Hospitals Worried as ObamaCare Cuts Funding

Immigrants not covered under Affordable Care Act

(Newser) - Hospitals that service poor communities are sweating over a looming cut in the funds they use to care for the uninsured—particularly illegal immigrants. The government currently spends $20 billion annually to reimburse hospitals for covering the uninsured or poorly insured, who can't be turned away from emergency rooms.... More »

Debt Collectors Go After Patients ... in the ER

'Patients are harassed mercilessly,' one hospital employee says

(Newser) - One of the country's biggest medical debt collectors has reached a new low: sending employees into hospital emergency rooms to "encourage" patients to pay past medical debts before receiving treatment. The Minnesota attorney general is investigating Accretive Health's practices; its debt collectors are allegedly instructed to all... More »

Hospitals Open Special ERs for Elderly

Special emergency rooms move slower, account for complexities

(Newser) - America is getting older, and the elderly account for 15% to 20% of emergency room visits, so hospitals have come up with a new way to cater to them: the geriatric ER. Dozens of these facilities are opening across the country, the New York Times reports, looking more like soothing... More »

More People Going to ER for ... Toothaches

Possibly because states are cutting Medicaid benefits: NPR

(Newser) - More and more people are showing up to the emergency room to deal with teeth problems. According to a new report, more than 800,000 people in 2009 alone bolted straight to the ER with dental troubles such as toothaches that could have been avoided with proper care. Part of... More »

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