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Emergency Room Visits Rising Under ObamaCare: Poll

Three-quarters of emergency doctors cite increase

(Newser) - Backers of ObamaCare have said it would reduce the number of visits to emergency rooms, the Wall Street Journal notes, but in fact, a poll of ER doctors finds that number has been climbing. "Visits are going up despite the (Affordable Care Act), and in a lot of cases... More »

Doctors Not Telling Patients They Have Alzheimer's

Only 45% of Medicare patients with disease were informed of diagnosis

(Newser) - An estimated 700,000 people 65 and older in the US will die with Alzheimer's disease this year, the Alzheimer's Association notes. The sobering statistic and emotionally devastating nature of the disease make it understandable why no doctor relishes having to tell his patients that they've been... More »

17 Patients Sick After Getting 'Simulated' IV Fluids

FDA opens inquiry over saline mistake

(Newser) - One patient died and 17 others got sick after at least 40 patients were given unsterilized intravenous fluids instead of the sterile saline solution they should have received. Officials aren't sure the unsterilized solution caused the death, which was of a hospice patient, the FDA notes. The fluids that... More »

Brazil Doctor Killed Patients to Free Beds: Prosecutors

Virginia de Souza charged in 7 murders; hundreds more deaths being reviewed

(Newser) - A Brazilian intensive care unit doctor has been charged in the murders of seven patients as a means to free up hospital beds—and now, investigators say she may have been involved in up to 300 deaths. Dr. Virginia Soares de Souza has so far been charged with seven counts... More »

Doctors, Patient Groups Split Over New Mammogram Laws

Physicians fear required warnings could prompt unneeded worry

(Newser) - Doctors' groups and patient advocates are facing off over new state laws that require health professionals to warn women when mammograms reveal dense breast tissue. Density—the result of higher proportions of connective or glandular tissue—can make it more difficult to detect cancer, since both the tissue and tumors... More »

Ariz. Hospital Fires 3 for Snooping on Shooting Victims

Three employees accessed confidential medical records

(Newser) - The University Medical Center in Tucson has fired three employees for illicitly accessing confidential medical records on the victims of Saturday’s shooting. The hospital is playing host to six of the people injured in the shooting, including Gabrielle Giffords, according to the Arizona Daily Star . Administrators announced the firings... More »

Reform? We Need a Revolution

(Newser) - Diane McWhorter’s experience with a doctor caring for her elderly mother has her hoping for more than health care reform. “Socialized medicine, hell,” she writes on DoubleX. “How about a cultural revolution?” Her mom’s doctor, due for a vacation, dumped her on a “hospitalist”... More »

New Superbug Stalks Hospitals

Thousands killed by drug-resistant pathogen

(Newser) - A deadly new superbug is stalking the world's hospitals, health experts warned today. The pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii is a burgeoning threat and proving extremely difficult to control, with a third of outbreaks resistant to front-line antibiotics, according to a study in the Lancet. Of 24,000 US cases in a... More »

Night Docs Need Electronic Info System to Save Lives

Inadequate handoff details can cost lives

(Newser) - The night-float hospital system, in which one resident works the night shift so that others can sleep, was created so that patients could receive care from rested, focused doctors. But there are rarely mechanisms in place to ensure the night workers have all the patient information they need when they... More »

Son of Bermuda Leader Facing Sex, Fraud Rap

19 counts against LA doctor include raping, molesting patients

(Newser) - The son of Bermuda’s premier, a 37-year-old Los Angeles doctor, is facing 19 felony charges, the AP reports, including raping and molesting patients. Kevin Antario Brown, son of Premier Ewart Brown, is also under investigation for “multiple health care fraud schemes,” the LA Times reports. Bail was... More »

Web Health Records Raise Privacy Fears

Top docs say Internet health ventures could bring 'seismic change'

(Newser) - Medical researchers worry that Internet giants’ ventures into personal health records could turn the system on its head, threatening individual privacy, the New York Times reports. Two experts warn that companies like Microsoft and Google, whose new services put patient information on the web, aren’t subject to standard healthcare... More »

Meat Cleaver Murder Hunt Hits Roadblocks

Cops can't check patient files; top suspect has alibi

(Newser) - Yesterday police thought they had found the man who viciously stabbed a Manhattan psychologist to death. But after 9 hours of questioning, the prime suspect in the murder of Kathryn Faughey was released after his alibi checked out. Frustrated investigators turned to Faughey’s patient records, only to learn that... More »

US, UK Zero in on Illegal Prescription Drug Abuse

'These drugs are coming from inside our homes,' expert warns

(Newser) - American and British officials have launched campaigns to curb the illegal use of prescription drugs. The target of the British effort is doctors who "mis-prescribe" high doses of painkillers and sleeping pills that officials say are proving dangerously addictive, the Guardian reports. Across the Atlantic, Washington is spearheading an... More »

Antidepressant Studies Distort Drugs' Usefulness

New study says negative reports often go unpublished

(Newser) - Roughly half of the medical studies involving antidepressants that found little or no effect on patients have gone unpublished or had their findings mischaracterized as positive, a new study reveals. The emphasis on publishing only studies with glowing reviews gives patients and doctors a false sense of the effectiveness of... More »

Hospital Fined for Year's Third Botched Brain Surgery

Rhode Island state officials order new safety procedures

(Newser) - State health officials fined Rhode Island Hospital yesterday and ordered it to change procedures after a surgeon began operating on the wrong side of a woman's head, the Providence Journal reports. A patient died after a similar incident four months ago. Yesterday's incident is the third botched neurosurgical procedure this... More »

Nursing Home Owners Acquitted in Katrina Deaths

Jury finds couple innocent of negligent homicide after 35 patients drowned

(Newser) - The owners of a Louisiana nursing home were acquitted of negligent homicide and cruelty yesterday in the deaths of 35 patients who drowned in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The charges were based on the couple's failure to evacuate the home as the storm approached; the defense argued that the... More »

Electric Stimulation Revives Man in Near-Coma

Case brings hope, raises questions

(Newser) - Electric stimulation may help improve the brain function of patients in a minimally conscious state, a case study reported in Nature reveals. A 38-year-old man who was mute and barely conscious for nearly 6 years is able to name objects, perform precise movements, and eat without the aid of a... More »

Skipping Meds Can Be Deadly

Half of patients undermine health by skipping doses, quitting medication

(Newser) - Half of all patients with chronic illnesses don't take their medication as prescribed, says a new report, undermining their health and hastening their death. Patients with illnesses like heart disease and asthma often skip doses, misunderstand prescriptions or drop medication as soon as they feel better. The result is  more... More »

Hospitals Make Progress Against Infections

Cheap measures help caregivers prevent thousands of deaths

(Newser) - Infections picked up in hospitals kill nearly 100,000 people in the US every year and are on the rise, but some institutions seem to have found a remedy: simple hygiene. The Times visits the VA hospital in Pittsburgh, which has slashed the rate of virulent bacterial infections by using... More »

Docs Accused Of Hurrying Death To Harvest Organs

"They were waiting like vultures," the patient's sister said

(Newser) - A 47-year-old man was wrongly declared brain dead by two doctors apparently eager to harvest his organs, reports the LA Times. "They were waiting like vultures, so they could scoop them up," says the patient’s daughter, Melanie Sanchez. A third doctor determined that her father, who had... More »

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