Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Wassup Wednesday!

What's up, you ask?  You've come to the right place.  Our search for a staff attorney continues, but I interviewed some great candidates yesterday, so I know for sure that we'll have somebody great on board pretty soon.  In the meantime, here's the news:

Do you have a Facebook page?  Do you want to be an organ donor?  Facebook has created a way to indicate whether you are an organ donor on your Facebook page.  It's really intended to raise awareness of organ donation and get people to sign up more "officially" at Motor Vehicles or an online registry.  I don't see it yet, but there will be a new section on your profile called Health and Wellness, and that's where you'll say whether you intend to donate your organs.  You will still need to register in your state, but this is a way to make people think about -- and I think it's absolutely great.

There are chronic diseases that can't be prevented -- Crohn's disease, MS, lupus -- the list is endless.  But there also are chronic diseases that can be prevented, at least some of the time -- type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, for example.  A study in California found that the state retirees health plan spent $1.6 billion on avoidable diseases in 2008, and 22.4% of current employees' health care went to preventable diseases. Are you doing all you can? I'm quite sure I'm not.

Here's the text of a speech by Dr. Otis Brawley, Chief Medical Officer of the American Cancer Society, talking about how badly the health care system is broken, and who's to blame.  I like a lot of what he says, but I'm not sure I agree that patients are partly to blame because they want to over-utilize medical care.  In my experience, most patients want only the care they need, and nothing more.  I avoid my doctors as best I can.  I do want what I need to be able to keep functioning, but I'm not looking for anything more.  However, the rest of what Dr. Brawley says is insightful.  The system is geared at making people -- providers, pharmaceuticals, insurers -- wealthy.  As long as that's the primary goal, the obstacles to getting care will remain.  We need a health care system whose goal is to achieve health, not wealth.

Should nurse anesthetists be allowed to administer anesthesia without the supervision of an anesthesiologist?  If you're in a rural area where anesthesiologists are hard to find, maybe this is the way to go.  Doctors are suing to protect their turf, but if they aren't available everywhere, why not allow this alternative -- as long as it's safe.  I suppose that's really the question, though.  Nurse anesthetists say they are trained and capable.  But should a doctor have to be nearby just in case?  I'm torn.  What do you think?

Your kid gets rushed to the hospital after suffering a traumatic injury.  You race to the ER and, when you arrive at your child's side, you are ushered outside so as not to get in the way of the doctors.  The fear is that hysterical parents can distract doctors.  However, a new study shows that there's no down-side to allowing parents to stay in the trauma room.  Indeed, I suspect filling the room with love can only help.

That's it for this morning.  Have a great day!  Jennifer

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