News Tidbits from Late 2007 and 2008
Published: Tuesday, 04 November 2008 19:27
2007-2008 News Of The Day
In a Virginia case a circuit court held that a consulting review of medical records by a doctor does not establish a doctor-patient relationship between the reviewer and another doctor's patient. In finding for the defendant doctor, the court reasoned that there was no allegation that the doctor undertook the plaintiff's care by consent. 12-06-07.
— Virginia Medical Law Report
Four organ transplant patients at three Chicago hospitals contracted HIV and the hepatitis C virus from organs from a high-risk donor. The infections were discovered in late 2007. Officials blamed the viral infections on a rare flaw in the testing procedures. The last time HIV was contracted through organ transplants was more than 20 years ago. 12-08-07.
— Chicago Tribune
A brain-damaged toddler will receive $11.5 million for his medical care and life-long expenses after an alleged botched birth. A settlement was reached in a case that claimed a doctor failed to use a vacuum extractor. 12-08-07.
Japanese and U.S. scientists announced in early December that a gene has been discovered that, when activated by cholesterol drugs (statins), causes toxicity to muscles. Muscle weakness and pain are sometimes side effects of these drugs. 12-13-07.
A new software called SimVascular takes MRI data and converts it into imagery that allows doctors to better gauge the correct heart surgery for a patient.
— Stanford University
On Aug. 1, 2007, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) proposed in the Federal Register that home medical equipment (HME) suppliers be required to purchase a surety bond in the amount of $65,000. This proposal is based on the Balanced Budget Act (BBA) of 1997.
— Elizabeth E. Hogue, Esq.
The rate of accidental poisonings from prescription drugs increased sharply from 1999 to 2004.
— Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report
Healthcare providers who receive Medicare or Medicaid money must ask admitted patients if they have a living will or other directive.
— Patient Self-Determination Act
Americans spend about $275 billion per year on prescription medicines. By 2012, about $60 billion worth of these drugs will lose their patents. Patients will have more and cheaper drug choices.
— The New York Times
Connecticut has been experimenting with GPS devices to track criminals, as opposed to keeping them incarcerated.
A new use for DNA testing: Archaeologists have found that DNA can be extracted from the saliva of North American humans who have been dead for thousands of years. The saliva is nestled in quids, blobs of plant matter from plants such as yucca, that ancient people chewed and then spit out.
Half of all traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles are not caused by the commercial vehicles.
An Ohio court has ruled the child sex offender "1,000 ft." rule to be unconstitutional.
The teen and young adult suicide rate jumped about 8 percent from 2003 to 2004 (76 percent for young girls). In 2003 the FDA issued black-box warnings about anti-depressant drugs (SSRIs) such as Zoloft, Prozac and Paxil, and SSRI prescriptions dropped 22 percent afterward. Some experts believe that lessened use of the medicines is linked to the increased suicide rate. The rate among teens lowered during the 1990s after the SSRI drugs were released in 1988. Experts are skeptical of making any causal links.
— wire services, The New York Times
The demand for lawyers has grown at about half the rate of the rest of the economy since 1988. The number of JDs conferred has risen from about 38,000 in 2001-02 to almost 44,000 in 2005-06, while legal work in some sectors (med mal, PI, securities class actions) has fallen, and the number of law schools has increased by 11 percent since 1995 to 196. The top one-fourth of law school graduates have seen starting salaries rise, while the bottom 75 percent have actually seen income drops. Adding to young attorneys' pain: tuition rates have tripled those of inflation in the last 20 years.
— Wall Street Journal, 9-24-2007
A large study found that half of all abortions in the world are unsafe. The study also showed that the abortion rate is fairly consistent worldwide, even in countries where abortions are illegal.
— Guttmacher Institute, WHO
The first kidney removal via a small incision in the navel has been completed, eliminating the usual long scars to the lower back.
— University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center
As cars are made lighter to increase fuel efficiency, the death rate in accidents rises as a result of the reduced weight.
— National Center for Policy Analysis
A new and simple Alzheimer's blood test has proven about 90 percent accurate in early testing.
— Stanford University
A jury in Massachusetts awarded $26 million to a boy who suffered brain damage in a delivery gone wrong. The case is one of the largest in the state's history.
— The New York Times
The average RN makes $56,558 per year if paid by the hour, and about $68,000 per year if on salary.
Tattoo inks are approved by the FDA for cosmetic use, but not for subcutaneous injections. The FDA does not track adverse events stemming from tattoo inks.
— Science News
Three children in Albany, N.Y., were awarded $2.5 million in late October for exposure to lead paint and dust found in two apartment buildings where they once lived. The siblings, Jasmine, Tina and Juan Vasquez, suffer from learning disabilities.
The FDA is requiring that impotence drugs like Viagra, Cialis and Levitra bear label warnings about the possible side effect of hearing loss.
— wire services
Baby crib bumper pads are too dangerous when compared with the benefit they give, according to a study from Washington University School of Medicine.
— Health Day News, The Washington Post
Johnson & Johnson must pay $1.25 million for the death of a 14-year-old who died from blood clots linked to use of the Ortho Evra® birth control patch. Thousands of lawsuits have been filed claiming that clots and strokes resulted from the patch's use.
Scientists are exploring the possibility of prodding female human eggs to spontaneously grow (parthenogenesis) as a way to create stem cells. Some species of fish, reptiles, birds, insects and plants can create viable young from eggs that have not been fertilized, but humans cannot. Such "virgin" eggs in humans will not grow into a fetus for chromosomal-defect reasons. Tricking human eggs into growing in such a manner would create clumps of cells (blastocysts) that could be used as stem cells, but because the cells cannot grow into a viable fetus, ethical concerns are skirted. President Bush's Council on Bioethics, and even the Roman Catholic Church, have not yet dismissed these eggs on ethical grounds.
— Science News
A new HPV blood test is purported to be significantly better than Pap smears in detecting cervical cancer.
— New England Journal of Medicine
A Spanish chemist has modified a common CD player to read biochemical reactions that are smeared onto the surface of what used to be CDs. The inexpensive modified CD players perform as well as $40,000 to $80,000 micro array detectors and can have as many as 300,000 samples crammed onto a single disk. Commercial uses may include homes, doctors' offices and use in outdoor settings