“William Howard Taft, the Only Massively Obese Man (at 350 Pounds) Ever to Be President … Struggled Mightily to Control His Weight a Century Ago…”

The New York Times article noted: “On the advice of his doctor, a famed weight-loss guru and author of popular diet books, he went on a low-fat, low-calorie diet. He avoided snacks. He kept a careful diary of what he ate and weighed himself daily. He hired a personal trainer and rode a horse for exercise.”

“Obesity experts said Taft’s experience highlights how very difficult it is for many fat people to lose substantial amounts of weight and keep it off, and how little progress has been made in finding a combination of foods that lead to permanent weight loss.”

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“We Called It a Hotel near a Major Teaching Hospital”

“Though the views were spectacular, the cardiac arrest team could not get there as quickly as it could to the regular wards.”

The New York Times article asked the questions “What is going on here? Is This a Hospital or a Hotel?”

“The Henry Ford health system in Michigan caused a stir after it hired a hotel industry executive, Gerard van Grinsven of the Ritz-Carlton Group, in 2006 to run its new hospital, Henry Ford West Bloomfield. There are some medical arguments for the trend — private rooms, for example, could lower infection rates and allow patients more rest as they heal. But the main reason for the largess is marketing.”

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“The Health Care System … Is a National Treasure and Deserves to Be … Protected.”

The New York Times article reported that quote from former Vice President Dick Cheney.

“Former Vice President Dick Cheney was so close to death in 2010 that he said farewell to his family members and instructed them to have his body cremated and the ashes returned to Wyoming, he writes in a new book on his long battle with heart disease.”

“Mr. Cheney ultimately survived the emergency surgery that night and went on to have a heart transplant at age 71 that has left him re-energized five years after leaving office. But for the first time, he describes a 35-year medical struggle that he kept generally private in vivid personal detail.”

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“Many Medical Ethicists Frown on the Practice of Doctors Accepting Money from Drugmakers – Arguing They Can Develop a Bias toward One Company’s Drug and Fail to Recommend the Best Possible Medications for Patients.”

The Newsday investigation: “Three Long Island doctors selected to lead a committee that recommends the drugs two Suffolk hospitals stock for patients accepted tens of thousands of dollars from pharmaceutical companies while serving on the advisory panel.”

“The doctors — affiliated with John T. Mather Memorial and St. Charles hospitals in Port Jefferson — accepted about $125,000 from drugmakers between 2009 and 2013, company records show.” They… ” received most of the payments for speeches promoting the companies’ drugs…”

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Every “Free” Sample (a Doctor Accepts) Comes with a Price.

Do drug company reps influence doctor prescribing practices?

A NPR article noted “Dermatologists who accept free tubes and bottles of brand-name drugs are likelier to prescribe expensive medications for acne than doctors who are prohibited from taking samples, a study reports…”

“The difference isn’t chump change. When patients see a dermatologist who gets and gives free samples, the average cost of medicines prescribed is $465 per office visit. That cost drops to about $200 when patients see a doctor who can’t hand out freebies, a team at Stanford University found.”

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“Medical Errors Are a Quiet and Largely Unseen Tragedy.”

“Every year between 210,000 and 440,000 Americans die as a result of medical errors and other preventable harm at hospitals, according to researchers.”

These numbers are equivalent to a jumbo jet crashing every day with no survivors. Based on these figures, medical errors could be considered the third-leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease (more than 590,000 a year) and cancer (more than 570,000 a year).

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“Doctors Overlook Lucrative Procedures When Naming Unwise Treatments”

It is always a good idea to talk to your primary care practitioner, the clinician who knows you best, about procedures suggested consulting physicians.

A Kaiser Health News article noted: “The medical profession has historically been reluctant to condemn unwarranted but often lucrative tests and treatments that can rack up costs to patients but not improve their health and can sometimes hurt them. But in 2012, medical specialty societies began publishing lists of at least five services that both doctors and patients should consider skeptically. So far, 54 specialty societies have each offered recommendations and distributed them to more than a half-million doctors.”

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“More than 5% … of U.S. Adults, Could Be Misdiagnosed during an Outpatient Visit …, and about One-Half of These Errors Had the Potential to Lead to Worse Outcomes for the Patients.”

A Modern Healthcare article reported on a studies which defined misdiagnoses as “missed opportunities to make a timely or correct diagnosis based on the available evidence.”

“One of the studies used in the analysis, published in March 2013 in JAMA Internal Medicine, identified nearly 70 different conditions for which misdiagnoses occurred in the primary-care setting, like pneumonia, renal failure and urinary tract infections. The other two focused specifically on cancer, including a retrospective study published in BMJ that used electronic health-record data to detect potential delays in prostate and colon cancer diagnoses; and a 2010 study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology, which evaluated whether EHRs could be good predictors of misdiagnoses in lung cancer.”

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“Recommending That Doctors Weigh the Costs, Not Just the Effectiveness of Treatments.”

Have you ever discussed the cost of treatment options with your doctor? Probably not!

The New York Times article noted “The shift, little noticed outside the medical establishment but already controversial inside it, suggests that doctors are starting to redefine their roles, from being concerned exclusively about individual patients to exerting influence on how health care dollars are spent.”

“In practical terms, new guidelines being developed by the medical groups could result in doctors choosing one drug over another for cost reasons or even deciding that a particular treatment — at the end of life, for example — is too expensive. In the extreme, some critics have said that making treatment decisions based on cost is a form of rationing.”

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“Never Events” – Medical Errors That Should Never Happen

“The term “Never Event” was first introduced in 2001 by Ken Kizer, MD, former CEO of the National Quality Forum (NQF), in reference to particularly shocking medical errors (such as wrong-site surgery) that should never occur. Over time, the list has been expanded to signify adverse events that are unambiguous (clearly identifiable and measurable), serious (resulting in death or significant disability), and usually preventable. The NQF initially defined 27 such events in 2002. The list has been revised since then, most recently in 2011, and now consists of 29 events grouped into 6 categories: surgical, product or device, patient protection, care management, environmental, radiologic, and criminal.”

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