Childhood Fever – Nineteenth Century Medical Mystery

Ignaz Semmelweis, a young Hungarian doctor working in the obstetrical ward of Vienna General Hospital in the late 1840s, was dismayed at the high death rate among his patients.

He had noticed that nearly 20% of the women under his and his colleagues’ care in “Division I” (physicians and male medical students) of the ward died shortly after childbirth.

This phenomenon had come to be known as “childbed fever.” Alarmingly, Semmelweis noted that this death rate was four to five times greater than that in “Division II” (female midwifery students) of the ward.

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What’s the Difference between Non-profit and For-profit Hospitals?

Almost a dozen not-for-profit hospitals in New Jersey have been bought by for-profit companies. The debate is on n New York and Connecticut where for-profit ownership is basically “prohibited.”

A recent article Ct Mirror article noted “State law makes it difficult, if not impossible, for for-profit hospitals to operate in Connecticut. But Tenet Healthcare, a national, for-profit hospital chain, is in the process of acquiring four Connecticut hospitals. That’s inspired two competing efforts in the legislature. One push is to change state law to make it easier for hospitals to be run by for-profits. The other is to restrict the ability of hospitals to become for-profit.”

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“From the Moment She Was Hospitalized They Never Left Her Side. Or, More Precisely, They Never Left Her by Herself — It Turns out There Is Actually Bit of a Difference between the Two.”

Some interesting advice on “visiting hours”…

The New York Times blog vignette read: “For 15 years Anna was a solitary figure sitting at the far end of our waiting room for her annual checkups, having shaved a half-hour off her workday so she could hustle over before we locked our doors.”

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We Generally Use Health Care Services Not Knowing That It Will Cost “Out-of-Pocket”

The Washington Post article noted: ”There’s been much written in the past year about just how hard it is to get a simple price for a basic health-care procedure.”

“About two dozen industry stakeholders, including main lobbying groups for hospitals and health insurers, this morning are issuing new recommendations for how they can provide the cost of health-care services to patients.”

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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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“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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“…Variation … is What Plagues Healthcare”

An article in Beckers Hospital Review focused on clinical care variation -

“Back when he was a resident, (he) saw two physicians perform separate colonoscopies, in which they discovered polyps in their respective patients. Each, however, went about removing the polyp in a different way — one via endoscopic surgery, another through open surgery. Despite having the resources and expertise to perform the procedure endoscopically, the physician who decided on surgery said his reason was a simple one: “That’s how I like to do it.”"

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“How Healthcare Is Changing—for the Better”

There are many innovative practices being used to make sure patients are not unnecessarily readmitted to the hospital.

A U.S News article describes a discharge regimen used by the Cleveland Clinic.

“When Richard Jones of Niles, Ohio, 70, was discharged in May, he was sent home with a digital scale to flag any weight fluctuations (a possible sign of fluid buildup), a blood pressure cuff, and other monitoring equipment tied into the hospital system. He was also assigned a telemonitoring support team of nurses, social workers, nutritionists, therapists, and doctors who would check his vital signs daily, remotely or in person, for up to 40 days. In phone and house calls, the team coordinated follow-up doctor visits and counseled the lifelong cheeseburger-and-fries fan on worrisome symptoms to watch for and how to make lifestyle changes stick.”

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Chaos In Medical Billing … One Mistake Can Affect Your Credit Rating!

Like most everyone I know I don’t look at the EOBs (Explanation of Benefits) I get from Medicare and United Health Care. Do you?

A New York Times article noted “LIKE most people, I am generally vigilant about paying my bills — credit cards, mortgage, cellphone and so on. But medical bills have a different trajectory. I (usually) open the envelopes and peruse the amalgam of codes and charges. I sigh or swear. And set them aside for when I have time to clarify the confusion: An out-of-network charge from a doctor I know is in-network? An un-itemized laboratory bill from a doctor I’ve never heard of? A bill for a huge charge before my insurer has paid its yet unknown portion of a hospital’s unknowable fee?”

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