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October 2016 Archives

Study shows nursing home transitions need more resources

Based on a study that has been published in a peer-reviewed medical journal, Iowa patients who are being transferred from hospitals back to nursing homes might benefit from having a nurse practitioner work with them throughout the process. Such patients are particularly vulnerable to errors. According to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, within days of returning to their nursing homes after a hospitalization, about 25 percent of patients with complex medical problems are harmed. In most cases, this harm is the result of errors around medication, monitoring or follow-up care.

Patients may have been exposed to bacteria during surgery

According to leaders at Mercy Medical Center in Des Moines, Iowa, approximately 2,600 open-heart patients may have been exposed to a bacterial infection. Those patients had their procedures performed between 2012 and 2015, and they may have been exposed to germs called Nontuberculous Mycobacteria. The bacteria is frequently referred to as MTM, and it is a less potent form of tuberculosis.

Sleep cycles: Interruption affects cognition

Drowsy driving is as dangerous as driving while texting or intoxicated because it affects your ability to react and make decisions. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has estimated drowsy driving is the cause of approximately 1,550 deaths and 71,000 injuries each year. While they believe the numbers may actually be higher, it is difficult to calculate potentially related accidents because there is no test like the breathalyzer for alcohol detection. In some cases, accidents characterized as alcohol related may have actually been caused by a drowsy driver.

Assuming The Risk Of A Dangerous Drug

Under normal circumstances, most patients would not take a drug or rely on a medical device that had not been properly tested and approved. But there are situations where a patient may be desperate enough to consider a risky treatment with little guarantee of improvement. When it comes to deadly illnesses with no known cure, patients have little to lose in volunteering to be test subjects. One particular case has drawn attention and led to questions about a patient's right to try an unapproved course of treatment.

Understanding breast cancer misdiagnosis

October is recognized as breast cancer awareness month. More than 200,000 American women are diagnosed with this form of cancer each year, according to The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The CDC estimates that roughly 40,000 women lose their battle with breast cancer each year. Woman over the age of 50 are at the highest risk, however, about 10 percent of new cases involve women under the age of 45. Notably, about 1 percent of all breast cancer diagnoses involve men.

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