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Unnecessary surgery and medical malpractice

What does an average patient think when their doctor recommends surgery? They likely think that extensive research has proven that surgery is beneficial for patients in their position. They assume that evidence has been gathered and rigorous scientific analysis has been conducted. After all, surgery, even minor surgery, carries serious risks. Would doctors really recommend a risky procedure without proof that it is effective?

How to separate the good hospitals from the bad

The process of choosing a hospital when seeking medical care can be haphazard. Many choose the nearest hospital. They may assume all hospitals are created equal, or they may just not know how to tell a good facility from a bad one. There has been an increase in the information prospective patients can find when it comes to hospital quality. More information is not better information, however, if it does not help you choose the best hospital to treat your condition.

Medical malpractice and tort reform

Health care costs are a serious concern for many Americans. The price of a serious injury or illness is bankruptcy and financial ruin for all too many families in Iowa and across the country. The fear caused by runaway health care costs has led to the rise of a particular proposed remedy known as tort reform.

Are hospitals taking cybersecurity seriously?

Like credit card companies or retail stores, hospitals owe it to their customers to protect financial information to protect against identity theft and fraud. Unlike those institutions, hospitals may be in possession of data so sensitive it can make the difference between life and death.

Astounding death toll from medical mistakes

It has long been a challenge to collect accurate data when it comes to medical mistakes. Hospitals are reluctant to admit responsibility for any number of reasons. When hospitals hide information concerning fatal errors, they help perpetuate them. It is impossible to know where to direct safety efforts when the dangers are all hidden.

Heart disease fatality rates vary by location

In 1980, heart disease was responsible for an estimated 507 deaths for every 100,000 Americans. By 2015, that number had been trimmed to 253 deaths. The medical community has waged war on cardiovascular disease for 35 years, and in many respects they are winning. While the various forms of heart disease are still the number one cause of death, totaling 846,000 deaths in 2014 alone, the concerted effort has produced impressive results. Unfortunately, those results have not reached the public in a uniform manner.

Safeguarding a mother's health during and after childbirth

For many years now, hospitals and public health experts have focused attention on the problem of infant mortality. Infant mortality is often used as a benchmark for the quality of health care provided by a hospital, across a state or throughout a nation. Decades of effort have led to significant progress in the area of infant mortality. The U.S. currently enjoys its lowest rate on record. All the effort to protect and nurture infants through childbirth should not have come at the expense of the mothers delivering them, but there is troubling evidence that it has.

Avoiding deadly hospital-acquired infections

There are a number of reasons so many people dread going to the hospital. In addition to the likelihood of pain and embarrassment, hospitals are places where lots of sick people congregate. That means they are prime locations to spread bacteria and germs. Some people avoid medical care for the fear of succumbing to new illnesses encountered at the hospital. While it is not a good idea to delay or avoid needed medical treatment, the fear of getting sick because of a hospital visit is valid.

New side effects for already approved drugs

For some, the list of side effects for a particular drug may be alarming. Others might take comfort from the feeling that the drug has been thoroughly tested to reveal its potential dangers. One of the main reasons those side effects are listed is so that patients and their doctors can keep an eye out for adverse reactions associated with a medication. Unfortunately, many new drugs are approved without a comprehensive understanding of side effects, even deadly ones. According to a recent study, 32 percent of the prescription drugs approved by the FDA from 2001 to 2010 did not warn patients of all the potential side effects.

Still a long way to go to prevent medical misdiagnosis

America is reported to have the best health care system in the world. We trust our doctors and most of the time, with good reason. However, recent research published by the Mayo Clinic and reported in the Washington Post reveals that we haven't yet reached a point where we should trust our medical providers so completely.

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