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Daily Rounds: Bloomberg On Health; Stem Cell Scams; Double-Uterus Twins; Patients, Ask Questions!

Bloomberg Promotes City Health Efforts in U.N. Address - NYTimes.com "Through his administration’s relentless focus on public health, Mr. Bloomberg told the gathering, New Yorkers had seen their life expectancy rise by more than a year and a half, to more than 79 years, faster and higher than for Americans over all. “And I believe all nations worldwide can achieve similar success,” he said. Mr. Bloomberg spoke as delegates wrapped up a two-day summit on noncommunicable diseases, like heart disease, lung disease, cancer and diabetes, before the General Assembly convenes Wednesday to discuss matters like the Palestinian bid for recognition as a state." (nytimes.com)

China stem cell therapies offer heartbreak for many | Reuters "Desperate for help, patients with incurable diseases are admitting themselves into hospitals in China for "stem cell therapies" but experts say such treatments are backed by little or no scientific evidence and are at best experimental. Some of these cases involve large general hospitals where patients pay thousands, even tens of thousands, of dollars for treatments that are advertised online. Patients have come away with little or no improvement and a number have died, according to patients, doctors and relatives of patients who spoke to Reuters."(Reuters)

Fla. woman with 2 uteruses delivers twins - USATODAY.com "Authorities say a Florida woman with a rare medical condition has delivered twins — one from each of her two uteruses. The St. Petersburg Times (http://bit.ly/pYIPl0 ) reports Andreea Barbosa and her husband, Miguel, conceived the twins without reproductive medicine. Nathan and Natalie Barbosa were born Sept. 15 at Morton Plant Hospital in Clearwater. They join 2-year-old sister, Izabella. The newspaper says Barbosa's obstetrician, Dr. Patricia St. John, placed the odds of such a pregnancy at 1 in about 5 million." (yourlife.usatoday.com)

Questions for Better Care - WSJ.com "On Tuesday, the agency is launching a new campaign to promote a solution that seems obvious but often doesn't happen: getting patients to ask questions. The aim is to get patients to prioritize their top concerns and questions before a medical encounter—and to get doctors to prompt patient questions in order to provide better care. "Americans want more time with their doctors, but what hasn't sunk in is the importance of using the time you have with your doctor wisely," says Carolyn Clancy, the agency's director."(Wall Street Journal)

The root cause of why our health system is unsustainable "In the U.S., he surmised, we believe in the perfectibility of humankind, again reflexively and without respect to religious views.  This means that we assume that with enough effort, energy and focus we can fix anything.  This of course runs counter to what I have termed the first law of health care systems: that everyone dies." (Kevin, M.D.)

Senior Medicare Patrols help fight fraud – USATODAY.com "As government officials continue to target Medicare fraud, they've doubled the funding for senior-citizen volunteers who do everything from explaining benefits to sending tips to investigators. One tip led to a piece of this month's record-breaking Medicare fraud takedown. Officials believe that if older Americans — including the growing crop of eligible Baby Boomers — know how to spot errors and fraud, "more criminals will be put in jail where they belong," Barbara Dieker told a group of volunteers recently." (USA Today)

The Health Payoffs of Time Banks - NYTimes.com "Health organizations like time banks because they believe that time banks make people feel better — and cut the cost of health care.   In Richmond, Va., for example, a time bank program to provide social support to people with asthma cut emergency admissions to hospitals and the cost of treating asthma by more than 70 percent. One way time banks help is with simple practical aid.  Imagine an elderly woman who has just left the hospital, where she received expensive high-tech care for her heart condition.  But once discharged, she is too frail to go out to buy groceries.   There is no one to fill her prescriptions, fix her leaky roof, make sure she takes her medicines correctly.  She cannot take the bus herself and doesn’t have the money to hire a taxi to get to a follow-up doctor’s appointment." (opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com)

UMass hospital has second death involving alarm fatigue - The Boston Globe "The second patient death in four years involving “alarm fatigue’’ at UMass Memorial Medical Center has pushed the hospital to intensify efforts to prevent nurses from tuning out monitor warning alarms. Nurses exposed to a cacophony of beeps may no longer hear them or begin to ignore them, and that’s what appears to have happened in the latest case: A 60-year-old man died in an intensive care unit after alarms signaling a fast heart rate and potential breathing problems went unanswered for nearly an hour, according to state investigators who reviewed records at the hospital. (boston.com)

This program aired on September 21, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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