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Daily Rounds: Sisterhood Rules; Sick U.S Health Care; Autism Drug Bias; The $59,000 Appendectomy

This article is more than 7 years old.

The Spirit Of Sisterhood Is In The Air And On The Air (The New York Times) — "Yet offsetting all those slings and risk factors is a powerful defense system: girlfriends. Hannah has a tight-knit network of three female confederates, one best friend and two sturdy runners-up; and while none of the girl-women can offer much material support, no spare bedroom in a rent-controlled apartment, they are each other’s emotional tourniquets. You, fat? Don’t make me laugh. An unpleasant doctor’s appointment? We’re going too. Lena Dunham, the creator and star of the series, has said that while her titular characters may all date men, female friendship is “the true romance of the show.” As in urban jungles, so too in jungle jungles. Researchers have lately gathered abundant evidence that female friendship is one of nature’s preferred narrative tools. In animals as diverse as African elephants and barnyard mice, blue monkeys of Kenya and feral horses of New Zealand, affiliative, longlasting and mutually beneficial relationships between females turn out to be the basic unit of social life, the force that not only binds existing groups together but explains why the animals’ ancestors bothered going herd in the first place."

Cancer Doc Brawley Says U.S. Health Care System Is Sick (NPR) — "Brawley has a book out, How We Do Harm: A Doctor Breaks Ranks About Being Sick in America, that makes his case in full. But in a sometimes dizzying speech in Atlanta, Brawley ripped the health establishment from top to bottom. It was bracing stuff."

Evidence Behind Autism Drugs May Be Biased (Reuters) — "Doctors' belief that certain antidepressants can help to treat repetitive behaviors in kids with autism may be based on incomplete information, according to a new review of published and unpublished research."

The Confusion of Hospital Pricing (The New York Times) — "In all, Mr. Hong was charged $59,283, including $5,264 for the doctors. According to the Healthcare Blue Book, that amount is six times the fair price for an appendectomy in Northern California, which is $8,309 (including a four-day admission) for the hospital and an additional $1,325 for the doctor. Even after Mr. Hong’s insurer paid the hospital $31,409 and Mr. Hong paid the doctors $4,034, the bills kept coming. A new study suggests that Mr. Hong’s experience is not unusual. Hospital charges are all over the map: according to the report published Monday in the Archives of Internal Medicine, fees for a routine appendectomy in California can range from $1,500 to — in one extreme case — $182,955. Researchers found wide variations in charges even among appendectomy patients treated at the same hospital."

This program aired on April 24, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.

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