Daily Rounds: How Much For That MRI? Patients Begging For Quiet; How Ritual Heals; Lead Poisoning Mystery

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Trying To FInd The Cost Of A Medical Procedure? Good Luck (WBUR) — Here, Reporter Martha Bebinger tries to find the price of an MRI. She's quoted $5,000 at MGH; $600 at Shields. She concludes: "I can’t imagine anyone doing this, Sacha. I was on the phone or on hold for two hours. Very nice people, and this is new. I mean, the bill is not law yet. This requirement does not exist. It will be several years before it’s starting to happen. But we’re hearing so much that this is going to be an answer to high prices, and so I’m thinking, really? I mean, you can’t get them."

Less Hospital Noise Improves Patient Care (The New York Times) — "The most challenging obstacle in the quest for quiet, however, appears to be not the machines but rather the approach to patient care in most American hospitals. Doctors, nurses and other members of the hospital staff often wake patients up in the middle of the night or during afternoon naps to assess a non-urgent blood pressure or temperature, draw blood or administer medications that could safely be delayed by a couple of hours. Everyone in the hospital tends to do things at their own convenience instead of working together as a team to figure out what might be best for the patient,” said Susan B. Frampton, president of Planetree, a nonprofit organization that works with health care providers and organizations to deliver more patient-centered care. “We forget what it is like to be a patient in this alien environment, at the mercy of people and their machines and agendas.”

The Science Of Ritual: Why We Seek Health And Healing In Repetition (NPR) — "Here's one simpatia Legare came across in Brazil that's meant to help you attract a partner: Buy a new sharp knife and stick it four times into a banana tree on June 4th at midnight. Catch the liquid from the tree on a crisp white paper, folded in two and it will form first letter of name of your future partner. "There's no natural explanation for how this would help you find a partner, but it doesn't deter people from using them at all," says Legare. "You wouldn't spend time getting a special knife and reenacting an entirely nuanced procedure if you didn't think there was some potential it would work." Ultimately, Legare argues, these rituals reflect how our minds work. The vast majority of us, she argues, don't approach life the way scientists do — demanding rigorous evidence to establish cause and effect. "We don't actually know how most things work," Legare says, "so we do a lot of imitating." At essence, she says, rituals offer the same type of satisfaction that we get from daily routines that we have better evidence of being effective — for example, daily teeth brushing.

Boston Children's Hospital Lead-Mystery Prompts Federal Warning About Folk Remedy (The Boston Globe) — "Additional probing revealed that since the boy was 2 weeks old, his family had been applying a Nigerian eye cosmetic and folk remedy that is 83 percent lead to the baby’s eye lids three to four times weekly. Called Tiro, his family believed it would make the boy more attractive and improve his vision. The child suffered no apparent harm, but now the case is prompting an alert from federal health officials about the risk of heavy metal poisoning from folk remedies found in many immigrant cultures. A report Thursday from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention details the puzzle solved by specialists at Children’s Hospital and highlights the number of cultures, including Asian, African, and Middle Eastern, that use similar products that may contain lead."

This program aired on August 3, 2012. The audio for this program is not available.