Archive for the ‘Doctors’ Category

Zimbabwe: Riot Police Charge into Doctors and Nurses Protesting Health System

December 3, 2008

Humanity seems turned upside down when riot police attack doctors and nurses during a cholera outbreak…But this is Zimbabwe today….

****

Riot police charged into a group of doctors and nurses protesting Zimbabwe‘s deepening economic and health crisis, eyewitnesses said Wednesday as deaths rose sharply from a cholera epidemic blamed on collapsing infrastructure.

The witnesses said officers in downtown Harare ran into a march of doctors and nurses — some in uniform — who fled the police charge. A few blocks away, police stopped teachers trying to join the same protest and at least six people were taken away in police trucks, according to the witnesses, who declined to give their names for fear of official retribution.

The unions are joining a mass movement to press the government to respond to the worsening crises.

Men in the blue uniforms of paramilitary police armed with rifles were seen positioned atop several high-rise bank headquarters Wednesday.

On Monday, soldiers went on a rampage after they were unable to withdraw wages from banks, which have been short of cash as a result of Zimbabwe’s economic meltdown.

Zimbabwe’s state newspaper said quoted defense minister Sydney Sekeramayi as saying that rogue elements in the country were trying to incite violence against the government.

He said the coincidence of Monday’s incident and the call for protests by unions and civil rights organizations “raises a lot of questions” and that any unlawful demonstrations would not be tolerated.

The United Nations said that deaths from the cholera epidemic had risen to 565, with 12,546 people infected. The government had been reporting 473 cholera deaths since August, and a total of 11,700 people infected as of Monday.

The nationwide outbreak of the waterborne disease is blamed on collapsing water treatment plants and broken sewage pipes.

Zimbabwe has been paralyzed since disputed elections in March. President Robert Mugabe and the opposition are wrangling over a power-sharing deal.

The country is suffering from the world’s highest inflation and Zimbabweans face daily shortages of food and other basic goods. Many hospitals and clinics have been forced to shut their doors because of a lack of drugs and medicines.

On Wednesday, water supplies were restored to parts of Harare after authorities turned off the taps for three days after saying they had run out of purifying chemicals.

Zimbabwe’s government is cooperating with aid agencies to try to stem the spread of cholera but has stopped short of declaring the epidemic a national emergency.

The European Commission said it was providing more than $12 million for drugs and clean water while the International Red Cross was also releasing more funds to deal with the epidemic.

“Cholera is a disease of destitution that used to be almost unknown in Zimbabwe,” Louis Michel, the European Commissioner for Development and Humanitarian Aid said.

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Half of primary-care doctors in survey would leave medicine

November 18, 2008

Nearly half the respondents in a survey of U.S. primary care physicians said that they would seriously consider getting out of the medical business within the next three years if they had an alternative.

By Val Willingham
CNN Medical Producer

The survey, released this week by the Physicians’ Foundation, which promotes better doctor-patient relationships, sought to find the reasons for an identified exodus among family doctors and internists, widely known as the backbone of the health industry.

A U.S. shortage of 35,000 to 40,000 primary care physicians by 2025 was predicted at last week’s American Medical Association annual meeting.

In the survey, the foundation sent questionnaires to more than 270,000 primary care doctors and more than 50,000 specialists nationwide.

Of the 12,000 respondents, 49 percent said they’d consider leaving medicine. Many said they are overwhelmed with their practices, not because they have too many patients, but because there’s too much red tape generated from insurance companies and government agencies.

Read the rest:
http://www.cnn.com/2008/HEALTH/11/17/primary.care.
doctors.study/index.html

Wall Street woes has India outsourcing on edge

October 18, 2008

“The main market for us is still the United States. If companies are not doing good there, our job prospects are low,” said Nilesh Raut, of Bangalore, India….
.
By ERIKA KINETZ, AP Business Writer
.
BANGALORE, India – Bangalore, the capital of Indian outsourcing, is perhaps the closest India comes to Wall Street. In some offices, you can get a U.S. dial tone. Clocks tell you what time it is in New York. Cappuccinos — as well as Subway sandwiches and Carolina Herrera “212” perfume — are easy to come by.

Now that proximity, which has fueled years of growth and transformed the city into one of India’s most cosmopolitan, has put Bangalore on edge.

“The main market for us is still the United States. If companies are not doing good there, our job prospects are low,” said Nilesh Raut, 29, a software engineer at Oracle, which has an office here.

Bangalore is full of young migrants like Raut, who snapped up tech jobs that paid more than their parents could dream of, and who, unlike their parents, made unabashed use of their credit cards. But now, as India’s biggest shopping season, Diwali, kicks off, many say that until they have a better sense of how far and how deep the current crisis will cut, they’ll stick to window shopping.

“We’re just here for the ambiance,” said Raut, strolling through Bangalore’s oldest mall, Forum, foreswearing the iPods, Lee jeans, Reebok shoes and Arrow shirts on offer.

Since it opened four years ago, Forum has seen annual sales growth average 25 percent a year, according to Merveil Varghese, the mall’s marketing manager. This year, she expects sales growth at the mall’s 72 shops to slow to 17 to 18 percent. Rents, which quadrupled during that time, have stabilized, she said.

“Fifty percent of our customers are from the IT crowd,” she said. But these days, “everybody is taking it a little cool. You can’t afford to raise prices.”

The mall was packed, but few people had shopping bags in their hands. Consumers have also been singed by stock market losses.

“It’s not just Wall Street. It’s Dalal Street,” said Mansi Aneja, 30, referring to the Bombay Stock Exchange, which has lost about half its value this year. She said she’s putting off buying a new car.

Dubbed the Silicon Valley of India, Bangalore and its environs account for a third of India’s software services ….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20081018/
ap_on_bi_ge/as_india_bangalore_on_edge_3

Human Rights: Doctors in Thailand Sterilize Without Consent

February 6, 2008

The Nation
February 6, 2008

BANGKOK, THAILAND: Many physically disabled women have lost their chance to become mothers as, without their knowledge or even permission, they were subjected to sterilisation.

“Some of them don’t even know when it happened,” Nattaya Boonpakdee said Tuesday (5 Feb). “These women found out the harsh reality only after they visited doctors to check why they were not becoming pregnant after being married for a long time.”

Nattaya heads the Thai Health Promotion Foundation’s sexual health promotion division.

“We have to end this problem,” Nattaya said, referring to the fact that many disabled women were sterilised against their will.

Read the rest:
http://www.mysinchew.com/node/6697?tid=4 

Heath Ledger, President Bush, The Addicted and Our Medical Professionals

January 30, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 30, 2008

President Bush yesterday said for the first time that he was actually addicted to alcohol.  This may be a cause for celebration for care givers and addicted people who usually need great resources of hope to conquer addictions.

We are facing a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction in America. Most experts agree that about ten percent of our population of 300 million people are addicted or routine users. Many more family members, friends, co-workers and employers suffer harmful consequences – and our medical establishment is strained by people suffering from addictions.

On January 1, 2008, in almost every hospital emergency room across America, at least one or two individuals could be found suffering from Delirium Tremens (DTs), milder tremors, seizures and other alcohol and drug-related overdose symptoms.

My friend, physician and recovering alcoholic Len, took me for a post-party tour of a big city hospital emergency room on January 1.

“Look at the carnage following the biggest annual drinking binge Americans wink at every year. It will look like this the Monday after the Super Bowl, too,” Len told me.

In fact, experts say “Super Bowl Sunday” is the biggest day for drinking in America because it is an all day party. Most police agencies issue more tickets for impaired driving on “Super Sunday” than on any other day. And the Center for Science in the Public Interest claims that beer and alcohol advertizing for the Super Bowl targets underage drinkers.

Len invited me into his work environment after reading a Washington Times commentary I wrote for the December 27, 2007 editions. That article discussed the time of year when many recovering alcoholics and drug abusers relapse and end up in the hospital: the “holiday” season between Thanksgiving and January 1.

“For all sorts of reasons, many of the addicted who are in recovery and making progress crash and burn during the holidays. I think the pressure and chaos of buying too many presents and acting like a boy scout drives some in recovery back into really bad and sometimes fatal habits,” Len said.

Len is a recovering alcoholic who attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. Len is not his real name. We agreed to protect his anonymity in keeping with A.A. traditions and guarantees.

As an emergency room physician, Len has gained invaluable insight into the disease of the mind called addiction. He is also an expert in how many of his colleagues treat alcoholics and the drug addicted.

“Most physicians I know are first rate. They care deeply for their patients, spend the time necessary to provide excellent care, and operate fair and honest practices,” Len told me.

But once Len finished with what sounded like an American Medical Association (AMA) commercial, I told him I had personally seen some sloppy, even potentially criminally negligent “care” of the addicted doled out by his MD colleagues.

Two patients seeking emergency care for bouts with alcohol were not admitted to emergency rooms while I researched this topic. They were told to make an appointment for ten days to two weeks into the future. For some: this poses a life-threatening dilemma.

We also experienced physicians mis-prescribing and over prescribing drugs and medications to patients they knew to be addicted.

One doctor had his sleepless patient on Ambien for two years. The maximum recommended duration of Ambien therapy is one week. Ambien is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include behavior changes, stomach pain, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, panic, tremors, and seizure (convulsions).

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) warns doctors and pharmacists not to prescribe Ambien to alcoholics or other addicts.

We also saw doctors giving Xanax to drinking alcoholics to relieve anxiety.

Xanax relieves anxiety in people who do not drink: but it is never recommended for heavy drinkers. This medication may cause dependence. Addicts frequently react violently to the drug and vomit sometimes for hours after taking it and experience other distressing and even life-threatening side effects.

We also met a man who went to his doctor two years ago with severe anxiety symptoms. Today he rarely ventures out from his one-bedroom apartment. There are three deadbolts on the door. He has five physician prescribed drugs delivered to his apartment when he needs refills. He is no longer able to work. He is lost as a productive member of his family and our American society. 

Bill Alexander, who manages a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility, recently told us, “There are doctors in America who are killing alcoholics and drug abusers because they haven’t properly availed themselves to the literature and education needed for treating the addicted and they pay too little attention to the warnings associated with all medications.”

We also observed a clear disregard for many addicted patients: an attitude and actions akin to racial prejudice.

Alcoholics and others are frequently looked down upon and can be viewed as “winos” or other disreputable types not worthy of full and complete diagnosis and care.

If the addicted man or woman seeking treatment causes the doctor to become unsettled, the doctor might quickly end the evaluation phase of treatment and hastily write prescriptions for pain killers, sleep aids and other drugs.

“Some doctors, but clearly not all, cut corners. They reach for the prescription pad too readily. They under evaluate and over-prescribe. They are in too much of a hurry. Even when the vast majority of care givers to the addicted advise doctors to first consider a cold-turkey detoxification – without the benefit of additional medications,” said Dr. Len.

“We doctors write prescriptions sometimes even when they are not mandated. Insurance companies pay most of the cost and the doctor feels that he has taken action on behalf of his patient. Some have even told me, ‘I gave the patient exactly what he wanted.’”

The patients, because they are addicted, often act irrationally and not in their own best interests. They self medicate, over medicate, and “shop” for agreeable doctors willing and ready to help them get their “fix.”

Addicts are risk takers – and even knowing that buying drugs below cost and on the street probably means the drugs are impure, dangerous or otherwise filled with a foreign country’s idea of a money-making substitute – they often use and abuse until death.

Despite the herculean efforts of an army of diligent care-givers and treatment facilities nation-wide, many alcoholics or drug addicted people are misdiagnosed, living on the streets, ignored, abused or shunned. Treatment facilities and in-patient care is at maximum capacity with no room for new comers. And the care of medical professionals is stretched thin.

One doctor told us, only after asking for anonymity, “You’ll be lucky if this man can see a physician’s assistant or a nurse. There are no doctors available.”

And more doctors may not necessarily make things better.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only make things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

He says as the American population grows and the “baby boomers” enter their retirement years, more doctors writing more prescriptions and seeing more patients only escalates the costs of an already exorbitantly expensive medical system.

He favors more study and analysis before anyone jumps to conclusions on how to solve the multi-faceted dilemma of our medical system’s future.

Then there is the case of actor Heath Ledger, who died in January 2008 in New York.

Though Heath himself admitted to The New York Times in November that he has taken two Ambien in a row to battle insomnia, psychiatrist Dr. Keith Ablow says that the likelihood of an Ambien overdose is unlikely.

“By and large, Ambien is not something people overdose on,” he said. But Ambien is addictive and how it interacts in the human body with other prescription medications like those in Mr. Ledger’s SoHo living quarters is unclear.

Mr. Ledger had Xanax, Valium and other drugs in his apartment.

“It’s all Russian roulette once you start using these medicines in excess or start using these medicines with illegal drugs,” said Dr. Ablow, author of Living the Truth.

Of all of these prescription drugs, Xanax can be particularly harmful, especially considering that the Brokeback Mountain star reportedly had issues with substance abuse.

“If I could have taken one agent out of his possession prior to these events, and said, ‘This one is absolutely one you can’t have,’ it would’ve been a Xanax,” he says.

“I would never prescribe Xanax to someone with a potential substance abuse history — ever.”

The reason? Xanax is highly addictive because it takes effect quickly and is relatively short-acting (the pleasurable feeling you receive from it only lasts about four hours).

In contrast, Ambien can take longer to take effect and lasts eight hours, so a person can get a build-up of substances in their system without realizing it. Also, people who have a history of drug abuse are often unreliable in taking their medicines at the proper time or in the proper dose.

Often, drug abusers and addicts mix drugs recklessly.“I can think of few worse combinations than Xanax and cocaine because Xanax slows the heart and cocaine speeds the heart up, so you have two substances at odds with each other,” said Dr. Ablow. “So you can have a situation where someone is trying to dose themselves to an ideal mood state but their cardiac status is deteriorating and they can’t tell because Xanax suppresses the racing heartbeat.”

The bottom line is this: despite their best intentions, medical professions do not always have the time nor the knowledge to properly treat serious drug abusers and the addicted.

Secondly, too many times, doctors are in a rush and the addicted receive less than the full attention of medical staffs who determine that they have “higher priorities.”

Finally, the knowledge of how different drugs interact in the human body is far from complete. In fact, mixing drugs and doctor shopping are seriously dangerous and often times fatal.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, a former senior U.S. military officer and president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

Related:
Bush Enlists Alcohol Past in New Cause

Teen Media Idols: Drunk, Naked, Pregnant, Unashamed (We Have Pictures!)

Nationwide Imminent Danger Alert

Drug Abuse, Drug Overdose Killed Heath Ledger
(February 6, 2008)

We added this new information on Wednesday evening, 30 January:Heath Ledger’s abuse of heroin, cocaine and pills forced his ex-fiancee Michelle Williams to drive him to rehab in 2006, but he didn’t want to go, Us Weekly reports.For three years, Williams was a firsthand witness to the actor’s use of alcohol and drugs, including cocaine, heroin and “a variety of pills,” a Ledger confidant reportedly told the magazine.In March 2006 — when their daughter, Matilda, was only 5 months old — Williams drove Ledger to Promises Treatment Center in Malibu, Calif., the confidant reportedly told Us Weekly. Ledger refused to check in, instead swaying her with a pledge to clean up, the source said.

Both Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan were treated at Promises.

Even after the couple realized “they were in way over their heads,” according to a source, and split in September 2007, two sources told Us that Williams demanded Ledger be drug-tested before his visitations with Matilda.

When news of Ledger’s death broke last Tuesday, Williams was inconsolable, another source said.

“She cried and screamed as soon as she heard,” a source on the Swedish set of her latest film, “Mammoth,” told Us Weekly.

Docs Told To Give Fewer Antibiotics

January 9, 2008

The Telegraph (UK)
January 9, 2008

Alan Johnson, Britain’s Health Secretary, says it is time to end the unnecessary use of penicillin and other commonly-prescribed pills, which cost the NHS £1.7 billion a year.

Using antibiotics too liberally has led to bugs such as MRSA becoming resistant to treatment with the drugs. Most colds, coughs and flu are caused by viruses, which cannot be treated with antibiotics anyway, Mr Johnson points out.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/main.jhtml;jsessionid=IVLWZ0LAPX2IPQFIQM
GCFFOAVCBQUIV0?xml=/news/2008/01/09/nbiotic109.xml

Over prescribing and overmedicating is common in the U.S., U.K. and elsewhere.  Related:
Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

Addicts Neglected, Over-Medicated Despite Vast System of “Care”

January 8, 2008

By John E. Carey
Peace and Freedom
January 8, 2008

We are facing a crisis of drug and alcohol addiction in America. Most experts agree that about ten percent of our population of 300 million people are addicted or routine users. Many more family members, friends, co-workers and employers suffer harmful consequences – and our medical establishment is strained by people suffering from addictions.

On January 1, 2008, in almost every hospital emergency room across America, at least one or two individuals could be found suffering from Delirium Tremens (DTs), milder tremors, seizures and other alcohol and drug-related overdose symptoms.

My friend, physician and recovering alcoholic Len, took me for a post-party tour of a big city hospital emergency room on January 1.

“Look at the carnage following the biggest annual drinking binge Americans wink at every year. It will look like this the Monday after the Super Bowl, too,” Len told me.

In fact, experts say “Super Bowl Sunday” is the biggest day for drinking in America because it is an all day party. Most police agencies issue more tickets for impaired driving on “Super Sunday” than on any other day. And the Center for Science in the Public Interest claims that beer and alcohol advertizing for the Super Bowl targets underage drinkers.

Len invited me into his work environment after reading a Washington Times commentary I wrote for the December 27, 2007 editions. That article discussed the time of year when many recovering alcoholics and drug abusers relapse and end up in the hospital: the “holiday” season between Thanksgiving and January 1.

“For all sorts of reasons, many of the addicted who are in recovery and making progress crash and burn during the holidays. I think the pressure and chaos of buying too many presents and acting like a boy scout drives some in recovery back into really bad and sometimes fatal habits,” Len said.

Len is a recovering alcoholic who attends daily Alcoholics Anonymous (A.A.) meetings. Len is not his real name. We agreed to protect his anonymity in keeping with A.A. traditions and guarantees. As an emergency room physician, Len has gained invaluable insight into the disease of the mind called addiction. He is also an expert in how many of his colleagues treat alcoholics and the drug addicted.

“Most physicians I know are first rate. They care deeply for their patients, spend the time necessary to provide excellent care, and operate fair and honest practices,” Len told me.

But once Len finished with what sounded like an American Medical Association (AMA) commercial, I told him I had personally seen some sloppy, even potentially criminally negligent “care” of the addicted doled out by his MD colleagues.

Two patients seeking emergency care for bouts with alcohol were not admitted to emergency rooms while I researched this topic. They were told to make an appointment for ten days to two weeks into the future. For some: this poses a life-threatening dilemma. We also experienced physicians mis-prescribing and over prescribing drugs and medications to patients they knew to be addicted.

One doctor had his sleepless patient on Ambien for two years. The maximum recommended duration of Ambien therapy is one week. Ambien is addictive. Withdrawal symptoms include behavior changes, stomach pain, muscle cramps, nausea, vomiting, sweating, anxiety, panic, tremors, and seizure (convulsions).

The Food and drug Administration (FDA) warns doctors and pharmacists not to prescribe Ambien to alcoholics or other addicts.

We also saw doctors giving Xanax to drinking alcoholics to relieve anxiety. Xanax relieves anxiety in people who do not drink: but it is never recommended for heavy drinkers. This medication may cause dependence. Addicts frequently react violently to the drug and vomit sometimes for hours after taking it and experience other distressing and even life-threatening side effects.

We met a man who went to his doctor two years ago with severe anxiety symptoms. Today he rarely ventures out from his one-bedroom apartment. There are three deadbolts on the door. He has five physician prescribed drugs delivered to his apartment when he needs refills. He is no longer able to work. He is lost as a productive member of his family and our American society.

“There are doctors in America who are killing alcoholics and drug abusers because they haven’t properly availed themselves to the literature and education needed for treating the addicted and they pay too little attention to the warnings associated with all medications,” said Bill Alexander, who manages a private drug and alcohol rehabilitation facility in Oklahoma.

We also observed a clear disregard for many addicted patients: an attitude and actions akin to racial prejudice. Alcoholics and others are frequently looked down upon and can be viewed as “winos” or other disreputable types not worthy of full and complete diagnosis and care. If the addicted man or woman seeking treatment causes the doctor to become unsettled, the doctor might quickly end the evaluation phase of treatment and hastily write prescriptions for pain killers, sleep aids and other drugs.

“Some doctors, but clearly not all, cut corners. They reach for the prescription pad too readily. They under evaluate and over-prescribe. They are in too much of a hurry. Even when the vast majority of care givers to the addicted advise doctors to first consider a cold-turkey detoxification – without the benefit of additional medications,” said Dr. Len.

“We doctors write prescriptions sometimes even when they are not mandated. Insurance companies pay most of the cost and the doctor feels that he has taken action on behalf of his patient. Some have even told me, ‘I gave the patient exactly what he wanted.’”

The patients, because they are addicted, often act irrationally and not in their own best interests. They self medicate, over medicate, and “shop” for agreeable doctors willing and ready to help them get their “fix.” Addicts are risk takers – and even knowing that buying drugs below cost and on the street probably means the drugs are impure, dangerous or otherwise filled with a foreign country’s idea of a money-making substitute – they often use and abuse until death.

Despite the herculean efforts of an army of diligent care-givers and treatment facilities nation-wide, many alcoholics or drug addicted people are misdiagnosed, living on the streets, ignored, abused or shunned. Treatment facilities and in-patient care is at maximum capacity with no room for new comers. And the care of medical professionals is stretched thin.One doctor told us, only after asking for anonymity, “You’ll be lucky if this man can see a physician’s assistant or a nurse. There are no doctors available.”

And more doctors may not necessarily make things better.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only make things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

He says as the American population grows and the “baby boomers” enter their retirement years, more doctors writing more prescriptions and seeing more patients only escalates the costs of an already exorbitantly expensive medical system. He favors more study and analysis before anyone jumps to conclusions on how to solve the multi-faceted dilemma of our medical system’s future.

Between the end of the holiday season and “Super Bowl Sunday” might be a good time to start to re-assess America’s response to a growing number of alcoholics and drug addicted people in need of treatment.

We can ill afford to ignore or “write off” the ten percent of our potential productivity, scientific development, and artistic and creative wonder that this segment of our population represents.

John E. Carey is a frequent contributor to The Washington Times, a former senior U.S. military officer and president of International Defense Consultants, Inc.

Overprescribing and overmedicating are common problems.
Related:
Docs Told To Give Fewer Antibiotics

China Still Offers Unproven Medical Treatments

January 5, 2008
By CHRISTOPHER BODEEN and ALAN SCHER ZAGIER, Associated Press Writers

BEIJING – They’re paralyzed from diving accidents and car crashes, disabled by Parkinson’s, or blind. With few options available at home in America, they search the Internet for experimental treatments — and often land on Web sites promoting stem cell treatments in China.

They mortgage their houses and their hometowns hold fundraisers as they scrape together the tens of thousands of dollars needed for travel and the hope for a miracle cure.

A number of these medical tourists claim some success when they return home:

Jim Savage, a Houston man with paralysis from a spinal cord injury, says he can move his right arm. Penny Thomas of Hawaii says her Parkinson’s….

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20080105/ap_on_he_me/medical_tourism_china_1

Our Medical System Often Fails Lost Souls

January 5, 2008

 By Colbert I. King
The Washington Post
January 5, 2008; Page A17

Excerpts from the transcript of a videotaped deposition of a former Howard University Hospital emergency room physician, conducted Aug. 3, 2007:

Physician: “When I came upon him, I asked what was wrong with the patient to a nearby nurse, and where is the chart, and looked at the chart rack. The nurse had not seen a chart and there was no chart on the chart rack.”

Question: What did she say to you at that point?

He is just an alcoholic, and I don’t know where the chart is or something close to that, but I remember her telling me that he was an alcoholic.

Tell me about the conversation you had with this nurse about the [Emergency Medical Services] stretcher?

I just asked why was the patient there on that stretcher in the hallway and not-[sic] entered into a dialogue about him having vomit on his clothing.What did you say about the vomit on his clothing?

It is hard for me to recall specifically what I said. I just remember the general conversation, that this patient should not be on that stretcher, and cleaned up, if indeed he is an alcoholic, you know.

Do you remember anything that the nurse said back to you about either the stretcher or the vomit?

Specifics, no, but she basically did not want to help to transfer the patient because she was busy doing other things. You know, they were short staffed.

Do you remember anything she said that gave you that impression?
She said she wasn’t able to transfer him right now, that he was just an alcoholic.

Tomorrow is the second anniversary of an event that some folks in the District would just as soon let pass without notice. It’s not gonna happen.On the evening of Jan. 6, 2006, a man was brutally attacked and robbed in a Northwest neighborhood. He died two days later from a massive head injury. Between his savage beating and the moment of his death, that critically injured man was subjected to government incompetence and medical malpractice of the first order. District police and fire and emergency medical services workers as well as Howard University Hospital staff members cavalierly dismissed him as a drunken “John Doe.”

His name was David E. Rosenbaum. He was a reporter for the New York Times. But his job was not the reason he became the subject of several columns I wrote over the past two years.

The columns attacked the veil of secrecy that was initially draped over John Doe’s death, the lies woven to protect the negligent and the indifferent, the rotten work ethic that runs rampant in our city, and inept government oversight by District leaders.

Today, the Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department is led by a new chief, Dennis Rubin. Pushed by Rosenbaum’s survivors, the city claims to have made changes in the department. Firefighters and EMS workers are to be cross-trained. Teamwork and professionalism are the department’s new watchwords.

The deposition cited above, which was not received from David Rosenbaum’s adult children or their lawyer, was taken in connection with a lawsuit the Rosenbaum family filed against Howard University Hospital. The hospital recently settled with Rosenbaum’s adult children.

That takes the slain journalist out of the news.

But it doesn’t eliminate the conditions that threaten the quality of life of all who live in this city: criminals roaming the streets in search of human prey; an apathetic and complacent government workforce; nonproducers ensconced in high places; and elected leaders who fall for snow jobs.

Would that Fire and Emergency Medical Services was the only D.C. agency in need of a makeover. The list is long, with some departments, such as Youth and Rehabilitation Services, operating as fiefdoms.

At the heart of the problem is a government that has outgrown — and outfoxed — the leaders elected to oversee it, namely the 13-member D.C. Council.
This isn’t a knock against the ability of council members, although some are more able than others.

Truth is, the council is confronted with a nearly $10 billion government enterprise run by 32,000 career workers who constitute a $2 billion payroll. Without a powerful investigative arm of its own, the council is like a pussycat pitted against a python.It’s a sad day when the council must turn to outsiders to investigate a scandal in the D.C. tax office.

To meet its responsibilities under the Home Rule Act and to improve the accountability of city government, the council should have at its disposal the equivalent of Congress’s independent, nonpartisan Government Accountability Office. The D.C. auditor’s office is too small and limited in scope. The D.C. inspector general is administratively within the mayor’s office, operates with a budget beyond the council’s reach and basically sets its own agenda.

The council needs its own watchdog agency staffed with accountants, lawyers, policy analysts and program specialists to support aggressive legislative oversight.

Otherwise, prepare for more hand-wringing over government foul-ups as city bureaucrats continue doing whatever they please.

kingc@washpost.com

America Needs More Doctors?

January 2, 2008

By Gregory Lopes
The Washington Times
January 2, 2008

Training more doctors to serve an aging population could drive up already crippling health care costs, medical officials say.

An influx of doctors will increase costs on an already financially troubled Medicare system, researchers at Dartmouth Medical School contend.

“Calling for more doctors, like prescribing more drugs, for an already overmedicated patient, may only makes things worse,” said Dr. David Goodman, a professor of pediatrics and family medicine at Dartmouth Medical School, which researches heath care quality and costs.

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtontimes.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20080102/BUSINESS/379944049/1001