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Study: Lack of sleep doesn't necessarily affect surgeons - II

Last time, we started discussing how a group of Canadian researchers recently published a study in the New England Journal of Medicine examining the impact of sleep deprivation on surgical performance and how its findings are contrary to those made in what is now considered a landmark 2009 study by American researchers.

In today's post, we'll take a closer look at these findings and why they are generating considerable discussion in medical circles. 

Study: Lack of sleep doesn't necessarily affect surgeons

Most people understand that the life of a surgeon can be far from glamorous, as these highly trained medical professionals must manage sizeable patient loads, extreme stress and, of course, frequent sleep deprivation.

While this is accepted as part of the culture, a growing number of experts have raised the question in recent years as to whether this lack of sleep on the part of surgeons can perhaps be dangerous for patients.

Veronica Richards selected as Chairperson for the Medical Malpractice Section of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice

Attorney Veronica Richards has been selected to be the new Chairperson for the Pennsylvania Association for Justice medical malpractice section. The PAJ boasts more than two thousand members and was founded in an effort to provide a wealth of legal education and resources for attorneys who represent victims of medical malpractice. Attorney Richards is extremely honored to have been selected for this position. Ms. Richards is a rare talent. Before devoting her life to helping victims of medical malpractice, she served as a Nurse Practitioner. Her experience in the medical field has been invaluable in her professional law career and it is why she is considered so renowned by her colleagues and cohorts throughout the state. If you have medical malpractice questions for Attorney Richards, call the Pennsylvania medical malpractice attorneys at Richards & Richards today for a free consultation at 866-740-3999.

Why hospitals are looking to an automaker for operational guidance

Without a doubt, two of the most important metrics for any hospital -- public or private -- are patient outcomes and cost savings. While these two considerations may seem so diametrically opposed that there is no good way to improve them simultaneously, this isn't necessarily the case.

Indeed, private hospitals across the nation have long been using a system known as lean management, borrowed directly from the automaker Toyota, that has been definitively linked to improvements in both efficiency and quality.

How exactly do prescription drugs get their names?

Last time, we discussed how the U.S. Food and Drug Administration was warning patients taking either Brintellix and Brilinta, the former an antidepressant and the latter a blood-thinner, to exercise caution as their similar-sounding names were creating confusion among both physicians and pharmacists. Indeed, the FDA indicated it had received reports of 50 medication errors involving the two drugs.

Stories like these naturally raise questions as to how it is that prescription drugs, particularly those we see advertised so frequently on television, even get their names in the first place. 

FDA urges patient to be on the lookout for possible Rx error

When you read the names Brintellix and Brilinta, it's possible you think of computer software or some type of electronic product manufactured by the same company. As it turns out, however, these are the names of two very different prescription medications designed to treat two very different conditions, with the former designated as an antidepressant and the latter designated as a blood-thinner.

As you might imagine, these similar sounding names can -- and already have -- resulted in some level of confusion among both physicians and pharmacists. Indeed, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration recently released a warning to patients after receiving reports of 50 medication errors, at least 12 of which involved pharmacies providing the wrong drug to patients or physicians prescribing the wrong drug.

Are hospitals doing enough to prevent patient falls?

The Joint Commission Center for Transforming Healthcare -- the health care advocacy organization comprised of some of the nation's foremost hospitals and health systems that utilizes "a systematic approach to analyze specific breakdowns in care and discover their underlying causes" -- recently released a new online resource designed to combat one of the more prevalent dangers in U.S. hospitals: patient falls.

Should med schools reassess how they develop diagnostic skills? - II

Last time, we started discussing the rather shocking levels at which misdiagnoses are made by physicians here in the U.S. and how some experts are now attributing part of this problem to the traditional clinical apprenticeship approach relied upon by the nation's medical schools.

In general, the traditional clinical apprenticeship approach calls for the physician-in-training to develop and hone their diagnostic skills through careful consultations with more experienced physicians about patients under their care. 

Should med schools reassess how they develop diagnostic skills?

When it comes to the notion of medical errors, most people understand there is always some risk their treating physician will do something wrong. For instance, they know mistakes can be made regarding the treatment pursued, the medication prescribed and the surgery performed.

What people seem to have a harder time understanding and accepting, regarding medical errors, is the notion of a misdiagnosis. Specifically, they have a difficult time accepting how a physician could possibly make such a fundamental mistake given both the depth of their training and the availability of advanced testing.

How high is the number of infections related to contaminated scopes?

For several months now, our blog has been following the infection epidemic associated with duodenoscopes, a medical device run down the throat that is used roughly 650,000 times per year here in the U.S. to treat gastrointestinal issues like tumors, gallstones and other blockages in the pancreatic and bile ducts.

The infection risk posed by duodenoscopes has been linked to its elevator mechanism, which is located at the bottom of the device and enables operation of tiny surgical tools. Here, the problem is the elevator mechanism can retain trace amounts of bacteria despite cleaning and disinfection, potentially exposing patients to antibiotic-resistant superbugs like C. diff or CRE.

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