Secret Hospital Inspections to Finally See the Light of Day? Don’t Hold Your Breath

The U.S. government is considering requiring that hospital inspection details be available to the public. Until that happens, what really goes on behind closed doors is keep quite secret.  When it comes to your local hospital, as of now, you have no right to know who is dying . . . or why.

It appears that the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is pushing to mandate a new level of transparency, when it comes to hospital dangers discovered by health inspection findings. Private health accreditation companies actually perform 90% of all U.S. hospitals and clinics assessments. That healthcare accreditors might ever release their findings to the public would be a remarkably refreshing change from the status quo.

Under this law – a law which may not get passed at all – U.S. citizens could get a look at reports which are now kept secret, about dangerous medical errors, patient misidentification and surgical errors, that kill and/or seriously injure 400-600 patients each day. 

Each year, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services studies at least some of the inspection results gathered by private organizations. In effect, they inspect the inspections.  And last year CMS discovered that the privately funded inspection companies often completely missed serious in-hospital “danger areas” that should have been identified.

In the year 2014, CMS assessed, for example, 102 hospitals which had been recently inspected. What they discovered was stunning: out of 41 serious danger areas, 39 were totally missed by the accrediting inspector teams. This discrepancy  “raises serious concerns regarding the accrediting companies ability to appropriately identify and cite health and safety deficiencies” during inspections,” CMS officials wrote when they released draft regulations this week.

Healthcare facilities are required to meet minimum standards, which are called Medicare Conditions of Participation, in order to qualify for taxpayer funding. Although it almost never happens, hospitals and clinics can lose federal Medicare reimbursement for services and be forced to close. One jarring example was the closing of the King/Drew Trauma Center in Los Angeles in 2005.

Here’s the story:

http://www.latimes.com/news/la-me-kingdrew23sep23-story.html

Here is the CMS website.

Physician Who Drowned His Wife in a Bathtub Found Dead in Utah State Prison

In the town of Draper Utah this morning Doctor Martin MacNeill, in prison for the murder of his wife Michele, was found dead at the Utah State Prison.

Dr Martin MacNeill

Utah’s Doctor Martin MacNeill, seen here at his murder trial (photo credit: KUTV)

The Utah Department of Corrections reported to news media today that MacNeill was found unconscious in the prison yard of what is called the Olympus Facility and was pronounced dead not long after. 

MacNeill, a former Utah County physician, was found guilty and sent to prison in September 2014, after his conviction of First Degree Murder of his wife, Sexual Abuse of his adult daughter and Obstruction of Justice.

 

Dr Martin & Michele MacNeill

Michele MacNeill and the medical monster who killed her

Correction Officers stated they found MacNeill, age 61, lying on the ground near the vegetable greenhouse. They followed standard protocol by starting CPR and calling Paramedics. They report he had no obvious signs of injury and never regained consciousness.

The doctor’s death will be routinely investigated by the coroner, but there was no sign he had been assaulted by anyone. 

Michele MacNeill was found dead by her daughter in their Pleasant Grove home on April 11, 2007. At the time she was recovering from cosmetic surgery at her husband’s request.  Two drugs found in her system – Oxycodone and Benadryl – were particularly curious, because they would not normally be prescribed to patients after such a surgery. The cosmetic surgeon who operated on Mrs. MacNeill testified the drugs were prescribed to her at the request of her husband. The prosecution was able to prove that the combination of drugs allowed MacNeill to drown Michele in the bathtub with little or no resistance.

Last month, the Utah Court of Appeals upheld a murder conviction of MacNeill. He would not have been eligible for parole until the year 2052.

Worldwide Recall of EpiPen, Used for Emergent Allergic Reactions, Now Includes America

The U.S. has finally joined other nations in a recall of EpiPen auto-injectors for emergency allergic reactions, as the result of the injector mechanism defect. When properly functioning, the EpiPen delivers a potentially life-saving dose of adrenalin, via a large needle.

Mylan, the company that markets the device, announced earlier this month that it was recalling about 80,000 EpiPens in Australia, Europe, Japan, and New Zealand. It reported two events when the injector failed to deliver its dose.

Proper administration involves pressing the EpiPen into a victim’s thigh, which shoots a needle through the skin and injects epinephrine into muscle.

The company announced today that it is expanding the recall not only to the United States, but also other markets in North America and South America.

In the United States, the recall applies to 13 lots of both EpiPen and EpiPen Jr. auto-injectors, distributed between December 2015-July 2016. Patients are being told theycan receive another EpiPen or an authorized generic version at their pharmacy, Mylan said. In the meantime, they are advised to continue carrying their current EpiPen until they get a replacement.

Here are the ones under recall, so check your pens carefully:

Product/Dosage

NDC Number

Lot Number

Expiration Date

EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector, 0.15 mg

49502-501-02

5GN767

April 2017

EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector, 0.15 mg

49502-501-02

5GN773

April 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

5GM631

April 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

5GM640

May 2017

EpiPen Jr Auto-Injector, 0.15 mg

49502-501-02

6GN215

September 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM082

September 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM072

September 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM081

September 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM088

October 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM199

October 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM091

October 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM198

October 2017

EpiPen Auto-Injector, 0.3 mg

49502-500-02

6GM087

October 2017

EpiPens are made by Meridian Medical Technologies, a subsidiary of Pfizer.

 

Heather Bresch Mylan CEO

Who cares if families can’t afford them? I make $400,000 a week!

You may recall the ugly pharmaceutical revelation of last year, when Mylan CEO Heather Bresch’s salary jumped 670% – from $2,453,456 to $18,931,068, during the same period the company raised EpiPen prices, from $56 to $317 – a 460% increase.

For questions, EpiPen users can reach Mylan at 800 796 9526 or email customer service at customer.service@mylan.com.

To report problems with EpiPen auto-injectors, contact MedWatch, the FDA’s safety information and adverse event reporting program, by telephone at 1-800-FDA-1088; by fax at 1-800-FDA-0178; online at https://www.accessdata.fda.gov/scripts/medwatch/medwatch-online.htm;

Here’s some background on the EpiPen drug pushers:

Another Doctor: Another Murder Case

Dr John E. Gibbs

Dr John E Gibbs

In Chesterfield County Virginia law enforcement handcuffed and took another physician off to jail this week.

When it comes to the criminal-doctor gravy train, U.S. law enforcement has been as busy in this new year as they were last year. Some things just never change.

Doctor John E. Gibbs, age 39, was arrested in Richmond, a day after he was charged by a county grand jury of Murder, in the death of his girlfriend.

Gibbs now sits behind bars on the heinous charge of First Degree Murder of nurse Zulma Pabon, age 26, who has been missing since June, 2014.

Nurse Zulma L Pabon and son

“Mom’s gone now”

Prior to Gibbs arrest, detectives learned that Zulma L Pabon was last seen leaving St. Francis Medical Center, where both she and Gibbs worked, following her shift on June 6, 2014. Her Nissan Altima was located on the other side of town, South of Richmond, several days later. They said that Gibbs never reported his girlfriend missing, and he refused to cooperate when police asked him basic questions in order to determine her whereabouts. At that time she was simply listed as a Missing Person, and the couple lived together.

Investigators are certain now – nearly 3 years later – that, although she has not been found, Ms. Pabon is dead, and the case has been reclassified from “Missing Person” to a “No Body Homicide”.

Investigators learned that Pabon had been Gibbs’ girlfriend for years, and that he was the father of her son, but according to friends and neighbors, the relationship was deteriorating.

Yesterday morning the doctor was seen in Chesterfield Circuit Court on a video conference screen as he sat in his jail cell.

Gibbs name first surfaced a year ago, in February 2016, when he was charged with Child Neglect after repeatedly leaving his 5-year-old son home alone. He was convicted in November, and was expected to be sentenced at the time of his arrest for the nurse’s Murder.

Here’s another look at this case:

http://www.richmond.com/news/local/crime/former-midlothian-doctor-charged-with-murder-in-disappearance-of-live/article_b022e116-9662-5e30-a07c-590428a10698.html

Myths in Medicine: How Many do YOU Fall For?

Code Black

Great acting? You betcha. Great healthcare? Uh . . . no.

There are few things in life goofier than the wildly inaccurate TV and movie depictions of America’s health care system. So if you ever want to see your favorite Paramedics laugh out loud – or physicians or nurses, for that matter – have them sit down and watch the adult cartoons of House, Grey’s Anatomy or Code Black. Trust us; these programs play out more science fiction than Star Trek.

Myth #5: Doctors spend days on-end focusing on one patient who happens to have a fascinating disease.

Reality: Not even in the Twilight Zone of medicine is there a “Dream Team” of genius MDs with all the time in the world to spend on one curious case. On House, for example, the fictional star of the program Gregory House, leads a team of 3 expert diagnosticians. In each episode, they take on a single weird case referred to them by other baffled physicians, and the whole team puts all their energy into figuring out the medical mystery. In real life? No such Super Hero team exists. It’s pure fantasy. 

Myth #4: Rubbing the defibrillator paddles together before we shock the patient

Time to give those defibrillator paddles a rub while the thing charges up, right?

Reality: Science fiction. Rubbing paddles together is completely pointless. 40 years ago on TV’s Emergency! they rubbed the paddles together to spread the electrode gel evenly and because it looked cool. No gel anymore, and to real medics the ‘paddle rub’ looks stupid.

Time to move into the 21st Century. We use saline pads now.

Myth #3: The White Coat at all times.

Reality: News flash! Most medical centers have been stripping medical staff of their ubiquitous white church-garb for over  10 years because they are filthy. Infection control pros report the typical lab coat worn by your favorite MD is extremely likely to harbor disease-causing bacteria and truly nasty bugs, like MRSA.

So, when Medical Miscreants started telling readers 9 years ago, to Never trust a doctor in a lab coat – we knew what we were talking about. Some lab coat bugs are nasty enough to attack kittens on your lawn. Even if the docs don’t kill you, their cooties certainly can.

Myth #2: Doctors can do anything and everything.

Reality: Nearly all medical programs over the past 35 years have been the worst culprits, peddling this particular professional-level joke.

Not only are typical MDs clueless when it comes to many skills that RNs can do with their eyes closed, they are generally and astonishingly inept at IV insertions, CT scans, analyzing Paramedics EKG strips or casting a broken bone. Thank the Lord we have lab techs, pharmacists, ultrasound pros and respiratory therapists, among a whole ton of really smart others. Ask any Paramedic: the last people we ever want to see on an emergency scene are doctors, because they rarely have the slightest idea what to do, or how to do it.

Here’s a hint you might want to wrap your brain around: the doctor is not always the smartest person at your bedside. And for that you should be very, very grateful.

Myth #1: Television viewers are pretty smart. They know that medical programs are fiction, so the procedures don’t need to be accurate.

Reality: Fictional medical programs have enormous impact on public behavior. 

Studies have consistently shown that the lay-public buys into all manner of errant medical issues, like the overt staff-drama going on around the patients (trust us: the medical staff really doesn’t care that much); patient survival after CPR (pretty much never) or ER staff running around shouting orders (pretty much never) or doctors saying “screw the rules, just save a life!” (Just as never. Trying too hard to save a life is a guaranteed fast-track to a very short career).

Health researchers have also looked at the negative impact of nurse/physician relationships portrayed in shows like Grey’s Anatomy, and how the distortion of reality confuses patients in real-time. The Center for Nursing Advocacy, for example, says the way these shows bend the truth has serious consequences in real life. When people see doctors doing all the “skill work” nurses in the real world fail to get the respect they deserve. Yet when the Center for Nursing Advocacy approach TV networks and offer to consult on scripts involving more realistic nurses, they get almost no response.

Another, perhaps more important consequence of shows like Code Black, is that people come away convinced that healthcare is more effective than it actually is.

The  movie message is that more testing is better than less; new treatments are better than the old; experimental operations offer the best hope. In fact, fewer tests are often better than more; new drugs are often worse than old drugs; and millions of surgeries are not only dangerous, but totally unnecessary.

And so, dear readers, we say again: be very careful which gods you pray to.

Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation on Television — Miracles and Misinformation (New England Journal of Medicine)

The Impact of Mass Immigration on California Healthcare

Much of California’s medical care system totters precariously on the edge of a financial cliff, and the fault of this frightening reality is – to a large extent – not of their making. The tsunami wave of illegal aliens across the Southern border over the past 25 years is the major contributing factor.

illegal_immigrants

Do you honestly believe these characters will show any gratitude at all, toward American generosity?

When is the last time you heard the news media mention that?

As countless hundreds of thousands of Latin Americans descend upon our ERs – with absolutely no way to pay for their care – hospital administrations are forced to deal with the sobering fact that they will never be able to recover the cost of the services they provide.

Which, to a very large extent, explains why a jaw-dropping 85 hospitals and/or emergency rooms in California have closed their doors since 1990.

Don’t hold your breath for that news flash, either.

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, there are 12,000,000 illegal aliens in the country. Other agencies list the number lower, at 10,000,000, or higher, at 20,000,000. One fact they all agree on: at least 30% of the uninvited have taken up sanctuary in the state of California.

disneyland_measles

Go ahead. Ask us how you could possibly get TB at Disneyland

In a bizarre twist that has all the hallmarks of an episode of the Twilight Zone, Paramedics and other medical professionals are legally forbidden to determine if patients are legal residents. So it is almost impossible to bill them. Because of this insanity, the exact number of illegal aliens treated by EMS, hospitals and walk-in clinics can only be estimated.

So if you don’t know how many are being treated, you have no accurate way to determine how much non-citizens are costing.

What is not in dispute, however, is that public hospitals up and down the west coast provide more than 50% of all outpatient treatment for the uninsured, and at least 75% of care that involves overnight stays. Collectively, they have shouldered the enormous burden of treating uninsured illegal aliens for decades, resulting in a situation both grave and often unsustainable.

As medical costs have continued to rise, revenues continue to fall, to the point where hospitals alone suffer estimated losses of $1,500,000,000 a year. Ultimately, economic reality means hospital closures, which eliminates critical care in communities large and small.

So 84 hospitals have already closed, and more are considering closure.

Another exasperating factor in the crisis is the Emergency Medical Treatment and Active Labor Act (EMTALA) which mandates that patients cannot be turned away by EMS teams or from any emergency room. EMTALA laws simply ignore the costs hospitals and ambulance companies must absorb, making it an unfunded – and therefore untenable – regulation.

Another rarely-discussed fact is that illegal immigration exposes American citizensand caregivers – to diseases which were largely eliminated in this country years ago, but are endemic in immigrants’ countries, such as drug resistant tuberculosis, malaria and leprosy. Paramedics and ER staff are now forced to receive an unending litany of prophylactic inoculations. And these shots come with their own risks.

Beyond the knee-jerk reaction by unthinking protesters, the fact is, there is nothing either anti-immigrant, or racist, about a nation insisting upon controlled, well-managed immigration. No successful society has ever allowed unfettered access by millions.

Out-of-control migration creates overpopulation in burgeoning cities, and many of these people are physically – or mentally – unwell. The non-stop influx of people not being physically examined before entry for contagious diseases, mental or emotional incapacities to function in a civil society, will without question expose Americans to unknown health risks. So from the healthcare perspective alone, the need to enforce immigration law is so obvious that any argument is mindless.

One dire outcome seems unavoidable: if nothing is done to reverse mass migration into a finite society, public healthcare may well become  the next American institution to disappear.

Kind of like the public phone booth.

The impossible nirvana of any single nation absorbing the world’s indigents, will injure the low-income and then middle-income citizenry first. Routine and even emergent care will become a luxury available for those with plenty of money, or excellent insurance.

So the medical formula for the near future? It just might become stunningly simple:

Allowing everyone who wants to cross our borders to do so? Only the wealthy will be healthy.