Archive for the ‘health’ Category

Lack of helmet, immediate medical care, helicopter cost Natasha Richardson her life

March 21, 2009

Natasha Richardson hit her head in a ski acident Monday and died — but there is a little more to the story than that.

The Sun Newspaper said that the actress was asked to wear a helmet but declined.
http://www.thesun.co.uk/sol/home
page/showbiz/bizarre/article2332602.ece

Your head is something like an egg shell.  Hit the head and if the skull remains solid, the inside can still explode in a hemorrhage, putting pressure on the inside of the skull.  Without relief, that pressure can be deadly.

Richardson was not wearing a helmet, which is common.  Wearing of helmets is not required by law for skiers.

The first ambulance sent to a ski resort where actress Natasha Richardson fell and suffered a head injury was turned away, a paramedic told a Canadian newspaper.
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/
nationworld/sns-ap-canada-richardso
n-paramedics,0,7126739.story?track=rss

Add to that the fact that there was no helicopter service to send Richardson to the proper care unit….

CNN:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBI
Z/Movies/03/20/richardson.tribute/index.html

On March 26, 2009, in the New York Post, Dr, Cory Franklin wrote:

Canadian health care de-emphasizes widespread dissemination of technology like CT scanners and quick access to specialists like neurosurgeons. While all the facts of Richardson’s medical care haven’t been released, enough is known to pose questions with profound implications.

Richardson died of an epidural hematoma — a bleeding artery between the skull and brain that compresses and ultimately causes fatal brain damage via pressure buildup. With prompt diagnosis by CT scan, and surgery to drain the blood, most patients survive.

Could Richardson have received this care? Where it happened in Canada, no. In many US resorts, yes.

http://www.nypost.com/seven/03262009/post
opinion/opedcolumnists/canadacare_ma
y_have_killed_natasha_161372.htm

**********************

By MESFIN FEKADU, Associated Press Writer

As a steady stream of celebrities pay their last respects to Natasha Richardson, questions are arising over whether a medical helicopter might have been able to save the ailing actress.

The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal‘s top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson’s death.

“It’s impossible for me to comment specifically about her case, but what I could say is … driving to Mont Tremblant from the city (Montreal) is a 2 1/2-hour trip, and the closest trauma center is in the city. Our system isn’t set up for traumas and doesn’t match what’s available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States,” said Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre, which represents six of Montreal’s hospitals.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/200
90321/ap_on_en_mo/natasha_richardson

Related from CNN on head injury:
http://edition.cnn.com/2009/SHOWBIZ
/Movies/03/19/richardson.paramedi
cs/index.html

http://michellemalkin.com/2009/0
3/27/did-canadacare-kill-natasha-richardson/

In this Dec. 4, 2006 file photo, actors Natasha Richardson, ... 
In this Dec. 4, 2006 file photo, actors Natasha Richardson, left, and her husband Liam Neeson arrive to the premiere of ‘Dreamgirls’ at the Ziegfeld Theatre in New York. Richardson, 45, died Wednesday March 18, 2009 in New York.(AP Photo/Paul Hawthorne, file)

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Methamphetamine use costs U.S. $23 billion a year

February 4, 2009

Methamphetamine use costs the United States about $23.4 billion a year considering lost lives and productivity, drug treatment, law enforcement expenses and other factors, according to a report released on Wednesday.

Methamphetamine, also called meth, is a highly addictive stimulant that users inject, snort, smoke or swallow. A form called crystal meth looks like fragments of glass and is smoked using a glass pipe like those used to smoke crack cocaine.

By Will Dunham, Reuters

The report by the nonprofit RAND Corporation found that costs relating to the 900 people who died from using meth in 2005 and the addiction of many thousands of others accounted for two-thirds of the total economic burden.

“Our study represents the most comprehensive assessment so far of the economic costs of meth use in the United States. It shows the impact of methamphetamine is substantial,” RAND economist Nancy Nicosia said in a telephone interview.

Arresting, prosecuting and incarcerating methamphetamine users plus the economic cost of various crimes they commit amounted to $4.2 billion in 2005, according to the report.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/2009020
4/hl_nm/us_methamphetamine_usa

Senators question Daschle’s late tax filing

February 1, 2009

Republican and Democratic senators on Sunday questioned how former Sen. Tom Daschle could make a $128,203 mistake on his taxes but said they were not prepared to oppose his nomination as health secretary.

“You have to be troubled by it,” said Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the No. 2 Republican in the Senate.

“We’ll have to question former Sen. Daschle and understand his explanation, and then have a conversation about it and see where it goes,” Kyl said on “Fox News Sunday.” As to how much trouble the tax issue could present for the nomination, he said, “I think it’s too early to tell.”

By DOUGLASS K. DANIEL, Associated Press

Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen ... 
Angry Republican senators, including Jon Kyl of Arizona, seen here in a 2008 Fox News Sunday(FNS) handout, vowed Thursday to put up a fight against President Barack Obama’s economic stimulus bill after the package passed the House of Representatives with no opposition support.(AFP/FNS-HO/File)

Daschle recently filed amended tax returns to report $128,203 in back taxes and $11,964 in interest. The amended returns reflect additional income for consulting work, the use of a car service and reduced deductions for charitable contributions.

The South Dakota Democrat, once the majority leader of the Senate, was scheduled to meet privately Monday with the Senate Finance Committee.

Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky said he was surprised that Daschle had not paid his taxes properly but would not say whether he thought the nomination was in trouble. He said the committee will make a recommendation to the full Senate. “I think I’m going to just wait until they give me their opinion,” he told CBS’ “Face the Nation.”

Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., said the problem could disqualify Daschle but that he wanted to learn more about the matter.

“It’s disheartening, obviously. People are struggling to pay taxes on a very small amount of income and he’s got this huge amount,” DeMint said on ABC’s “This Week.”

Sen. Susan Collins, a Maine Republican, also said the tax problem was a concern and needed more explaining, telling CNN’s “State of the Union” that it involved “an awful lot of money” but that she had not decided to vote against confirmation.

On the Democratic side, Sen. Ben Nelson of Nebraska called it “a tough issue” and said he was waiting to hear the results of the meeting between Daschle and the Finance Committee.

“I’m not prepared at this point in time to vote no,” Nelson told CNN.

The Senate‘s No. 2 Democrat, Dick Durbin of Illinois, defended Daschle but said skepticism, even cynicism, about Daschle not paying his taxes was understandable.

“But if you know Tom Daschle, you know better,” Durbin said on Fox. “He’s found himself having made a mistake and admitted to it. He took the steps necessary to start paying the taxes, make sure they’re paid. Now, that’s the right thing to do. I believe Tom Daschle’s one of the most honest people I’ve ever known or worked with in public life.”

Daschle, chosen by President Obama to lead the administration’s health initiatives, is the second Cabinet nominee to scramble to pay back taxes. Timothy Geithner’s confirmation as treasury secretary was delayed after it was revealed that he had failed to pay more than $34,000 in taxes.

Obama’s first choice for commerce secretary, New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, took his name out of consideration when his confirmation appeared headed toward complications because of a grand jury investigation over how state contracts were issued to political donors.

“President Obama wanted to have a very ethical administration starting out and so on, but I think he’s seeing how hard it is to avoid these kind of problems,” Kyl said. “And I just wonder, if President Bush had nominated these people, what folks would be saying about that.”

************

Later on Sunday on “Meet the Press” (NBC) Senator Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) also said she had concerns about Mr. Daschle, even though she said, “I like him personally.”

Meet the Press transcript:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/28964188/

Related:
 If Bush Had Nominated Daschle, Would He Have Been Confirmed?

If Bush Had Nominated Daschle, Would He Have Been Confirmed?

February 1, 2009

Senator Jon Kyle (R-AZ) asked on the Chris Wallace Sunday morning news show, “If Former Senator Tom Daschle had been nominated by President George W. Bush, would he have been confirmed?”

Mr. Daschle apparently failed to pay his full income taxes.

Kyle associated Daschle with Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, who also had a failure to pay due taxes problem, Commerce Secretary nominee Bill Richardson, who withdrew his name while his state was under a grand jury investigation, and Mr. Bill Lynn, the nominee for Deputy Secretary of Defense, who was a lobbyist.

Daschle’s troubles are of concern because President Obama promised that he would uphold the highest standard of ethics and he would bar lobbyists from his administration.

William Krisol also said on the Fox news broadcast, “Daschle is a ‘limousine liberal’ that doesn’t even pay his taxes.”

Daschle also accepted more than $200,000 from health care groups for speeches; a possible conflict of interest.

Related:
Daschle Knew of Tax Issues Last June, Raising Questions on Obama Vetting Process, Ethics

The president’s pick for health secretary, Tom Daschle, failed to pay $128,000 in taxes. Photo: Brendan Smialowski for The New York Times

http://www.bigbook.eu/senators-questi
on-daschles-late-tax-filing

New Congress, President But Abortion Issue Lives On

January 27, 2009

As the new Congress and President Obamna settled into the start of their second week in office, a lively debate on abortion again threated peace in Washington DC.

After House Republican leader John Boehner, R-Ohio, asked the exact nature of “family planning” money in the stimulus bill, and how that might stimulate the economy, President Obama apparently asked House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to remove that funding from the bill.

Rep. Eric Cantor of Virginia, the House Republican whip, had called Obama’s initial support of Pelosi’s family planning issue “divisive.”

On ABC’s “This Week” with George Stephanopoulos   House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was challenged by the host on the issue and she said she had “no apologies.”
.

Pelosi, who has said in the past she is a Roman Catholic, has also been attacked in the past on her pontificating on the subject of abortion.

And now abortion is center stage as Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Kansas Republican, introduced legislation Monday requiring that 30 minutes before performing an abortion, the doctor give the woman a chance to see a sonogram and get a copy of the image. If fetal heart monitoring is done, the woman would have a right to listen.

The Roman Catholic Church has already criticized President Obama on his decision to release funding to agencies that support abortions.  In the statement from the Vatican, Archbishop Rino Fisichella criticized “the arrogance of someone who believes they are right, in signing a decree which will open the door to abortion and thus to the destruction of human life.”

*******

Associated Press
.
The House Judiciary Committee’s chairman has opened the Legislature’s annual debate on abortion with what he calls a “woman’s right to know and see” bill.

Rep. Lance Kinzer, an Olathe Republican, introduced legislation Monday requiring that 30 minutes before performing an abortion, the doctor give the woman a chance to see a sonogram and get a copy of the image. If fetal heart monitoring is done, the woman would have a right to listen.

“There is no better way to know the physiological development than to see,” Kinzer said. “This bill is a sincere attempt by those of us on the pro-life side to find an area where we can have some consensus.”

Read the rest:
http://www.thekansan.com/news/x1278519542
/Anti-abortion-measure-introduced-in-House

Related:
Critics of Obama “Arrogance” on Life and Death Issues
.
Birth Control is Part of Economic ‘Stimulus,’ Where Is My Viagra?

China warns of “grim” fight against deadly bird flu

January 21, 2009

China faces a “grim” situation in preventing and controlling human cases of bird flu, the health minister said, after announcing four human infections in the last two weeks and three deaths.

Health Minister Chen Zhu called for hospitals to spare more resources in diagnosing and treating bird flu and more cooperation between agriculture authorities and his ministry, Xinhua news agency said.

Reuters

A Chinese newspaper reported that the mother of a toddler diagnosed with bird flu had died of severe pneumonia earlier this month, but no samples had been taken to see if she had bird flu. She had been in contact with poultry before her death.

The toddler, and the three recent fatalities, have all fallen ill in areas where there have been no known cases of bird flu in birds. China vaccinates heavily for bird flu, raising concerns among some experts that the vaccines could be masking the presence of the virus.

A child feeds pigeons in Beijing. China sought Wednesday to ... 
A child feeds pigeons in Beijing. China sought Wednesday to allay fears over the threat of a bird flu pandemic after three people died from the disease this month and a fourth person remained critically ill.(AFP/Liu Jin)

“The current cases are separate cases. There’s no connection,” Shu Yuelong, vice director of virus control and prevention with the National Centre for Disease Control and Prevention, was quoted by Xinhua as saying.

“But these cases warn us to improve prevention and supervision over the epidemic and ensure early detection and diagnosis when new cases are found.”

The H5N1 strain of flu remains largely a virus among birds, but experts fear it could change into a form that is easily transmitted among humans and could spark a pandemic that could kill millions worldwide.

Since the H5N1 virus resurfaced in Asia in 2003, it has infected 391 people, killing 247 of them, according to WHO figures released in mid-December.

At least 34 people have been infected in China and 23 have died.

(Reporting by Lucy Hornby; Editing by Nick Macfie)

Russia Confronts Prospect of Real Political Instability

January 3, 2009

Uncertainty is creeping up on Russia. For the first time since Vladimir Putin‘s rise to power, Moscow confronts the prospect of real political instability. One of Russia’s savviest politicians, Anatoly Chubais, said last month that the likelihood of serious turmoil — economic, social and even political — is 50 percent.

The current crisis is global, and there is no sure way to forecast its length or depth. Such uncertainty would be disturbing in any country but is especially alarming here. For years, Putin steadily eliminated all political threats to his power, and by the end of his second term as president he enjoyed absolute authority. Now that authority is being challenged by forces beyond his control.

By Masha Lipman
The Washington Post

Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here, warned Ukraine ... 
Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, seen here, warned Ukraine on Wednesday of “severe consequences” if it disrupted gas supplies to Europe, as another New Year’s Eve energy dispute went down to the wire.(AFP/RIA/File/Alexey Nikolsky)

Putin was blessed with rising energy prices that enabled him to build his oil-greased authoritarianism. He delivered generously to the nation, and the people readily withdrew from politics and rewarded him with high approval ratings. Likewise, the Russian elite stayed loyal, since the abundant oil revenue produced lucrative opportunities….

Read the rest:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/c
ontent/article/2009/01/02/AR20090102
02080.html?hpid=opinionsbox1

Gaza health risk as sewage floods streets as Israeli attacks continue

January 2, 2009

Fears of a public health crisis in Gaza grew today as sewage started flooding into the streets because of a shortage of fuel to run pumps.

By Tim Butcher at Israel’s Erez crossing into Gaza
Telegraph (UK)
The waste leak added to controversy over the humanitarian situation with growing international anger at Israel’s refusal to accept there is a crisis.

Sewage has long been a major concern in Gaza where the antiquated pumping system is held together with a fragile network of temporary pumps and generators.

Oxfam reported the north Gazan town of Beit Hanoun was experiencing serious sewage flooding after generators that run the local pumping station ran out of diesel.

Israel is not allowing diesel into the Gaza Strip although it does allow in some industrial diesel for Gaza’s sole power station to run for a few hours each day.

The amount of industrial diesel allowed in by Israel is considerably less than the delivery ordered by the Israeli supreme court after an action brought by human rights campaigners.

Sadi Ali, project manager for the Palestinian Water Authority, said the health risk from sewage on the streets was clear.

“There is a risk of the spread of all sorts of water borne diseases such as dysentery and cholera,” he said.

Read the rest:
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleea
st/israel/4076787/Gaza-health-risk-as-sewage-floods-
streets-as-Israeli-attacks-continue.html

Dangerous drug combos pose risk for elderly

December 24, 2008

Older adults in the United States are popping prescription pills, over-the-counter drugs and dietary supplements in record numbers, and in combinations that could be deadly, U.S. researchers said on Tuesday.

They said more than half of U.S. adults aged 57 to 85 are using five or more prescription or non-prescription drugs, and one in 25 are taking them in combinations that could cause dangerous drug interactions.

“Older adults in the United States use medicine and they use a lot of it,” said Dr. Stacy Tessler Lindau of the University of Chicago Medical Center in Illinois, whose study appears in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“While medications are often beneficial, they are not always safe,” she said in a telephone interview.

By Julie Steenhuysen
Reuters

She noted a recent report that estimated U.S. adults over 65 make up more than 175,000 emergency department visits a year for adverse drug reactions, and commonly prescribed drugs accounted for a third of these visits.

For the study, Lindau teamed up with Dima Qato, a pharmacist and researcher at the University of Chicago. They used data from a national survey of adults aged 57 to 85 and interviews with nearly 3,000 people in their homes to get a read on the medications they used on a regular basis.

They analyzed potential interactions among the top 20 prescription and over-the-counter drugs and the top 20 dietary supplements, and found that 68 percent of adults surveyed who took prescription drugs also used over-the-counter drugs or dietary supplements.

Men in the 75 to 85-year-old age group were at the highest risk, they said. “One in 10 men between the ages of 75 to 85 were at risk for a drug-to-drug interaction,” Qato said in a telephone interview.

Read the rest:
http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20081223/
hl_nm/us_usa_drugs_interaction

Health clinics overwhelmed by cholera cases in Zimbabwe

December 10, 2008

In Zimbabwe, a cholera epidemic is claiming hundreds of lives.  The medical system has totally broken down.  Western aid agencies have arrived in force after the Mugabe regime reluctantly appealed for international help last week. They are flying in medics, medicines and equipment.

******

The room suddenly fell silent. The local health official momentarily stopped his briefing of aid workers visiting the cholera treatment centre in Chitungwiza, a township 20 miles from Harare.

Right outside the open window four labourers in latex gloves were loading a rigid corpse, trussed up in black plastic sheeting, on to a pick-up truck that had come to take it away for burial.

It was a sight that reinforced the message of the official dramatically. Here in Chitungwiza, as in many other communities across Zimbabwe, the cholera epidemic is overwhelming the skeletal remains of social services.

The corpses of two other victims lay wrapped in blankets in the makeshift mortuary of the centre, which is in the former maternity unit of the clinic. Their deaths raised the total in this wretched, densely populated township to more than 80.

By Martin Fletcher
The Times (UK)

A baby drinks water from her mother's hand in Harare, Zimbabwe ... 
A baby drinks water from her mother’s hand in Harare, Zimbabwe Monday, Dec. 8, 2008. European Union nations moved to tighten sanctions against Zimbabwe’s government on Monday and stood united in calling for the country’s authoritarian leader Robert Mugabe to ‘step down.’ The move was to protest the deteriorating humanitarian situation in Zimbabwe, where a cholera outbreak is claiming thousands of live due to poor state of health care there. .(AP Photo/Tsvangirayi Mukwazhi)

Read the rest:
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/w
orld/africa/article5315386.ece