Plans are underway to bring back the two American aid workers sick with Ebola from Africa.
A small private jet based in Atlanta has been dispatched to Liberia where the two Americans work for missionary groups. Officials say the jet is outfitted with a special, portable tent designed for transporting patients with highly infectious diseases.
The U.S. State Department and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are helping to arrange the evacuation.
“The safety and security of U.S. citizens is our paramount concern,” said the State Department spokeswoman Marie Harf, in a statement released Friday morning. “Every precaution is being taken to move the patients safely and securely.”
In the 1960s, more than 40 percent of Americans smoked. Now, that’s down to 18 percent. Not only are fewer people smoking, heavy smokers are consuming fewer cigarettes.
“We are winning the war,” Koval says. “I guess from my perspective, we’d rather win the war faster.”
She says the overall numbers mask a huge cultural variation.
“I live in Washington, D.C.; we have a low smoking rate here. But if you go to a place like West Virginia, which has the highest smoking rate in the country, the behavior feels completely normalized,” Koval says.
New York is known to be home to many of the world’s top hospitals. There are top doctors in every specialty and plastic surgery is no exception. However, did you know that any practicing medical doctor can try his hand at plastic surgery?
All that’s needed in New York to practice plastic surgery is a shingle saying you’re a licensed physician. That means you can get a gynecologist doing tummy tucks, face lifts, and breast augmentation surgeries in their offices as PIX11 found:
In New York, it is legal for any type of doctor to do any type of cosmetic procedure. And they can do them in non-inspected operating rooms, provided they only use local anesthesia and “mild sedation.”
Liposuction amounts must be kept below 500 ml, or about 2 cups.
But there is absolutely no inspection of these sites, no enforcing of the drug or lipo rules, by anyone.
Shahine, who does liposuction, breast implant and other surgeries has never had his OR inspected or accredited as safe or sanitary, according to the New York State Health Department.
“Office-based surgery suites that do significant operations should be accredited,” said Dr. Hector Vila, a board-certified anesthesiologist who is part of one of the accrediting agencies that inspects office-based surgery centers.
Vila is sounding the alarm about uninspected OR’s, warning that doctors can be putting patients’ lives at risk.
“Surgical offices are trying to do the bigger operations by skirting around the rules by using large doses of local anesthesia, doing multiple surgeries,” he said. “Those large doses of local anesthesia can result in toxicity … there’ve been deaths here in Florida.”
You read that bit right. There’s no need for a surgical suite. There’s no need for anethesiologists, particularly when the law specifies that procedures can be done that way unless you use more than a given quantity of anesthetic (but who’s checking?). There’s no requirement that plastic surgeons have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, and the location where the doctor does his procedures does not have to be equipped as one would expect a surgical suite to be.
All of these revelations are troubling enough, but compare the outrage generated by the lack of regulation on plastic surgery with the vitriol and harsh restrictions put in place by the pro life movement on abortion clinics and the people who work there.
There were 14.6 million cosmetic plastic surgeries performed in 2012, which includes 1.6 cosmetic surgical procedures like breast augmentation, face lifts, or tummy tucks. More than 13 million were minimally invasive procedures that include botox, soft tissue fillers, and chemical peels.
For 2011 (the most recent year I could find), there were 1.06 million abortions performed.
The Pro-Life movement has repeatedly claimed that they’re enacting laws that protect the lives of the women by requiring that facilities be equipped in the same fashion as hospitals, that doctors have admitting privileges, and other onerous requirements that have the effect of shuttering abortion clinics in states that have adopted TRAP laws.
Yet, none of these TRAP requirements have been extended to plastic surgery mills where facilities are loosely regulated, the doctors can do tremendous damage, and the death rate for the women seeking out these procedures is far higher than the complication rate from the abortion clinics.
Proponents of the TRAP laws claim that these restrictions are necessary for the health and safety of the women seeking abortions in the state. As I’ve previously noted (in relation to the Texas TRAP law SB 5 debate), abortion procedures are exceptionally safe - and far safer than plastic surgery.
Based on CDC statistics, there were six fatalities out of 827,609 abortions reported to the CDC in 2007 (the last year for which I had figures), which translates to a fatality rate of 1 per 137,000 procedures. Natural childbirth or c-sections have a fatality rate of 12.7 per 100,000. That’s nearly 13 times worse (and there are parts of the country and demographic breakdowns where the fatality rate is even higher than that).
The fatality rate from plastic surgical procedures is nearly 20 times higher than the rate for abortions at 19.1 per 100,000 procedures.
So, if the pro-lifers really cared about the women who seek out medical care, they’d focus on improving the care and facilities that do plastic surgeries, often by doctors who are not even board-certified for plastic surgery.
But as we’ve seen time and again, the TRAP laws and claims of enacting these laws for the health and safety of women have little to do with the safety and well being of women, and everything to do with forcing abortion clinics to shutter and making it impossible to carry out abortions that are legal. They are more concerned with the fetus (or embryo or zygote, depending on how extreme the anti-abortion position - where they consider life to start), and see the woman as merely the vessel for carrying the fetus to term, with no support once the woman gives birth. While the pace of new TRAP laws has slowed this year, the cumulative effect of the recent spate of TRAP laws has been to restrict access to abortions in those states that have enacted them. 26 states have some form of TRAP laws on their books. Of those 26 states, 13 specify the size of procedure rooms, 13 specify corridor width, 11 states require facilities to be a certain distance from a hospital, 9 states require the facility to have an agreement with local hospital to transfer patients should complications arise, and 15 states place unnecessary requirements on doctors who perform the procedures, including requiring admitting procedures or an alternative arrangement or one that requires the clinician to be a board-certified obstetrician-gynecologist or eligible for certification.
There are things that women can do to protect themselves from unscrupulous plastic surgeons by checking credentials with American Board of Plastic Surgery or similar credentialing groups - they require periodic re-certification.
Last January Salma Jaffar was shot while she was going door to door in Karachi, giving children drops of the polio vaccine.
“Even when they took out the pistol, I couldn’t understand why he was taking out the gun,” Jaffar says of the two men who pulled up on a motorcycle and started shooting at the vaccination team.
“But when he opened fire, that is when I thought it was the end of the life,” she says. “My first thought was that I won’t be able to see my children again.”
Salma Jaffar was shot four times while vaccinating children in Karachi last January. She survived. But more than 60 polio workers have been killed in Pakistan over the past two years.
Jaffar was shot four times: twice in her arm and twice in her chest. She spent the next three weeks in an intensive care unit.
The stark disparities among regions of the country, where some wait months while others, if they survive, wait years for a liver, has kept a national debate simmering over how best to give all patients a more equal chance.
That debate appears ready to boil.
A committee report by two organizations responsible for managing the nation’s transplant system has been circulating through the transplant community this summer. It suggests ways to equalize access to donor livers across the country.
Redesigning the distribution system would mean more donor livers would end up being flown to distant transplant hospitals and patients on average would be somewhat sicker when those livers were transplanted.
But overall, the changes would save more than 550 lives over five years.
The report, which could lead to proposed policy changes early next year, is being applauded by many in the transplant community. But it’s raising red flags at some transplant programs, like KU’s, that are doing well under the current system.
Climate Change Is Causing Spread of Diseases, Sewage, Invasive Insects
Wingnuts at the border are worried about diseases from refugee children but their unwarranted fears of brown kids are laughable compared to what’s really going on.
Parasites invade the Arctic—and your brain
Warmer temperatures in typically cold regions is causing both rare and common diseases to spread further. Cases of malaria and dengue fever—mostly found in Africa and the Asia-Pacific—are expected to rise as warming temperatures attract mosquitoes, which transmit the diseases, to formerly cold regions. The largest international authority on climate change, the IPCC, said in its 2013 report that “even modest warming may drive large increases in transmission of malaria, if conditions are otherwise suitable.” Certain rare parasites could spread, too. Scientists are still studying the water-borne Naegleria fowleri, known as a brain-eating amoeba, but say its movement farther north could be due to climate change. There were only 34 known cases in the U.S. in the last decade, but it kills nearly 100 percent of the time—including a 9-year-old girl in Kansas last week. Before 2010, half the cases were in southern states, but it’s since been found as far north as Minnesota, Scientific American noted. Other parasites, like the Toxoplasma gondii, carried by animals and known to harm humans with weak immune systems, have moved into even colder areas as far as the Arctic
The whole kerfuffle comes down to poorly worded phrasing in the section of the ACA that is under dispute. But really, as Ezra points out, the fundamental purpose of the ACA - the reason it was passed - was to provide assistance to people to buy health insurance if they can’t afford it on their own. That’s the intent of the law. And intent, whether it be of a state legislature, Congress, or the framers of the Constitution, has been a guiding principal in Supreme Court decisions since the dawn of the Republic.
For what it’s worth, if the SCOTUS does take this case (and some have suggested they may not), while the ideologically driven/insane justices like Scalia would probably uphold the appeals court panel decision, the others would clearly see what the intent of the law is, and rule accordingly.
So once again, all the right wing end zone dances - like the ones we’ve seen over Benghazi, the IRS “scandal,” Fast & Furious…even the birther stuff - will have been premature.
And yet, antioxidant pills have proven to be a bust. In February, a group of independent US medical researchers assessed 10 years of supplement research and found that pills loaded with vitamin E and beta-carotene (the stuff that gives color to carrots and other orange vegetables) pills are at best useless and at worst harmful—that is, they may trigger lung cancer in some people. Just this month, a meta-analysis published in the New England Journal of Medicine found that antioxidant supplements “do not prevent cancer and may accelerate it.”
And a 2009 study found that taking antioxidant supplements before exercise actually negates most of the well-documented benefits of physical exertion: That is, taking an antioxidant pill before a run is little better than doing neither and just sitting on the couch.
An appellate court ruling issued Tuesday would be very bad news for the Affordable Care Act if it became the law of the land. But it’s still a long way from a settled issue, as a second appellate decision, issued a few hours later, highlighted.
In the first ruling, Halbig v. Burwell, the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals found that federal dollars used to make health insurance more affordable for middle-income Americans can be used only in the handful of states that created their own insurance marketplaces. The subsidies, which come in the form of tax credits, could not be used in the 36 states that use the federal insurance exchange, it said. Then the Fourth Circuit Court of Appeals, another federal court overseeing a different region of the country, found the exact opposite in King v. Burwell, ruling that the tax credits could be offered in every state of the country.
The disagreement, called a circuit split, means that we are still a long way from any possible concrete actions. The cases will be appealed further, either for reconsideration by the appeals courts that issued the ruling, or go to the Supreme Court. The Obama administration will not reconsider its regulations, which interpreted the law to say that tax credits could be offered in every state, until the case is final. Because of the time involved, the approximately 5 million people in those states who have already signed up for insurance using the subsidies will almost certainly continue to receive them this year, although it is theoretically possible that they could be pulled back by the courts.
Healthcare reform is President Obama’s signature piece of domestic legislation, and also his most controversial, with strong political opposition and continuing legal challenges. But millions have signed up for “Obamacare” in its first year, gaining access to medical care they previously could not afford.
“I am so happy,” says Sizemore as she waits at the Grace Community Health Centre in Clay County, Kentucky, “I’ve not had insurance since I turned 19.”
“I’ll go to the hospital only in an emergency,” says Sizemore, who is still paying off the $10,000 bill for removing her appendix two years ago.
But governor Steven Beshear thinks that’s unlikely. “We now have 421,000 Kentuckians who are also voters signed up for the law and liking what they are getting,” he says.
And the Governor suggests opponents of Obamacare face a predicament. “They want to be critical of the president and his administration, but at the same time they want those 421,000 votes,” he says, “so they’re not going to take away that coverage from those folks.”
“I’ll go to the hospital only in an emergency,” says Sizemore, who is still paying off the $10,000 bill for removing her appendix two years ago.