Health and Medical News and Resources

General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

A safety checklist for patients

From the 15 March 2012 posting at The Health Care Blog

Far too many patients are harmed rather than helped from their interactions with the health care system. While reducing this harm has proven to be devilishly difficult, we have found that checklists help. Checklists help to reduce ambiguity about what to do, to prioritize what is most important, and to clarify the behaviors that are most helpful.
The use of checklists helped to reduce central-line associated bloodstream infections at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, in hospitals throughout Michigan, and now across the United States. Clinicians have begun to develop, implement and evaluate checklists for a variety of other diagnoses and procedures.
Patients can also use checklists to defend themselves against the major causes of preventable harm. Here are a few you can use:

The posting goes on to include short checklists for use in hospitals, clinics, and doctor offices.

To help reduce harm, clinicians must partner with patients and families.  Patients can use this checklist, as well as the information and tools listed below, to help keep them safe.
20 Tips to Help Prevent Medical Errors(Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality)
Don’t Become the Victim of a Surgical Error (CNN)
Medical Errors: Tips to Help Prevent Them (American Academy of Family Physicians)
My Health Notebook (Johns Hopkins Medicine)
Patient Handbook (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Patient Safety Video (Johns Hopkins Hospital)
Patient Safety Checklists (Campaign Zero: Families for Patient Safety)
Taking Charge of Your Healthcare (Consumers Advancing Patient Safety)

March 21, 2012 Posted by | health care | , | 1 Comment

Unregulated supplements are a tragedy

Calcium dietary supplement tablets.

Calcium dietary supplement tablets. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who knows how many other unexplained deaths and near-deaths can be attributed to the vast experiment foisted upon an unwary American populace by such drugs — I mean, “supplements”?

Thanks to 1994′s Hatch Act, the Dietary Supplement Health and Education Act (DSHEA), pushed through Congress and released upon a then-unprotesting public by Utah’s Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT), substances which may be benign, toxic, and everything in between, as long as they are sold as “dietary nutritional supplements,” get a virtual free pass…

A “Perspective” article in a recent New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Pieter Cohen called for a tightening — no, not even that, merely actually enforcing the law as written — by having the FDA demand that, instead of pleading with, the supplement manufacturers supply the agency with at least the legal minimum of data on their products’ safety.

Some have responded with protests over “Big Government” intervention.

One of these days some supplement, contaminated or virginal, will kill a bunch of naive customers, and cries will ring out over their lax regulation.

Responsible public health authorities should effect long overdue legal and regulatory control over this millions-strong, uncontrolled experiment before such a tragedy forces their hands.

  • Drugs, Supplements, and Herbal Information (MedlinePlus)

    Learn about your prescription drugs and over-the-counter medicines. Includes side effects, dosage, special precautions, and more.Browse dietary supplements and herbal remedies to learn about their effectiveness, usual dosage, and drug interactions.

  • Dietary Supplements Labels Database 

    Information about label ingredients in more than 6,000 selected brands of dietary supplements. It enables users to compare label ingredients in different brands. Information is also provided on the “structure/function” claims made by manufacturers.

    These claims by manufacturers have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Companies may not market as dietary supplements any products that are intended to diagnose, treat, cure or prevent any disease.

March 21, 2012 Posted by | Consumer Health | , | Leave a comment


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