In the OR, Nobody Can Hear You Scream…

Study: 100 patients a day in USA wake up during surgery: “Anesthesia failure that allows a patient to wake up during surgery, paralyzed and unable to cry for help, occurs 100 times a day in the USA, a study reports Monday.

The rate is similar to those documented by previous international studies, but many doctors have long questioned the prevalence. This is the first time in more than 30 years that the problem has been quantified in U.S. hospitals.

These findings, and the results of two similar trials also to be released today, led the Food and Drug Administration late Friday to broaden its approval of a device it says has reduced the risk of patients waking up during surgery. The BIS monitor, which is used in one-third of U.S. hospitals, turns the brain’s EEG waves into a number that can tell anesthesiologists at a glance how deeply a patient is sedated.” —USAToday [via blather]


Annals of the Age of Depravity (cont’d.):

While he was patient in local hospital ICU, ex-sheriff’s toenails torn out: “Local authorities are requesting charges against a Three Rivers Healthcare contracted employee for allegedly pulling out the toenails of former Wayne County sheriff Nathan Hale while he was a patient in the intensive care unit.” —Daily American Republic [Missouri] via walker

Three Rivers Healthcare is owned by Tenet, along with HCA and Universal one of the gigantic, ruthless, impersonal for-profit hospital ownership corporations that represent the future of American healthcare (unless you boycott them in favor of either locally-managed community hospitals or nonprofit, often university-affiliated facilities). The alleged culprit in this case was a contract worker, a ‘temp’ in other words, and it is not much of a stretch to relate the likelihood of events like this to the low morale at corporate-owned hospitals, leading to poorer staff complements and staff retention, the hiring of less qualified employees at every level to shave costs, and poorer supervision. I work for a Universal hospital, and have previously written about its irresponsible admissions policies designed to fill all beds without concern for the clinical appropriateness of a given admission. I have also warned readers that if your loved one is admitted to a Universal facility, it is corporate policy that the hospital cannot honor any advanced directives (Do Not Resuscitate [DNR] wishes). I would not be surprised if a similar policy exists at Tenet and HCA hospitals as well.


Day of the Spoiler

If I can’t win, nobody will: “It could be considered comic, this abyss at the Lieberman grassroots. It could be, that is, if Lieberman showed any signs of going away. Instead, he’s been ramping up: launching a splashy new tax plan; publishing a dowloadable campaign book, Leading With Integrity: A Fresh Start for America, and an accompanying website; kicking off a campaign tour—all just this past week. And that’s not funny. Because it’s not too early to predict that if the Democrats lose the presidential election next November, Lieberman will be the one to blame. That will certainly be so if he ends up becoming the nominee—in which case the Democratic Party will be left without an activist base. …Perversely, it might even be worse for the Democratic Party if he fails.” —Village Voice


US elections 2004

“Welcome to the brand new Guardian Unlimited weblog, US Vote 2004. I know, it is not a particularly original name. If you can do better, suggest another name. There might even be a small prize for anyone who comes up with a name we choose to adopt.

This blog will be devoted to discussing the US elections 2004, with a particular focus on the presidential race. As the campaign progresses you will be hearing from the Guardian‘s correspondents in the US, its London-based commentators, and various members of the Guardian Unlimited news team.

We also want to hear from you.”


R.I.P. Sek Yi

Cambodian Tiger Hunter, Said to Be 122, Dies: “A Cambodian tiger hunter and martial arts exponent believed to be the world’s oldest person has died peacefully in his sleep after a brief illness, his relatives said on Monday.

Having survived the horrors of the “Killing Fields” genocide in the 1970s, Sek Yi, whose relatives believe he was 122 years old, was revered across the deeply impoverished southeast Asian nation on account of his unusually advanced years.” — Washington Post