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Wednesday, 06 November 2013 09:50

Say it isn’t so

Written by  Dale Ferrel
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Sad updates from the medical front.


A McMaster University study published in June in The Lancet revealed one in six women attending fracture clinics had broken bones and teeth from domestic violence.
That was often coupled with dislocations, emotional and sometimes sexual violence as well. The professor of orthopedic surgery who co- led the research also surmised such injuries could rapidly accelerate to outright life-threatening events.
Their findings resulted from input from 2,945 patients at 12 fracture clinics throughout Canada the U.S.A., India, Denmark and the Netherlands. My past experience as a police officer, crisis line volunteer and domestic mediator leads me to believe our doctors, police, crisis workers and the judicial system in Saskatchewan are well aware of this serious problem. They work hard to educate the public, potential victims and offenders and often provide good coping mechanisms.
A  study lasting more than two years at seven large American hospitals ended in November, 2012 with  some startling results. Infections after colo-rectal surgeries were reduced by about 30 per cent preventing an estimated 135 infections that saved nearly $4 million.
The program included patients showering with special germ-fighting soap pre-surgery, combined with hospital staff changing to clean instruments, gloves and gowns during surgery. Pretty basic procedures that led to less danger and suffering for patients plus savings from reduced medications and other hospital and staff expenses.
Vancouver General Hospital received an international innovation award this July for their infection control research. Their invention called “Photodisinfection” was used on more than 5,000 patients over one-year. 
Their innovative resistant free light therapy, when applied to the nasal passages, reduced post-surgical infections by nearly 40 per cent. A simple application of a blue dye attached itself to bacteria inside the patient’s nose. When light is shone on the dye the bacteria were killed instantly. Drug-resistant bacteria were also destroyed as a huge bonus. This is a gigantic improvement over traditional antibiotic ointments that take five to seven days to do their work. Overall, the hospital saved $1,300,000 by reducing infections and re-admissions.
In March, 2013, British doctors were in trouble for disregarding advice from the British Medical Association deeming the use of placebos as unethical. About 70 per cent prescribed a treatment  that probably wouldn’t work at least once a week. The mostly useless treatments were used to reassure patients pushing for treatment they didn’t really require.
Useless low doses, ineffective wrong drugs, sugar pills, unneeded tests, x-rays and injections were issued at a huge expense. The valuable time wasted by doctors and support staff in an already overtaxed medical systems compounded the problem. 
In a previous study, half of U.S.A. doctors were guilty of placebo use. Canada, Denmark, and Switzerland were also mentioned, but I could not find figures for those countries.

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