Health

2:04pm

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Quality Conundrum: Complications Boost Hospital Profits

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 3:35 pm

If he messes up, should the hospital profit?
iStockphoto.com

Hospitals can make much more money when surgery goes wrong than in cases that go without a hitch.

And that presents a problem for patients. The financial incentives don't favor better care.

"The magnitude of the numbers was eye-popping," says Atul Gawande, a professor of surgery at Harvard Medical School, and an author of the study, which was just published in JAMA, the Journal of the American Medical Association. "It was much larger than we expected."

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8:35am

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

How To Avoid A Colonoscopy Billing Kerfuffle

Before your doctor gets to this, make sure he'll bill the colonoscopy as a screening test rather than a diagnostic one.
Sebastian Schroeder iStockphoto.com

Where preventive health care is concerned, a colonoscopy is one of the pricier screening tests, with a cost that often exceeds $1,000.

But under the health care overhaul, most health insurance plans have to cover the test for colorectal cancer without billing patients a dime, even if a polyp is found and removed.

Yet the way your doctor categorizes the test can make all the difference.

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6:45am

Tue April 16, 2013
Shots - Health News

Boston Doctors Compare Marathon Bomb Injuries To War Wounds

Originally published on Wed April 17, 2013 9:26 am

Medical personnel work outside the medical tent in the aftermath of two explosions near the finish line of the Boston Marathon on Monday. At area hospitals, doctors say they were confronted with the kinds of injuries U.S. troops get in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Elise Amendola AP

Boston hospitals always staff up their emergency rooms on Marathon Day to care for runners with cramps, dehydration and the occasional heart attack.

But Monday, those hospitals suddenly found themselves with more than 100 traumatized patients — many of them with the kinds of injuries seen more often on a battlefield than a marathon.

Like most big-city hospitals these days, Tufts Medical Center runs regular disaster drills, featuring simulated patients smeared with fake blood.

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5:29pm

Mon April 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

Justices Appear Skeptical Of Patenting Human Genes

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:44 am

Medical geneticist Dr. Harry Ostrer (center) talks to the press outside the U.S. Supreme Court on Monday. The court heard oral arguments on the highly charged question of whether human genes can be patented.
Mladen Antonov AFP/Getty Images

In a case considered pivotal to the future of science and medicine, the justices of the U.S. Supreme Court seemed skeptical Monday about a claim that human genes can be patented.

Contending that genes can be patented are the biotech and pharmaceutical industries, which see patents as the keys to new scientific exploration. On the other side are doctors, patients and many scientists, who see gene patents as an attempt to monopolize and block future exploration in the new universe of genetics.

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1:05am

Mon April 15, 2013
Shots - Health News

Inside The Brains Of People Over 80 With Exceptional Memory

Originally published on Tue April 16, 2013 6:45 am

Lou Ann Schachner, 84, and Jay Schachner, 81, are volunteers with the Northwestern University SuperAging Project. They keep track of all their plans in a shared calendar. She loves to cook and study French and he is a part-time tax lawyer.
Samantha Murphy for NPR

Most research on memory loss in the elderly focuses on dementia, Alzheimer's disease or other brain diseases.

But neuroscientist Emily Rogalski from Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine knew there is great variation in how good memory is in older people. Most have memory loss to varying degrees, but some have strong memories, even well into old age.

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