Tuesday, May 10, 2011

Federal Department of Justice announces investigation into Newark Police Department | NJ.com

U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman
to his right are AAG Perez and Newark Mayor Corie Booker

Federal Department of Justice announces investigation into Newark Police Department | NJ.com: "NEWARK — The Department of Justice announced this morning it will launch an investigation into the Newark Police Department to address allegations of excessive force, discriminatory policing and accusations that city police have violated residents' civil rights, officials said.
Describing the probe as a partnership and not an antagonistic relationship, U.S. Attorney Paul J. Fishman said the investigation will determine whether or not Newark’s issues with residents' civil rights are systemic.
“Our goal is not to blame, but to fix any problems that we might find,” Fishman said. 'We are not opening an investigation with any preconceived notion of what will find.'"

Friday, May 6, 2011

Hospital injuries: little or no improvement over 10 years - — NEJM

Ten years ago, in the landmark report To Err is Human the Institute of Medicine reported the high rates of medical injuries - and low rates of malpractice actions.  Reform was promised.  A survey of 10 North Carolina hospitals shows that 1 in four hospital patients is harmed due to medical error.  
Temporal Trends in Rates of Patient Harm Resulting from Medical Care — NEJM:
 "In December 1999, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) reported that medical errors cause up to 98,000 deaths and more than 1 million injuries each year in the United States.  In response, accreditation bodies, payers, nonprofit organizations, governments, and hospitals launched major initiatives and invested considerable resources to improve patient safety.  Some interventions have been shown to reduce errors, such as implementing computerized provider order-entry systems, limiting residents' work shifts to 16 consecutive hours,and implementing evidence-based care bundles. However, many of these interventions have not been evaluated rigorously or implemented reliably on a large scale. Unfortunately, it remains unclear whether, in the aggregate, efforts to reduce errors at national, regional, and local levels have translated into significant improvements in the overall safety of patients."

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

OTHERWISE: A Lost Opportunity for Public Health — The FDA Advisory Committee Report on Menthol | Health Policy and Reform

OTHERWISE: A Lost Opportunity for Public Health — The FDA Advisory Committee Report on Menthol | Health Policy and Reform
Although some public health groups hailed as a public health victory the release of a report on menthol cigarettes by the Tobacco Products Scientific Advisory Committee (TPSAC) of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA),1 close examination of the report and its recommendations reveals that it actually represents a huge victory for Lorillard, the manufacturer of the leading brand of menthol cigarettes (Newport) — and a disappointing setback for the health of black Americans.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Dying 9/11 worker responds to news of Bin Laden's Death

from the Times Live Blog, May 2, 2011

When Daniel Arrigo, a former construction worker, read the news on a blog Sunday night, he was lying in bed, as he does most of the time, tethered to an oxygen tank.
"I saw 'Osama bin Laden' killed, and I was like, 'What is this, a joke? ' " Mr. Arrigo, 55, who lives in Long Beach, Long Island, said Monday. "I looked again. I put my glasses on. I read whatever information they had available, then I woke up my wife because she's exhausted from not only taking care of the kids but taking care of me."
Mr. Arrigo worked 15-hour shifts, seven days a week, mainly flagging trucks while breathing in soot and debris at the World Trade Center site for the first four or five months after the attacks. He had two strokes in 2003, and by 2008 was suffering from severe lung disease, which his doctors at Mount Sinai Medical Center attribute to his exposure at ground zero. He is now dependent on respirators and eight medications a day, and hoping for a lung transplant.
He and his wife, Bridget, were so riveted by the capture that they stayed up most of the night, watching the president's announcement and television accounts of the operation that killed the man who Mr. Arrigo said had turned the last nine and a half years of his life into a living hell. Because of his progressive illness, Mr. Arrigo, his wife and their three children had been evicted from their house; their two cars had been repossessed, and they had been forced to apply for welfare and food stamps, until he finally received workers' compensation and disability insurance.
Mr. Arrigo said he was glad that he had lived long enough to see Bin Laden captured, but that it did not make up for the torment of having gone from a healthy 45-year-old to being dependent on his wife and feeling like he was 80 in the span of 10 years.
"I'm glad he died before me, but it doesn't make my life any better knowing that he's dead," Mr. Arrigo said. "I'm an American, and I'm a proud American, and I'm a proud veteran, but the fact that they killed him doesn't make me all of a sudden able to jump up out of my bed and go dance with my wife in the living room. I'm still in the same shape and getting worse and time goes on."
As a union laborer with Local 79, he had been able to provide his family with the American dream -- a beautiful house with a pool out back, nice cars. He coached T-ball and played football with his son. Despite the stench of death at ground zero, he was proud to be working there. But now, Mr. Arrigo said, he sometimes wonders whether it would have been better to have died than to live as he does now. "It breaks my heart to see what it's doing to my family and to my children and to my wife," he said.
He felt those same wrenching, contradictory emotions as he saw the crowds on television Sunday night, celebrating Bin Laden's death. "With all the people at ground zero and the people at the White House, for that brief moment everybody became and American again, and everybody remembered," he said. "But what about the nine years that everybody's been suffering? You don't hear about that. People forgot about us. The politicians forgot about us. The law firms made whatever deals they could make."
When he worked at ground zero, Mr. Arrigo said, "Unfortunately, I thought I was superman, so you didn't worry about it. You just went and did what you were doing. But I've certainly learned that I'm not."
At this point, he said, he would rather focus on the small pleasures of having his wife and three children, Daniel, 16, Caitlin, 14, and Shannon, 12, around him.
In the calm light of Monday morning, he said: "You know what? For a guy like me it doesn't really change what I'm going through. Obama took out Osama. Well, you know, that's great. He's my president. I voted for him. Right now he's the most popular guy in the United States. But what is that doing for me? Is that making me safer? Is it making me feel better while I'm laying in bed, while I'm puking off the side of the bed into a garbage pail, or I can't catch my breath, or I don't make it into the bathroom on time. These are things that I live every day of my life.
"The fact that Osama is dead, that's a great thing, but it doesn't change my life at all." - ANEMONA HARTOCOLLIS