Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Surgical Errors Reported

A survey commissioned by the American College of Surgeons and published in the Annals of Surgery finds that 9% of surgeons admit to a “major medical error” in the past three months. So let's see, that means in a year's time there could be more than 1/3 of all surgeons making major medical mistakes? Or is it just the same 9% making errors all year long?

Is it any wonder that more than 100,000 people are killed each year in hospitals due to medical errors and failures? Obviously the culture of medicine has flaws that are literally killing people and need to be fixed for the benefit of both doctor and patient.

Friday, November 20, 2009

NCCAM's 10th Anniversary

The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine (NCCAM), 1 of 27 divisions of the National Institutes of Health, recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. NCCAM Director Josephine P. Briggs, M.D noted the organizations accomplishments saying "We have funded more than 2,200 research projects, resulting in more than 3,300 scientific articles published in peer-reviewed journals." More important Dr. Briggs added, "Based on the growing evidence base for CAM interventions, a number of medical professional organizations—such as the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, and the American Academy of Pediatrics—have included CAM modalities in recent guidelines."

Clearly these accomplishments are in stark contrast to the recent series of articles from the Associated Press which claimed that they have never found a single cure and that the millions of dollars spent on research could have been better spent on traditional research. This pro-prescription drug campaign should have been listed as editorial instead of news.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Drug Costs Jump

The headline on the front page of today's Dallas Morning News says it all: "Drug Costs Rise At Fastest Rate In Years." While the Consumer Price Index has fallen 1.3% in the past year the wholesale price of prescription drugs has gone up by 9%. This will bring the bill for drugs to about $300 billion this year. This is the fastest rate since 1992 but this time it's happening when the drug companies pledged to reduce costs by $8 billion a year after health care reform is in effect.

Does it look like a phony deal to you? The drug companies crank up sales by $10 billion in order to offer a price cut of $8 billion? I won't even go into the latest studies on heart drugs that show how they actually increase the risk of heart attack.

It's time for Americans to find better answers to their health problems than prescription drugs.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

CAMbrella Investment of 1.5 Million Euros

The European Union is funding a 3-year project called CAMbrella with 1.5 million euros to create a research network to study complementary and alternative medicine. The group that won the grant includes 16 scientific organizations from 12 European countries. Their goal is to develop a comprehensive view of the present CAM situation in Europe that will serve as a benchmark and starting point for future research.

CAM is much more accepted in Europe, it was just this past spring that Switzerland voted to add it to their constitution to protect it. However there hasn't been as much investment in research compared with the NCCAM in America. Germany, for example, has not invested any government funding since 1996.

In an era of health care reform this investment by Europe may pay dividends to America.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Researchers and Practitioners Meet

It's interesting to note the recent 2nd Annual Fascia Research Congress in Amsterdam, The Netherlands because it's the second organized exchange between the basic sciences and practitioners of manual therapy. There were over 550 people there from 40 countries. This field is attempting to bridge the divide between two cultures which will standardize language and terminology but also develop mutual respect.

The congress opened with an exhortation towards precision with language in order to dispel confusion about the term “fascia” because there are different types and they're not all the same. The scientific research going on is providing a deeper understanding of the mechanics of the various structural integration and massage therapies for the practitioners and the experience of the practitioners provides insight and understanding to the researchers. It's a win-win opportunity.

Wouldn't it be great if other fields could learn to work with and respect each other? Just imagine how much progress could be made when folks work together!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Medical Mistakes Take, Ruin Lives

Ten years ago the Institute of Medicine (IOM) estimated that 98,000 people die each year needlessly because of preventable medical mistakes including hospital infections. Estimates are that preventable medical mistakes still account for more than 100,000 deaths each year. In other words 1,000,000 lives have been lost over the past decade, not to mention those hurt or maimed by mistakes.

There is going to be a forum later this month by Consumer's Union Safe Patient Project called To Err Is Human, To Delay Is Deadly to review this situation and search for improvements. It will be webcast so anyone who is interested may listen and watch the proceedings on November 17, 2009 from 10am-3:30pm EST.

Can you imagine if any one of the 300+ therapies listed in my book killed 100,000 people every year? The media would be all over us but the medical systems' status quo doesn't even rate a paragraph in the back of the paper today.