Awake Sedation for Brain Surgery May Shorten Hospital Stay

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Jun 17, 2011 7:34 am

Business plan offers hospital hope

The Keith and District Hospital Board says it has successfully developed a business plan that could help sustain the hospital for the next four years.

The private hospital will be stripped of 60 per cent of its state subsidies next month.

Earlier this year, the South Australian Government appointed a business consultant to help the hospital review its procedures to see if it could be more financially viable.

The chairman of the hospital board, James De Barro, says it will be a pinch but he thinks the hospital can be self-sustaining.

"It's knife edge, there's no doubt about it," he said.

The business model relies on attracting more doctors to the hospital so more funding would flow to it through the Medicare system.

Mr De Barro says the business plan would mean there are no cuts to current services at the hospital. ... 245276.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Jun 18, 2011 7:37 am

Obesity surgery fails to extend life in older men

CHICAGO — Very obese older men hoping to live longer may be let down by a new long-term study that found weight-loss surgery didn’t increase survival for people like them — at least during the first seven years.

Prior studies have found stomach stapling and other obesity surgeries improved survival rates after two to 10 years. The new study in mostly older male veterans suggests one of two things: Not everyone gains equally from surgery, or a survival benefit may show up later in older men, after more years of follow-up.

Previous findings came mainly from studies of mostly younger women.

“Nearly all prior studies have found bariatric surgery to be associated with reduced mortality. But those studies were conducted on very different patient populations using less rigorous methods,” said lead author Matthew Maciejewski of the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Durham, N.C.

The patients’ organ damage from obesity could have been too far along for weight loss surgery to reverse it, some experts said.

“It may be too little too late,” said Dr. Philip Schauer of Cleveland Clinic’s Bariatric and Metabolic Institute. He was not involved in the study. “You may have to intervene earlier for a survival benefit.”

Evidence has been mounting for the health benefits of obesity surgery, so the new results may surprise some people. U.S. doctors now perform more than 200,000 obesity surgeries a year at an estimated cost of $3 billion to $5 billion. Schauer said a definitive study on survival could cost $200 million.

The new study appeared in Wednesday’s Journal of the American Medical Association.

Benefits of obesity surgery — improved quality of life, weight loss and reductions in diabetes symptoms, blood pressure and sleep apnea — may be reason enough to choose the treatment.

“These results are not an indictment of surgery,” Maciejewski said. He and his colleagues plan to follow the patients longer to see if a survival benefit shows up 10 to 14 years after surgery.

The study, while rigorous, wasn’t the gold standard in which people are randomly assigned to have one treatment or another. Instead, researchers compared nearly 850 patients who had surgery in Veterans Affairs hospitals with other obese veterans. The two groups were as similar as possible, matched for age, gender, race and marital status.

After nearly seven years, the two groups were equally likely to be alive.

Without the painstaking matching analysis, the researchers did see a lower death rate in the surgery group compared to a group of obese patients who didn’t have surgery. But that could mean the patients who underwent surgery were healthier than the patients who didn’t.
All the surgery patients had gastric bypass, a method that makes the stomach smaller by stapling and allows food to skip much of the small intestine. The smaller stomach holds less food and the digestive detour means the body absorbs fewer calories.

The patients had surgery between 2000 and 2006. Their average age was 49 and their average body mass index was 47. A BMI of 30 or more is considered obese.

In the study, 11 patients died within the first month after surgery, a rate four times higher than in other studies. That could be because the surgery is more difficult in men than in women, said study co-author Dr. Edward Livingston of University of Texas Southwestern School of Medicine.

“Women tend to collect fat in the thighs and hips rather than in the abdomen,” Livingston said. Men’s fat accumulates in the belly, making it trickier for surgeons to get through it to the organs.

Some outside experts were troubled by the post-surgery death rate. Dr. David Flum of the University of Washington School of Medicine said, regardless of the cause, the higher death rate after surgery would make it difficult to demonstrate a survival advantage.

Dr. Bruce Wolfe, president of the American Society for Metabolic & Bariatric Surgery and a professor of surgery at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland, said the researchers may see a survival benefit with more years of follow-up.

“This probably won’t deter many people who want surgery,” said Wolfe, who wasn’t involved in the new study. “They’re sick. They have joint disease. They have trouble breathing. They’re doing it to improve their health and quality of life.” ... /-1/NEWS04

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Post by kenobewan » Mon Jun 20, 2011 9:51 am

Brain tumour surgery made me forget I had two children

Before undergoing surgery to have a brain tumour removed, Karan Waller kissed her two young daughters and gave each a special cuddle.

When she woke after the operation she instantly recognised her husband, Ian, 35, and reached out for his hand.

But she was stunned to learn that they had two children, Charly, three, and Harriet, one.

Tragically, Mrs Waller, 34, had no recollection of giving birth, seeing their first steps or hearing their first words – and she could not even recognise them in a photograph.

‘I remember coming round after the surgery and my husband told me that Charly and Harriet were with my mother-in-law – but I had no idea who he was talking about,’ she said.

‘The nurse asked me what year it was and I was totally confused. I felt like I’d woken up in a bad dream. Nothing seemed to be making any sense.

‘He showed me photos of the girls, hoping I would remember them, but there was nothing. I was distraught.

‘Logically, I knew I was their mother, but I couldn’t remember what it felt like to be their mum. My children knew who I was, but I didn’t know them. I felt like an awful mother.’

Mrs Waller discovered she had a tumour in June 2009 when she suddenly collapsed at home in Runcorn, Cheshire.

An MRI scan later revealed a tumour the size of a lemon growing in her brain.

Although the tumour was benign, doctors warned her it could turn cancerous and referred her to specialists at the Walton Centre for Neurology and Neurosurgery in Liverpool.

They said the tumour had probably been growing since she was a child, and that it needed to be removed. In October 2009 she was admitted for surgery, which she hoped would bring an end to the months of pain and uncertainty.

Surgeons later told her they were unable to remove all of the mass because the tumour was growing in vital parts of her brain. They had warned her beforehand that memory loss was a risk because of the complexity of the surgery.

Mrs Waller continued: ‘Ian brought Charly to see me in the hospital. This beautiful little girl walked into the ward, and I recognised her from the pictures that Ian had shown me, but she felt like a stranger. I tried to smile at her, but I felt like crying.

‘I couldn’t remember how it felt to love her. It was like the operation had severed my maternal bond.

‘I tried to act as normal as possible with her, but I didn’t know what normal was.

‘It felt like I was being stiff and awkward. Charly hid behind her grandma. I was devastated that I’d upset her with my reaction.

‘Her dad finally persuaded her to climb onto the bed with me for a cuddle, but it felt so strange. All I wanted was to remember who she was.’

Mrs Waller, a local council worker, had also lost her memory of the months leading up to surgery. ‘When I was finally discharged from hospital ten days later, I was relieved to recognise my house, but when we got inside, everything seemed unfamiliar,’ she added.

‘A little girl came toddling over towards me. I knew she must be my daughter, but I just didn’t know who she was. I broke down in tears.

‘I had hundreds of photo albums. Ian spent hours going through them all with me. In time, I started to have flashes of recognition while looking at photos of Charly when she was very young. But with Harriet, there was nothing.’

Mrs Waller has come to realise that those memories are lost forever.
Instead she has tried to recreate the maternal bond with her children, now five and three, and is spending as much time with them as possible.

‘I couldn’t even cook their tea without asking what they liked to eat,’ she said. ‘The girls know that mummy can be a bit forgetful – and luckily, they now laugh if I have to ask them to help me remember things. Charly loves helping me.’

Mrs Waller still has two parts of the tumour in her brain and doctors have told her she could suffer damage to her speech and further damage to her memory if it was to be operated on again.

She has to have regular MRI scans and a check-up every six months. But doctors are pleased with her progress and a scan in March revealed that the tumour had not grown. ... ldren.html

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Post by kenobewan » Tue Jun 21, 2011 7:23 am

Good and bad days for hospitals' four hour rule

The State Opposition says the government is misleading the public about the success of its four hour rule for hospital emergency departments.

The rule stipulates that at least 85 per cent of patients must be treated within a set time frame.

The Opposition's health spokesman Roger Cook says the government is using monthly average figures to give the impression it is achieving the four hour benchmark on a consistent basis.

He says the daily figures tell a different story.

"They should admit that a range of hospitals continue to fail to meet the four hour rule on a consistent basis, and they should continue to resource our departments so that they can meet a huge increase in demand at WA's hospitals," he said.

"Emergency departments have good days and they have bad days.

"These statistics show that every two out of three days the emergency departments in our adult Perth hospitals fail to reach the 85 per cent target that the minister has set down for them."

The Health Minister Kim Hames says the target is being met at least every second day and some days there is a better result, depending on the number of patients presenting at emergency departments.

He says there has been a massive improvement in waiting times.

"Hospitals are still making those changes that will achieve those targets every day," he said.

"We're not quite there yet but even so, the service is far better than it was under the previous Labor government."

Dr Hames says the system is improving.

"We've gone from being the worst in Australia with people waiting eight hours for a bed, to the best, and yet people are still complaining about how the system is working," he said.

The Health Services Union says attempts to meet treatment deadlines in emergency departments are putting more pressure on hospital wards.

The union's secretary Dan Hill says the focus on the four hour rule is causing problems further down the line, with overcrowding and the mixing of genders, on wards.

"The whole system needs to be reviewed and assessed properly, and resources allocated to ensure that the four hour rule in E.D. is addressed on a system-wide, hospital-wide basis," he said. ... 248056.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Jun 22, 2011 6:45 pm

It's time to face reality of cancer

Two unsettling scenarios have played out at one of Perth's major hospitals in recent weeks, and both tell the same story - our cancer services are just not coping.

Last week, hospital workers claimed patient safety was being put at risk at Sir Charles Gairdner Hospital because a fifth patient was being put in some four-bed wards.

Mobile phones are wonderfully discreet cameras which families can use without attracting too much attention.

Thanks to one of those images from a frustrated family, I've seen the proof of an extra bed in a cancer ward.

A middle-aged woman lies on a bed wedged in the "spare" space at the foot of four beds.

Earlier this month, the hospital also had to admit it had been forced to close one of its six radiotherapy machines because of a shortage of medical staff.

A lack of radiation therapists and medical physicists meant one linear accelerator unit would not resume treating cancer patients until August when more staff are due to start.

The staff shortage became public only after The West Australian reported on the plight of Perth mother-of-three Kate O'Reilly-Bradley, who has aggressive cancer and has faced long delays in getting radiotherapy at SCGH. It was also revealed that the Health Services Union recently wrote to the hospital warning of a "staffing crisis" in the radiation oncology unit.

So in a matter of weeks two glaring shortfalls in services for cancer patients have come to light. Which means there are probably many more.

It's not that the fault of the hospital or its staff. They are doing their best with the limited resources - and space - they have.

But is this good enough in a wealthy State like WA?

We all hope we will be spared the diagnosis, but increasingly cancer will become a reality for many of us.

The "Big C" is not a freak event that strikes an unlucky few. It seems everyone knows someone battling breast cancer or prostate cancer, or a non-smoker with lung cancer, or a young mum with bowel cancer.

By the age of 75, a quarter of all women will develop cancer, while for their fathers, husbands and sons the odds are even worse, with a one in three chance.

Age is important, because cancer is often a disease of ageing, as our cells become a bit old and tired, and make more mistakes.

Our best efforts are unlikely to hold back the tsunami that keeps coming.

Cancer is responsible for almost a third of all deaths - and that was more than 40,000 Australians in 2008. Locally, more than 10,000 West Australians were diagnosed with cancer in 2008.

But that gets worse because the official figures do not include non-melanoma skin cancers such as squamous cell carcinoma and basal cell carcinoma which strike an estimated 43,000 West Australians every year.

Cancer is a problem which will only worsen. Demand for services is tipped to double in WA over the next decade because of our growing and ageing population.

And remember we are already not coping.

When the problems at SCGH came to light recently, Cancer Council of WA boss Susan Rooney warned the State was facing a crippling shortage of specialists to treat patients which would only worsen over the next 10 years unless more was done.

For Ms Rooney and her colleagues, it must feel like Groundhog Day.

A 2008 audit of cancer services by NSW cancer expert Michael Barton, commissioned by the Cancer Council, found an "alarming" shortage of medical specialists and equipment and long waiting lists for treatment such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.

Three years on, Ms Rooney says a recent assessment found little had changed in terms of new positions for medical specialists.

The Barton report showed that to meet demand, WA needed an extra 16 medical oncologists and was short of about nine radiation oncologists. Fast-forward to 2011 and the shortages still apply.

Talk to cancer experts and they warn that as we rightly get better at diagnosing and treating cancer, it's going to mean more chaos at the check-out.

We badly need measures like an expanded bowel cancer screening, so that everyone over 50 can have regular checks, but we face the real risk of picking up cancer early and then not being able to do anything about it.

And don't even get the experts started on the issue of locally generated money for cancer research because they say that's even more depressing.

The Cancer Council has described as seriously deficient the amount of money the WA Government spends on cancer research.

Another study back in March showed the State Government's contribution was just 3 per cent, significantly behind that of other agencies.

The report showed that the main source of funding for competitive cancer research funding was the Commonwealth's National Health and Medical Research Council, which recently faced the threat of having much of its own funding cut by the Federal Government.

So on the one hand we have cancer services to treat patients being stretched, and then we see money drying up for the research that makes all the new treatments possible.

If cancer wasn't so common, we could quietly push the whole funding issue to one side and hope for the best.

But one way or the other, it is going to affect us all.

You just don't fully appreciate the problem until it's you, one of your parents or your child having a meeting with an oncologist. ... /comment/1

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Post by kenobewan » Thu Jun 23, 2011 11:43 am

Police say 21-year-old pretended to be doctor - GreenwichTime

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — A man accused of posing as a doctor at Oregon Health and Science University in Portland is facing charges after a woman's inquiry about where she should go for a scheduled surgery led to an investigation and arrest.

Lucas Ebert, 21, was charged with criminal mistreatment, theft and practicing medicine without a license in what OHSU officials said Wednesday was a rare case of impersonating a doctor, The Oregonian reported.

No attorney was listed on the Multnomah County jail inmate list showing Ebert in custody, and a Portland police spokesman referred questions to OHSU.

Last week, a 45-year-old woman approached an information desk at OHSU Hospital to ask about her scheduled surgery and said her doctor was Lucas Ebert, according to OHSU officials.

The woman said she had met Ebert a couple times in preparation for her surgery. She'd followed his instructions to stop taking pain relievers and anti-anxiety medications that kept her panic attacks at bay.

Hospital staff could find no record of a Dr. Ebert and began an investigation that resulted in Ebert's arrest Monday, said Jim Newman, an OHSU spokesman.

"I have been here 12 years, and I've never heard anything like this whatsoever," Newman said.

The woman told officials she met Ebert at the Portland VA Medical Center, near OHSU. Ebert arranged a medical consultation with the woman at an OHSU coffee shop, where he proceeded to give her medical advice and counseled her on getting abdominal surgery. He told her he was a second-year resident in plastic surgery, and he wore what appeared to be an OHSU identification badge and a vest with the hospital's name on it.

But officials said the badge may have resembled an outdated one the hospital used 10 years ago and the vest was not issued by the hospital — it likely came from a gift shop.

An affidavit filed in support of Ebert's arrest says he was seen on closed-circuit television pushing the woman out of the hospital in her wheelchair.

Ebert has no affiliation with OHSU and there was no evidence he had access to any patient information or that he entered any secure areas, which require a special badge with electronic access, Newman said.

"Just like anybody, he could go to a coffee shop or waiting room," Newman said. "But we don't believe he had any access to patient rooms or the emergency department or anything like that."

Ebert's Facebook page lists interests that include plastic surgery, surfing and "Nip/Tuck," the TV show about plastic surgery.

It also lists multiple current employers and universities, claiming work as surgical assistant and surgeon at OHSU, and also lists his job as a software developer at Microsoft. He claims to have a medical degree from the University of California, San Francisco, which on Wednesday said it has no record of any student by that name.

But Maureen Wheeler, spokeswoman for the Beaverton School District, was able Wednesday to confirm one true item on the Facebook page — Ebert is a 2009 graduate of Westview High School. ... 435652.php

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Jun 24, 2011 8:00 am

Father-of-two about to be wheeled in for cancer op told he was given all-clear EIGHT MONTHS ago

A father-of-two today revealed how he experienced eight months of worry after he was falsely told he would have go under the knife for a second cancer operation.

Chris Nunns, 39, was seconds from having invasive surgery at Bradford Royal Infirmary in order to remove a five inch diameter of skin tissue from his head to remove cancerous cells.

But when a junior doctor read his notes, he discovered Chris should have been given the all clear for the skin cancer EIGHT months before.

Mr Nunns said: 'I was on the table, about to be wheeled into surgery when a doctor turned to be and said 'What are you doing here?'.

'I asked what he meant, thinking it was a bit of a distasteful thing to say to somebody with cancer.

'Then he explained that according to my notes, I should have been given the all-clear in July 2010.'

Mr Nunns, of Brighouse, West Yorkshire, was diagnosed with skin cancer in January 2010 after he found a growth on his scalp.

A biopsy had confirmed an initial operation in June 2010 had successfully removed the cancer, but his medical notes were not updated.

He was led to believe it had spread following an initial operation and he returned for a second operation in February 2011.

Chris, a security guard, wants answers about how such a vital piece of information wasn't passed on.

He said he was angry that a mix-up with his notes meant he wasn't told he was cancer free in July 2010.

The worried father had been to Calderdale Royal Infirmary (CRI) in Halifax, West Yorkshire, to see his consultant for the results of an initial histology report which showed there were cancerous cells around the birthmark on his head.

He was sent to Bradford Royal Infirmary (BRI) for surgery to remove the dangerous cells and told that the piece of skin tissue they took would be sent away for testing and he would be given the results at his next consultancy.

But a mix-up meant his notes were never updated and the Infirmary were still looking at the results from the first histology rather than the operation.

Chris said: 'A couple of weeks after that operation, in July 2010, I was back at CRI awaiting the results of the second histology report, however, unbeknown to me or my consultant Mr Foo, my notes hadn't been updated and were still showing the results from the first histology report.

'Mr Foo look at the notes, saw that it said there were still cancerous cells there, and I was booked into BRI for more surgery.

'I remember he said to me "From the look of the notes, we haven't got it all I'm afraid so we're going to need to take another two inches from around what we took before."

'Obviously I was devastated, but at that time I was happy for them to do whatever it took to get rid of it. I was told it was a do-or-die operation.

'However, at BRI they had updated my notes correctly with the up-to-date histology report that showed all the cancerous cells had actually gone and I was in the all-clear.

'It was only because a doctor standing in front of me, minutes before my surgery, at BRI flicked through my notes that I was saved from nearly having my head maimed.'

Chris had kept the news from his children Marc, 10, and Megan, eight, as he didn't want to worry them.

He said: 'I was going over and over in my mind how I was going to tell my kids that their dad was poorly. I'm angry that all that stress and worry could have been avoided.'

Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust, who are responsible for the mix-up have apologised to Mr Nunns and said they are looking at how to improve the way in which patient notes are sent from Bradford to Calderdale hospital.

But Mr Nunns said he will never be able to get back those eight months he spent worrying out the non-existent skin cancer he was under the impression he was suffering from.

He said: 'I was told that I would need to have a course of radiotherapy after the second operation to ensure they definitely killed all the cancerous cells.

'For eight months they made me think I had something seriously wrong with me and I'd actually been in remission all that time.'

Mr Nunns received a letter from Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS trust that said: 'Your experience has clearly identified that the system of sending histology reports from Bradford Royal Hospital for filing in Calderdale clinical notes need to be reviewed to rectify the problem you experienced and avoid this happening again in the future.'

A spokesperson for Calderdale and Huddersfield NHS Foundation Trust said: 'If Mr Nunns has further concerns we would ask him to contact us.'

Bradford Hospital Trust did not want to comment. ... S-ago.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Jun 25, 2011 10:08 am

Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre opens in Cairns

THE doors open on Monday for cancer patients to have radiation oncology treatment in Cairns.

And the facilities have been described as world class, with the city having the potential to be a leader in cancer care.

Spearheaded by a woman with a cause, the Liz Plummer Cancer Care Centre opens after an almost five-year community campaign.

In the past, 340 patients each year left family and friends during their most desperate times to travel to Townsville for radiation treatment.

Now most will be able to stay in their hometown but at this stage, children still have to travel to Brisbane for treatment.

Site manager Toni Sisson said with two linear accelerators, 40 patients a day would be able to have treatment at the centre.

The Cairns Base Hospital radiation oncology unit would start with 17 staff including 10 radiation therapists, one physicist, one radiation oncologist, two nurses and two administrators.

Only one machine would be used initially but both were expected to be in use within six months as more patients started treatments. Staff will increase to up to 40.

All the Cairns Base Hospital cancer services will move into the new centre so all cancer patients can receive treatment in same building.

And the Cancer Council Queensland is developing accommodation in Earlville, expected to open later this year, for people needing a place to stay in Cairns for treatment.

Ms Sisson, a radiation therapist, said patients would come every weekday for up to eight weeks for treatment that may take only 10 minutes.

"It’s exciting how all the community really appreciates it being here," Ms Sisson said. "It’s a need met."

The campaign for better cancer services in Cairns started in 2006 when Liz Plummer, who was fighting breast cancer, exposed the inadequacies of services here and the hardships faced by people who had to travel for treatment.

The Committee for Oncology Unit Cairns Hospital was formed by tourism stalwarts Charles and Pip Woodward with Mrs Plummer as ambassador, and in 2009 the State Government announced it was fast-tracking the $8.3 million facilities.

COUCH chairman Bob McGill said it had been a long, hard road but the community was always engaged and the group was proud of the achievement.

"There is a great sense of relief the doors are finally open and cancer patients do not have to travel any more," Mr McGill said.

The facilities are state-of-the-art, the staff among the best from the international community and we are well placed to be a leader in cancer care, he said, adding Mrs Plummer was passionate and selfless and it would be a fitting legacy for her.

Cairns and Hinterland Health Service District chief executive Julie Hartley-Jones said the centre was opening ahead of schedule and it was an important step in the hospital’s redevelopment. ... -news.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sun Jun 26, 2011 3:52 pm

Surge in hospital construction on horizon

Elmhurst Memorial Hospital’s $450 million main campus opening Saturday is one of the first — and biggest — health care projects completed since the economic downtown.

Construction already was under way in 2008 when financing for many such projects dried up due to the crisis in the bond market.

Similarly, Sherman Hospital’s 255-bed replacement hospital in Elgin, which opened in December 2009, was ahead of the bad economic curve.

So, too, was the $1 billion Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital in Chicago, which broke ground in 2008. The 23-floor replacement for Children’s Memorial is scheduled to open in June 2012.

Such high-profile projects with long timelines make it seem as though hospitals are immune to the recession’s effects.

In fact, except for projects already in the pipeline, health care construction slowed considerably in 2009 and 2010, experts say.

Now that money is loosening up again, pent-up demand is likely to lead to a surge in hospital building, experts say.

“All the bond markets came to a halt, and some of that paint was splattered on hospitals ... but the underlying hospital sector has remained strong,” said health care consultant James Unland, president of Health Capital Group in Chicago.

Next week, for example, the Illinois Health Facilities and Services Review Board is slated to vote on proposals for two new hospitals in McHenry County.

Centegra Health Systems wants to build a $233 million, 128-bed facility in Huntley. Mercy Health Systems proposes a $199 million, 128-bed hospital in Crystal Lake.

The board meets on June 28. Illinois Department of Public Health staff reviewers said the proposals would provide more beds than needed in the area, but the board is not mandated to follow the findings.

Down the road, Edward Hospital in Naperville is likely to come back with plans to build a new hospital in Plainfield.

In January 2009, the planning board rejected Edward’s proposal to build a $241 million, 130-bed facility in Plainfield.

“When the time is right, we plan to bring a hospital to Plainfield,” said Keith Hartenberger, public relations specialist for Edward Hospital & Health Services.

“We’re committed to developing Edward Plainfield Hospital and are keeping a watchful eye on the economy and hospital utilization, so we’ll be ready to go when those factors are favorable and the regulatory situation is more clearly defined,” he said.

The Centegra and Mercy proposals aside, however, some expert say huge projects like new hospitals will be less common than renovations.

“Most hospitals and health care systems are in a wait-and-see mode,” said Albert Manshum, vice president of facilities & construction for Advocate Health Care.

Hospitals are looking at where their money is best spent, he said, “and a lot of it is going to be in renovations and in ambulatory (outpatient) buildings.”

The wild card is how health care reform will affect hospitals.

One school holds that hospitals will benefit from having a bigger pool of patients with insurance. “(But) there’s a group of analysts, including myself, who are not totally convinced health reform will help hospitals,” Unland said.

In the meantime, suburban facilities are focusing on additions and some comparatively smaller projects that reflect industry trends.

• Private patient rooms. Central DuPage Hospital in Winfield opens its new $235 million Bed Pavilion in August — ahead of schedule — with 202 private rooms. In April, Advocate Condell Hospital in Libertyville opened its $87 million bed tower, becoming the only hospital in Lake County with all private rooms for adult patients.

• Outpatient clinics. Elmhurst Memorial Health Care recently broke ground for a 55,000-square-foot outpatient clinic and immediate care center on Lake Street in Addison. The Loyola Center for Health at Burr Ridge opened in March, the largest academic medical center outpatient facility in the Chicago suburbs.

• Green construction. Northwest Community Health Care in Arlington Heights opened its LEED-certified South Pavilion in 2010. The $250 million addition has 200 private patient rooms. Sherman Hospital has a geothermal lake that saves an estimated $1 million in heating and cooling costs.

• Specialized centers. A year ago, Central DuPage Hospital opened the first proton therapy center in Illinois adjacent its new cancer center in Warrenville.

With the uncertainty surrounding health care reform, hospitals will be evaluating new projects for value and whether they improve clinical quality, said York Chan, administrator of facilities for Advocate Health Care.

“That’s going to be the driver moving forward in any construction,” Chan said.

Private rooms, for example, make patients and families more comfortable. Patients are believed to heal better if they have a family support system, and studies show private rooms reduce infection rates.

But there may be other factors influencing the trend, some experts say.

“I think the whole private room craze is basically an amenity by hospitals to ratchet up the perception of the hospital campus as being a high-end place, especially in well-off suburbs,” said Unland.

“When they build these expensive hospitals, they are banking on capturing the insured patients and the high profit margin. But again, health care reform could (mess) that up.” ... 706249821/

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Post by kenobewan » Wed Jun 29, 2011 7:31 am

37 died from hospital infections

It has been revealed 37 Tasmanians who died in the past two years had acquired an infection in hospital.

Public health director Roscoe Taylor says the issue is a problem for hospitals throughout the country.

He says infection rates in Tasmania have dropped in recent years.

"Rates of our healthcare associated infections in Tasmania have been found to be, in general, comparable with or better than national rates when they're available or when we can compare apples with apples," he said.

Opposition Deputy Leader Jeremy Rockliff is concerned the problem will get worse because the Government has cut funding to the infection control unit by $17,000.

He says patients who have contracted infections spend longer in hospital, putting more pressure on resources.

"What is of major concern to me is that the budget papers reveal that we're actually spending less on the infection control unit this year than last year so these tragic figures may well even get worse in the years to come," he said.

Health Minister Michelle O'Byrne says there has been no change in funding and the $17,000 highlighted by the Opposition covered the costs of setting up the unit last year. ... 255776.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Thu Jun 30, 2011 8:07 am

Conn. Man Wins Nearly $1M for Botched Eye Surgery

A 60-year-old Army veteran won a $925,000 settlement with the Department of Veterans Affairs after he was blinded in one eye during a routine outpatient cataract operation, his attorney said this week.

Jose Goncalves of Hartford was blinded in his right eye when a third-year resident at the Veteran’s Administration Hospital in West Haven incorrectly administered an anesthetic during the procedure in 2007, attorney Christopher Bernard said. The resident then injected too much anesthetic, causing his eyeball to explode, Bernard said.

“Jose suffered excruciating pain after that botched surgery and continued to have severe pain for months afterward,” Bernard said. “The damage to the eye is obvious because his iris is missing and his eyelid droops. If anything should ever happen to the undamaged left eye, he could face total blindness.”

The U.S. attorney’s office, which represented the VA, declined to comment. The resident, Dr. Yue Michelle Wang, also declined to comment. She wasn’t sued because doctors who work for the federal government have immunity, Bernard said.

Wang incorrectly placed a needle with a local anesthetic directly into Goncalves’ eye instead of behind his eye, Bernard said.

Goncalves endured four more surgeries in an attempt to save the damaged eye and to maximize his eyesight, but he has no functional vision in that eye, his attorney said. He is able to see a rough outline of his hand when held about 6 inches in front of his face, Bernard said.

The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Bridgeport in 2009 against the VA, argued that Goncalves’ injuries were a result of carelessness and negligence by the doctors at the Veterans’ Administration facility and that he “has been permanently deprived of his ability to carry on and enjoy life’s activities.”

“It is clear that Dr. Wang’s training was seriously inadequate,” Bernard said. “This should have been a routine procedure as it is for countless people every day. When proper techniques are used, this particular complication should never occur.”

Goncalves suffers from a significant lack of depth perception that makes him unable to resume his previous job as a roofer, his attorney said. He works in the maintenance department at Central Connecticut State University.

He is unable to drive except for short distances. Reading, watching television and going to movies are difficult because the undamaged eye tires so quickly, Bernard said. ... 204397.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Fri Jul 01, 2011 7:24 am

Hospital data website fails to show waiting times

THE state government has failed to deliver promised real-time data showing waiting times in Victorian emergency departments.

The site, promised during last year's election campaign, was meant to include the number of patients waiting at any given time for emergency care in hospitals.

But the website, launched yesterday, instead gives median waiting times for non-urgent patients during specified time periods based on the hospital's performance in previous weeks.

Advertisement: Story continues below Opposition health spokesman Gavin Jennings said the website did not provide real-time data as promised and could mislead patients.

He said some waiting times would be far higher than the median data indicated, depending on the urgency of the patient's condition.

Mr Jennings said the website could encourage patients with minor problems to go to emergency departments, when in reality a patient with a sore throat could wait eight hours for care. ''It could lead to blockages in the system,'' he said.

A spokeswoman for Health Minister David Davis conceded the data was not in real time but said recent performance was the best predictor of current waiting times.

It came as the government released its first quarterly report on hospital performance, showing that more than 100,000 patients were not treated on time between January and March this year.

Hospitals failed to meet six out of 10 performance targets - including to treat emergency and elective patients within clinically appropriate times - in a result doctors said showed a pressing need for new beds.

The Royal Women's Hospital failed to treat an urgent elective surgery patient within 30 days, one of just a handful of hospitals to miss the target in the past decade.

The Health Minister said the hospital was ''deeply apologetic'' about the patient overshooting the time frame due to an administrative bungle and it was determined to ensure it would not happen again.

The Northern Hospital treated just 67 per cent of emergency patients - including those in severe pain with breathing difficulties - within 10 minutes, falling short of a target of 80 per cent.

A total of 159 patients waited for more than 24 hours in Frankston Hospital's emergency department, and 119 mentally ill patients waited longer than eight hours for a bed at Sunshine Hospital.

Sandringham Hospital was on bypass - not receiving patients by ambulance - for 24 per cent of the time.

Box Hill and Frankston hospitals had the worst performance for semi-urgent surgery, managing to treat just 49 per cent of their patients within 90 days, compared with a target of 80 per cent. ... 1gsz8.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sat Jul 02, 2011 7:03 am

Vic hospitals fall short of benchmarks

Tens of thousands of people are still spending too long in Victorian emergency department waiting rooms, with figures showing the system has not improved under the coalition government.

Victorian hospitals failed to meet six out of 10 key benchmarks in hospital emergency departments and elective surgery in the first quarter of this year, the figures released by the government on Thursday showed.

Most of the categories also failed to meet the benchmarks throughout last year, when Labor was in power.

Advertisement: Story continues below Emergency departments missed targets for treating urgent patients within 30 minutes but exceeded benchmarks for treating more serious cases within 10 minutes, in the first three months of 2011.

This means more than 30,000 patients waited longer than they should have under the health department's own benchmarks.

More than 50,000 patients categorised as semi-urgent waited more than an hour for treatment, while 380 people languished in emergency departments for longer than a day.

"There are some measures where benchmarks have not been met and I make no bones about that," Health Minister David Davis told reporters on Thursday.

He said that in a rare occurrence the Royal Women's Hospital breached elective surgery targets when one urgent category patient was not treated in the required time.

The hospital was deeply apologetic and was determined the oversight, a result of an administrative bungle, would not happen again, Mr Davis said.

The figures in the Victorian Health Services Performance Report also found only 85 per cent of patients were transferred from ambulances to emergency departments within the required 40-minute timeframe.

As at March 2011, there were more than 40,000 patients on the elective surgery waiting list, 2000 more than the last quarter.

Average waiting time for dental care improved marginally, dropping from 18 months to 17.

Opposition health spokesman Gavin Jennings said he was concerned the government was falling behind in investing in new hospital beds.

The government has also launched a new website giving Victorians access to immediate information about hospitals across the state. ... 1gsi4.html

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Post by kenobewan » Sun Jul 03, 2011 7:33 am

Hospital mum about pathology review

The Bendigo Hospital's management says it will not be commenting on its controversial pathology service review until its incoming board and the Health Minister have been briefed.

Staff and community members are worried Bendigo Health is seriously considering privatising the hospital's pathology work.

Yesterday, a petition of 4,000 signatures was presented to the board before its monthly meeting.

Shortly after the meeting, a function was held to farewell the board's longest-serving chairperson, Marika McMahon, who has wound up her 11 years in the role.

The media were invited to attend but were told they could not ask questions about the review and that CEO John Mulder was unavailable to talk.

A statement issued later that evening says no comment will be made until the incoming board members and the Health Minister have been briefed, and that staff will be the first to know of any decisions affecting their future employment.

Hospital performance

Meanwhile, the Victorian Government has published new hospital performance data.

The figures show that between January and March this year, 9,082 patients were admitted to the Bendigo Hospital.

That is about 1,000 more than in the same period last year and about 500 more than the previous quarter.

From January to March, the hospital cut down its waiting list for general surgery to an average of 68 days, compared with 93 days for the same period last year and a state average of 194 days. ... 258258.htm

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Post by kenobewan » Tue Jul 05, 2011 7:37 am

Queensland cancer mum wins fast trial

A judge has cleared the way for a woman with breast cancer to urgently take Queensland Health to court over its failure to diagnose her illness.

Jenny Algar, 53, is suing the government department after two separate mammograms did not detect her cancer.

Lawyers for Mrs Algar, who has been told she may have only 18 months or less to live, on Monday applied in the Supreme Court in Brisbane for the trial to be brought on early because of her health concerns.

Justice David Boddice granted the application, which was not opposed by the government.

The court heard that the trial would likely be heard in Cairns as it is difficult for the mother of two to travel.

Lawyers will have to apply to the court registry for a trial date, which is expected before the end of the year.

Justice Boddice reserved his decision on whether he should order the government to hand over documents being sought by Mrs Algar's legal team.

Mrs Algar went for checks at Queensland Health's Breastscreen Queensland clinic in Cairns in December 2007 and again in December 2009, and she was given the all-clear on both occasions.

Court documents reveal she has since discovered she had liver and breast cancer. ... 1gyhv.html

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