Monday, March 31, 2008

The most dangerous drug!

It seems that everyday I hear of a new lawsuit that is going after one new drug or another. I especially love the ones where attorneys are suing because the drug was used for an indication that it did not have FDA approval for. I know it is all about the money but still, come on. I think of aspirin. When it first came out it was a headache medicine, but guess what, it caused ulcers. In todays world, the aspirin producing comapany would be facing huge class actions from everybody who ever developed an ulcer regardless if they took aspirin. We would then never had found out that it protects against dry strokes and MIs. I imagine the attorneys will still catch on once they find out that aspirin is linked to increased blood loss during emergency surgery and in head trauma.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Documentation Insanity!!!!!

Yet another of JACHOs great ideas is that there is now a form that must be filled out when a patient is discharged that lists all the medication that the patient was on in the hospital and whether or not they are going to be continued or discontinued when they are discharged. This is in addition to the fact that the discharge medications must already be written on the discharge orders. So, I discharged the patient and filled out the darned form. 3 hours later there is the page because the form did not state if I wanted the neomycin irrigation continued. This is despite the fact that this is the fluid that was used to wash the wound in surgery 3 days ago and he has not been on it since.

I guess I should be happy that the person who called about this is doing this stuff and not actually seeing patients.

Death hastened by tort law

I have a wonderful patient that is losing his fight with cancer. Becuase of other medical problems he is not a candidate for a clinical trial. There are some promising results from a new research drug, so I contacted the company that makes it and tried to get a humitarian release of it to try to help him. The company immediately transferred me to their risk management department where they explained that they could not because of the potential liability! I explained that my patient was losing his life and that he would sign any release. They promptly replied that those have been overturned and fought in court and that the liability was to great. I even managed to talk to the CEO of the company and he told me the same thing.

Just to make sure that this was not just his company, I started calling around. There is not one company that will release a phase I medication for humanitiarian use in the US that I could find. One company, who wished not to be named, suggested that the patient go to the Netherlands where they could release it through their sub there.

You have got to love the ramifications of our "tort system".

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Bucket Case

I really love the oppotunity to help coach little league baseball and I have to admit that my knees are not what they used to be. To help the pitchers, I often catch and have broken down and scored a bucket to sit on. My bucket is an awesome piece of plastic that used to contain 10 gallons of pickles and their juice. It was a gift from Sonic.

Three times on the bucket's circumference is a warning label that states in bold letters that the bucket should not be placed in or around babies and shows a picture of a toddleing infant falling into the bucket. There are also warning labels not to burn in the bucket, use it for flammable materials and lastly a large and lenghty statement that the company who produced the bucket is not liable for any injury that may result from the use or misuse of the bucket. I checked very quickly to see if I could use it to hold baseballs and then sit on it while trying to catch fastballs. I have to wonder, what costs more, the bucket or the liability on the thing. I wonder if I will soon have to fill out a lengthy contract to utilize the bucket and hire an attorney to help decipher all the aspects of my bucket user agreement.

How did we get so screwed up that buckets have to have warning labels?