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Medicine: Opinions and information about Medicine

Veterans Sound Off at VA Town Hall Events Nationwide

Aug 25, 2014 12:08 PM PT

The Veterans Administration is holding dozens of town hall events at sites across the country. So far the events seem to be reinforcing the idea that many vets are not happy with the VA.

In Kansas, veteran Mike Barofsky took the microphone at a town hall ten days ago and told the Wichita VA Director, "you don’t know what you are doing." As reported by KSNW-TV, Barofsky added, "To people like myself, your statistics mean absolutely nothing."

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Liberia Fears Ebola Spread After Clinic Looting

Aug 17, 2014 12:20 PM PT

Residents of a Liberian slum have looted a quarantined clinic for patients suspected of carrying the deadly virus, carrying off items including "bloody sheets and mattresses," now officials fear "Ebola could soon spread through the capital's largest slum."

The facility held approximately 30 patients, most of whom fled during the raid by area residents angry that patients were brought to the location from other parts of Monrovia. The patients are set to be transferred to the Ebola center as Monrovia's largest hospital once they are located, again.

West Point residents went on a "looting spree," stealing items from the clinic that were likely infected, said a senior police official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief the press. The residents took medical equipment and mattresses and sheets that had bloodstains, he said.

... "All between the houses you could see people fleeing with items looted from the patients," the official said, adding that he now feared "the whole of West Point will be infected."

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Jeb Opposes Legalized Pot, Rubio Kinda Supports It

Aug 15, 2014 11:52 AM PT

Former Florida Governor Jeb Bush has taken a hard-line stance against medicinal marijuana here in Florida.

Unlike Senator Marco Rubio, who favors the "
noneuphoric strains" of medical marijuana, and other possible 2016 Republican presidential candidates, who support broader medicinal marijuana use, Bush is strongly urging voters in Florida to defeat the marijuana amendment that is on the ballot this coming November.

 “Florida leaders and citizens have worked for years to make the Sunshine State a world-class location to start or run a business, a family-friendly destination for tourism and a desirable place to raise a family or retire,” Bush said in a statement. 

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Sen. Cruz on Democrats' Extreme Abortion Legislation

Jul 15, 2014 4:52 PM PT

Senate Democrats eager to rally voters ahead of the 2014 midterm elections held a hearing on S. 1696, a bill designed to wipe out abortion restrictions nationwide and allow for taxpayer funding for abortions. National Right to Life calls it "the most radical pro-abortion bill ever considered by Congress."

Senator Cruz spoke out against the bill today, calling it "extreme by any measure." That led to a striking remark in which Cruz pointed out America is already on the extreme end of abortion law compared to much of the world. "Today, the United States is one of seven countries in the world that permits abortion after 20 weeks. We are in such distinguished company as China, North Korea and Vietnam, those known paragons of human rights," he said.

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California Ballot Initiative Would Give State Control Over Health Insurance Rate Increases

Jul 3, 2014 10:54 AM PT

If a ballot proposition passes later this year, the state of California will be in control of setting insurance rate increases.

Proposition 45 has already been placed on the ballot for 2014. It would allow the state's insurance commissioner to reject rate increases it deems excessive. Currently the commissioner can deem a rate to be excessive but does not have the power to prevent a rate increase from taking place.

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Wait Times Published in the VA Audit Were Subject to Manipulation

Jun 18, 2014 8:46 AM PT

Last week the Department of Veterans Affairs published an audit of wait times at VA medical centers nationwide.  But it turns out those figures are not accurate because they were taken directly from the VA scheduling system, the same system which has been compromised by employees trying to artificially minimize wait times.

When the audit was released last week it contained a detailed chart listing wait times at every site the auditors had visited. These wait times, measured in days to two decimal places, were highlighted in the initial AP reports on the audit. In fact, the AP broke out wait times for specific cities and ran individual pieces highlighting those figures. But the audit report did not explain where they got the figures they published.

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The Pelletiers Vow To Pursue Legal Action As Justina Returns Home 'This Is Just The Beginning' (Video)

Jun 18, 2014 8:33 AM PT

Justina Pelletier, the Connecticut teen who was essentially taken hostage by the Boston Children's Hospital 16 months ago, was finally allowed to return home to her family Wednesday, and her father has vowed to pursue legal action against the Massachusetts authorities responsible for the injustice.

Via MyFox Boston:

Justina Pelletier's family expressed their joy that the 16-year-old was headed home after spending 16 months in the custody of the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families. While the family was looking forward to having Justina home, they expressed concern over her condition.

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GOP Rep: 'FBI Needs to Be Involved' in VA Investigation

Jun 9, 2014 10:08 AM PT

An audit of the VA system has found that 57,000 vets have been waiting more than 90 days for their appointments to see a doctor.

Rep. Jackie Walorski (R-IN) has been described as a "fierce" critic of the administration concerning the VA. On Monday she released the following statement concerning the audit:

Today’s audit from the VA confirms what we’ve known all along: the VA falsified wait times to cover-up their internal mess which led to the complete breakdown of our nation’s largest hospital system. I’m also saddened to learn the Indianapolis VA facility in my home state has been flagged for further review. Tonight, my colleagues and I will hear from representatives from the Government Accountability Office, VA inspector general and VA who will testify on data manipulation. It is my hope they can answer questions to uncover the truth of how this problem began. But, I fully expect more information to come out when the Inspector General completes its investigation. This is not a partisan issue. We need to keep working together to get to the bottom of this. And I think the FBI needs to be involved in investigating criminal activity.

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Despite 49 Deaths on Waiting Lists, Progressives Still Defending the VA

Jun 4, 2014 5:16 PM PT

Phillip Longman, the author of a book on the superiority of VA health care, returned to its defense Tuesday at his Washington Monthly blog. According to Longman, the problems aren't systemic but only regional.

Longman starts out by saying he wants to correct some misleading impressionism of "how well the VA is performing as an institution." And yet, his first piece makes no mention of the 49 (at least) wait list related deaths we know about.

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VA Knew of Wait Time Related Deaths in 2013

May 29, 2014 12:13 PM PT

Nothing about the current VA scandal is new. Not the wait times, not the abuse of scheduling procedures, not even the deaths of veterans waiting for appointments. All of this has been previously reported as far back as 2001 in the case of scheduling issues and early 2013 in the case of deaths resulting from long wait times.

The recent focus on long wait times at the VA may make it appear as if this is a newly uncovered problem. In fact, the VA and the GAO have been aware of the problem with abuse of the appointment scheduling system for well over a decade. Not is it the case that the VA was only recently aware that deaths may have resulted from delays.

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VA Supporters Should Stop Citing Dubious VA Wait Time Data

May 28, 2014 4:34 PM PT

It wouldn't make much sense to cite Enron's annual reports after word broke that the books were being cooked. Similarly, it doesn't make much sense to cite VA wait times when the veracity of that data is (and has been) highly suspect.

A few days ago, Timothy Noah writing for MSNBC argued that, despite the ongoing VA scandal, VA wait times aren't much worse than those in the private sector:

News stories about the Phoenix VA and some other bad actors indicate the wait can be many months, but an internal VA estimate—one based on “hard” time stamps and therefore less vulnerable to manipulation than the records allegedly falsified — puts the average wait at about 21 days.

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Another Setback For Pelletier Family As Judge Rules MA Will Receive 'Permanent' Custody of Daughter

Mar 26, 2014 11:02 AM PT

Lou and Linda Pelletier have been fighting the Department of Children and Families (DCF) in Massachussetts to regain custody of their daughter, Justina for 14 months, and now it looks like they're facing another major setback as her health declines. In a mind-bogglingly inexplicable decision, a judge has ruled that the state of Massachusetts will receive “permanent” custody of Pelletier.

The conflict stems from a dispute between the family and MA DCF regarding the diagnosis of the teen's disorder.

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Surgeons Replace Man's Severed Finger With His Toe

Jan 14, 2014 7:23 PM PT

A 22-year-old Chinese student who lost a finger in a childhood accident, has been given a full set of digits after doctors successfully attached one of his toes to his hand.  Although Ha Yuan lived with the missing finger for many years, after he graduated he felt it prevented him from getting a high paying job because potential employers were put off by the visual. 

Yuan said, "My classmates all found jobs in the campus job fairs, but I was refused all the time once the employer saw my left hand." 

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FDA Delays Lifesaving Drug, U.S. Health Officials Import from Europe, Canada and Australia

Jan 7, 2014 2:43 PM PT

On the New York Post's opinion page, Sally Pipes of Pacific Research Institute writes about two campuses with menegitis outbreaks and how current vaccines given don't prevent the disease from spreading.  However, a 20 year old vaccine available in Europe, Canada and Australia is still being delayed by the FDA.

Twenty years in the making, the vaccine has undergone numerous clinical trials involving nearly 8,000 infants, children, adolescents and adults. US health officials, alarmed by the outbreak, have taken the unprecedented step of importing the drug as part of an emergency vaccination campaign at Princeton.

Yet Bexsero is still awaiting approval by the Food and Drug Administration. A combination of excessive caution and regulatory inertia has left thousands of Americans vulnerable to this dangerous disease.

A strong dose of caution when it comes to approving new treatments may seem like a virtue. But as the students and families affected by these outbreaks know, excess caution can have grave consequences.

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Doctors Perform Emergency C-Section, Discover No Baby

Dec 18, 2013 6:07 PM PT

CABO FRIO, Brazil - Brazilian News site Globo G1 reported that doctors performed an emergency C-section on a 37-year-old woman only to discover that she was not pregnant. Doctors bypassed an ultra sound and performed the surgery at the Women's Hospital in Cabo Frio, Brazil, after being unable to detect a baby's heartbeat.  They believed the woman to be 41 weeks pregnant, saying the patient arrived at the hospital with what she said was proof of her prenatal care, was "showing" and complained of sharp pains.

The doctors concluded the woman was suffering from a condition known as pseudocyesis, or false pregnancy. People with pseudocyesis believe they are expecting a baby when they are not actually pregnant and can exhibit many symptoms of a real pregnancy including, weight gain, nausea and back aches. 

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FDA: ADHD Medicine Can Cause Long and Painful Erections

Dec 18, 2013 7:16 AM PT

The Food and Drug Administration released a safety announcement yesterday warning that methylphenidate products, one type of stimulant drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), may in rare instances cause priapism: a persistent and usually painful erection lasting more than four hours and occuring without sexual stimulation.  Methylphenidate can be found in treatments such as Ritalin, Concerta and Daytrana.

The FDA has updated drug labels and patient Medication Guides to include information about priapism. 

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Doctors Save Severed Hand By Sewing to Man's Ankle

Dec 16, 2013 7:17 AM PT

After a man lost his right hand in a work place accident in November, doctors in Changsha, Hunan province successfully reattached the limb by grafting it to his ankle for a month. 

The man, Xiao Wei, said that at the time of the accident he "was just shocked and frozen to the spot, until colleagues unplugged the machine and retrieved my hand and took me to the hospital. I am still young, and I couldn't imagine life without a right hand."

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Actor Hugh Jackman Had Skin Cancer, Recommends You All Get Checked Out

Nov 22, 2013 8:13 AM PT

Actor Hugh Jackman has just posted a picture of him after undergoing surgery to remove skin cancer from his nose. It is really important that those of you, who live in states that receive a lot of sunlight, and those who have fairer skin than others, take the time and get checked out.

 Just last week, I had my Dermatologist exam every single inch of skin on my glorious body, to look for any similar growths or discolorations in my skin. So take my word for it, don't take the risk.

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100-Year-Old Woman Has Smoked Nearly Half a Million Cigarettes

Nov 12, 2013 7:18 AM PT

ENGLAND - At age 16, Dorothy Howe took her first drag of a cigarette.  84 years and roughly 460,000 cigarettes later, the former secretary credits her longevity to all that smoking and a little bit of whisky.

"I put my health down to whisky and cigarettes. I only drink when I’m out but my doctor said I wouldn't be alive without them," she said. "I’ve had a great life and God has treated me very well. I've been very lucky."

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Obamacare Roll Out Sux, And Obama Knows It

Oct 22, 2013 6:10 PM PT

Even after President Obama himself stated that his Obamacare roll out has been nothing less than disappointing,  his  administration officials are touting that there have been approximately 476,000 Obamacare applications file through the news exchanges that were first implemented on October 1.

Congresswoman Wasserman Schultz is also praising this number divulged by an unidentified administration official.

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2-Year-Old Boy Has Surgery to Remove Twin Brother From His Stomach

Oct 3, 2013 7:33 AM PT

After a 2-year-old boy was rushed to the hospital with a severely bloated stomach, doctors in China were stunned to discover that he was carrying an underdeveloped fetus inside his belly.  Xiao Feng underwent an operation to "give birth" to his own parasitic twin. 

According to doctors, the unborn fetus measured 20cm in width and had also formed a spine, limbs, fingers and toes.  The fetus took up roughly two thirds of Xiao's stomach which made it difficult for the 2-year-old to breathe. 

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Web MD Obamacare Quiz Confirms It Will Be Harder to Find a Doctor and Costs May Go Up

Sep 30, 2013 12:30 PM PT

Web MD has an online quiz called "Health Care Reform Myth or Fact" which is designed to test your knowledge of reform. While most of the questions stick to familiar topics such as pre-existing conditions and staying on your parent's insurance until age 26, a few have answers that the Obama administration may not like.

Question 10 is "Health reform will make your insurance costs go up." There are several True-False questions in the quiz but this is the only one that adds a third possible option "It depends." This turns out to be the correct answer because, as the quiz explains, "it's hard to know exactly what to expect." The explanation adds "Since insurance companies won’t be allowed to charge sick people more, they may even out the costs by raising prices on the healthy." They may? Is there really any doubt about that?

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Viagra Inventor Develops Spray to Curb Premature Ejaculation

Sep 23, 2013 8:31 AM PT

The Daily Mail is reporting that one of the scientists on the team that developed Viagra in the Nineties, has turned his sights to another sexual problem plaguing the unfortunate: premature ejaculation.  Mike Wyllie's new product is called Tempe, a spray on medication that has been deemed safe and effective by the European Medicines Agency and is expected to hit the market place early next year. 

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5-Year-Old Getting Medical Marijuana Card

Aug 31, 2013 8:06 AM PT

MESA, Az. - An Arizona couple was given the green light to use medical marijuana to treat their 5-year-old son who suffers from seizures caused by cortical dysplasia, a genetic brain defect. Jennifer and Jacob Welton recently contacted a naturopathic doctor and started the process to administer legal pot. Tuesday they learned their application had been approved. 

The 5-year-old Zander began having seizures when he was nine months old and continues to have them weekly according to his parents. The seizures vary in severity but some cause his body to stiffen and his breathing to stop. In addition, the child suffers from autism which precludes him from any real form of communication. He is able to squeal and grunt but is unable to form words or use hand gestures.

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Hospital Denies Negligence After Throwing Kidney For Ohio Transplant In Trash

Aug 30, 2013 8:33 AM PT

TOLEDO, Ohio - The University of Toledo Medical center is asking a state court to dismiss a lawsuit despite admitting that one of its nurses threw away a teen's kidney before it could be transplanted into his sister last year. UTMC is claiming that they were not medically negligent. 

"They are admitting they threw the kidney away, but they are not admitting substandard medical care," Fudacz family lawyer James E. Arnold told

"They must think that it is within standard care to throw a kidney away," Arnold said. "It would be more decent to admit substandard care, and the family shouldn't have to be going through litigation to prove it. It's obvious to everyone but the university -- in all fairness."

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Doctors Fined For Injecting Fecal Bacteria Into Patients' Brains

Aug 23, 2013 11:40 AM PT

The California Department of Public Health fined several doctors for injecting fecal bacteria into the brains of three cancer patients at the University of California-Davis Medical Center. The patients who consented to the highly experimental procedure, all had end stage glioblastoma multiforme and had not been responsive to conventional treatments. 

Doctors suggested an untested treatment whereby bacteria from the bowels would be injected into the patients' brains in hopes of creating infections that would destroy the remaining tumor cells. 

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Rare Condition: Stroke Victim Becomes Orgasmic When Hearing James Bond Theme

Jul 31, 2013 9:38 AM PT

A report published in the journal Neurology, documents the case of a 45-year-old stroke victim who developed a condition called synesthesia: an extremely uncommon neurological syndrome that allows someone to feel and taste colors and sounds. The hospital in which the man was treated described it this way in a press release: "...a neurological condition in which people experience more than one sense at the same time." Someone suffering from synesthesia may "see" words or numbers as colors, hear sounds in response to smell, or feel something in response to sight.

According to the report, the man developed strange sensations about a year after having a stroke.  His symptoms were listed as follows:

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Sea Creature's Venom Could Be Used To Treat Obesity, Arthritis, Lupus

Jul 31, 2013 7:40 AM PT

SEATTLE - A local biotechnology company is using toxins from sea anemones and the cone snail to treat a range of autoimmune diseases from lupus to arthritis. In addition, researchers are exploring the use of these same toxins to treat obesity. The use of animal products to treat serious diseases signals the industry's gradual move toward chemical-based medicines. 

Dr. Shawn Iadonato,  Kineta’s chief scientific officer and executive vice president said, “We think the natural route is still under-explored, and there are lots of opportunities for new drugs that are very effective and potent."

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