Friday, August 31, 2012

Bumbo Recall

Approximately four million Bumbo Baby Seats have been recalled after more than 84 incidents have occurred in which babies fell, according to an article by USA Today.  

These seats are used to prop babies up before they’re old enough to sit up on their own.  

Most of the incidents have occurred while the seats were on raised surfaces, such as a counter or table. Since the recall, Bumbo International stated that they will provide owners of the seats with a free repair kit to add a strap to secure babies in the seats.  

The Bumbo seats were sold both online and in stores from August 2003 to August 2012.  

To order the free repair kit, call (866) 898-4999 or visit

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Advancements in Medical Technology

As Technology Advances, Patients Believe Medical Errors Will Decrease 

According to an article published in Healthcare Informatics, Americans are becoming more confident in healthcare technology that helps reduce medical mistakes. The survey by Wolters Kluwer Health stated that out of one thousand U.S. consumers aged 18 and older, 68 percent believe that as technology advances in the medical field, medical errors should decrease.  

About a third of those that participated in the study said that medical mistakes have been experienced either by them or by someone they know. These mistakes include getting the wrong treatment, medication or dosage.  

Studies have shown that hospitals have reduced mortality rates, shorter lengths of stays and overall improvements in the quality of care when they adopt certain clinical decision support systems, according to the article.  

More than one-third of Americans believe that poor communication among hospital workers is the top reason why medical errors take place. Other reasons as to why medical mistakes happen are because of staff feeling fatigued, staffing shortages and doctors and nurses being in a hurry.  

Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

When Anemia Drugs Make Billions, Who Gets Affected?

Common anemia drugs known as Procrit, Aranesp and Epogen are among the best-selling prescription drugs in the country.  

But according to an article in the Washington Post, the rise in the drug’s profit can potentially be dangerous to those who receive them.  

Two companies, Amgen and Johnson & Johnson, generate more than $8 billion a year, but at what cost? 

Information on the benefits of the drug, which included “life satisfaction and happiness” are listed on the FDA-approved label. However, research has concluded that those statements have been overstated. Also, potentially lethal side effects such as cancer and strokes have been overlooked.  

Anemia is caused when the body produces too few red blood cells. Having too few of those cells can make carrying oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body a dangerous problem. These drugs were made to help stimulate the body to produce more of the red blood cells.  

According to the article, the drugs elevate a statistic for red blood cell counts. However, there is no evidence that they improve a patient’s survival or make them feel better. 

It was discovered instead that health care officials who gave patients bigger doses made more money.  

Drugs administered by physicians can yield a very high profit if there is a “spread,” which is the difference between the price they pay for the drug and the price they ultimately charge patients.  

The drug makers give physicians an incentive or motivation for giving larger doses. Practices that dispense the drug in large volumes were offered discounts and the companies making the drug overfilled vials, allowing doctors a chance to increase profit margins.  

Even though the drug levels that patients were receiving were considered dangerous, physicians continued to give large doses. While they told patients that the drug would be beneficial, they could easily make $100,000 to $300,000 a year from the incentives.  

As ads continued to state how patients could feel a lot better by taking the drug, the FDA raised safety concerns. With this, the drugmakers agreed to conduct some studies to promote the facts.  

The Normal Hematocrit Trial drew in more than 1,200 patients who were on dialysis. Half of the patients received enough Epogen to boost their hematocrit up to about 42 percent while the other half received only enough to get their levels up to 30 percent.  

The trial had to come to an end three years later when the “normal” higher-dose group were dying or having heart attacks at a high rate than those in the lower-dose group.  

This became evidence that showed the drugs could potentially be deadly. The results from this study were published in a medicine journal in 1998 and were glossed over.  

It was stated by federal statistics that in 2007, more than 80 percent of dialysis patients on Medicare were receiving the drug at levels that the FDA considers very unsafe. 

Since then, the FDA has cracked down on the drugs; the maximum recommended doses have been lowered and it was ruled out as an option for patients considered just slightly anemic.
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.

Friday, August 24, 2012

More Treatment, More Mistakes

According to a report from 1999, medical mistakes were the reason why 98,000 Americans were dying every year.  

However, a reasonable estimate is now currently around 200,000 Americans, according to an article from the New York Times.  

In a recent anonymous survey, orthopedic surgeons have stated that 24 percent of tests they have ordered were actually not necessary. This is called defensive medicine, which is used in hopes of avoiding mistakes. However, each additional test or procedure can make room for more error.  

More is not always better.  

M.R.I. and CT scans can lead to false positives and ultimately unnecessary operations. As more medications are prescribed, the chance of a patient having an allergic reaction or an accidental overdose increases. 

It has been shown that since 1996, the percentage of doctor visits leading to at least five drugs’ being prescribed to patients have almost tripled, while the number of M.R.I. scans being ordered have quadrupled, according to the article.  

Many people have come up with ways to be safer in the hospitals and doctors’ offices. Checklists have been developed to bring hospital-acquired infections down to a close zero. There are also rules in place now that stop nurses from being disturbed while they dispense medications.  

Hospitals are expected to uphold the highest standards when it comes to taking care of patients. Maybe when doctors are asked by their colleagues to justify the tests and procedures they ordered, they will be reminded that doing more may not be the best idea.
Snyder and Wenner, P.C.