Friday, September 4, 2009

Malpractice suits: who really pays at the end?

New York City HallImage via Wikipedia
Did you know that in New York City, 92.2% of OB/GYN doctors have been sued for malpractice at least once? And the average is 3 times each? The effect is OB/GYN driven out of the city altogether, or just GYN, no more OB.

Another OB/GYN doctor remarked: in 1981 his medical malpractice insurance is only $8000 per year. Now it's $155000 (2009). His practice can't pay for the insurance, at about $50 per appt, so he's getting out of the business. Average malpractice insurance for non-OB/GYN doctors in NYC is $40000.

Stats show that less than 30% of the malpractice suits actually have a chance of winning. The rest are frivolous.

Anti-bacterial / germicidal: the real health threat?

A schematic representation of how antibiotic r...Image via Wikipedia

Anti-bacterial or germicidal products are all around us. We are lead to believe that they are better than the plain-jane versions. Dish-washing liquids now comes in germicidal varieties. Even computer keyboards comes in germicidal varieties. But has it gone too far?

First, are bacteria REALLY that harmful through contact? There are deadly bacteria. Bad forms of E Coli or Botulism and such sends plenty to hospital very year. However, those are all INGESTED bacteria. What bacteria is there that are dangerous through CONTACT?

I mean, you wouldn't use those germicidal hand cleaners on your food, do you? Say a cucumber, carrot, and so on, that you'd eat raw?

The only kind that are widely known is the "flesh-eating bacteria", and even then it needs some sort of an entrance. But what are the chances of running into those for the average Joe?

Second, what about the GOOD bacteria? There are plenty of stuff that lives inside you.

Third, what are the consequences of such germicidal mania? More serious than you think.

Nature is a self-regulating mechanism. If you push it one way, eventually it will push back. What will likely happen is in the near future the common germs that these germicidal agents may develop resistance to these agents. It's the natural thing to do. So we'll have to invent something STRONGER... and the war continues.

The danger to this scenario is... if the resistant strain somehow got crossed with a virulent strain, we'd end up with a pandemic that we can't stop.

And we already have "drug resistant" forms of many diseases. Drug-resistant strains of tuberculosis already exists to most common forms of antibiotics, and the super-advanced antibiotics cost an arm and a leg. (And you thought that TB had been eradicated from the world!) The "super germs" are causing problems in Europe a lot. Many have died in hospitals from these super-germ infections.

Why do we need all this germicidal stuff when a simple hand-washing will do? After all, hospitals have done it for a hundred years to prevent infections, right?

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