An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away?

It’s great to have a skilled physician and a good hospital available when you need them; it’s even better to enjoy overall good health and need them less often.

The web site Nutrition and You offers some easy-to-digest information on the benefits of various fruits.  For example, did you know…


Apples are low in calories; 100 g of fresh fruit slices provide only 50 calories. They, however, contain no saturated fats or cholesterol, and are rich in dietary fiber which helps prevent absorption of dietary-LDL or bad cholesterol in the gut.


Red varieties of grapefruits are especially rich in the most powerful flavonoid antioxidant, lycopene. Studies have shown that lycopene protects skin damage from UV rays, and offers protection against prostate cancer.


Research studies have shown that certain substances in kiwi-fruit functions as blood thinner function similar to aspirin; thus, it helps prevent clot formation inside the blood vessels and protect from stroke and heart-attack risk.


Raspberries contain a good amount of minerals like potassium, manganese, copper, iron and magnesium. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps controlling heart rate and blood pressure.


Fresh berries are an excellent source of vitamin-C (100 g provide 58.8 mg or about 98% of RDI), which is also a powerful natural antioxidant. Consumption of fruits rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infectious agents, counter inflammation and scavenge harmful free radicals.

So snack on some delicious, guilt-free fresh fruit!

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Quiet Hospitals – Revisited

I work in a hospital and spend a fair amount of time on patient units, which tend to be astonishingly noisy.  The environment is often loud, even late in the evening or early in the morning when people who aren’t feeling their best would probably like to be sleeping.

Occasional noisey moments are to be expected, but maintaining a calm atmosphere in patient care areas seems to be an afterthought in most hospitals.

So, just as a reminder to us all, I am re-featuring this earlier post:

Shhh – Silent Hospitals Help Healing

When you have overnight guests in your home, chances are you do all you can to make their stay as comfortable as possible. In a sense, patients are guests in our “house,” but often they find their overnight accommodations anything but comfortable and restful. Hospitalized patients often complain “How am I supposed to sleep when…”

Read the rest

Thanks Specialty Care

I just want to say thanks to Specialty Care, provider of clinical services and quality benchmarking, and one of the vendors that suported the recent SABM Conference.

I stopped by their booth at the conference and entered their drawing for a Google Nexus 7″ tablet – and won!  Cool!

I’m enjoying the tablet, and want to thank Specialty Care for both the tablet and their support of SABM.

Routine Blood Transfusion-Not So Routine After All

Variant Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease (vCJD) is a rare, but deadly infection that can be transmitted in transfused blood or blood products.

An article in the UK Telegraph Killed by a needless blood transfusion, notes that Deryck Kenny, who died in 2003, was the first recorded death from vCJD traceable to contaminated blood.  His widow, a retired nurse, later reviewed his medical record and could find no documented reason for the three units of blood Deryck received during surgery for prostate cancer.  She concluded that it was simply the surgeon’s routine to transfuse patients.

Routine is a more common reason for transfusion than most would think.  As a result, hospitals around the globe are beginning to adopt patient blood management as a key safety concept.  The roots of the program lie in alternative treatments developed for patients who decline all blood transfusions in their care, in the past primarily Jehovah’s Witnesses, but now a choice that is being made by an increasing number of others as well.

For those anticipating a planned surgery, consider asking your physician to do a routine blood count in advance, and if anemia (low hemoglobin / hematocrit) is noted, to take steps to correct that anemia prior to surgery.  That simple step alone would eliminate the need for many transfuions during or after surgery.  In cases of mild anemia iron supplements may help, or if the problem is more pronounced, IV iron or medication that stimulates a patient’s own bone marrow to produce red cells, may be needed.

It has been said that “the safest transfusion is the one not given.”


NAMSS Conference – HCQIA Hearing Rights

I listened in recently to the National Association Medical Staff Services (NAMSS) Virtual Conference sessions.  Getting into the online program was easy, the sound was good, the slides were easy to see and follow, and no trips through airline security were required.  Overall I’d give the experience an A. 

Speakers for Thursday’s virtual sessions were Carol Cairns, CPMSM, CPCS, Sally Pelletier, CPMSM, CPCS, Linda Haddad, JD, and Todd Sagan, MD, JD., and every session was full of good instruction.  

One particular point worth noting was the reminder Dr. Sagan gave about hearing rights and HCQIA immunity.  We’re all keenly aware of the requirement to report any physician suspension of more than 30 days to the National Practitioner Data Bank (NPDB), but my ears perked up at his mention of the 14 day hearing requirement in order to qualify for protection from the Healthcare Quality Improvement Act (HCQIA).

The Healthcare Lawyers site provides the HCQIA language pertaining to hearings:

Notice of Hearing: If the physician timely requests a hearing, he must be given a notice stating:

1. the place, time and date of the hearing, which shall not be less than 30 days after the date of the notice…

Hearing Requirements: …

 The above notice and hearing procedures are not required in situations where no adverse professional review action was taken or if a physician’s clinical privileges are suspended or restricted for 14 days or less, during which time an investigation must be conducted to determine whether a professional review action is needed.  (see: 42 U.S.C. Section 11112(c)(1)).

At least for me, that was a lesser known requirement, and an excellent reminder.


Coming to Pittsburgh – The Allegheny Inn

A lovely old home, in serious disrepair, has sat abandoned for years in the historic north side of Pittsburgh.  It was recently purchased by two local physicians, and extensive renovations are underway.  The couple plans to turn the building into a bed & breakfast.  Read the story in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette.

They certainly have their work cut out for them, and we wish them the best.

Watch their progress here.


Grief For Those We Cannot Save

I got to know one of our hospitalized patients fairly well during the last months of her life.  Young and battling a deadly disease, she fought with every ounce of strength she possessed.  In one of our conversations she told me she wasn’t ready to sleep; there was so much more to do.  We talked about faith, the future,  and what she wished for those she loved.

In a conversation with her long-time physician shortly after her death, he quietly said, “I’m sorry”.

At first I didn’t understand what he meant; then I realized he was apologizing to me for not being able to save this patient I had grown fond of.  “You did all that you could,” I responded.

“But it wasn’t enough, was it?” he replied, as he walked away.

What a burden to carry – grief for those we cannot save from “the last enemy” death.

When Doctors Grieve, recently published in the New York Times, addresses this seldom discussed issue.  “Do doctors grieve when their patients die? In the medical profession, such grief is seldom discussed — except, perhaps, as an example of the sort of emotion that a skilled doctor avoids feeling.”

It is a discussion worth bringing into the open.

Considering Joint Commission Hospital Surveyor Focus – 2012

If your hospital is up for Joint Commission survey in the coming months, you will find a recent article by Compass Clinical Consulting, A Snapshot of First Quarter TJC Survey Results, worth reviewing. 

The first three months of 2012 TJC surveys are complete, and reports to Compass Clinical Consulting from clients and from the field draw a revealing and somewhat concerning picture…

READ  A Snapshot of First Quarter TJC Survey Results