Monday, June 28, 2010

Airline Food Produced in Unsanitary Conditions

USA Today reported that its analysis of FDA documents obtained via FOIA requests shows the agency's "inspectors have cited numerous catering facilities that prepare airline food for suspected health and sanitation violations following inspections of their kitchens this year and last. ... The inspections were at the US facilities of two of the world's biggest airline caterers, LSG Sky Chefs and Gate Gourmet, and another large caterer, Flying Food Group." The companies "provide more than 100 million meals annually...for nearly all big airlines, including Delta, American, United, US Airways and Continental." The FDA documents cite improper food storage temperatures and the use of "unclean equipment and...workers who practice poor hygiene."

Las Vegas Sun Investigates Medical Dangers

The Las Vegas Sun reported, "As part of a two-year investigation, Sun reporters Marshall Allen and Alex Richards have obtained a record of every Nevada hospital inpatient visit going back a decade -- 2.9 million in all." According to the Sun, "Revealed are the dangers patients have unknowingly encountered as they enter delivery rooms, surgical suites, and intensive care units, including thousands of cases of injury, death, and deadly infection associated with stays in Las Vegas hospitals." Meanwhile, "Helen Haskell, director of the national advocacy group the Empowered Patient Coalition, said the Sun's analysis will allow patients to make better-informed decisions about where to seek care, exerting financial pressure on low-performing health care providers to improve."

Allen and Richards reported that "over a two-year period -- 2008 and 2009 -- patients suffered preventable injuries, life-threatening infections, or other harm 969 times during their stays in Las Vegas hospitals." The investigation found that Las Vegas hospitals "have higher than expected rates of accidental punctures and lacerations, blood clots, and deadly blood infections. Hospital insiders tell the Sun that a dangerous culture of mediocrity has become the status quo."  Read more.

Friday, June 25, 2010

CDC Tips to Prevent Surgical Site Infections

A surgical site infection is one that occurs after surgery in the part of the body where the surgery took place. Most patients who have surgery do not develop infections. According to CDC, surgical site infections are the second most frequently reported healthcare-associated infection, accounting for 17% of infections among U.S. hospitalized patients.  Read more.

Friday, June 18, 2010

CDC: Sharp Increase in Emergency Room Visits for Nonmedical Use of Prescription Drugs

A new report examines emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of prescription drugs prone to abuse.  Scientists from CDC's Injury Center and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) worked together to analyze data from SAMHSA’s Drug Abuse Warning Network.  Among the key findings:

•There was a 111% increase in emergency department visits involving nonmedical use of opioid painkillers in the United States between 2004 and 2008.

•In 2008, the number of ED visits involving nonmedical use of prescription or over-the-counter drugs roughly equaled the number involving illicit drugs.

•Most visits for nonmedical use of drugs involved opioid painkillers (especially oxycodone, hydrocodone, or methadone) or benzodiazepines, a class of sedative drugs.
Get the full report here.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Slits Down Sides of Hot Dogs Reduces Choking Hazard

The American Academy of Pediatrics says hot dogs can be dangerous because young children can choke on them.  At least one design change can reduce that risk:  "Make incisions down the sides so that, as it heats, the dog will open into a floral-type design that will more easily break apart if stuck in the throat."  But don't expect to see redesigned hot dogs in stores just yet.  Janet Riley, president of the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, said: "I think a wholesale redesign of the hot dog from its iconic shape as a long, tubular food product is a bit unlikely."  Read more.

Friday, June 11, 2010

OSHA: Energy Industry Has "Troubling" Safety Record

OSHA officials told Congress last month that the oil and gas industry "has a troubling record on worker safety." In the previous four months, "58 workers have died in explosions, fires and collapses at refineries, coal mines, the oil drilling rig and a natural gas-fired power plant construction site, said Jordan Barab, deputy assistant secretary for the Occupational Safety and Health Administration." Sen. Patty Murray, chair of the Employment and Workplace Safety Subcommittee of the Senate HELP Committee, said, "To me this doesn't seem simply like a string of bad luck; it appears to be a disregard for safety regulations and precautions across an entire industry." Read more.