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Since the 1950’s, heart attack survival rates have been on the rise, thanks to new treatments and drug innovations. Among those new treatments is therapeutic hypothermia. Therapeutic hypothermia refers to a controlled cooling of the body, only a difference of about 4oC below normal body temperature, in order to protect the brain and body and prevent cerebral ischemia, which could lead to irreversible brain damage.
Therapeutic hypothermia has been studied since 1950, but it was hard to control the cooling using only ice and cooling blankets. Since then, cooling devices that include the circulation of cold water through cooling pads and through the patient’s veins have made it easier for physicians to regulate the body temperature. The therapy has become more widespread since 2002, following two studies in the New England Journal of Medicine showing significant survival and neurological outcomes in heart attack and stroke patients who had received the therapeutic hypothermic treatment. Therapeutic hypothermia has since been included in the American Heart Association Guidelines for CPR and Emergency Cardiovascular Care. Cooling devices can be found in a number of the country’s larger medical centers, and, thanks to health care workers, are starting to make their way into smaller hospitals.
The University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine calls therapeutic hypothermia “the most important specific treatment for a patient surviving cardiac arrest.” The treatment was recently featured in the news after a 21-year-old premedical student from the University of Southern California suffered a heart attack while running the Los Angeles Marathon and was saved by the induction of therapeutic hypothermia. Similarly, Jefferson Regional Medical Center, a smaller hospital near Pittsburgh, recently installed its first cooling device, allowing physicians to save the life and neurological function of a 57-year-old DARE officer who had suffered a heart attack. Jefferson Memorial is one of the first smaller hospital in the area to offer therapeutic hypothermia, but doctors and patients alike should expect the treatment to be a growing trend in hospitals around the country.
It gets cold in the Midwest, but at Arizant Inc., a forced air blanket provider in Minnesota, the heat is on. The company has created a surgical gown called Bair Paws Flex; made of wood fibers, polypropylene, and polyester, a machine blows warm air between layers of paper, warming up the wearer before, during and after surgery.
Patients benefiting from the puffy gown joke that it’s no fashion statement, yet like it well enough to inquire of their surgeons: “Can I get this at home?” The short answer is no, but the good news is, the healthcare facilities buying Bair Paws are up by 400 in the past year. Considering that OR temperatures average in the low 60’s, it’s no small wonder patients want to beat the arctic factor and wear this gown—and they’re not the only ones who are crowing.
Bair Paws makes surgeon and anesthesiologists jobs easier because it’s loaded with Velcro and can be manipulated during procedures so the right parts are accessible, while the rest of the body stays covered and warm. Another advantage: patients wearing it go easily from waiting room to OR—no wardrobe change required. At $15 each, the gowns run a few dollars more per case than forced air blankets, but their popularity endures, especially among anesthesiologists, responsible for monitoring patients’ temperatures.
Daniel Sessler, an anesthesiologist and department chair at the Cleveland Clinic, studies patient warming and says that preventing even a 2% drop in body temperature reduces risk of heart problems, wound infections, blood loss and prolonged recovery. But beyond the basic desire to make patients more comfortable, doctors are motivated by new standards from Medicare. The government is now connecting two percent of medical pay to performance, of which reporting on and controlling body temps (during a surgical procedure lasting an hour or more) is a huge factor.
Your one line take-away from this story: Global warming bad; patient warming, priceless.
The Leapfrog Group released its 2009 list of the nation’s best hospitals. Leapfrog’s top hospitals are determined using information gathered from the organization’s free, voluntary hospital survey. The survey assesses hospitals based on criteria involving both safety and efficiency practices. Top hospitals must meet standards for Computerized Physician Order Entry systems (CPOE), which have been shown to reduce medication errors by 85%, as well as for ICU staffing and complex procedure performance. New to the survey this year are criteria regarding hospital efficiency; these criteria are based on the quality of patient outcomes, lengths of stay, re-admission rates, and occurrences of hospital-acquired infections.
The Leapfrog survey is intended to educate patients and medical providers, but is also used to initiate improvements in health care reliability, affordability, and safety. While hospitals are not required to participate in this survey, the Journal of the Joint Commission reports that the hospitals that choose to participate in the Leapfrog survey have lower mortality rates and better quality of care than those who decline to respond.
Among this year’s top hospitals are the Mayo Clinics in Rochester, MN, and Phoenix, AZ; various Kaiser Permanente Hospitals throughout California; University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore; Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, MA; and many more.
Not only can patients use the Leapfrog comparisons to be better informed when choosing a local top hospital, but medical practitioners can also use this survey and other data on the nation’s best hospitals in their own searches for new physician jobs.
Visit Candidate Direct to search for permanent or locum tenens job postings in some of the nation’s top hospitals.
Author Healthcare Career Blogger | 09.12.2009 | Category Anesthesiology jobs, Healthcare Career Blog, Locum Tenens, Medical doctor jobs, OB/GYN physician jobs, Physicians, Retired Physician, Surgery jobs
Locum tenens is ideal both for doctors in search of 20 or 30 hours of practice and for providers looking to supplement quality patient care. Top salaries are available, along with malpractice insurance, housing, paid travel and competitive benefits.
Despite the current economic climate, health care positions are still in great need. According to Medical Group Management Association, physician salaries continued to show a modest increase throughout 2008.
Of course not all physician jobs showed the same demand and salary increase. Though there continues to be a shortage of primary care physicians, including family practitioners, general internists, and pediatricians, general practitioners continue to show the smallest salary increases, while cardiac and neurosurgeons show the highest trends in physician salaries.
Locum tenens physicians also find themselves in these higher earning categories. Leading staffing agency, Candidate Direct, offers great benefits for locum tenens positions, including private housing, transportation, and malpractice insurance. Locum tenens jobs are posted on their easily searchable database and advertised on their live RSS feed, which sends updates on new physician job opportunities. The Candidate Direct website also offers links to financial resources to help physicians make the most of their salaries in these difficult economic times. Physicians can also increase their earnings by signing up for per diem shifts using Candidate Direct Stay Staffed Internal Staffing Management Software, which shows new shift openings in real time.
Locum tenens jobs offer the perfect career opportunity for young physicians just starting out and for retired physicians wanting to keep up with their careers, as well as for anyone looking to travel and earn strong benefits. Visit Candidate Direct to apply online today.
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