Sunday, October 10, 2004


Insurance Company Gets Smart About Surgery...and Vioxx is OUTA here

Surgery isn't the only thing that can suck. Painkillers can, too, and Merck has yanked its arthritis drug Vioxx from the market because people who take it can experience an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Merck announced the decision in late September, sending two million users worldwide looking for alternatives to the $2.5 BILLION drug.

(Hey, all you two million? Check out The Rossiter System to get some quick, NO-RISK, NO SIDE EFFECTS pain relief!)

Meanwhile, a Minnesota health insurer is getting fed up with unncessary, risky and plain old bad surgeries, too. HealthPartners, based in Bloomington, will quit paying surgeons who "botch" operations, according to OutPatient Surgery Weekly (10/11/04). The company is using a set of criteria called "never events" by a national forum on quality.

Among the events for which HealthPartners will quit reinbursing surgeons are: surgery done at the wrong place on the patient's body ("wrong-site" surgery), surgery done on the wrong patient, surgery that involves the wrong procedure, surgery in which something is left behind in the patient (a sponge, a drape, a pair of clamps, etc.), and death during or immediately after surgery on an otherwise healthy, normal patient.

Gee, I feel better. Or do I?

Meanwhile, the Joint Commission on the Accreditation of Health Care Organizations (JCAHO) has issued an alert to surgical facilities, urging them to take steps to prevent "anesthesia awareness." That means surgery in which the patient might wake up, feel pain but not be able to say anything or cry out. How often does that happen? About 40 case a day, or 20,00-40,000 a year, according to JCAHO's president. Common sensations in the patients are pain and a feeling of the inability to breathe.

One more reason: surgery sucks.

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