2 concussions in 4 months

John Taylor: October 19, 20070 Comments

OK, it's a teaser headline, but I promise to deliver at the end of this posting of odds and ends in health care.

Item: Not only is there a drought in Georgia, the money is drying up too. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports that Grady Memorial Hospital is closing its outpatient dialysis center. The story doesn't say how many patients the center treats, only that the clinic is overworked, understaffed and largely serving uninsured people.

Grady loses $4 million a month at the clinic, and the 115-year-old hospital is on track to have a $55 million deficit on a $730 million budget. Sounds like more bad headlines in the offing.

Item: Medical schools admitted a record number of first-year students this year, according to the Association of American Medical Colleges, with 126 schools taking in 17,759 students. Nobody is willing to say this is a big step toward averting a predicted physician shortage.

Item: This is an excerpt from a thought-provoking letter in Modern Healthcare on the topic of persistent vegetative states. "Trauma patients, unconscious and immobilized, do not have a choice of the receiving hospital, be it Roman Catholic, Jewish, Mormon, Baptist, Presbyterian or nonreligious. Interhospital transfer based on advance directives is not likely to occur." -- Donald White, Northern Virginia Mental Health Institute.

Item: OK, here's the payoff. This quote appeared in Sports Illustrated, attributed to Dean McAmmond, an Ottawa Senators hockey player who had suffered his second concussion in four months during an exhibition game:

"I don't feel I have a concussion problem. I have a problem with people giving me traumatic blows to the head."