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Tag Archives: nurse

New information from the CDC says ‘blacks’ and ‘gays’ are more likely to be newly infected with HIV. At least this is how it is worded by a CNN article. However, HIV is mostly a lifestyle infection, and so they are only more likely to partake in a risky lifestyle than to actually be infected. A young ‘black,’ ‘gay’ male who does not partake in risky behavior would have the same chances of being infected as any ‘straight,’ ‘white’ male. They are trying to attribute HIV to a group of people rather than to a lifestyle of which those people do not have to be involved. This is futher evidenced by claims such as “AIDS in America continues to be a black disease.” Doing so is a hindrance to society, and to the ‘black’ and ‘gay’ community. If HIV is attributed to lifestyle, maybe they would come to see the unnecessary risks rather than accept the risks. If HIV were to be attributed to lifestyle maybe society as a whole would come to better accept the ‘gay’ community and the ‘black’ community (Citation: CNN).

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To stop smoking is the single most important thing a smoker can do to improve their health. To never smoke is one of the most important things a non-smoker can do to maintain their health. Yet, over 45 million people in the U.S. alone still smoke. People use excuses like stress and coolness to justify their choice to start or continue smoking. But there is no reason that justify destroying your own lungs, and many people will suffer in the future because of their decision to smoke. Even those who say they only smoke a little, or only socially, are putting themselves at risk.

No matter what doctors, nurses, technicians, and other hospital staff do – medical care will never be good enough. The decisions made can always be better, mistakes will be made, and people will die. Perfection is a dream for most people, but it can be a nightmare for many people in the medical field. What if this was done, would the patient still be alive? This problem should have been noticed earlier. The answer to this illness is unknown. And yet, doctors are at the epitomy of respected professions. Health care may be a gray area, but care is not. The responsibility of people in the medical is to do their best, not to be perfect. People will entrust their own lives to someone who’s best action is determined, not necessarily by what’s right or wrong, but more so by the situation itself.

As a volunteer at a hospital’s pediatric emergency room, I read books to children and gave some books away to the younger children as a part of a program. I basically had the responsibility to enter the rooms on my own when doctors and nurses were not perfoming their duties. One evening, I came into a room to give a boy a book. Two men were in the room as well, one I assume was the boy’s father. Each of them were deaf. Thankfully I took an American Sign Language course in high school, although the importance of those lessons didn’t sink in until now. I probably looked completely shocked while I shaped my hand and arms to ask “he want b-o-o-k?” I knew the sign for want, but not book so I spelled that out. The guy gave me a thumbs up. I hope that meant good job, or at the very least ok he can have a book. Unfortunately I didn’t have the same success when confronted with Spanish. I would advise anyone working in a hospital to learn as much about communication as possible.

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

This is the transcript from a presentation I gave about the connection between Homeland Security and the field:

            Good Afternoon, I’m speaking about a connection between Homeland Security and the field of medicine that is generally ignored. The two fields are often thought of as completely separate, although cooperative. My presentation is a basic overview on the subject.

 

The field of Homeland Security conjures thoughts about counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, and intelligence analysis. The field of medicine brings about images of treating patients; surgery, diagnostics, cardiology, neurology and so on. But, the two are linked by a large number of factors that need to be acknowledged.

 

            The National Strategy for Homeland Security lists six critical mission areas, in this order. Health Care mostly fits under the Emergency Preparedness and Response category. However, it can be shown that, pending the circumstances, it can fit under the other categories as well.

 

            Emergency Preparedness & Response is most often associated with first responders. By the nature of their title, they are usually the first to arrive at an emergency situation. EMTs, and if the circumstances warrant it, hazmat units, are the first to provide medical care. Planning is a basic foundation of preparedness. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council published the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The plan sets aside the department of health and Human Services as one of the lead agencies to implement the strategy. Also, in 2007, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to establish a national strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. A few weeks ago, it was discovered that the water supply of Alamosa, Colorado was contaminated with Salmonella. The cause remains unknown. It is unlikely that it is an act of terrorism, but in an area with a population of about 10,000 almost 400 people have been treated for Salmonella. Jim Martin, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Hans Kallam director of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management worked together closely to solve the problem. The water system has been thoroughly cleaned, water bottles have been brought in with the aid of helpful companies, and an investigation as to the cause of the situation has begun.

 

The Medical field holds high stakes in the planning for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incidents. After an incident of this kind, health care would be a high priority and capability would be stretched to its limit. Bioterrorism does have a small history in the United States including an incident of salmonella poisoning intended to affect an election and the Anthrax attacks. In the case of an attack today, the Department of Health and Human Services is charged with deploying medical personnel and equipment to aid other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to detect biological and chemical attacks.

 

The relationship between Homeland Security and Health Care is a two-way street. Healthcare serves the purpose of Homeland Security and Homeland Security also serves the purpose of Healthcare. As a critical infrastructure sector, public health is important to the daily functions of the U.S. Public health services need security and an insurance of continuity of operations.

 

The area of intelligence and warning is important for taking preemptive, preventive, and protective measures. The field of medicine can be involved here through medical surveillance. David Siegrist from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies describes medical surveillance as the prospective statistical analysis of health-related data for rapid detection of anomalies that indicate the outbreak of disease in a population. This information can be used to detect a natural epidemic or act of terrorism. It can be useful for medical response and for the capture of a perpetrator. The shooting last year at Virginia Tech has highlighted a need to work more closely with the mental health system and to improve mental illness interventions. It is always helpful to know who is a threat to the security of the nation or the safety of citizens. Any actions in this area must maintain patient confidentiality. This is not necessarily an important term in Homeland Security but it is very important to the area of health care. Trust between a health care provider and a patient has become one of the bases of the U.S. health system, and patient confidentiality should be respected by Homeland Security and other fields that begin to work with mental health organizations.

 

May 24, 2007 a potential threat to the health and safety of United States citizens crossed the border from Canada to the U.S. Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was allowed freely into the U.S. despite an alert that he should be restrained and health officials should be notified. In this situation, border security had direct involvement with public health; failing in their responsibility to contact health officials could have put numerous people in danger of contracting TB. Fortunately no one is known to have contracted TB from Speaker and his diagnosis has been downgraded to a less resistant form.

 

            Domestic Counterterrorism is essentially a law enforcement field. However healthcare professionals can provide helpful skills and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, offers training to protect workers from infection or contamination. Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be called on to help with interrogation. A new, controversial tool for interrogation and lie detection involves Neuroimaging. A medical technique that, in this case, uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Extensive research and testing has been, and continues to be done on effective countermeasures to biological, chemical, and radiological agents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub Health and Human Services agency, has computer simulation models for response planning and training modules on bioterrorism.

            The connection between Homeland Security and the field of Medicine is expansive and essential. For the field of Homeland Security, securing the nation requires a partnership with the medical community; and for the field of medicine maintaining the health of citizens requires a partnership with Homeland Security.

 

          

An especially special friend of mine spoke with me about the uselessness of primary care physicians. And almost had me, but something came to mind when I read an article in the July 2, 2008 edition of the JAMA (Journal of the American Medical Association) by Dr. Michael Stillman. My friend presented me with the idea that general care physicians are not always very knowledgable about ailments or certain health problems that specialists would know. I had a personal experience that comes under this category. However, when the patient of a primary care physician is ill or injured, the primary care physician will know the patient well. One of the most important aspects of health care that is commonly overlooked is knowing the patient. Often such luxury is not possible with the busy schedule of doctors, or the lack of need to see certain doctors. Nonetheless, it can influence care dramatically. Dr. Stillman gave an example in his article where the medications of a patient had been changed to a more expensive regimen without his knowledge. The prescribing doctor would not have know that the patient could never afford those medications, but Dr. Stillman knew and prescribed the original, less-costly, and equally effective regimen.  A number of other issues come up as well when identifying the importance of primary care physicians. When making an important medical decision, trust between a patient and the doctor becomes essential. Patients, even if are under the care of a specialist may want to consult a phyiscian with whom they are familiar before making an important decision. Primary Care doctors may not necessarily save lifes, but they can certian help people maintain the highest quality of life possible. So with the greatest level of respect possible, I disagree with my friend [I will convince her I am right, and if she happens to read this before I try the art of persuasion…] (citation: JAMA July 2, 2008 p.21-22).

I always questioned why medical records have been taking a long time to be transfered to electronic storage. While reading a book recently a thought sparked in my head. It suddenly seemed obvious. There are tons and tons of records, each of which cannot be merely scanned into a computer. There are a number of other concerns too, but this is the one that seems to hinder the process most. Despite the efficiency of electronic records, is it efficient to transfer from a physical system to an electronic system?