CT Center for Patient Safety Newsletter
February 2010
In This Issue
Article Headline

A battered woman who is treated for her spousal inflicted injuries risks losing her health insurance - it is considered a preexisting condition. 
An MS patient is paying $2,000 a month for her medication....a pre existing condition.
A mother can only afford to insure one child.  Which child shall she pick?
Real life stories that are unacceptable to everyone but our Senators.  My cynicsm about our country being able to govern itself and do the right thing is growing. It is only by working on these issues, by hearing your stories and sharing real life experiences with those in power and with the media, that we can make a difference.  Thank you.

Get the book!
With health care reform a prime objective of the Obama administration, the subject matter of The Treatment Trap is a compelling component in the national debate. Taking advantage of Rosemary Gibson's knowledge gleaned from extended experience in the field of medical care and Janardan Singh's similar knowledge but from a financial perspective, the authors explore the most neglected issue in American medicine today: the overuse of medical care, including needless surgery and other invasive procedures, out-of-control x-ray imaging, profligate testing, and other wasteful practices that have become routine among too many American doctors. Their combined reporting and analysis concentrates on the human aspects of this disturbing trend in health care, with personal experiences that reflect poorly on hospitals as well as physicians. They show how money spent for questionable and even useless care is diverting major funds that could be better used to treat patients who are genuinely sick and sometimes cannot afford the extravagant charges of the American health-care system. Their suggestions for reforming the delivery of health care, and their cautions to individual consumers about how to deal with situations they may encounter, make The Treatment Trap essential reading for medical care consumers, health-care professionals, and policymakers alike.
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William D. Tyra III died on January 29th.  He was just 58 years old. 
Bill had been a dedicated Board member of the CT Center for Patient Safety.  His daughter Katie Tyra, was a healthy 16 year old when she went into Walter Reed Hospital in 1998 to have a benign cyst removed from her neck.  The anesthesiologist gave her an excessive dose of the antibiotic clindamycin.  She had a cardiac arrest and died before the medical team had the opportunity to perform surgery.  The family was initially told that Katie's death was an "act of God."  In 2001, the anesthesiologist pleaded guilty for lying about the dosage he prescribed to Katie.  An inspector general's report also found that Katie's surgeon had improperly altered her medical records after her death to make it appear as if she had been given a smaller dosage.
Bill, a retired Marine Corps flight pilot was a determined and loving father and husband.  He shared with so many of our members the grief that follows an unexpected and preventable death.  His wife Barbara has asked that all contributions, in lieu of flowers, be sent to the CT Center for Patient Safety.  Barbara told me that Bill had found a home in our organization.  He added such value and intelligence to our efforts.
He will be missed but remembered.  Our work continues.
Harvard Doc Steps Down to Keep Drug-Industry Speaking Gig
Monday January 25th, 2010
Jacob Goldstein
Wall Street Journal

Starting this year, some high-profile Boston hospitals put new rules in place that prohibited their docs from being paid by drug companies to give speeches. One doc recently left one of the hospitals - and a job as an instructor at Harvard med school - in order to keep getting paid by the industry, the Boston Globe reports.

GlaxoSmithKline recently reported its payments to doctors for the second quarter of last year. One doc - Lawrence M. DuBuske, an allergy and asthma specialist affiliated with Brigham & Women's Hospital - was paid $99,375 during those three months.

DuBuske recently "made a decision between terminating the relationship with Glaxo and terminating his relationship with the Brigham, to do the latter,'' an official at Partners HealthCare, a health system that includes the Brigham, told the Globe. One other doctor affiliated with the system has also left at least partly because of the new rules, but that doc hasn't been identified, the Globe says.

Growing Connecticut  Coalition willing to take on the Pharmaceutical Industry
The Attorney General, CT AARP, National Physicians Alliance, American Medical Students Association again join our demand for reform of industry practices that are having such a profound influence on prescribing practices.  We will once again introduce important legislation that would ban gifts to providers, require disclosure of all payments over $1,000.  Our legislation would be modeled on the experience of Massachusetts and Vermont.  And we would be joining other states that are taking on the industry.  Last year, there was a swarm of lobbyists that said CT would lose jobs and delis and restaurants would have to shut.  Massachusetts has shown that is simply not the case.  No industry spends more money defending the indefensible.
The Foundation for Informed Medical Decision Making
Look at this web site.  It has important information for the health care consumer. "The care you need and no less.  The care you want and no more."
Did you know?
Of women without breast cancer who have ten mammograms, as many as half will have at least one false-positive result, and one in five will have a breast biopsy.
Only about half of patients who do not wish to receive CPR or other rescue interventions have Do-Not-Resuscitate orders.
For more science based information, visit the web site.