CPA: Contagious Pathogens Aboard

We dont get to pick on accountants much in our line of work. So, being an equal-opportunity critic, we relished this bulletin. A University of Arizona study found that accountants workplaces yes, accountants have the second highest microbe count in the American work-osphere. When their desks and cubicles were cultured, the bean-counters environs yielded 2.5 more microbes than even doctors offices. Whose desks had the most colony clingers? Teachers! Not so surprising considering their generally unwashed constituents. But the cleanest? TV producers, consultants, publicists, and get this lawyers, who reportedly had seven times fewer germs in their space than accountants. This ones going to require some deeper thought

Through the Looking Glass

Hot off the press: the latest edition of the Dartmouth Atlas of Healthcare, a report by researchers at Dartmouth University, documents the variations in healthcare delivery at major academic hospitals. What makes this recent version remarkable is that it is the first to actually present, for consumer consumption, performance of more than 4,300 hospitals in the U.S. The report contains some head-slapping statistics with respect to care, cost, and length-of-stay among the top medical centers. significant discrepancies appear to be explained primarily by the extent of tests ordered per patient. While these reports may tend to oversimplify and challenge apple-to-apple comparisons, one thing is certain: transparency in healthcare is becoming an important, consumer-driven issue in delivery of medical services. Check out for yourself at www.dartmouthatlas.org

It Only Happens to the Other Guy

You may recall our pointed discussion in the March 2006 issue of ICT (Butt Out) about hypodermic needles and their loads potentially falling short of target. At the time, we waxed rhetorical, wondering aloud where the shortfall might actually land. Tracy Johnson, a faithful ICT reader, responded with his personal story, and gave us permission to share and tell: Following a second cortisone injection for an eye infection, Tracy experienced severely increased pain from the injection site. After a battery of tests and a trail of specialists, he was given an epidural steroid injection for degenerative disk disease. Oops!

Months later, with the pain unrelenting, Tracy sought further consultation from yet another specialist, finally arriving at a definitive diagnosis. Tracy suffers from myofascial adhesions, caused by the original cortisone injections landing shy of target, ultimately acting like glue, luting muscle to fascia. Ouch! To date, he has gone through countless expensive treatments, and continues to battle pain and complications. In Tracys words, this has been the worst experience of my life, and one that will always need to be treated. I wanted to share my personal story of what happens when medication doesnt get to the target. Trust me, I dont have a very big target at all, and the result is literally a pain in my butt for the rest of my life. Fortunately, Tracy has kept his sense of humor, and we thank him for personalizing something that only happens to umm other people.

Sushi, Tuna, and Russian Roulette

Confirming our suspicions about the real intentions of dead fish, we noted the mercurial findings of Hg content in tuna in five upscale Los Angeles eateries. The shimmering conclusions: all the samples had mercury levels at or above the FDA threshold for any seafood species. And these were the good restaurants! How about testing, you ask? Current tests can take days to complete not terribly practical considering the fresh thing and what tests do exist, are expensive.

(After all, how much more will the market bear for a slug of tuna!) In the meantime, best for pregnant moms and young children to stay away from high-mercury fish, including swordfish, shark, and yes, sushi- bar tuna. Note: The survey was conducted by GotMercury.org, arguably not the most objective source. But it validates our opinion, so were buying it!

Gator-Raid

What are the odds of being struck by lightning? Of being a victim of an avalanche? Of falling prey to an alligator!? Whoa, dont bet the ranch on that last one. In a spate of odds-defying incidents, there have been three recent fatalities from alligator attacks all three, young women. Now, as if to add insult to the bizarre, we note the passing of Dr. Richard K. Root, professor emeritus of medicine at the University of Washington, and among other impressive credentials, founding head of the department of infectious disease at the University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine. In Botswana continuing his good works, instructing local doctors on AIDS treatment, Dr. Root was killed by a crocodile while on a wildlife tour on the Limpopo River. An accomplished man meets a rude, tragic, and unseemly end. Odds? What odds!? 

Roger P. Freeman, D.D.S. ([email protected]) is a member of APIC, and is president of Infectious Awareables, Inc. (www.iAwareables.com) a private company that creates science-based awareness products.

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