Sully Sullenberger talks about patient safety

Who could forget the live pictures on CNN? A US Airways passenger plane floating majestically on the Hudson. It looked like some giant bird, wings spread, just effortlessly ambling along. But it was far from that. Nearly four minutes after take-off as the aircraft climbed to 3,000 feet, Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger had radioed the LaGuardia tower announcing that he had hit a flock of birds, “lost thrust on both engines” and was heading back to the airport. We all know what happened next. Sullenberger, unable to make it back to field, ditched the Airbus 320 into the Hudson. Miraculously, all 150 passengers aboard survived. Leer más “Sully Sullenberger talks about patient safety”

Should local residents be worried about West Nile virus?

Those of you near Stanford may have heard the local news that Santa Clara County is spraying pesticide to control an unusually large hatch of summer salt marsh mosquitoes in and around the Palo Alto Baylands park. This saltwater marsh at the south end of the San Francisco Bay is providing an unusually good hatching ground for the mosquitoes because of a breach in a tide wall that normally controls marsh water levels, as a press release from the county’s Vector Control District explains:

A breached tide wall in the Palo Alto baylands has created ideal conditions for the breeding of the mosquitoes by allowing water levels in the basin to rise and fall. SCCVCD has been closely monitoring the development of mosquito larvae, and current field conditions are producing continued egg-hatch. Recent adult “fly-offs” have created considerable discomfort for residents and businesses in nearby areas.

Of course, news about hungry mosquitoes prompts worries about West Nile virus, especially in light of media coverage such as today’s New York Times piece about the West Nile outbreaks in Texas.

To clarify whether local salt marsh mosquitoes pose a health risk, I called Russ Parman, a spokesman for the county Vector Control District. West Nile isn’t a big issue with the salt marsh mosquitoes, a species called Aedes dorsalis, Parman said, because mammals are their target meal. In contrast, the Culex mosquitoes that transmit West Nile bite both birds and humans, carrying the virus from its natural reservoir in birds to human hosts. (There are many other mosquito species, too – California has about 50 different types of mosquito.)

Instead, the problem with Aedes is that they’re big and vicious. “They’ll bite you right through your blue jeans,” Parman said. Leer más “Should local residents be worried about West Nile virus?”

Pediatric social worker discusses the emotional side of heart transplants

Speaking of heart transplants, Mary Burge, a pediatric heart transplant social worker at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital, was on Talk of the Nation yesterday. In case you missed the segment, Burge discussed her work helping parents process the news that their child will need a new heart and providing support for families before and after the procedure.

She also commented on how getting a new heart can be a particularly emotional experience – more so than other types of transplant procedures -because of how the organ is viewed culturally: Leer más “Pediatric social worker discusses the emotional side of heart transplants”

One family – and five children with same serious heart disease

It’s difficult to imagine having a seriously ill child – let alone five of them. But for a couple in Oregon, this is their reality: Each of their five children suffers from dilated cardiomyopathy or symptoms that can lead to the condition.

NBC got word of the story this summer and is now following the family as 8-year-old Lindsey Bingham awaits a heart transplant at Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital. (The eldest Bingham child, Sierra, had a successful transplant here six years ago.) Reporter Sandy Cummins recently blogged about the family and had this to say of her initial visit with them:

The Binghams are an impressive family. As we dined in the hospital cafeteria, I was struck by Stacy Bingham’s patience with her other kids, her sense of calm, and by Jason’s laser focus on helping his children. Megan, 11, asked lots of great questions about the production process. They’re not attention-seekers and agreed to be interviewed for two reasons:  In the hope that it will help their children and that it will inspire people to become organ donors. Leer más “One family – and five children with same serious heart disease”

Grieving on Facebook: A personal story

Last week, I experienced my first Facebook-era death. It had been several years – long before the ubiquity of social media – that I had last lost a relative, and I quickly discovered that experiencing loss and grieving online comes with a unique set of pros and cons.

I learned of my uncle’s stroke the old-fashioned way: via phone. My parents and I kept in steady contact that way over the next 36 hours, but it was Facebook that filled me in on certain details about my uncle’s status and my relatives’ whereabouts. The social networking site also enabled me to quickly express support, both before and after he passed, for family members scattered across the country. (“My heart goes out to you,” I posted on the wall of one of my cousins.)

I was 1,840 miles away from the hospital where my uncle lay, but the keyboard brought us closer. Being on Facebook helped me feel less isolated and helpless; if nothing else I could “like” someone’s comment on the need for prayers and positive thoughts about my uncle. I could feel like I was doing something.

My uncle had a warm, wonderful smile, but seeing it at that moment felt like a punch in the gut – another reminder that he was gone. As long as I was on Facebook, avoidance wasn’t an option.

But there were definite down-sides to being so connected (and yet so far away). When one relative wrote several hours after the stroke, “Things don’t look good,” it filled me with additional angst and left me with only questions. Did something just happen that I didn’t know about? Had she just received new information from his doctors, or was she merely conveying a general concern? I had no way of knowing; it felt inappropriate to ask in the comments section. Leer más “Grieving on Facebook: A personal story”

Syrum: juego sobre red social procedente de la industria farmacéutica

La empresa farmacéutica Boehringer Ingelheim ha creado un juego sobre la Red Social Facebook fantástico llamado Syrum.
Cuando te registras, el juego deja el mundo en tus manos, ya que eres el responsable de encontrar el tratamiento de nuevas enfermedades y de epidemias. Para ello, tendrás varios recursos y herramientas y podrás contactar con otras personas mediante las redes sociales.
Es buen juego para educar a los pacientes y para que los profesionales del mundo sanitario conozcan productos concretos farmacéuticos.
Si quieres acceder a Syrum, haz clic aquí.


Sometimes The Answer Is Giving Up

Sometimes The Answer Is Giving Up - Brass Tack Thinking

This week’s handwritten posts are part of the Power to the Pen project, and I’ve got some nifty pens and a small check for my time and handwriting. It’s been a super fun project, and I appreciate Pilot Pen for including me!