The PMD Critical List: Inventor of the Heimlich Maneuver Passes Away

DECEMBER 18, 2016
Greg Kelly
Henry J. Heimlich, MD, who invented the Heimlich maneuver has passed away. That story tops this week’s PMD Critical List. Also making the list: Health apps actually don’t help that much, the biggest challenges physicians can expect in 2017, and the impact of medical malpractice insurance.
 
Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, Famous for Antichoking Technique, Dies at 96 (The New York Times)
Dr. Henry J. Heimlich, the thoracic surgeon and medical maverick who developed and crusaded for the antichoking technique that has been credited with saving an estimated 100,000 lives, is dead after suffering a heart attack at his home in Ohio. RIP.

America’s Judicial Hellholes (American Tort Reform Foundation)
Lawyers vs. doctors: The ATRF’s 2016 to 2017 report shines a bright spotlight on nine courts or areas of the country with a reputation as Judicial Hellholes—that is, “jurisdictions where courts have been radically out of balance.” Tops are: #1 City of St. Louis, Missouri, #2 California, and #3 NYC Asbestos Litigation.

What Kills Americans Varies Widely by Region (The Wall Street Journal)
An analysis of more than three decades of death records found that what kills Americans differs widely by region and even by county. The University of Washington study is the first to examine geographic mortality patterns for a larger number of causes and account for variations in how states track deaths.

Health Apps Not What the Doctors Ordered (NBC News)
Some of the top-rated health apps aimed at people with chronic medical problems don't do a very good job of actually helping to manage those conditions, a recent study by the University of Michigan suggests. Over 165,000 health apps are available to help people track their condition day-to-day.

Are Doctors Attentive Enough? (Consumer Reports)
The current healthcare system puts doctors in a time (and attention) crunch. “It's important that a doctor is good in more than the technical ways,” says the medical director of this venerable consumer protection group. “I often find myself looking at my computer screen instead of my patients’ faces. And as you might know from your doctor's care, I'm not alone.” Some attention tips.

The Biggest Challenges for Physicians in 2017 (Healthcare Finance)
“Cash flow and reimbursement for patient treatment will be the two most pressing business issues physicians will grapple with next year, according to a new Capital One Spark Business survey." Even worse, 40% of physicians admit they charge their top expenses on business credit cards.

If You Think US Medical Care Is Broken, Take a Look at Dental Care (Forbes)
Bad mouth: Dental care “is one of the largest unmet health needs in the US,” said Elizabeth Mertz, an associate professor in the School of Dentistry at the University of California, San Francisco. As a result, cavities and gum disease are two of the most common chronic health problems that Americans suffer—though they are also among the most preventable.”

Why Doctors Still Worry About Measles (The New York Times)
“Measles is a disease with a very specific character, and it still infects and kills children across the world. And a study presented in October suggested that one of the most feared later complications of measles is actually more common than we knew, and while it’s still rare, it reminds us of the urgency of protecting young children,” says an NYU professor of journalism and pediatrics.

5 Tips to Maximize Medical Malpractice Insurance (Law 360)
“Win or lose, medical malpractice claims can impose a massive burden on hospitals and solo medical practitioners, with potential exposure for defense costs and judgments often rising into the millions of dollars. In some cases, whether a medical provider has strong malpractice insurance may make the difference between ongoing viability and financial ruin.” Consider this legal advice.

Should Big Data Pick Your Next Doctor? (Forbes)
An in-depth and compelling profile of Grand Rounds, a new database company focused on matching patients with the right doctors. “A frequent misconception is that we are simply trying to help the 1% get 1% health care," the CEO says. "In fact, it couldn't be further from the truth. We're actually helping the 99% or the 90% get the 1% health care solution."

Drug Dealer, MD: Misunderstandings and Good Intentions Fueled Opioid Epidemic (NPR.org)
A timely and telling Q&A with psychiatrist Anna Lembke on her new book about the nation’s crisis-level addition to prescription painkillers. "Starting in the 1980s, doctors started to be told that opioids were effective treatment for chronic pain, and that treating patients long-term with opioids was evidence-based medicine. That was patently false, propagated by 'big medicine,' in cahoots with Big Pharma."


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