Thursday, April 30, 2009

K'naan and The Dreaded Swine Flu

The media sure is having a feast on the Swine Flu, eh? I am guessing we'll consider this overblown in a month from now, but maybe I'm wrong. I'm just an ER doc, car wrecks and heart attacks, not epidemiology and infectious disease. For the record though, I am still more scared of an impending social breakdown, cats and dogs sleeping together, zombie attacks and everything else associated with the end of the world when you cross the streams.
On a side note, I still love you little porklets! I used to raise pigs and show them at the fair for 4-H.
More important than the swine flu is the new album I am addicted to:
K'naan, 'Troubador'
Growing up in Somalia, in a district named, "The Lake of Blood" during the Somali Civil War gave him more than a little ammo for his lyrics. If you like hip-hop at all, check this album out. If you want just a sample, download: "Wavin' Flag", "Take a Minute" and "America" (the last featuring Mos Def and Chali 2na from good 'ol Ozomatli!)

If you're too lazy to go check K'naan out, here's a completely different genre that is on my favorites right now- "Tiger Mountain Peasant Song", by the Fleet Foxes, covered by 2 girls who go by 'First Aid Kit'. Chad had this on his blog a while ago, but it's worthy enough to post again.

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Wanna know where your healthcare dollars are going?... Just One of the ER Problems...

We've been pretty busy lately at the Brownell Household, what with baby on the way, Olivia at 18 months and wild as ever and building the new house. Throw in my crazy work schedule, and it's hard to spend time with many of my hobbies, including reading your blogs and blogging on mine. I did want to share this story I just read though, and you can get a glimpse of one of the problems with our healthcare system...and why I'm so damn busy in the ER some days:

9 patients made nearly 2,700 ER visits in Texas

AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Just nine people accounted for nearly 2,700 of the emergency room visits in the Austin area during the past six years at a cost of $3 million to taxpayers and others, according to a report. The patients went to hospital emergency rooms 2,678 times from 2003 through 2008, said the report from the nonprofit Integrated Care Collaboration, a group of health care providers who care for low-income and uninsured patients.

"What we're really trying to do is find out who's using our emergency rooms ... and find solutions," said Ann Kitchen, executive director of the group, which presented the report last week to the Travis County Healthcare District board.

The average emergency room visit costs $1,000. Hospitals and taxpayers paid the bill through government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, Kitchen said.

Eight of the nine patients have drug abuse problems, seven were diagnosed with mental health issues and three were homeless. Five are women whose average age is 40, and four are men whose average age is 50, the report said, the Austin American-Statesman reported Wednesday.

"It's a pretty significant issue," said Dr. Christopher Ziebell, chief of the emergency department at University Medical Center at Brackenridge, which has the busiest ERs in the area.

Solutions include referring some frequent users to mental health programs or primary care doctors for future care, Ziebell said.

"They have a variety of complaints," he said. With mental illness, "a lot of anxiety manifests as chest pain."