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OPINION
January 16, 2014 | Meghan Daum
The case of Jahi McMath, the 13-year-old Oakland girl who was declared brain dead Dec. 12 following complications from tonsil and sinus surgery, hasn't ended yet. Insisting Jahi was still alive and should remain on the ventilator that was keeping her heart beating, the girl's family fought Children's Hospital Oakland and was finally allowed by a judge to take her body into their custody. On Jan. 5, the body was moved to an undisclosed facility where, according to the family's attorney, Christopher Dolan, "her health is improving.
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SCIENCE
January 15, 2014 | By Karen Kaplan
The Food and Drug Administration has asked doctors, dentists, pharmacists and other healthcare professionals to stop giving patients high-dose acetaminophen, the active ingredient in the popular pain-reliever Tylenol. Pills, capsules, tablets, syrups and other formulations that contain more than 325 milligrams of acetaminophen have not been shown to reduce pain better than lower doses of the medication; however, such high levels of the drug can cause liver damage, the FDA explained in a recommendation issued Tuesday.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 15, 2014 | By Eryn Brown
An updated national report on U.S. emergency medical care has again awarded California an “F” for lacking access to speedy treatment, noting that the state has the lowest number of hospital emergency rooms per capita - 6.7 per 1 million people - in the nation. The America's Emergency Care Environment report card, which gauges how well states support emergency care, was released Thursday by the American College of Emergency Physicians, an advocacy group. Tracking 136 measures from sources including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the organization called overcrowding in California emergency wards a “critical problem” and urged the state to increase its healthcare workforce and beef up a variety of facilities to reduce high wait-times for emergency services.
SPORTS
January 10, 2014 | Staff and wire reports
Two NFL players violated league protocol on dealing with concussions in last weekend's wild-card playoff games, according to a document obtained by the Associated Press. The document was a letter sent by the chairmen of the NFL's head, neck and spine committee to all team doctors and trainers. In the letter, Drs. Hunt Batjer and Richard Ellenbogen say one player re-entered a game after suffering a possible concussion and another refused to leave the sideline. Although the letter doesn't identify the players, the AP said they were Green Bay tackle David Bakhtiari and New Orleans cornerback Keenan Lewis.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 2014 | By Lisa Girion and Scott Glover
A Santa Barbara doctor some patients called "the candy man" because he so freely prescribed painkillers and other commonly abused narcotics pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug charges. Julio Diaz, 65, pleaded guilty to 11 counts of drug dealing, stemming from prescriptions written from his storefront office on Milpas Street. As part of the plea, the doctor acknowledged prescribing drugs to patients who had no legitimate medical need. Diaz was taken into custody after the hearing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana, said Assistant U.S. Atty.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
January 9, 2014 | By Scott Glover
A Santa Barbara doctor accused of illegally prescribing painkillers and other potent narcotics to patients who had no legitimate medical need pleaded guilty Thursday to federal drug dealing charges. Julio Diaz, 65, had been awaiting trial when he pleaded guilty to 11 counts of drug dealing in U.S. District Court in Santa Ana. Diaz was taken into custody after entering the plea, said Asst. U.S. Atty. Ann Luotto Wolf. He is scheduled to be sentenced in June. The doctor's attorney, Michael Guisti, declined comment.
OPINION
January 5, 2014
Re "The gap in medical education," Opinion, Jan. 3 I would like to commend Rahul Rekhi's advocacy for incorporating health policy in medical education. In addition to focusing on healthcare systems and health economics, there is a critical need to focus on the impact of health policy on the underlying causes of disease. For example, medical care alone cannot address the obesity epidemic underlying the increasing prevalence of diabetes. Policies such as how we plan our communities, how much physical activity is provided in schools and how we promote nutritious food consumption have a great impact on the health of our communities.
SCIENCE
January 3, 2014 | By Melissa Healy
Among the many stents, surgical clamps, pumps and other medical devices that have recently come before the Food and Drug Administration for clearance, none has excited the widespread hopes of physicians and researchers like a machine called the Illumina MiSeqDx. This compact DNA sequencer has the potential to change the way doctors care for patients by making personalized medicine a reality, experts say. "It's about time," said Michael Snyder, director of the Stanford Center for Genomics and Personalized Medicine.
SPORTS
December 30, 2013 | By Chuck Schilken
Seven-time Formula One champion Michael Schumacher remained in a medically induced coma and in a critical state Monday, the day after after hitting his head in a skiing accident. “We cannot predict the future for Michael Schumacher,” said chief anesthesiologist Jean-Francois Payen, who is also in charge of Grenoble University Hospital's intensive-care unit. He added of Schumacher: “He is in a critical state in terms of cerebral resuscitation,” he added. “We are working hour by hour.” Schumacher, who turns 45 on Friday, hit the right side of his head on a rock after falling while skiing with his 14-year-old son Sunday morning in the French Alpine resort of Meribel.
SCIENCE
December 30, 2013 | By Karen Kaplan
Both the American Medical Assn. and the American Academy of Pediatrics advise doctors to talk to their teenage patients about sex, but discussions about sexual feelings and health occurred in only 65% of the checkups analyzed in a new study. Even when physicians and adolescents did talk about sex, those conversations lasted for only 36 seconds, on average, according to a report published online Monday in JAMA Pediatrics. The data in the study make clear that most teens didn't feel comfortable speaking with their doctors about sexual issues.
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