Archives for March 4, 2005

Man survives doctor-assisted suicide attempt; Irony Abounds

This should bring together a bunch of interesting groups: – Man survives doctor-assisted suicide attempt – Mar 4, 2005

PORTLAND, Oregon (AP) — A terminally ill cancer patient who tried to end his life with drugs prescribed under Oregon’s assisted-suicide law awoke three days later, alert and talkative, his wife said.

David Prueitt, who had lung cancer, took what was believed to be a fatal dose of a barbiturate prescribed by his doctor in January. He fell into a coma within minutes, but woke up three days later, said his wife Lynda Romig Prueitt.

Prueitt’s wife told The Oregonian newspaper that he asked, “Why am I not dead?”

Prueitt, 42, lived for two more weeks before dying of natural causes at his Estacada home, about 35 miles southeast of Portland.

Hmmm. I missed the class in pharmacology where we were told how to calculate predictably lethal doses of medicines. I’m not familiar with this Oregon law, and this isn’t an ED thing, so it’s off my scope for the most part.

Complications with doctor-assisted suicides are rare. In 2001, a patient took 37 hours to die after ingesting a lethal dose, and in 2003, a patient took 48 hours to die. Neither regained consciousness.

So, can a physician be successfully sued for a failed assisted suicide? A wrongful-life suit? Pain and suffering?

There’s an insurance company trying to figure out what to do right now. I’m betting they don’t know, either.

New Palm for me!

My old Palm Tungsten T crapped out on me last night, at work. The sense of loss, mixed with relief, was terrific. I have never really liked the T, as it required two hands to open for any real use. I’d been looking forward to replacing it, but couldn’t bring myself to toss it while it still worked. Now, it works no more, and having it fixed is half the cost of a new one, and I wanted to replace it anyway (Rationalization, call your office).

So, I’m now the ?proud? owner of a Tungsten T5, which is bigger but lighter than the one it replaces, with a much bigger screen. The screen is my only concern, as I’ve read reviews saying it’s too dim, though the demo in the store looked fine.

For the record, I looked at the Ipaq’s, hard, but cannot shake the MS fear. It’s my problem, not theirs, but I’m still a Palm guy.

For now.

Report: Smallpox Vaccination Program Fell Short

THURSDAY, March 4 (HealthDay News) — The U.S. government’s smallpox vaccination program eroded the credibility of federal health officials while leaving no clear indication of how well prepared the nation might be against a bioterrorist attack.

So said Dr. Brian Strom, chairman of an Institute of Medicine (IOM) committee which released a report Thursday on lessons learned from the 2002 vaccination effort. The panel presented its findings in Washington, D.C.

While stopping short of calling the program a failure, the report did find what appear to be serious shortfalls in how the initiative was implemented. The report, titled The Smallpox Vaccination Program: Public Health in an Age of Terrorism, is the last of seven reports providing recommendations and guidance to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Unlike earlier reports, however, this one was undertaken at the IOM’s own initiative.

These lessons learned are important because “bioterrorism, unfortunately, continues to be a threat and it is likely that future programs like this will need to be initiated,” ….

At the time, the U.S. government called for a two-phase, voluntary strategy for civilians. In the first stage, roughly 450,000 heath-care and emergency workers would receive the vaccine, followed by a second round covering up to 10 million other so-called “first responders” in the event of a bioterror attack.

According to a Feb. 18 article in the Toledo Blade, very few U.S. civilians — just 40,000 health-care workers and others — ended up volunteering for vaccination. Dr. David Grossman, health commissioner for Toledo and Luca County, Ohio, said the volunteer program never really gained momentum.

“We all agree it was a party no one came to,” he told the Blade. “I doubt that 40,000 people in a nation of 300 million is enough.”

It certainly isn’t enough, and there’s plently of blame to go around.

My hospital was told we’d be getting “x” doses, and we had to decide who was going to get the vaccinations. Most of the ED crew volunteered to get vaccinated, but they did something bizarre: they wouldn’t tell us the exact date or place to get the vaccine until the last minute. I didn’t get the shot, as they had a bad phone number for me and I missed their double-secret meeting time. I still want the vaccination.

And, sounds like there’s plent of vaccine to go around. Wonder if I can get a shot?