Archives for April 2009

Guns on a Plane: Retraction and a big Yippee!

In the email, and always willing to admit when I’m wrong (especially when I am happy about the result):

I am a TSA Test proctor and pilot who found this intresting. I contacted
TSA/Air Marshal Dept and this is what I was told.

Thank you for your inquiry of March 25, 2009, written to the TSA Contact
Center , regarding the status of the Federal Flight Deck Officer (FFDO)
program within the Office of Law Enforcement/Federal Air Marshal Service.

In the Washington Times’ recent editorial “Guns on a Plane”, several
unfortunate and untrue statements were made regarding the Transportation
Security Administration’s (TSA) FFDO program.  Although the editorial is
merely opinion, its inaccuracies may discourage those seeking to join the
thousands of pilots who have already volunteered to become FFDOs.  In fact,
the Washington Times recently printed a retraction stating the story was
published in error.

TSA has trained thousands of dedicated volunteers to become FFDOs, and they
are an integral part of our layered approach to transportation security.
There has never been a discussion or plan to end the program as alleged in
the editorial, and there are no plans to transfer funds away from the FFDO

We appreciate that you took the time to share your concerns with us and
hope this information is helpful.

Feel free to pass this on.

I looked, and yes, there is an editorial at the Washington Times stating the program not only has the support of the current administration but increased funds are being sought:

The Obama administration has no plans to end a program that trains commercial airline pilots to carry guns and thwart terrorist attacks, and in fact is seeking to expand resources for oversight and training, government officials and pilots organizations say.

And, to finish the meme, from the Federal Flight Deck Officers Association:

Your voices have been clearly heard in Washington, D.C., and last week’s Op-Ed piece in The Washington Times, combined with expressing your concerns to Congress, has yielded one of the greatest showings of support (to date) from the TSA to operate a successful FFDO program. The Op-Ed retraction in The Washington Times today was a direct result of a defensive TSA responding to the pressure placed on them by Congress, and they publically went on the record.

Good news, and I’m pleased.  I hope you are as well.

Scalpel or Sword?: Starting the Hypothermia Protocol

Scalpel or Sword?: Starting the Hypothermia Protocol
I’m not calling the code…

Scalpel’s decided to take a break from blogging, and I hope he comes back.

I would like to say that, just because any blogger hits a ‘dry spell’ for new, original things to say, it’s not necessary to close up shop and decide to quit blogging.  Heck, my dry spell is going on 4 years now.

There’s a weird pressure bloggers put on themselves to keep writing, keep producing, etc.  Maybe it’s narcissism (a little), maybe it’s a desire to please, but for your readers it’s still all free ice cream*.  Unless you’re being paid to write there’s no shame in pushing away from the keyboard and having an analog life, coming back to blog when the mood strikes.

*Free ice cream analogy courtesy of InstaPundit years ago.

Traffic deaths last year lowest since ’61 –

Traffic deaths last year lowest since ’61 –
(CNN) — The number of Americans killed on U.S. highways last year was the lowest since 1961, the Department of Transportation announced Monday.
The number of fatalities on U.S. highways dropped in 2008 to its lowest level since 1961.

Last year’s death toll was put at 37,313. In 1961, the number of lives lost was 36,285. The numbers were compiled by the DOT’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

There’s no information in this about whether the number of miles traveled was guesstimated, and factored into the deaths per million miles travelled. 2008 was the big gas price run-up, which (reportedly) had most drivers cutting way back on their driving, which can be assumed would cut down on accidents just through subtracting drivers and miles driven.

We’ll see when the 2009 numbers come out. If the death toll is back up we’ll know it wasn’t seatbelts (though they no doubt helped, and I’m a big fan of seatbelt use).

Empty ED

For the first time since I started here in the 57 room + hall beds ED, it’s empty. Eerie, really.

And uncomfortable in that ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ kind of way.

Nascar infield, alcohol and golf carts

Just my patients, 2/3 falls involving the above resuted in significant head injuries.

I advocate the following, only partially tongue in cheek: ‘Your beer, sir, and here’s your helmet”.

Just put drivers’ numbers on the helmets and the Beered Population would think them quite cool.

In case you thought Nationalized Health would take the lawyers out of it…

Times OnlineLAWYERS are earning £800 an hour from the National Health Service and taking “indefensible” fees of tens of millions of pounds in legal disputes. The money is coming from a government scheme intended to compensate patients for medical blunders and inadequate care, an investigation has found.

The compensation lawyers are claiming costs and “success fees” worth about £100m a year out of the scheme. In some cases the payouts claimed are 10 times more than the damages won by the patient.

Health professionals warn that it could get much more expensive. There is an estimated backlog of cases against the NHS amounting to £12 billion in claims, of which lawyers could get up to £6 billion.

Looks like the docs aren’t sued directly; I’m for compensating victims of actual malpractice, but it’s interesting the lawyers still manage to get al least half.


Hat Tip: Overlawyered.

Pick your friends well

Other night, two dudes were rather unceremoniously dumped on our ambulance ramp.  They were, reportedly, not breathing very effectively, thought to be due to ingestion of some substance or another.

Dude who ‘dropped off’ his fellows walked into the ER waiting room, went to the vending machines, got a snack, and left.  Didn’t talk to anyone.

With friends like these…

Nevada Supreme Court clearing malpractice backlog « WhiteCoat’s Call Room

Nevada Supreme Court clearing malpractice backlog « WhiteCoat’s Call Room
Nevada Supreme Court clearing malpractice backlog

According the the San Jose Mercury News, the Nevada Supreme Court is going to resolve a “backlog” of medical malpractice lawsuits by creating a “settlement marathon” next month.

I second his objection.

If you build it, or even promise it, they will come…

April Fool’s joke backfires on ThinkGeek | | A.V. Club
Yesterday brought the expected flood of April Fool’s jokes, like news that the 188-year-old Guardian newspaper would be switching from ink to Twitter or that the special ingredient in this week’s A.V. Club Taste Test was ejaculate. But sometimes even a good joke can backfire in unexpected ways, and that’s what happened to the wisenheimers over at, who announced a fake product that it turned out everybody wanted.

To their credit, they’re going to try to actually make them.

Why the Office Oddball Is Good for Business – TIME

Why the Office Oddball Is Good for Business – TIME
Want to get the most out of your next brainstorming session at work? Bring in an oddball. If you can’t find an oddball, try a naysayer or even a mere stranger — anyone who can keep things vaguely uncomfortable. If that sounds like a prescription for one of the worst meetings you’ve ever had, suck it up and go anyway. It might also be one of the most productive.

This is my role in most meetings.  I’m okay with it.