“God is in the details.” - Ludwig Miles van der Rohe (1886-1969)
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA.
I recently took a two-week cruising vacation with my family on our sailboat “Family Knot” (Gemini 105Mc). Our goal was to circumnavigate the Delmarva Peninsula, the large East Coast peninsula that contains portions of the states Delaware, Maryland and Virginia.
I find many parallels in my sailing adventures and my life as a federal medicine provider. So much of my work life is invested in constant equipment safety checks, checklists, safety-improvement committees and mountains of regulatory paperwork. The drudgery of these efforts, which often give the impression of having little to do with patient care, can cause providers to cut corners or become apathetic about medical safety procedures. It is these lackluster details of medical care that, more often than not, are the difference between the medical equivalent of smooth sailing with following seas or versions of the Titanic disaster. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/god-is-in-the-details.html
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE JULY ISSUE
Most Military Pregnancies Unintended; Abortion Issue Raised Again in Congress WASHINGTON — With more than half of all pregnancies unintended among female troops, the explosive issue of abortions is again being reviewed by Congress. In the latest salvo in that ongoing battle, two congresswomen are proposing legislation to allow female troops to get an abortion at military hospitals at their own expense or have abortion covered in cases of rape or incest. A recent study found that 54% of pregnancies among women in the military are unintended. Please read this article and participate in this month's online opinion poll about whether female servicemembers be allowed to get abortions at military hospitals at their own expense. More
Should VA Do More to Push Troubled Veterans Into Treatment? WASHINGTON — Does VA need to employ more aggressive tactics when it comes to getting veterans struggling with PTSD, depression and substance abuse into treatment? Should some of those tactics involve using disability benefits as an incentive to receive treatment instead of as a simple entitlement? These are a few of the many questions that have arisen in the wake of the California court decision that ruled VA’s delay in getting mental health care and benefits to veterans is a violation of due process under their 5th Amendment rights. More
VA Cancer Care as Good or Better than Private Sector WASHINGTON — VA oncology care was found to be some of the best in the nation, according to a new study looking at older men treated for cancer at VA facilities.The study compared treatment at VA with non-VA hospitals and private office-based practices, and those VA patients received care that was at least as good, if not better than, the fee-for-service Medicare population. Officials said this latest finding is further proof that VHA’s systemic transformation over the last two decades has resulted in better coordination, a stronger focus on preventive care and overall better patient care. More http://www.usmedicine.com/oncology/coordination-quality-focus-makes-va-cancer-care-as-good-or-better-than-private-sector.html
Robotics Explored for Treating Casualties in Difficult Battlefield Situations WASHINGTON — Imagine that future soldiers could one day wear a nano patch as part of an advanced battlesuit that would relay their vital signals and administer medicine if they were injured in battle. Or, that remotely controlled unmanned vehicles could assist in medication delivery or evacuating casualties from the battlefield. It sounds like the stuff of an action fantasy movie, but researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School (NPS)as part of NPS’ Tactical Network Testbed are working to bring this type of technology to assist medical personnel on the battlefield. More http://www.usmedicine.com/articles/robotics-explored-for-treating-casualties-in-difficult-battlefield-situations.html
Sexual Assault Response Is Disjointed, Ineffective at VA, Report Finds WASHINGTON — The VA system, with its hundreds of facilities and sometimes troubled patients, is highly vulnerable to violence or threats of violence — sexual or otherwise — to staff, patients and visitors. Despite that situation, according to a recent Government Accountability Office (GAO) report, VA has a disjointed and often ineffective way of tracking and responding to sexual assault incidents within its facilities. More
New Study: Did Contaminated Water at Camp Lejeune Have Health Effects? WASHINGTON - A new federal health survey, begun in June, seeks to shed light on the potential health impact on troops and their families from exposure to contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. The survey is requesting information about the health of those who may have been exposed to the contaminated drinking water before 1986. Health-care providers are being asked to encourage patients who receive a health survey fromtheAgency for Toxic Substances and Disease Registry (ATSDR) for either Camp Lejeune or Camp Pendleton, which is being used as a control group, to fill out their survey and return it or complete it online. More