Painkillers Given Out ‘Like Candy’

WR_Calvin_JohnsonThe opioid epidemic is well-documented, and H&HN has covered it closely. The addiction affects soccer moms, newborns and even National Football League players, said Calvin Johnson, former Detroit Lions wide receiver, to ESPN. The Pro Bowl receiver said doctors and trainers were, “giving them out like candy,”referring to painkillers, in the report. The toll football takes on players makes pain constant and painkillers widely available. “If you needed Vicodin, call out, ‘My ankle hurt,’ you know …so if you were dependent on ‘em, they were readily available,” he said. 

Google Glass Advances ED Medicine

WR_GoogleGlassGoogle Glass may not have been a hit with consumers, but the medical community sure likes it, CNBC reports. Docs find that the combined computer, mic and camera within an eyeglasses frame is handy in bringing specialists to patients in the emergency department.

The tech giant’s ocular invention enables a bedside physician to send real-time data and video to off-site specialists, which saves key time during emergency visits and has proven effective. Patient diagnosis through the tool have been so promising that the University of Massachusetts partnered with a software company to make it HIPAA-compliant. If implemented on a wide scale, Google Glass has the potential to save hospitals more money than can traditional telemedicine carts. H&HN has previously written about Forbes Hospital's use of the device outside of Pittsburgh.

You Had Me at Angus

WR_DrugDogThis is perhaps the most lovable story you can read about Clostridium difficile. Pulled from the Vancouver Sun, Vancouver General Hospital in British Columbia has figuratively unleashed Angus, a superbug-sniffing English springer spaniel, as part of its efforts to prevent the spread of C. difficile. Not only is he such a cute canine but, apparently, he also can smell toxins in the C. difficile bacteria. Angus will work in spaces that are in greatest need of sanitization. Go Angus! 

Veteran Suicides at 20 Per Day

WR_VA_suicidesThe suicide rate has increased in recent years and in 2014, on average, 20 veterans committed suicide per day — a small decrease from previous estimates of 22 per day, according to a Washington Post report. The number comes after veteran groups urged the Department of Veterans Affairs to expand the data used to make such projections, and the 2014 numbers comprised the largest analysis of veteran records ever undertaken by the VA. Though the numbers have fallen slightly, nearly two-thirds of veterans who took their own lives were older than 50, and the risk of suicide is still 2.4 times higher for female vets than female civilians, the Post reports. “Twenty a day is not that different from 22,” David Shulkin, M.D., undersecretary for health at the Department of Veterans Affairs, said in the report. “It is far too high.”