Exploding E-cigarettes Lead to the Hospital
Exploding e-cigarettes can cause third-degree burns, knock out teeth and even crack vertebrae, according to a speaker at last month’s American Burn Association annual conference in Boston. And, the Detroit Free Press reports, such injuries are becoming more common. Karla Klas, R.N., of the University of Michigan’s Trauma Burn Center, told conferees that an informal poll of 20 U.S. burn centers found that exploding lithium batteries in e-cigarettes caused almost 300 injuries requiring hospitalization. Injuries have occurred when the e-cigarettes are in users’ mouths and even when they’re in the pockets of clothing. “Not only are the burns deep, but because of the chemicals that are in the batteries, it’s almost like they are having a chemical burn on top of the thermal burn,” Klas said.
Ridesharing to the Emergency Department
The taxi industry isn’t the only field Uber has disrupted. Ambulances could also be feeling the rideshare businesses’ heat, Stat reports. Patients are using Uber and Lyft for emergency situations with increasing regularity. Experts say it’s because the cost of these services is cheaper than that of ambulances, and they give more control to the rider. For example, with a ride-hailing service, riders can decide to which hospital he or she wants to go, and they can also track the incoming vehicles’ journeys. But, some Uber and Lyft drivers have turned down emergency passengers for liability reasons, and, Stat points out, patients still run the risk of traveling without medical professionals during an emergency.
‘Deaths of Despair’ Climb Among Whites
Their parents could count on blue-collar jobs that gave them a steady paycheck and enabled them to raise their kids in relative comfort. But as U.S. factories have closed at a steady rate and those jobs moved overseas, a feeling of hopelessness has settled over a significant proportion of the nation’s blue-collar population. That, researchers theorize, has led to “a shocking increase” in the death rate among middle-aged white Americans who do not have college degrees. The Hill reports that a study by Princeton economists Anne Case and Angus Deaton finds a sharp increase in these “deaths of despair” caused by drugs, alcohol poisoning and suicide. The trend is particularly stark when comparing those with college degrees and those without. Between 1998 and 2015, the mortality rate for men between the ages of 50 and 54 who had attained a bachelor’s degree fell from 349 per 100,000 to 243. During the same period, the mortality rate for men 50 to 54 years of age with no college degree climbed from 762 per 100,000 to 867.
The Wrong Batch of Brownies
In a case of mistaken pastries, six workers at Davis Regional Medical Center, Statesville, N.C., were sickened after eating cookies and muffins that were laced with marijuana, the Charlotte Observer reports. The baked goods were made by a family member of an employee and neither the workers nor the employee who brought them in knew they had been made with cannabis oil. No patient care was affected and police ruled the incident an accident, according to the report.