Orlando Health guide to help hospitals prepare for mass casualties

Orlando Health BookLeaders of each department of Orlando Health, from surgery to environmental services, will contribute their own chapters to a book aimed at helping other hospitals prepare for a mass-casualty event. The book will share what Orlando Health learned from the Pulse nightclub attack in June 2016 in which 49 people died and 53 were injured. The Orlando Sentinel’s Naseem S. Miller reports that the health system intends the book to provide peer-to-peer advice for staff in each area of a hospital. “We’ve told the authors that if it [were] just you and one of your peers, what would you want to know if you were asking someone who had been through an event like this,” Miller quotes Michael Cheatham, M.D., a trauma surgeon and the chief surgical quality officer for Orlando Health. “This is what was important. This is what we planned on. Here are three key messages we learned.” The health system will give the book away to other hospitals when it is published early next year.

2 pleas for more doctors with disabilities

Hiring Doctors with DisabilitiesBoth Slate and The New York Times ran pieces in the last couple of weeks about why increasing the number of physicians with disabilities could benefit patients and the health care profession as a whole. Slate contributor Nathan Kohrman notes that while a fifth of all Americans have some kind of disability — a proportion that undoubtedly will grow as baby boomers age — less than 1 percent of doctors do. Disabled patients sometimes feel that physicians don’t understand their bodies or their lives. In the Times, Dhruv Khuller, M.D., writes that “doctors often make false assumptions about the personal lives of patients with disabilities. For example, women who have difficulty walking are much less likely to be asked about contraception or receive a cervical cancer screening, in part because doctors assume they’re not sexually active.” While many in medical education have been concerned that a disability could hinder a physician’s capacity to perform certain tasks, awareness and attitudes seem to be changing, helped along partly by new technologies. Blind medical students, for instance, “can use devices that represent flat images with vibrating pins to read histories and electrocardiograms,” Kohrman points out. “On their surgery and anesthesiology rotations, deaf students can take in the back and forth of the operating room through a screen of transcribed dialogue.”

Coffee might be beneficial, even without caffeine

Coffee good for your healthThe media was all abuzz this week about the release of two large studies indicating that drinking coffee could lead to longer life — and that includes the decaffeinated stuff, though purists might scorn the very concept of decaf. People who drank two to four cups a day had an 18 percent lower risk of death compared with people who did not drink coffee, according to findings published in the Annals of Internal Medicine. As reported by MedPage Today, researchers were appropriately cautious in an accompanying editorial, noting that it would be “premature” to recommend coffee for its beneficial effects, but “it is increasingly evident that moderate coffee intake up to three to five cups per day or caffeine intake up to 400 mg/d is not associated with adverse health effects in adults and can be incorporated into a healthy diet.”