Tag Archives: insurance

Increase seen in use of double mastectomy, although not associated with reduced death — ScienceDaily

Randomized trials have demonstrated similar survival for patients with early-stage breast cancer treated with breast-conserving surgery and radiation or with mastectomy. However, previous data show increasing use of mastectomy, and particularly bilateral mastectomy (removal of both breasts) among U.S. …

Stem cell scarring aids recovery from spinal cord injury

Spinal cord injuries sever nerve fibres that conduct signals between the brain and the rest of the body, causing various degrees of paralysis depending on the site and extent of the injury. Functional impairment is often permanent, since the cut nerve fibres do not grow back. The lack of regeneration has been attributed to a blockage from scar tissue that forms at the lesion. …

Man sues doctor, says penile implant gave him 8-month erection

A truck driver who says a penile implant gave him an erection that lasted eight months described in court Tuesday how the procedure caused him to withdraw from much of life, wearing long, baggy sweat pants and a long shirt to hide his condition. Daniel Metzgar, 44, of Newark, testified in New Castle County Superior Court in Wilmington in his medical malpractice lawsuit against Wilmington urologist Dr. Thomas Desperito. He told jurors the inflatable prosthesis made him feel like less of a man. Colleen D. Shields, Desperito’s lawyer, said in her opening statement that sometimes bad medical results occur through the fault of no one. She also said that the urologist told Metzgar the prosthesis had to be removed four months after the surgery when Metzgar complained of an infection and that the erection wasn’t going down. Shields said Metzgar didn’t do anything for months after that visit, the News Journal of Wilmington reports. Metzgar had the procedure in December 2009. He said he lost his insurance afterward and didn’t have $10,000 he said Desperito wanted before he would do the surgery. The prosthesis was removed in August 2010 after tubing from the device punctured Metzgar’s scrotum. He now has a replacement prosthesis from another doctor. But Metzgar says scar tissue from the first surgery left him about 50 percent smaller and he does not get the same level of sensation. Metzgar and his wife, Donna, are seeking unspecified damages from Desperito and his medical group.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/06/12/man-sues-doctor-after-penile-implant-gave-him-8-month-erection/

Motorcycle injuries worsen with weaker helmet law

The average medical claim from a motorcycle crash rose by more than one-fifth last year in Michigan after the state stopped requiring all riders to wear helmets, according to an insurance industry study. Across the nation, motorcyclists opposed to mandatory helmet use have been chipping away at state helmet laws for years while crash deaths have been on the rise. For more than 40 years, Michigan required all motorcycle riders to wear helmets. State legislators changed the law last year so that only riders younger than 21 must wear helmets. The average insurance payment on a motorcycle injury claim was $5,410 in the two years before the law was changed, and $7,257 after it was changed — an increase of 34 percent, the study by the Highway Loss Data Institute found. After adjusting for the age and type of motorcycle, rider age, gender, marital status, weather and other factors, the actual increase was about 22 percent relative to a group of four comparative states, Illinois, Indiana, Ohio and Wisconsin, the study found. “The cost per injury claim is significantly higher after the law changed than before, which is consistent with other research that shows riding without a helmet leads to more head injuries,” said David Zuby, chief research officer for the data institute and an affiliated organization, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety. The data institute publishes insurance loss statistics on most car, SUV, pickup truck and motorcycle models on U.S. roads. While other studies have shown an increase motorcycle deaths after states eliminate or weaken mandatory helmet requirements, the industry study is the first to look specifically at the effect of repealing helmet requirements on the severity of injuries as measured by medical insurance claims, Zuby said. Some states have sought to mitigate the repeal or loosening of mandatory helmet laws by setting minimum medical insurance requirements, but “that doesn't even come close to covering the lifelong care of somebody who is severely brain-injured and who cannot work and who is going to be on Medicaid and a ward of the state,” said Jackie Gillan, president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, which backs mandatory helmet requirements for all riders. Jeff Hennie, vice president of the Motorcycle Riders Foundation, dismissed the study, saying the insurance industry views helmets as “the silver bullet that's going to change the landscape of motorcycle safety.” He said insurers are upset because “life has gotten more expensive for them and they have to pay out more.” “The fact is our highways are bloody,” Hennie said. “This (the Michigan helmet law change) doesn't make helmets illegal. ... No one is forcing anyone to ride without a helmet.” Vince Consiglio, president of American Bikers Aimed Toward Education of Michigan, blamed the increase in the severity of injuries on bikers who don't take safety courses required to obtain a special motorcycle license. He said bikers without motorcycle licenses have made up an increasingly larger share of fatalities and injuries in recent years. But Gillan said the study “clearly shows there is no such thing as a free ride, and the public is paying the cost for this.” There's no way to know how many of the Michigan claims involved motorcyclists not wearing helmets, the study said. But another recent study by the University of Michigan's Transportation Research Institute found a significant increase in motorcyclists involved in crashes who weren't wearing helmets after the law changed. From April 13, 2012, the first full day after the change took effect, through the end of the year, 74 percent of motorcyclists involved in crashes were wearing helmets, compared with 98 percent in the same period for the previous four years, the study found. Nationally, motorcycle deaths have risen in 14 of the past 15 years, and appear to have reached an all-time high of more than 5,000, according to an analysis by the Governors Highway Safety Association of preliminary 2012 data. Currently, 19 states and the District of Columbia require all motorcyclists to wear a helmet, 28 states require only some motorcyclists — usually younger or novice riders — to wear a helmet, and three states have no helmet use law. States have been gradually repealing or weakening mandatory helmet laws for nearly two decades. In 1967, to increase motorcycle helmet use, the federal government required that states enact helmet laws in order to qualify for certain federal safety programs and highway construction aid. The federal incentive worked. By the early 1970s, almost all states had motorcycle helmet laws that covered all riders. In 1976, Congress stopped the Transportation Department from assessing financial penalties on states without helmet laws, and state lawmakers began repealing the statutes. In 1991, Congress created new incentives for states to enact helmet and seat belt laws, but reversed itself four years later. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, which sent observers to states last year to count how many motorcyclists wore helmets, found that 97 percent of motorcyclists in states with universal helmet laws were wearing helmets compared with 58 percent of motorcyclists in states without such coverage.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/30/motorcycle-injuries-worsen-with-weaker-helmet-law/

Flesh-eating bacteria victim Aimee Copeland gets new bionic hands

Last summer, the nation was captivated by the story of Aimee Copeland, a University of West Georgia graduate student who lost both her hands and a leg to a terrible bout with flesh-eating bacteria, which she contracted during a zip-lining accident.   Now, a little over a year later, 25-year-old Copeland has been fitted with a new pair of prosthetic hands, which allow her to wipe down tables, fold towels and even straighten her hair, WLTX.com reported.   Thanks to a gift from Touch Bionics in Hilliard, Ohio, Copeland is the first woman in the world with bilateral upper limb amputations to be fitted with iLimb Ultra Prosthetic Hands.  According to the company, the prosthetic hands cost $100,000 each, but Touch Bionics gave them to Copeland free of charge, as she had run out of insurance to pay for them herself. To date, the iLimb hands are the most advanced and most versatile high-tech prosthetic hands available, and Copeland has spent the past week in Hilliard getting them fitted and learning how to use them.  In a video from WXIA of Columbus, Ohio, she was able to delicately pick up a single M&M. “It feels amazing, because you know, with the other arms I had, they really didn’t feel like an extension of my body,” Copeland told WXIA.  “This just feels very freeing; it’s more light-weight. And the hand actually… it seems like this could be my actual hand.” Copeland’s ordeal began in May 2012, when she was enjoying a trip kayaking down a creek with some of her friends in Carrollton, Ga.  But when Copeland stopped to ride on a homemade zip line along the water, the line snapped and cut a large gash in her left calf.   Doctors ultimately had to staple her leg up with 22 staples, and they told her to take pain medication.  But the pain did not subside, so a friend drove Copeland to the emergency room the next day, where doctors diagnosed her with necrotizing fasciitis – the infection and destruction of a layer of tissue right underneath the skin.  The bacteria had entered Copeland’s body through the gash she had received during the zip-lining accident.   Despite her initial odds of survival being “slim to none,” then 24-year-old Copeland eventually pulled through, but both her hands and her entire left leg had to be amputated in order to ensure her survival.  After two months in the hospital and two months of rehabilitation, Copeland returned to her renovated home in Snellville, Ga., where she began physical therapy. Click for more from WLTX.com.source : http://www.foxnews.com/health/2013/05/17/flesh-eating-bacteria-victim-aimee-copeland-gets-new-bionic-hands/