Friday, December 3, 2010

Self-Confessed Killer Receives Liver Transplant

Johnny Concepcion, 43, is a self-confessed murderer who recently received a liver transplant at the New York-Presbyterian/Columbia University Medical Center.
The New York Post reports Concepcion left the hospital on Friday and went straight to jail.
Concepcion reportedly destroyed his liver in a suicide attempt in which he downed rat poison after he confessed to fatally stabbing his wife.
The report of a confessed, suicidal murderer receiving a liver transplant prior to many others has sparked much outrage. Many see it as a “wasted organ.” Others are outraged because they see it as a “line jump” ahead of the 1,80o plus liver-transplant candidates in New York state waiting for a liver transplant.
The Organ Procurement and Transplant Network (OPTN) reports that as of July 16, 50 New York liver-transplant candidates have died this year waiting for an organ.
"It's extremely frustrating, and it's scary to know that I could die before I find a donor," Sullivan said. "My wait is excruciating -- as it is for everyone out there waiting.
Federal guideline dictate a person can be placed on a transplant list only by a surgeon from a transplant center. Placement on the list is followed by an evaluation of the hospital’s transplant team to determine the individual’s status based on medical criteria. This determines how sick the person is and where they are ranked on the list.
Organ transplantation is expensive; involving costs before, during, and after the actual transplant surgery. Costs after transportation include continued follow up checkups and medications, including immunosuppressive or antirejection drugs, which may cost up to $2,500 per month.
UPDATED (07-27-2010, 2 pm)
It is reported by Reuters that Bryan Dotson, a spokesperson for the New York Presbyterian Hospital, has said the New York Post report was wrong. "This person did not receive a liver transplant at the New York-Presbyterian Hospital," he told Reuters Health. He declined to make further comments, as hospitals often do in an attempt to protect patient confidentiality.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Disclosure Of Organ Transplant Risks

University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine physicians and bioethicists are calling for a new, more standardized way for patients in need of organ transplants to be informed of the risks they face. If adopted, their policy recommendations could promote greater equity in how organs are allocated while restricting patients’ abilities to “cherry-pick” the best organs.
Writing in the June 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine, a Penn team led by Scott Halpern, MD, PhD, of the Pulmonary, Allergy and Critical Care division, highlights the recent Chicago case in which four patients were infected with HIV and Hepatitis C following liver, heart and kidney transplants. Although the donor did not test positive for HIV at the time of his death — all U.S. donors are screened for infectious diseases — local organ procurement officials and the transplant surgeons knew the man had engaged in behaviors that boosted his risk of HIV. The recipients, however, were not made aware of this risk at the time the organs were offered, and as a result, at least one of the recipients is suing the transplant organization and hospital.
The Penn researchers argue that while patients do not have the right to know every detail about the specific donor their organ will come from, that the current system does not adequately protect patients’ rights to make fully informed decisions regarding the risks they are willing to accept. Thus, Halpern and colleagues propose that the United Network for Organ Sharing (UNOS), the national clearinghouse for organ allocation, create a policy requiring transplant programs to disclose "all foreseeable risks" of the surgery to potential recipients at the time that they are placed on the waiting list for an organ. They argue that all patients should be given the option of accepting or declining organs that would come from suitable but suboptimal donors – including donors with risks for infectious diseases, older donors, or donors after cardiac death whose organs might be less hardy because they were deprived of blood flow for short periods of time before transplant. Currently, UNOS requires only that kidney recipients be allowed to accept or decline organs from so-called "expanded-criteria donors" – those who are older or have diseases such as hypertension – and even this narrow requirement is unevenly adhered to across the nation.
In addition to encouraging more systematic disclosure of the general risks of transplantation when patients are listed, the researchers say it is wrong to disclose specific risks associated with a particular donor at the time an organ becomes available. “Allowing a patient to cherry-pick his organs by telling him everything about a potential donor creates the potential for discrimination, inefficiency, and inequity in how organs are allocated,” Halpern says. “By contrast, notifying patients of all foreseeable risks of transplantation at the time they are placed on the waiting list protects their right to decide how much risk they will accept without any of these negative consequences for society.”
A particularly sensitive issue – and one that makes this issue especially timely – is the remote but real possibility that HIV and other socially stigmatized infections might be transmitted through organ transplantation. Because of the nation’s ongoing shortage of organs — 10 percent of patients awaiting transplant die each year — patients with behavioral risk factors for HIV are not barred from donating organs as they are from donating blood. In their paper, the authors provide new data indicating that more than five percent of organ donors are classified as "high risk" for undetectable HIV infection. Donors classified as “high risk” currently include homosexual men, people who have been jailed, injection drug users, and people who have received certain blood products, although Halpern notes that officials at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are currently reevaluating these definitions.
The researchers caution that telling patients about a specific donor’s HIV risk factors, without emphasizing the greater risks associated with using organs from donors with hypertension or diabetes, could breed discrimination in how organs are allocated due to biases against homosexuals or drug users. “Permitting patients to evaluate specific donor characteristics could wrongly introduce social bias as a legitimate rationale for guiding the allocation of a public good," the authors write.
And since organs must be harvested and transplanted quickly, time spent deliberating stands to impede chances to find a properly matched recipient or perform a surgery free of complications "Even modest delays resulting from organ-specific consent would be difficult to justify in view of the strong moral bases and broad public support for maximizing efficiency in the allocation of scarce organs," they said.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Americans Mourns the Loss of Tony Curtis from COPD and Cardiac Arrest

Legendary screen actor Tony Curtis died Wednesday from a cardiac arrest; he was 85 years old. US TV network ABC News quoted the star’s business manager and family spokesman Preston Ahearn, who said the Oscar-nominated actor passed away last night peacefully in bed next to his wife
Curtis did more than 140 movies Curtis was the 1950s and was known for his sculpted pompadour hair, dreamy blue eyes and dashing looks, which accompanied what the New York Times described in an obituary as a "dramatically potent combination of naked ambition and deep vulnerability, both likely products of his Dickensian childhood in the Bronx."
An admitted drinker and addict, Curtis went to rehab in 1982 following his divorce. He was married 6 times his first marriage in 1951 was to actress Janet Leigh, his co-star in 1953's Houdini. One of the greatest tragedies of his life was when his 23-year-old son died of a heroin overdose in 1994.
"My father leaves behind a legacy of great performances in movies and in his paintings and assemblages," actress Jamie Lee Curtis said in a statement. "He leaves behind children and their families who loved him and respected him and a wife and in-laws who were devoted to him. He also leaves behind fans all over the world. He will be greatly missed."
The actor who died from a cardiac arrest and had heart bypass surgery in 1994, suffered from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and was hospitalized in mid-July after he had trouble breathing. Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease also known as COPD is one of the most common lung diseases.
Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of COPD
Most people who have COPD smoke or used to smoke. Long-term exposure to other lung irritants, such as air pollution, chemical fumes, or dust, also may contribute to COPD. COPD is a major cause of disability, and it's the fourth leading cause of death in the United States. More than 12 million people are currently diagnosed with COPD. Many more people may have the disease and not even know it.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

How to control bad breath?

Bad breath also known as halitosis. This odor can be long lasting or occur for sometime. Millions of bacteria are found in the mouth and at the back of our tongue. In most people, this is the primary reason for bad breath.
Certain types of bad breath are considered to be normal. They need not be health concerns. Bad breath occurs in the morning hours, as bacteria is formed overnight. Less saliva is formed at night. In the day time lot of saliva is formed which cleanses the mouth of decayed food. At night this is not so. Dead cells stick in the inside of the mouth as well as the inner part of the cheek. When the bacterial thrives on these bacteria for food, bad odor emanates from the mouth.
Causes of bad breath
  • Lack of proper dental hygiene- Not brushing frequently or properly and also not flossing well allows food particles to remain in the mouth, which causes bad breath.
  • Infections of the respiratory tract-  Lung, throat or sinus infections.
  • Mouth infections- Periodontal (gum) disease.
  • External agents- Coffee, onion, garlic, cigarette smoking and chewing of tobacco.
  • Systemic(bodywide)illnesses- Liver disease, Diabetes, kidney diseases, sinus disease, reflux disease, lung disease as well as others.
  • Psychiatric illnesses- Some might believe they have bad breath others do not notice. This is known as “pseudohalitosis”.
  • Dry mouth- This is due to medicines, salivary glands or mouth breathing.
Symptoms of bad breath
  • Improper dental hygiene-  Teeth are coated with plaque or film. Food may be trapped between the teeth. Gums may be pale or swollen.
  • Bad odor- The mouth smells bad.
  • Mouth infections- These include swollen gum or red gums which can bleed very easily while flossing or brushing. Pockets of pus or pus found at the base of the tooth. Painful gums or open sores on one’s gums or tongue.
  • External agents- Cigarette stains on the teeth as well as the fingers. Coffee stains on the teeth are also visible.
    Respiratory tract infections- Swollen nymph nodes, sore throat, fever, stuffy nose, yellowish or greenish discharge from the nose, coughing that causes mucus.
  • Systemic(bodywide) illnesses- Diabetes symptoms, kidney failure, or disease of the liver and lung disease.
How long does bad breath last?
This would much depend upon the cause. In case, it is due to improper brushing or flossing then once this rectified the breath will improve. The dentist also can take care of it. In case it is due to systemic illnesses, it can be along term problem. It can be dealt with proper medical treatment.
Prevention of bad breath
  • Brush properly.
  • Floss regularly.
  • Use a mouth freshener such as antiseptic mouth wash.
  • Regular dentist visits.
  • Drinking a lot of water.
  • Chewing sugar less gum.
  • Celery.
  • Raw carrots.
Treatment of bad breath
  • Treat according to the causes.
  • Maintain proper dental hygiene.
  • Consult the dentist regularly.
  • Use a mouthwash on  a daily basis.
Bad breath can be quite embarrassing. It can putt off a person. Even relationship can get affected. Proper dental hygiene can help you get rid of the problem.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Cholera Outbreak Prompts Calls for Haitian Aid

A recent outbreak of cholera in Haiti has prompted pleas for aid. The infection that can be lethal has overcrowded hospitals from symptoms of acute diarrhea and dehydration. The biggest concern from Haitian officials is that the disease will spread. The need is for more medical help and clean drinking water.
There are 1.3 million people living in crowded conditions in Haiti that could easily spread cholera, leading to widespread sickness and death. In a Reuter’s video, Haiti's Prime Minister says the government is trying hard to find the source of the disease. Video images show infants, children and adults lining hospital corridors, being treated on hospital floors and waiting outside for treatment.
According to CNN, the cholera outbreak happened quickly. Within 48 hours 135 deaths from cholera had been reported.
The infection spreads rapidly. The last outbreak was in 1960. Treatment includes rapid re-hydration including drinking clean or water or intravenous fluids when needed. The disease was an anticipated possibility following Haiti’s earthquake. In March, the Centers for Disease Control noted that cholera was absent from the Caribbean, but historically outbreaks occur following disasters.
In 2005, 20,000 in Pakistan were stricken with watery diarrhea, a hallmark symptom of the infection.
Following the Haiti earthquake, the CDC noted, “Transmission of acute watery diarrhea occurs through consumption of sewage-contaminated water or food, contact with contaminated environmental surfaces, or direct person-to-person spread in conditions of poor hygiene. All of these routes of transmission exist in post-earthquake Haiti. Current problems with water, sanitation, and hygiene infrastructure will be exacerbated during the rainy season, when contact with contaminated standing water and sewage run-off will be common.”

Cholera Treatment Difficult in Haiti

Reports from CNN indicate supplies are available for the next few days to manage cholera treatment and health volunteers have been 'rapidly mobilized". Health facilities are limited and basic services are lacking, as has been always been the case in Haiti.
Charles Henri Baker, a Haitian Presidential candidate says field hospitals, doctors and nurses are needed - "We need help and we need quick help".
Robin Mahfood, President/CEO of "Food for the Poor", says 169 have died from the cholera outbreak and 1500 are in hospitals. Mahfood says the group is sending 3 containers of drinking water and personal hygiene products to Port -Au-Prince, including 7 water chlorination units to provide 30,000 gallons of clean drinking water a day for Haitians. Other supplies being sent includ Pedialyte, Gator Ade, vaccinations and blankets. Without clean drinking water, the chances that the outbreak could be contained are slim.