Friday, April 10, 2009

Health news from and about The Boston Globe

My weekly news review for bemoans the potential loss of our daily broadsheet as a source of health news. Here’s more evidence to support my case.

Beth Israel faulted for staph outbreak in mothers, babies

Over the past six months, 18 mothers and 19 newborns have become sick with
a dangerous bacterial infection soon after being released from Beth Israel
Deaconess Medical Center, triggering a state investigation that uncovered
serious problems with the hospital's infection control practices.

Ten of the infected patients became so ill that they required
hospitalization. Two of those had serious complications.

The most recent of the staph bacterial infections, a type resistant to many
common antibiotics, was identified earlier this week.

State authorities have asked the US Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention for help in
determining what caused these infections, which are generally spread by
skin-to-skin contact. Based on research from similar outbreaks in maternity
wards in other cities, a CDC investigator said the cluster at Beth Israel
Deaconess is probably related to someone - such as a healthcare worker, patient,
or visitor - who brought the bacteria into the hospital, and the institution's
hygiene practices failed to stop it from spreading.

Partners curbs doctors' drug industry ties
New limits end gifts, free meals, paid talks

Doctors at Partners HealthCare may no longer accept gifts and meals from
drug and device firms, or travel the country as paid members of company
"speakers bureaus," as the state's largest hospital and physician network adopts
tougher restrictions to counter industry's influence over the drugs and
treatments physicians prescribe…

Many Mass. General and Brigham physicians are top researchers, making drug
and device companies eager to collaborate with them on developing new treatments
for patients - relationships that Partners executives said they want to
preserve. But it's because of their status as "thought leaders" that these
doctors also are attractive targets for helping companies spread their marketing
messages through speakers bureaus and medical education.

More on research integrity from BHN.

More on the plight of The Boston Globe

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