Thursday, January 15, 2009

Surgery checklist saves lives

It's all over the news here, but you may not have heard yet: researchers recommend that surgeons have the same type of checklist that pilots have to do before take off.

Surgeons are human and, unfortunately, humans make mistakes sometimes. But many mistakes are avoidable if people take the time to ensure certain precautions are in place. This would not only help reduce avoidable complications and deaths in countries like Canada and the United States, it would be a big help in reducing the much higher death rates in the poorer, less technically advanced countries.

The study involved almost 4000 patients before the checklist was used and almost 4000 after. In some places, the overall major complication rate dropped from 11% to 7% and in some cases, the death rates dropped by 40%.

On the practical side, a check list like this can save millions of dollars in costs that result from some of the avoidable complications.

You can read more over at the Globe and Mail: Surgical checklist cuts complications by a third but you can also watch a video of the story at CTV.

HON code certified!

This is a nice announcement for me. If you're a browser or frequent visitor of health and medical sites, you may have noticed a logo or banner for the HON code. This is the HON Code of Conduct (HONcode) for medical and health Web sites.

To qualify for HON cod certification, you have to subscribe to a list of strict requirements that ensure the readers of the blog or site are going to be offered reliable and verifiable information.

I applied a couple of months ago and had to make a few adjustments in order to meet their requirements. A few weeks ago, I was granted certification, so I proudly put the logo in my sidebar.

It's nice to be recognized for doing something that is helpful for others. Thank you to all of you who come back and visit and welcome to all new visitors.

Monday, January 12, 2009

Why do people start smoking?

I'm not asking about quitting and why people smoke. I do know that it's an addiction. I know it's hard enough to get rid of a bad habit, beating an addiction is not even in the same league. But - why do people start smoking in the first place?

I also realize it's mainly teens and kids who start smoking and then become addicted, so they bring their habit into adulthood, but I still ask *why*? I know the standard answers: It's cool, it's peer pressure, it's doing something dangerous. But that doesn't answer my question.

To me, doing something dangerous, risk taking, is something that brings short-term danger and adrenaline rush. Dangerous can be speeding, sky diving, jaywalking across a busy street, and so on. I can't believe that teens take up smoking because it's dangerous - because you don't experience the dangerous outcome until many years later.

So, the other thing is that it's "cool." What's cool about it? In colder climates, like here in Montreal, in the winter you see grown people, as well as teens, freezing their butts off (pun intended!) to have a quick smoke during a break. They're stomping their feet to stay warm, they look miserable, and they can't even have a good conversation because their smoking buddies are also trying too hard to stay warm.

Even when the weather is nice, what is so cool about huddling in a group outside buildings where you're not allowed to participate in your activity?

I also can't believe that kids find it cool to smell like cigarette smoke and have a smoker's cough.

I know the thing about rebelling against authority, but then again - what authority are they really rebelling against?

It may sound odd to read what I'm about to write but here goes. I can understand why kids/teens want to drink and try recreational drugs - because there's an effect from it, usually quite pleasant in the short term, and it makes them feel good or takes them a way from their problems. But smoking, other than bad breath, having clothes that reek, and a cough first thing in the morning, what does it give you? I know some adults who won't even try to quit smoking. They say they enjoy their cigarette and that they don't plan on giving up one of their pleasures. But here it is again - what pleasure? If they're addicted, quitting is UNpleasurable, missing a cigarette break is UNpleasurable, but what is pleasurable from smoking?

Finally, there's the cost factor. Smoking is very, very expensive. Teens often have a limited supply of spending money, why waste it on something that (literally) goes up in smoke? Are you curious about how expensive smokes are across the United States? Here is a roll-over map that will tell you how many people smoke in the state and how expensive cigarettes are.

What do you think?

News for Today:

Peanut butter recalled amid salmonella outbreak

Touching helps couples reduce stress

Special glasses may cut perils of the night shift

Today at Seniors Support:

Straight Talk About Sex After Sixty: Part 2

Wegmans Offers Free Generic Antibiotics

 at Cancer Commentary:

Radiation risk must be recalculated for women & children

Be vigilant about your health if you had skin cancer

 at Help My Hurt

A simple water softener possible treatment for painful eczema?

A teen’s battle with complex regional pain syndrome

at Womb Within

Breech birth video

UK hospitals widening labor room doors for obese mothers