Baptist Receives Prestigious National Grant
Cardiovascular Surgeon Charles O'Mara, MD with the Cardiovascular Surgical Clinic will serve as Baptist's primary investigator for the study. Baptist Cardiovascular Diagnostic Director Judy Henderson, RN, is serving as the study clinical coordinator.
What a way to start the New Year. Baptist Medical Center was named one of 110 sites in the U.S. and Canada, and the only site in Mississippi, to participate in a landmark study to prevent strokes in people who have a narrowing in the carotid artery.
The Neurological Disorders and Stroke section of the National Institutes of Health and the Food and Drug Administration are sponsoring this research, referred to as the CREST (Carotid Revascularization Endarterectomy vs. Stenting Trial) study.
The CREST study will compare carotid endarterectomy, a common operation to prevent stroke, to a minimally invasive procedure called carotid artery stenting. Patients who agree to participate in the study will randomly receive either carotid endarterectomy or carotid artery stenting to treat the narrowed area in their carotid artery.
'Physicians are trying to determine the safest way to prevent strokes in people who have a partial blockage or narrowing of the carotid artery," said Dr. Charles O'Mara, a cardiovascular surgeon with the Cardiovascular Surgical Clinic, who will serve as Baptist's primary investigator for the study. 'The carotid arteries are located on each side of the neck and are the primary source of blood supply to the brain. A severe narrowing of a carotid artery can predispose a person to stoke occurrence."
By Lynne Jeter
Drug Company Designing New Therapy To Fight Deadly MRSA
William D. Johnston, PhD. Inhibitex CEO
A new and more virulent form of antibiotic-resistant staph infection has spread beyond its traditional setting in U.S. hospitals and has begun appearing with increasing — and lethal -- frequency in communities around the country.
Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus infections in the community now account for 12 percent of all staph cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta. MRSA is significantly more lethal than the staph infections that have grown ever more commonplace in hospitals. The CDC now estimates that 89.4 million Americans carry Staph aureus in their nasal passages, and a whopping 2.3 million carry MRSA.
One recently published study linked MRSA infections to the recent death of three Chicago children. Fourteen cases of skin-eating MRSA infections have appeared in the Los Angeles area. And hospitals in the Nashville area have reported a troubling surge in MRSA cases.
"The times — along with MRSA colonization rates — are, indeed, changing," Drs. Clarence 'Buddy" Creech II, Thomas R. Talbot, and William Schaffner, all of Vanderbilt University in Nashville, recently concluded.
By John Carroll
|First-Ever National Report Card on State of Emergency Medicine Released|
The American College of Emergency Physicians' (ACEP) National Report Card on the State of Emergency Medicine was released on January 10. The first-ever Report Card finds an emergency care system characterized by overcrowding, declining access to care, soaring liability costs and a poor capacity to deal with public health or terrorist disasters. The nation's emergency medical care system received an overall grade of C-, which represents the average of grades for all fifty states and the District of Columbia. Mississippi was handed a C- grade for its overall support of its emergency medical care system. It shared this grade with 12 other states, including Louisiana, Kentucky, and Tennessee.
All 50 states and the District of Columbia received an overall grade on a scale of A-F, plus separate weighted grades in four categories: Access to Emergency Care (40%), Quality of Care and Patient Safety (25%), Public Health and Injury Prevention (10%), and Medical Liability Environment (25%). ACEP began this intensive effort of grading the states more than a year ago by appointing a task force of experts. The task force developed 50 objective and quantifiable criteria to measure the performance of each state and the District of Columbia. Grades were then assigned based on a comparison to the best state's performance using weighted and aggregated measures.
'While Mississippi's overall grade represents the state of its emergency medical care system before Hurricane Katrina, the state is starting to rebuild, and emergency physicians here hope this report card will serve as a guide for how their state can develop a system that is even stronger than before the devastation," said Dr. Angela Gardner, chairman of ACEP's report card task force. 'Now is the time to put laws and policies in place that will fortify the state's health care safety net for future disasters."
By Chip Mabry
|Physician Spotlight: Dr. Malcolm Taylor|
Malcolm Taylor began mulling a medical career when he was only 12.
'Dr. Aaron Shirley, a well-known pediatrician, had an office right across the street, and I was very inquisitive," recalled Taylor, a founding partner of Jackson Cardiology Associates. 'I'd question him every time he wasn't busy, which wasn't very often, and I think to get rid of me, he gave me these anatomy books to read. So I'd memorize sections and go back for him to quiz me."
Taylor grew up in Vicksburg, the oldest of six children born to Percy Taylor, a local mail carrier for 40 years, and his wife, Rosie, a nurse's assistant. At Rosa A. Temple High School, Taylor was vice president of his senior class, played clarinet in the band, and portrayed a district attorney in a comedy and juicy roles in 'Macbeth" and other plays. At 6 feet 2 inches tall, Taylor excelled as a forward on the basketball team and had to choose between accepting an athletic or academic scholarship.
By Lynne Jeter
Medicare Part D's Promising but Puzzling Coverage: Be Informed
The biggest change to Medicare since its creation, prescription-drug coverage under Part D, came into effect on January 1, 2006. The one thing that everyone already knows about Part D is 'it's complicated." This article won't make Part D any less complex, but it will indicate some aspects of Part D of general interest to healthcare providers. Don't assume that, if you're not a pharmacist, you don't need to worry about Part D!
About 11 million people will receive drug coverage under Part D, in addition to about 6 million 'dual eligibles" who qualify for both Part D and state Medicaid drug benefits.
by Andy Lowry, J.D.
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