A growing number of children have been born in the United States with Zika-related birth defects, including microcephaly, seizures, vision and hearing loss, and intellectual disability. Of the more than 1,500 children born with birth defects due to the virus to date, about a dozen of these children have been born in the US. In all of the US cases, mothers had been infected while traveling to one of the 50 or so countries with endemic Zika. Zika virus is spread through mosquitoes or sexual transmission. Last week, the first documented case of female to male sexual transmission occurred. Recently, there has also been a reported case of transmission through caregiving duties, demonstrating that we have a lot to learn about the virus. Given that pregnant women who become infected have between a 1 and 29% chance of giving birth to a child with microcephaly, expecting mothers should avoid travel to countries with Zika and direct contact with others who have recently traveled to these countries.
Article: A Grim First: New York City Reports Baby Born with a Zika-Related Defect
A bold new study of the treatment of gunshot victims will be conducted right here in Philadelphia and is expected to last five years, encompassing all Philadelphia inhabitants who do not opt out. The study will randomize gunshot victims to receive or not receive standard paramedic treatment of intubation and I.V. fluids, investigating whether such interventions actually have a positive or negative effect on patient outcomes. The ethics of such a study are obviously complex, as victims will not be given the opportunity for informed consent, but its structure has been approved by both the FDA and the city of Philadelphia. Currently, there is a gun shot victim admitted to Philadelphia emergency rooms every 7 hours, and 1 in 5 of these victims does not survive. Those conducting this study hope to shed light on how to improve these survival outcomes in the future.
Article: Philadelphia Conducting Experiment to Save Gunshot Victims
Last Thursday night Dr. Brian H. Williams was the trauma surgeon on duty when wounded police officers from the Dallas shooting came into the ER. The shooting occurred after videos of two African-American men shot by police in Louisiana and Minnesota re-ignited debate and protest over police violence towards black men. 5 police officers were killed and 7 were wounded in the Dallas shooting, making it the deadliest single incident for U.S. law enforcement since September 11th, 2001. Williams, a surgeon and African American man, emerged as a leader after the tragedy, responding “This killing. It has to stop.” Drawing from the complexities of his experiences, Williams pleads for “open discussions about the impact of race relations in this country” that we “have to come together and end all this.”
In the study “No Room at the Inn,” the U.S. non-profit organization Treatment Advocacy Center details the decline of the number of psychiatric beds available in state-run hospitals from 2005 to 2010, tracing this drop to a larger 50-year trend. Currently, about 11 such beds are available per 100,000 people, a statistic far below that of other developed countries and far below estimates of what is necessary for adequate psychiatric care. In addition, the study describes how nearly half of these beds are filled by the criminal justice system, a proportion that continues to increase. Many doctors and national medical organizations have highlighted the dangers of such shortages for years, and this recent study proposes several potential solutions. Many hope that a bill to reform mental health care recently passed by the House of Representatives will address these shortages and generally improve mental health care in the U.S.
Article: National Psychiatric Bed Count Hits Record Low
On Monday in a 5-3 ruling, the Supreme Court struck down two provisions of a law regulating abortion clinics in Texas. With this Supreme Court decision, doctors are now no longer required to have admitting privileges at a hospital within 30 miles of an abortion clinic. Secondly, abortion centers are no longer required to meet the same safety standards as ambulatory surgical centers, which perform much more complex procedures. The court ruled both provisions unconstitutional, citing that the regulations placed undue burden on women. This ruling will keep abortion clinics open in Texas and calls into question similar laws in nearly two-dozen states.
Article: Fallout From Supreme Court Ruling Against Texas Law’s Abortion Restrictions