Health Highlights: May 10, 201105/10/11
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Most Uninsured in U.S. Can't Pay Hospital Bills, Report
Few of the roughly 50 million Americans without health insurance
have the financial means to pay potential hospital bills, according
to a U.S. government report released Tuesday.
Uninsured families, on average, can only pay for about 12
percent of their hospital stays, said the report from the
Department of Health and Human Services. And even uninsured
families with higher incomes lack the assets to cover most
HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said it's a myth that Americans
without health insurance can get care with little or no problem.
"Nothing could be farther from the truth. The result is families
going without care -- or facing health-care bills they can't hope
to pay," she said in an agency news release.
More than half of the hospital stays in the United States result
in bills higher than $10,000, yet the nation's uninsured have
median financial assets of only $20. The result is that 95 percent
of hospitalizations bills for the uninsured are not paid in full,
the report said.
The report indicates that "'lacking health insurance poses a
greater risk of financial catastrophe than lacking car insurance or
homeowners insurance," the authors wrote.
"When the uninsured cannot afford the care they receive, that cost must be absorbed by other payers," Sebelius said in the news release. "This is why expanding access to affordable health insurance under the Affordable Care Act is so important."
Popular Football Helmets May Not Protect Against Concussion
Two models of football helmets popular with teen players may not
provide adequate protection against concussion, according to
Using a new test designed to estimate concussion risk, the
Virginia Tech group assessed helmets designed for players of high
school age and older. The lowest ranked models were the Adams A2000
and the Riddell VSR-4, which was recently discontinued but is worn
by about 75,000 high school and college players,
The New York Times reported.
The results, to be posted on a Virginia Tech website, would be
the first publicly available impartial data on football helmet
performance. Currently, the only standardized test for helmets
focuses on the risk of skull fracture, not a less serious injury
such as concussion. The test is supervised by a group that includes
"Currently, if you go to buy a helmet, all you're looking at are aesthetics and price, and whatever the manufacturer tells you to try to convince you it's good," Stefan Duma, Virginia Techs lead biomedical engineer on the project, told the Times. "We wanted to develop a system to quantify which helmets perform better specifically with risk of concussion."
Patient Says Full Face Transplant Feels Natural
At his first public appearance, the first U.S. recipient of a
full face transplant said it "feels natural."
Dallas Wiens, 25, received a new nose, lips, skin, muscle and
nerves during a 15-hour procedure in March. The resident of Fort
Worth, Texas had suffered severe facial injuries in November 2008
when he hit a power line while painting a church, the
Associated Press reported.
In his appearance Monday at Brigham and Women's Hospital in
Boston, Wiens said the first thing his young daughter told him
after the transplant was "Daddy, you're so handsome."
Wiens was left blind as a result of his accident and the
transplant did not restore his sight, the
His operation was paid for by the U.S. military, which wants to
find ways to help soldiers who suffer major facial wounds. The
Department of Defense gave Brigham and Women's a $3.4 million
research grant for five face transplants.
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