Health Highlights: July 9, 201307/09/13
Here are some of the latest health and medical news
developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:
Doctors Nearly Removed Organs From Living Patient
A hospital in Syracuse, N.Y. was fined $6,000 for a 2009
incident in which doctors nearly harvested organs from a woman who
was still alive.
Doctors at St. Joseph's Hospital Health Center told the family
of 41-year-old Colleen Burns that she was dead after suffering a
drug overdose and the family agreed to take her off life support
and allow her organs to be donated, the
However, Burns opened her eyes as she was being prepared for
Records obtained by the
Syracuse Post-Standardrevealed a series of missteps,
including doctors ignoring nurses' comments that Burns was
responding to stimuli and trying to breathe on her own, the
The state health department imposed the fine after finding that
the hospital's care of Burns was unacceptable. The federal Centers
for Medicare and Medicaid Services criticized the hospital for its
failure to investigate the incident.
Burns was released from the hospital after two weeks, but killed
herself 16 months later, her mother told the newspaper.
Computer Problem Limits Health Insurance Penalties for
A computer system glitch will initially limit health insurance
premium penalties that companies can charge some smokers under the
new health care law.
The Obama administration notified insurers of the problem on
June 28 and said it will take at least a year to fix it, the
Older smokers are most likely to benefit from the mistake, while
younger smokers could be hit with higher penalties than they
otherwise would have, according to experts.
Under the law, insurers would be allowed to charge smokers up to
50 percent higher premiums. For older smokers, the penalty could
make premiums unaffordable, the
The June 28 Health and Human Services Department notice to
insurers states: "Because of a system limitation ... the system
currently cannot process a premium for a 65-year-old smoker that is
... more than three times the premium of a 21-year-old smoker."
Lung Transplant Girl Has Pneumonia
The 10-year-old girl who received a lung transplant after a
legal battle has pneumonia in her right lung, according to her
Doctors believe that Sarah Murnaghan's pneumonia is caused by
"aspirations from her belly," her mother Janet Murnaghan said in a
Facebook post Monday,
USA Todayreported. "Yesterday was tough. Today she is more
stable, but this is definitely a large setback."
In aspiration pneumonia, the lungs or airways leading to the
lungs are inflamed as a result of breathing in foreign material,
such as food and saliva. Treatments include antibiotics.
The Pennsylvania girl had a lung transplant on June 12 but it
failed and she had to have a second transplant on June 15. She took
a few breaths on her own after the second transplant, but was put
back on the ventilator because she had partial paralysis of the
diaphragm, a complication of the second surgery,
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