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Doomsday Prepping

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Yes, I have actually watched the show, “Doomsday Preppers,” mainly because my husband had the remote control.  As he napped, I got caught up in the family whose dad made them run drills every so often to be ready for a hostile takeover by persons using biological warfare. Scary thought, huh? While I don’t believe in going as far as most of the preppers on the show do, I think the Boston bombings made me realize it would be a good thing to brush up on my first aid skills and to be prepared as a family in the event of an emergency. We were there two years ago watching my husband and his brother run; those people we saw on the news could have been us!

I realize most people who aren’t in the medical profession aren’t trained in first aid consistently enough to remember how to treat specific types of injuries. So, in the age of our smart phones, there’s an app for that!  The American Red Cross app for first aid teaches how to deal with burns, bleeding, broken bones, unconsciousness, etc. One really nice feature is that it has an “Emergency” tab that gives you get step-by-step instructions for different types of situations or injuries that includes a one button dial for 911.

All families need to have a plan for meeting back up if they’re separated at the time of an emergency. The first aid app also addresses this issue, and lists supplies that should be kept on hand for emergencies.

If you are interested in learning more about how to help in an emergency, you can take a class to learn how to become a First Responder. A First Responder is a volunteer who’s been specially trained to know what to do in emergencies or disaster situations. He or she can provide care until more highly trained personnel are able to get to the scene.  To find out more about this,  you can go to the American Red Cross website, or contact your local government to see if classes are offered.

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How to save a billion dollars a year

17 medical specialty organizations have come up with their top five tests or procedures that they feel are unnecessary or harmful to patients. For example, women younger than 21 and those who have had a hysterectomy for any reason other than cancer should not get Pap smears at all. This is a change from 2008 when I was in school, when we were taught that a sexually active woman younger than 21 years should have a pap smear every year for three years. If these were all normal, then it could be done every other year.

In Sharon Begley’s article,  “Just say don’t: Doctors question routine tests and treatments,” she states that “For the most part, the medical specialty groups did not consider cost when they made their lists”.  She quotes Dr. John Santa, director of Consumer Reports’ Health Ratings Center and a partner in Choosing Wisely as saying, “If their advice is followed, however, it would save billions of dollars a year in wasteful spending.” He calculated that in a practice with 300,000 patients, just doing away with routine EKGs and bone density scans would “reduce it’s billings by $1 million a year.” If done nationally, “that translates into some $1 billion in savings.”http://www.reuters.com/article/2013/02/21/healthcare-tests-choosingwisely-correcte-idUSL1N0BL3EB20130221

Of course, less spending does translate into less revenue for the healthcare practitioner. A woman coming in every three years for her Pap means that my clinic will lose the revenue for the two she doesn’t get.

There’s always the question of, “What if I miss something because I followed these recommendations?” Ah….well, we are given the option in some cases of ordering a test if we suspect something unusual. Note that some procedures are questioned while some start with the word “don’t.”

For a complete list of organizations that gave their top fives, follow this link:

http://www.choosingwisely.org/doctor-patient-lists/

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