Daylight Savings Time Causes More Heart Attacks

Yes, I thought that the study headline seemed odd as well…after all how would a man-made construct…the clock…lead to more heart attack deaths?

In a widely report on study from the New England Journal of Medicine, heart attack deaths and hospitalizations dropped 5 % the day after clocks “fell back”, ending daylight savings time.

Could the causative factor be, oh, I don’t know…an extra hour of sleep?

Americans are chronically sleep deprived, including Doc Shazam.  THe problem is that we think that this is normal…it’s a badge of honor to be able to “function” on 4,5,6 hours of sleep per night. In reality, we only learn to tolerate the chronic fatigue associated with the lack of sleep.

What we don’t see is the toll this takes on our bodies on the inside…inflammation, arthritis, allergies, asthma, immune system problems, frequent colds, etc…

The very first thing I notice when I’m sleep deprived? My knees hurt.  They ache all day and all night.  Funny that they were fine all summer while I was working in Colorado, a regular schedule albiet 7am-7pm…my body was used to the schedule and I got 8 hours of sleep per night.

But now?  I work till 1AM or 3AM, come home, wind down for several hours, get to bead at 4, 5, 6 AM, try to sleep while it’s light out, and get up aching everywhere.  It’s not right, it’s not a natural schedule.

Just like those people in the study, my schedle is an artifiicial construct of modern society and modern medicine.  Convenience care in the ER at 10pm..what?  I’m losing sleep over some punk who wants a z pack for his cold?

The increase in heart attacks is not due to daylight savings time at all…it’s due to the artifically contrived workday requiring one to be in an office for a set duration of hours and at a certain time.   I’m all for going back to a society where we go to bed when the sun goes down and get up when it rises, living in harmony with the circadian natural rhythms.

Uninsureds Don’t Tell the Whole Story – and a little rant…

In this New York Times report of  a recent study, the uninsured did not take up a disproportional amount of volume in the ER for minor complaints.  Uninsured people DO tend to be more informed users of hospital resources because they know that they will get a bill in the mail and have to pay it.  So this is a great study to bring light to a number of issues.

What’s truly disturbing is the study’s documentation of how many people come to the ER for minor complaints

 As it turns out, people who have public insurance, such as Medicaid, were more likely to crowd into the emergency room for minor complaints, especially in low-income areas.

This makes total sense to me…in my experience, the patients that  tend to be most demanding and least appreciative of the services offered in the ER, feeling that it is their right to receive treatment, regardless of acuity and regardless of cotemporaneous demands of the ER are medicaid patients.  Remember me telling you about the 2AM delivery of the premature infant where I was the only doc working, and the nurse could not leave the room?  The group in the next room over was furious at the inadequate care received because no one would bring them a glass of water!  Can you guess what insurance they had?  Yep, medicaid.  GOMER.  Get Out of My ER.  If you are well enough to complain about no one bringing you a glass of water when you have two visitors with functional feet and legs, then you don’t need to be in my ER. Go away.

Whoops…sorry for that little rant there, lost control of myself.

I’m not saying that I don’t like the fact that medicaid exists, I’d imagine many children are happier and healthier because their parents were able to bring them to the ER at night for asthma and pneumonia (although why their parents continued to by cigarettes is beyond me…).

What I am saying is that the government needs to direct healthcare dolllars to places that are going to have the biggest impact on healthcare….I don’t know where that area is right now, but there are certainly a number of places to look.

Capitalistic healthcare is not working in this country.  How about taking $700 billion dollars of your money and putting towards a few fixes?

The Hallway is the New Place to Be

When I saw this headline on CNN I was afraid they were going to get the story all wrong.  But this reporter did a good job of explaining at least part of the situation:

Hospitals put Patients in Hallways

My favorite quote from the article, with which I agree 100%

“I wish the $700 billion went for hospitals, roads and bridges and not to bail out those folks on Wall Street,” he said.