The Health News USA September 19 2017


  • Organ damage from high blood pressure doesn’t only occur in adults; it can also happen in teenagers, studies show. In childhood, high blood pressure is based on percentiles, rather than blood pressure level.
  • Medical professionals were disciplined after inappropriately viewing patients’ genitals while they were unconscious or deceased, according to reports detailing separate incidents at two major US health systems.
  • Thirty-one staff members have been suspended and nine were arrested at the Whiting Forensic Division hospital, facing allegations of misconduct and patient abuse.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 19th of  September 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News

Organ damage from high blood pressure doesn’t only occur in adults; it can also happen in teenagers, according to research presented at the American Heart Association (AHA) Council on Hypertension, AHA Council on Kidney in Cardiovascular Disease, American Society of Hypertension Joint Scientific Sessions two thousand seventeen in San Francisco. And the damage to the heart and blood vessels can occur in youth at blood pressure levels that are below the clinical definition of hypertension in youth. High blood pressure in youth is defined differently than it is in adults. In childhood, high blood pressure is based on percentiles, rather than blood pressure level. Researchers looked at whether organ damage in teens develops below the ninety fifth percentile, which is the clinical definition of high blood pressure in youth.

Researchers studied blood pressure and measured organ damage in one hundred eighty teenagers (fourteen to seventeen years old, sixty four percent white, fifty seven percent males). They found evidence of organ damage even among the youth categorized as “normal” with blood pressure less than in the eightieth percentile. They also found heart and vessel damage in the mid-risk group, which had blood pressures in the eightieth to ninetieth percentiles and the high-risk group, with blood pressures above the ninetieth percentile.

Numerous medical professionals were disciplined for viewing patients’ genitals while they were  unconscious or deceased, according to reports detailing separate incidents at two major US health systems. In December, a man went to a University of Pittsburgh Medical Center hospital for surgery to “remove a foreign body” that caused a genital injury, according to a Pennsylvania Department of Health report. According to the report, a “crowd” of UPMC Bedford nurses and doctors “lined up at the door” of the operating room to take photos and videos of the man’s genitals while he was under anesthesia.  The material taken on personal cell phones “had no clinical justification,” and staffers “shared those videos and photographs to others uninvolved with the patient’s care,” the report says.

A couple of the employees in the room tried to curb the situation and stop the photos, according to employee interviews in the report. HIPAA, the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act, provides for patients’ medical privacy. Hospital officials flagged the incident to the Pennsylvania Department of Health, launching state and internal investigations.
The hospital’s CEO initially issued a seven-day suspension to the attending physician and another physician who was in the room. When the internal committee completed its investigation, the attending physician received another week of suspension and a few hours of mandatory HIPAA training. The other doctor, who wasn’t involved in the patient’s care and not meant to be in the OR, was suspended another twenty eighty days and ordered to receive additional HIPAA training.
The disciplinary action will remain in the personnel files of the employees involved, the report says, but their names will not be made public. UPMC Bedford also appointed a new surgical services nursing director and conducted policy reviews and mandatory staff retraining as a result of the incident, according to the report. The state required no further discipline.The hospital system has a strict policy against photography not intended for educational purposes or for the benefit of the patient. In April, nurses on the night shift at Denver Health Medical Center were caught making inappropriate comments about a male patient’s genitalia, according to a report from the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

At Connecticut’s only maximum-security psychiatric hospital, staff members put a diaper on a patient’s head, threw food at him, poured water over him, put salt in his coffee, kicked him and placed a mop on his head after cleaning a floor, according to a state report. Thirty-one staff members at the Whiting Forensic Division hospital in Middletown have been suspended, and nine have been arrested. More arrests are expected, police say, and calls are pouring in with more allegations of misconduct and abuse, according to a state lawmaker who is calling for legislative hearings.

“It’s really incomprehensible that this could happen in this day and age,” said Senator Heather Somers, a Republican from Groton. Somers did not disclose the names of the people who have called her, but she did say some of their allegations include staff abusing patients, overriding of doctors’ orders and forgery of doctors’ signatures on documents. Whiting is part of Connecticut Valley Hospital, a psychiatric care complex run by the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services. The division includes one hundred six beds for patients in maximum security and another one hundred forty one beds for those in “enhanced security.” The patients include people found not guilty of murder and other crimes by reason of insanity, and others committed voluntarily or involuntarily by civil courts. Nine staff members were arrested and charged this month with cruelty to persons and disorderly conduct. The arrests were in connection with a sixty two-year-old male patient found in a report by the state Department of Public Health to have been kicked, jabbed, poked and taunted by staff over several weeks this year. The agency investigated at the request of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, which regulates the hospital, following a whistleblower complaint.

The arrests followed the suspensions of thirty one employees on claims they took part in the abuse or knew about the abuse and did not report it. Many incidents were recorded by surveillance cameras.

The patient was committed to Whiting in 1995 after being acquitted by reason of mental disease or defect in the killing of his father in Greenwich, according to his court-appointed co-conservator, Karen Kangas. He was diagnosed with schizoaffective disorder, autism spectrum disorder and other conditions, and has been combative with hospital staff, according to the Public Health Department report.

The 31 employees possibly face further discipline including being fired, as well as the possible loss or suspension of their state licenses, officials said.

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