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Showing posts from July, 2018

In whose best interests?

Recent media reports have highlighted the somewhat complex and hidden costs associated with health care.   The Four Corners report “Mind the Gap” focused on out-of-pocket expenses and hidden fees from surgeons.   Whilst the ABC medical report on “Secret Pacemaker Payments Boosting Private Hospital Coffers” focused on the hidden rebates hospitals receive for using various medical devices. The two issues are separate, but very much related.  Both point to the lack of transparency of financial interactions between specialists, hospitals and a variety of other stakeholders in the health care market. The first media report highlighted the issue around “informed financial consent”.   It is mandatory for all patients receiving care from a specialist in a private hospital to sign a document stating that they agree to the charges related to the procedure or care for which they are being admitted.   But how “informed” is the financial consent?   At a vulnerable time, how likely is a pat

When exercise really is the best medicine

In 1997 a study was published in “Blood”, arguably the most respected medical journal on blood cancers on planet earth.   The study was about the effect of exercise on treatment related fatigue after a type of bone marrow transplant called a peripheral blood stem cell transplant.   The study peaked my interest, not just because of the positive benefits of exercise on reducing fatigue, but because it also showed a benefit in other somewhat more unexpected areas.   It also reduced the length of time a patient’s white blood cell count is low after transplant, the severity of diarrhoea and the severity of pain.   Of these the one that interested me most at the time, was the effect on the white blood cell count.   The white cells are the part of your blood system which fight infection; without them the body is more prone to getting nasty bugs and less able to fight them off. So, what was so interesting about this finding?   In the early 80’s a medication, granulocyte-colony stimulatin