April 2011

April 2011 posts

About Dr. Sattler

 Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery with Scott Sattler MD FACS, a board certified plastic surgeon in the Bellevue and Seattle WA region

Avoiding Emergencies

Accidents happen. Life is unpredictable. Kids sometimes get sick. If you are a parent, chances are you may have already experienced a visit to an Emergency Department. And though a trip to the doctor is often unavoidable, there are many things parents can do to avoid unwanted injuries and illnesses.

  1. It is all fun and games until someone dislocates an elbow.

    We have all been tempted to lift or swing our children by their hands or wrists. They love it and squeal for more. But, be cautious. You don’t want to be among the countless miserable, guilt-ridden parents who come into the ER with a crying toddler that won’t move their arm following such fun and games. Commonly known at “Nursemaid’s Elbow”, it is a dislocation that occurs at the elbow in toddlers and young children who are lifted by their hands, wrists, or distal forearms. It also commonly occurs when an adult is holding the hand of an active toddler and the adult jerks back on the arm of the child. Luckily, there is an easy fix and no permanent harm done. In fact, it can be fixed within a matter of moments using a simple relocation procedure. Within minutes, our little patients are scrambling around the room as if nothing ever happened.
  2. Be careful going down the slide with your child.

    Summer is on the way and it is time to go to the playground with your little ones. We want to teach our kids all about the joys of velocity, so we carry them up the slide, plop them in between our legs, and away we go. But wait! This can be a dangerous choice because if a child’s leg gets twisted on the way down the slide it can result in a broken bone. Four to six weeks with your toddler in a leg cast is the perfect way to spoil your summer plans. All that is required for this injury to occur is for your child to catch their rubber-soled shoe on the slide, or for the fabric from their pants to get caught underneath an adult’s leg. Then one hundred-plus pounds of adult jettisons the child down the slide and produces just enough torque to snap a little bone. A better choice is to let your kids go down by themselves when they are ready. Or, if you feel the need to take them down the slide, make certain that their legs (and arms for that matter) are securely on top of your lap and not in direct contact with the slide.
  3. Absolutely NO running with anything in the mouth.

    No food. No pencils. No toys. Nada. Enough said!

Hearing loss from driving a convertible: reality or myth?

 Leave it to the Brits to address such a common question with scientific rigor and analysis! Philip Michael, Niel Opie and Michael Smith, from Worcestershire Royal Hospital in the UK, published a short but information-packed article in the August edition of the journal Otolaryngology-Head and Neck Surgery (2010;143:219-22). They looked at seven different types of convertible cars (Audi A4, Porsche 911, Aston Martin V8 Vantage, Morgan Roadster, Bentley Continental GT, Toyota MR2, and a Mazda MX5) driving at 50, 60 and 70 mph with windows raised and down. They placed a noise sensor on the traffic side of the car (on the right in the UK- they drive on the wrong side of the road) and took 3 separate measurements in each condition (scientific method at work). All tests were done on similar roadways and in non-rush hour traffic to minimize data contamination.

What did they find?

Swedish Provides $112 Million in Community Benefit Programs and Services in 2010

SEATTLE, April 27, 2011 – In the 2010 fiscal year, Swedish increased its total community benefit giving by more than 40 percent, providing $112 million to charity and uncompensated care, health research programs and community health education services. Swedish provided $66.5 million in subsidized health-care services, $25.4 million in free or subsidized charity care assistance, $8 million in medical and health-care education, $7.9 million in research benefits and $4.3 million in community health services. This dramatic uptick in community benefits is closely tied to the economy, which has exacerbated the need for these services. In total, 14,639 patient visits were covered by charity care or were provided with financial assistance and 12,668 patients paid nothing for their care.

“We are a not-for-profit organization with a 100-year charitable history and a mission to be the best community partner possible,” said Dan Dixon, vice president of external affairs at Swedish. “It is our fiduciary responsibility to ensure that everyone in our community has access to the best available, quality care, including screenings and health education programs. Everyone in our health-care system is committed to the important responsibility we have to the health and well being of the communities we serve.”

Bring out your meds!

We teach our kids to say no to drugs, but did you teach them about the dangers of prescription drug abuse?

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more teens abuse prescription drugs more than any illicit drug other than marijuana - more than cocaine, heroine, and methamphetamine combined!

It’s not just your kids you need to worry about, from the baby crawling to the teenager who babysits for you, your own teenager and their friends, even the workmen in your house. If your medications are kept in the bathroom, it’s very easy for someone to access them behind the privacy of the closed door.

This weekend, take time to....

Healthcare Reform

Currently, we are spending 20% of our GDP on healthcare (4% for medicare, 1.5% for Medicaid, 14.5% for private insurance). This means that one out of five dollars is spent on health care. Insurance premiums have increased by 73% just since 2000 (currently the average premium is $10,800) while wages have only increased 15%.

I just read a brief interview with Clairborne Johnston, MD in the June issue of Neurology Reviews. He said, “Since 1970, there has been an 18-fold increase in the cost of health care in the US and per patient spending is expected to cost $12,000 a year by 2015. Despite this, there is almost no measurable improvement in health with the average life expectancy not changing much over the last century. At this rate, all GDP will to go to health care by 2045.”

Clearly we cannot spend ALL dollars on health care in the year 2045. Something will change before then. Here are some ideas that I have culled from various sources over the past decade of debate on this controversial topic.

GERD and Esophageal Cancer

April is esophageal cancer awareness month and I was stimulated by two patients I saw recently to highlight the association of esophageal cancer with chronic GERD (heartburn, acid reflux) and the over the counter treatments people take for GERD.

Why am I writing about this? To highlight three common issues I hear everyday:

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