Nuclear Medicine Equipment Recalled Nationwide After Bronx VAMC Death BRONX, NY – Although GE Healthcare said a fatal accident at the James J. Peters VAMC in Bronx, NY, was caused by loose bolts that failed to secure a camera on a nuclear medicine system, an investigation is ongoing to determine a “definitive cause.” A veteran died this summer when the camera portion of GE Healthcare’s Infinia Hawkeye 4 fell on him. In the wake of the incident, GE Healthcare initiated a Class I recall of several of its nuclear medicine systems. More
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE SEPTEMBER ISSUE
Cynthia A. Leardman, MPH
Deployment, Combat Not to Blame for Rise in Military Suicide Rates SAN DIEGO, CA – Multiple deployments and traumatic battlefield experience both have been blamed for the military’s increasing suicide rate, but new research says neither is to blame. Instead, the study published recently in the Journal of the American Medical Association found that mental health and substance abuse disorders, as well as being male, are the factors most strongly associated with military personnel taking their own lives.More
DoD Furloughs Reduced This Year, but Sequestration Remains a Future Threat WASHINGTON - DoD’s civilian employees, including medical personnel, likely are breathing easier after the number of furlough days was reduced from 11 to six this year, effectively ended the furlough period last month for most employees. They shouldn’t relax too much, however. DoD officials warn that “major fiscal challenges’ still lie ahead and could lead to additional drastic measures to cut the budget.More Opinion Poll: Do you think the DoD will continue with civilian employee furloughs in the next fiscal year or will they find other ways to cut costs? Please click here to participate in this month's U.S. Medicine readership poll.
Jane A. Driver, MD, MPH
Unexpected Silver Lining: Many Cancers Reduce Risk of Alzheimer's Disease BOSTON – While hard to imagine that any good news could be associated with having cancer, a study involving more than three million veterans has found an intriguing inverse relationship between the dreaded disease and Alzheimer’s disease (AD). New research from the Boston VAMC suggests most cancers reduce the risk of developing the dementia type by 12% to 51%, with chemotherapy further decreasing the risk. The study was presented recently at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference.More
How to Hold Onto to Trauma Advances Even As Wars Wind Down WASHINGTON - Margaret Knudson, MD, was on duty in July when injured passengers began flowing in to San Francisco General Hospital from Asiana Flight 214, which hit a seawall in front of a runway at San Francisco International Airport and skidded to a stop before catching fire. Thanks to skills learned when she was embedded as a civilian with a medical team in Iraq, Knudson said she was better able to manage the influx of mass casualties. Now, she and others are worried that investments in trauma research and care, which benefit civilian as well as military casualties, will diminish along with U.S. troop presence in Afghanistan.More
“A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets tough.” Ronald Reagan (1911-2004)
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA
Anyone who has followed this column over the years (and I know one or two of you are out there) is aware that I am an avid sailor. Beyond the sheer delight of working a boat across the water with nothing more than the wind, I love sailing because it has nothing to do with medicine. The ability to occasionally focus my mind and energy on the boat helps recharge my batteries for the ongoing struggle that is federal medicine in the age of sequestration. While the practice and art of sailing and medicine are vastly different in their execution, success in either endeavor has many parallels.
In many respects, in terms of my own federal medicine career, I feel like it is 0300 on the boat, I am tired and stressed, the finish line far beyond my sight, and I am struggling with a malfunctioning sail. Sequestration is a work climate that few, if any, federal medicine planners could have predicted. If we are confident in our federal medicine course, however, we have every reason to remain undaunted by this financial storm and stick with it, even though the going will be rough for the foreseeable future. More