The University as Hospital: An Inalienable Obligation

[Publisher’s Note: Howard Stein, Boles Blogs author and inspiration, died at age of 90 on October 14, 2012 in Stamford, Connecticut. This article now appears in print as an equalizing effort to preserve Dr. Stein’s teaching and thinking as David Boles shares this, and other works, from his private Prairie Voice archive. Howard wrote this article in the Spring of 1984 and, 30 years later, the lessons are still ripe and rich and damning.] 

For those suffering the wounds of life, the university has become a hospital.  For the woman in her middle forties whose husband has left her for “a young thing” after twenty-four years of marriage and four children, the university is the first thought where she may go for help.

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Living with MRSA: Nearly Ten Years On

I have MRSA – to be specific I have HA-MRSA.  MRSA is a superbug – its full is name methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus bacteria – the HA denotes I contracted it in hospital – if I had contracted it outside of hospital it would be denoted CA-MRSA – community acquired MRSA.

Superbugs are a group of microorganisms that are resistant to at least one or more commonly used antibiotics.  The commonly accepted list of superbugs is as follows:

MRSA  – (Staphylococcus aureus strains resistant to multiple antibiotics) , VRE (Enterococcus species resistant to vancomycin), PRSP (Streptococcus pneumoniae strains resistant to penicillin), ESBLs (Escherichia coli and other Gram-negative bacteria resistant to antibiotics such as cephalosporins and monobactams) and multiple drug-resistant Clostridium difficile.

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The Manna of Life: Bone Marrow and Supermodels

When I taught Public Health at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey, I remember one day when the school was having a “Bone Marrow Drive” to help an employee stricken with cancer.  You could sign up for a free bone marrow screening to see if you were a match and, if you were not, your bone marrow would be placed in a database for future reference.  Bone marrow transplants are expensive, and painful, for both donor and recipient, but in many ways, that marrow is the manna of life.

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Saint Vincent's Hospital Crumbles into a Tombstone

Saint Vincent’s Hospital in New York City’s Greenwich Village neighborhood was an anchor for families and a healer of friends for over 160 years.  On May 31, 2010, the hospital closed leaving 3,500 doctors, nurses and support staff unemployed and a jagged neighborhood wound that will never be healed.

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Nosocomial C-diff is Coming to Kill You

C-Diff knows where you go when you’re feeling ill, and it is coming to kill you.  C-Diff — Clostridium difficile — is bacterium that lives in your colon and it makes you intensively ill.  Some health experts believe C-diff is more deadly than MRSA and, the most sickening part of C-Diff, is that is finds its best footing for infecting you in a hospital.

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Microsoft Surface in Healthcare

I’m not a tremendous fan of Microsoft Surface.  The technology feels 20 years old to me and if I want to move things around in space in time, I want to do it in a 3D hologram and not on my kitchen table.

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