Got a minute?  You could save lives
November 19th, 2013
04:29 PM ET

Got a minute? You could save lives

Think fast. If you were in a public place, and someone suddenly collapsed, would you know what to do?

According to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013 conference, this one-minute video could teach bystanders cardiopulmonary resuscitation, or CPR, even if they've had no previous instruction. FULL POST

Stroke victims don't call 911, delay crucial treatment
In an ischemic stroke, a blockage in a blood vessel stops essential oxygen and nutrients from reaching the brain.
April 30th, 2013
01:12 PM ET

Stroke victims don't call 911, delay crucial treatment

Despite public outreach campaigns, a third of all stroke patients don’t call an ambulance to get them to the hospital, leaving them vulnerable to delayed treatment and worse outcomes, according to a new study published in the journal Circulation.

The authors analyzed data on more than 204,000 patients, seen at 1,563 U.S. hospitals between 2003 and 2010.  Patients who arrived by ambulance were about twice as likely to arrive at a hospital quickly, and were about 50% more likely to receive intravenous TPA – a clot-busting drug – within the recommended three-hour window, when it’s most effective.

“Time is the essence,” said Dr. O. James Ekundayo, the study’s lead author and an assistant professor at Meharry Medical College in Nashville. “The earlier to the hospital, the better – the earlier you’re evaluated and given treatment.” FULL POST

300 blood drives canceled because of Sandy
October 30th, 2012
05:45 PM ET

300 blood drives canceled because of Sandy

About 300 American Red Cross blood drives have been canceled because of Superstorm Sandy, the organization said Tuesday, and more cancellations are expected.

"Patients will still need blood despite the weather," said Dr. Richard Benjamin, Red Cross chief medical officer, in a statement. "To ensure a sufficient national blood supply is available for those in need, both during and after the storm passes, it is critical that those in unaffected areas make an appointment to donate blood as soon as possible."

Because of the cancellations, more than 9,000 blood and platelet donations across 14 states - which would otherwise be available for those needing transfusions - did not take place, the organization said. The situation may worsen as the remnants of Sandy may continue to cause damage. FULL POST

Neighborhood determines likelihood bystanders will offer CPR
October 24th, 2012
05:31 PM ET

Neighborhood determines likelihood bystanders will offer CPR

Imagine this scenario: a middle-aged man clutches his chest and falls to the ground in a grocery store parking lot.  He's unconscious and seems to be in the throes of cardiac arrest.  There are people in the parking lot around him and almost all of them saw him fall.

Will someone give this man cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR)?  Well, that may depend on the type of neighborhood he's in.

A new study published Wednesday in the New England Journal of Medicine found that the rate of bystander-initiated CPR varies according to the characteristics of the neighborhood where the cardiac arrest occurred.  If the man in the above scenario collapsed in a high-income, non-African-American neighborhood, the odds that someone would give him CPR are higher than if he fell in a low-income or predominantly African-American neighborhood. FULL POST

August 27th, 2012
10:52 AM ET

Summer snakebite safety

For many people, the warm weather of summer means being outdoors and enjoying hiking, camping, and other outside activities. That also means sharing time with critters such as mosquitoes, spiders and snakes.

More than 6,000 poisonous snake bites occur each year in the United States, but fewer than 12 of those bites result in death from snake venom poisoning, according to articles in The American Family Physician.

“Snake bites are unfortunately a common event in Georgia and the Southeast. In 2011, the poison center was contacted about 379 snake bites to people, and there were probably many more that didn’t get called in,” says Dr. Robert Geller, medical director of the Georgia Poison Control Center at Emory University. Geller says that’s a typical number of snake bites compared to previous years.


Study: Chopper trauma transport improves survival chances
Trauma transport strategy entered the spotlight after tragedies like the attack on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords.
April 17th, 2012
10:51 AM ET

Study: Chopper trauma transport improves survival chances

For patients suffering from major trauma, being transported by helicopter improves survival, according to a new study out Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Trauma transport strategy has entered the spotlight after tragedies like the 2011 attack on former Rep. Gabrielle Giffords and the 2009 death of actress Natasha Richardson.


Epinephrine may save the heart, but not the brain, says study
March 20th, 2012
04:59 PM ET

Epinephrine may save the heart, but not the brain, says study

Using the drug epinephrine during a cardiac arrest may do more harm than good, says a new study.

Researchers at the Kyushu University School of Medicine in Japan looked at the medical records of more than 400,000 cardiac arrest patients over a three-year period and found that while the drug may be effective in the short-term, it may not improve survival outcomes in the long-term.

According to the report, patients who received doses of the adrenaline-like drug in the ambulance were three times more likely to regain a heartbeat before they reached the hospital, when compared to those who did not get the drug. FULL POST

Score a home run with safety for kids
February 27th, 2012
10:54 AM ET

Score a home run with safety for kids

Break out the bats, balls and gloves! For millions of children, spring is the much-awaited start to baseball and softball season. And in order to ensure fun is had by all, the American Academy of Pediatrics is asking parents, coaches, pediatricians and the players themselves to take proper safety precautions.

In 2007, statistics from the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) showed an estimated 109,202 emergency room injuries in kids ages 5 to 14 related to softball and baseball.  Many involved the head, face or fingers, wrists and hands.

Though extremely infrequent, the CPSC says 88 baseball-related deaths occurred in the years between 1973 and 1995 - that’s approximately four deaths per year.  The most common causes were direct-ball impact with the chest or head; other causes included contact with the bat or ball.

Why end-of-life planning saves money
October 4th, 2011
04:00 PM ET

Why end-of-life planning saves money

It's something no one wants to think about, but a reality if worst happens: What do you want to happen if you are on the brink of death and can't communicate?

A new study in the Journal of the American Medical Association finds that advance directives are linked to less Medicare spending, lower likelihood of dying in a hospital, and higher usage of hospice care in areas of the U.S. that tend to spend the most on end of life care generally.  Advance directives, also called living wills, are documents that specify what kind of treatment you do or don't want to be given in various situations when your life is on the line.


5,000 kids a year hurt in falls from windows
August 22nd, 2011
12:01 AM ET

5,000 kids a year hurt in falls from windows

The number of children treated in U.S. emergency departments for falls from windows approached 100,000 between 1990 and 2008, says a study in the journal Pediatrics. The research shows that the number of injuries declined during the first decade of the study period, but has since plateaued.

"We still are seeing over 5,000 children a year treated in hospital emergency departments across the country for injuries related to window falls, said Dr. Gary A. Smith, study author and director of the Center for Injury Research and Policy at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio. "That's 14 children a day. This continues to be a very common, important problem." FULL POST

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.