Jonathan Wiggs / Globe Staff Photo
Charla Nash, a Connecticut woman who was terribly mauled by a chimpanzee, is the third American to receive an entirely new face at Brigham and Women's Hospital.
The hospital planned to announce today that a team of 30 doctors and nurses performed a full face transplant on Nash late last month. The Brigham did not reveal the exact date to protect the privacy of the donor.
During the surgery, Nash also received transplants of both of her hands, which the chimp destroyed when it attacked her in February, 2009 at her friend's home in Stamford. Nash, however, suffered complications and the hands ''failed to thrive,'' forcing surgeons to remove them, the hospital said in a statement.FULL ENTRY
Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer Inc. will announce this afternoon a partnership with leading Boston-area hospitals, medical schools, and universities -- in a novel attempt to address a major hurdle in medicine: the years-long gap between basic science advances and the testing of drugs in patients.
Under the unusual arrangement, the company will invest $100 million over five years and establish a research space in the heart of the Longwood Medical Area where Pfizer scientists will work in close proximity and team up with academic scientists. The new Center for Therapeutic Innovation, which will create about 50 new jobs, is part of a global Pfizer initiative to foster new kinds of collaboration with academia to accelerate drug development, a program that will be headquartered in Boston.FULL ENTRY
Imagine all of the challenges that a person must deal with when he has a full face transplant, and this one might not come immediately to mind. Mitch Hunter, the second American to receive a full face transplant, flew home Saturday, six weeks after the procedure at Brigham and Women's Hospital. He had to do it without a photo ID to match his new face.
He wrote Erin McDonough, hospital spokeswoman, today to tell her that he used a hospital bulletin that included before and after photos to prove to security officials at Logan that he was who he said he was. They had heard his story and let him through, she said.
Turns out that was the easy part. A host at an airport bar, where he was hoping to grab a bite to eat before his flight home, refused to seat him because he didn't have a usable ID, Hunter wrote on his Facebook page.
A look at the morning's top health industry news.
Avoiding HIPAA faux pas on social media: In a guest post on KevinMD.com, Dave Ekrem offers these helpful seven tips to medical professionals using social media tools on how to avoid a breach in patient privacy. Ekem manages web development and social media for MassGeneral Hospital for Children.FULL ENTRY
The US Health and Human Services this week proposed an update to rules dictating the privacy of health records, giving patients the right to see a record of the people who have looked at their electronic files.
Health care providers are already required to track access to these records, though they are not required to provide the information to patients.
Read this post on a conversation I had earlier this week with Dr. David Bates, executive director of the Center for Patient Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital, about the balancing act involved in keeping records secure and expanding their use in research. Then tell me what you think? Would the new rule ease your concerns? What other steps do you think are necessary?
You can see the full proposal and submit comments to HHS here.
A look at the morning's top health industry news.
Brain injury from blasts: Denise Grady of The New York Times reports on a study out yesterday in which researchers used special sensitive MRI scans to detect brain injuries in military personnel that were not detectable in standard MRIs or CT scans. All had a diagnosis of mild traumatic brain injury. The scans showed a pattern of damage different from that found in head injuries not causes by blast, Grady reported. In an editorial that accompanied the New England Journal of Medicine article, Dr. Allan Ropper, a neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, wrote that the results are important in bringing attention to injuries resulting from exposure to mild or moderate blasts that may penetrate the skull, even when there are no visible wounds.FULL ENTRY
Researchers from Harvard and other institutions announced last week that they had identified a potentially harmful interaction between two commonly prescribed drugs, Paxil and Pravachol.The drug interaction likely would have been ignored if the researchers hadn't had access to hundreds of thousands of electronic health records, including those of Partners HealthCare patients.
Hospitals and doctors, under pressure from the federal government, are increasingly converting to electronic record systems. Because the new systems provide huge, searchable databases of health information for millions of patients, they are becoming an important tool in public health research. But they also raise serious ethical questions. I talked with Dr. David Bates, executive director of the Center for Patient Research and Practice at Brigham and Women's Hospital, about the balance between research and patient privacy.FULL ENTRY
The Globe 100: Nine medical device manufacturers made the Globe's annual ranking of publicly-held Massachusetts companies based on sales, profits and returns to shareholders. Covidien of Mansfield topped that group, with $10.6 billion in revenue and a 75 percent in profit margin. Harvard Bioscience based in Holliston was the leader among eight biotechnology companies on the list. It reported $108 million in revenue last year and a 108 percent increase in profit margin. Henri Termeer, retired chief executive officer of Genzyme Corp. in Cambridge, was recognized as an innovative leader in biotech and pharmaceuticals. Endocrinologist Scott Chappel, chief scientific officer at Tokai Pharmaceuticals, and Dr. Dennis Selkoe, a neurologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital, were also noted as innovators. And in medicine, Dr. Atul Guwande, a writer and surgeon at Brigham and Women's Hospital, was recognized for his influence in the national health care debate and for efforts to reduce deaths and complications from surgery through checklists. The work of Dr. Daniel Haber, director of the Massachusetts General Hospital Cancer Center, and Dr. John Frangioni, co-director of the Center for Molecular Imaging at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, was also highlighted.FULL ENTRY
The PR folks over at Brigham and Women's Hospital have a sense of humor, judging from the fact that they Tweeted this video today of David Letterman spoofing one of their face transplant surgeries.
In March, the young man received a donor's face during a 15-hour surgery.The twitter page also links to a web site, dallaswiens.com, where you can read about the journey that brought him to Boston for his life-changing surgery.
Wiens was deeply burned when a cherry picker he was standing in to paint a church brushed against a power line. Doctors had to remove most of his facial muscles, tissue, and nerves, essentially leaving just his skull in front, which surgeons in Texas covered with muscle and skin from his back.
About white coat notes
|White Coat Notes covers the latest from the health care industry, hospitals, doctors offices, labs, insurers, and the corridors of government. Chelsea Conaboy previously covered health care for The Philadelphia Inquirer. Write her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter: @cconaboy.|
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