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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
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Monday, October 15, 2007

Today's Globe: hospital falls, war stress, SCHIP bill, defibrillator defect, MS drug, drug makers in doctors' forum

The state's 70 acute-care hospitals reported 4,573 falls from October 2006 through March of this year, including 1,005 in which patients were injured, according to data being posted on the Massachusetts Hospital Association's website today.

After revelations about the poor treatment of outpatient soldiers at Walter Reed Army Medical Center earlier this year, President Bush appointed a commission to study the care of the nation's war-wounded. But so far, little has been done to sort out the mess of bureaucracy or put more money in the hands of newly disabled soldiers who are fending off evictions and foreclosures.

House Democratic leaders said yesterday that they were working to gather votes to override a veto on a popular children's health program, but pledged to find a way to cover millions without insurance should their effort fail.

The nation's largest maker of implanted heart devices, Medtronic, said yesterday that it was urging doctors to stop using a crucial component because it was prone to a defect that has apparently been linked to five deaths and has malfunctioned in hundreds of patients.

Genzyme Corp.
said yesterday that three-year data from a mid-stage trial of its experimental multiple sclerosis drug showed it to be very effective, but patients must be monitored to avoid a potentially deadly side effect.

A year-old online forum where 30,000 doctors swap medical observations has lined up a partnership with Pfizer Inc. - an alliance that runs counter to the site's founding ideal to give doctors a place to communicate without the drug industry listening in.

Posted by Elizabeth Cooney at 06:55 AM
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