Livin' on the MDedge

Spray-painted bandages and pharma sings ‘Dough Canada!’


He’s not quite dead yet!

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In 2015, Benjamin Schreiber, an Iowa man convicted of murder and sentenced to life in prison without parole, developed a case of septic poisoning because of large, untreated kidney stones. While at the hospital, his heart stopped several times, requiring resuscitation. After being stabilized, he underwent surgery to remove the kidney stones and was then released back to his prison cell.

Fast forward to 2018. Mr. Schreiber filed for relief from his conviction, arguing that, because he technically died, his life sentence had been served and he should be released. While the logic is impeccable, an Iowa district court didn’t buy it, noting that the fact that Mr. Schreiber was able to submit a petition for his release “confirms the petitioner’s current status as living.”

Sadly for Mr. Schreiber, the Iowa Court of Appeals agreed with the lower court’s decision. In a wonderfully pithy summation of the case, Judge Amanda Potterfield wrote: “Schreiber is either still alive, in which case he must remain in prison, or he is actually dead, in which case this appeal is moot.”

While the Livin’ on the MDedge team is glad that a convicted murderer will not be released back into the public, we salute his devotion to the art of technicality. The judges may not have been convinced, but you’re dead to us, Mr. Schreiber.

Breaking news: Drug companies gouge consumers

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Canada. It’s home to many things: Trees, glaciers, beavers, and several people. But we Americans also know it as the home of cheap drugs. It may be borderline illegal, but that’s never stopped America from taking things that don’t belong to us before.

You’d think then that it’d be great being sick in Canada. But it turns out that many of those poor, desperate souls living in the frozen tundra of the north are actually overpaying for drugs just like the rest of us, according to research published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal.

It all comes down to those strange items called drug discount cards. They’re coupons offered by brand-name drug manufacturers to keep patients from switching to cheap generics.

Sounds great, right? Well, while a few patients saw savings, the average cost to patients with public insurance increased by 1.3% over generics. And if you were unfortunate enough to have private insurance, you’d be paying 46% more using the cards rather than generics. In some instances, patients were paying a whole $10 more for a prescription of the name brand, compared with the generic. And we thought Tim Hortons was our northern neighbor’s only company making a lot of dough. Ten loonies more per Rx ain’t Timbits.

So, Canada, how does it feel to have your health care made fun of? U-S-A! U-S-A! Now, if you’ll excuse us, we’re off to pay $1,000 a pill to cure us some hepatitis C. That’s some real red-blooded American price gouging right there.

This looks like a job for vacuum science


The LOTME staff, of course, scans a veritable buffet of sources to come up with the tasty tidbits we present each week to our deliciously wonderful and highly scrumptious readers each week.

One of our favorite sauces … umm, we mean sources, and the home of a tantalizing medical morsel (can you tell it’s almost lunch time?), is the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology B. That’s B, not A. Anyone, at least anyone who’s serious about vacuum science, will tell you that the Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology A is pretty much a bottomless pit of trolling, political bickering, and popular nonsense. But B, now that’s a different story.

B is where we meet the EStAD (electrostatic and air driven) device. EStAD is a portable device that may someday offer physicians and first responders a way to treat wounds in rural areas where immediate care may not be available, the investigators said.

EStAD, using a process called electrospinning along with a confined electric field, works like a can of spray paint to deposit a fiber mat, which could be a bandage or a drug, onto a wound.

The device is still under development, but the research team reports that it has been successfully tested on a porcine skin incision and a gloved human hand.

The next step in EStAD development is to bring it to Washington, where the investigators will see if spray-on bandages can stand up to the hot air coming out of politicians’ mouths. We’re hoping that they sell tickets.

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