Serendipity is nothing new in medicine. Yet the folks at Medtronic aren't quite ready to embrace all the amorous possibilities of a pain device.
According to wire service and newspaper reports Feb. 7, pain specialist Stuart Meloy, M.D., recently had implanted a spinal cord stimulator made by Minneapolis-based Medtronic into a female patient suffering from chronic back pain. When positioning the device on her spine, the patient made an unusual groan--as if in orgasmic pleasure. Meloy asked her about it.
Meloy said the patient told him: "You're going to have to teach my husband how
to do that."
A news account of Meloy's discovery was released under the headline "Doctor stumbles onto orgasm machine." The next day, Medtronic stock had climbed $1.36 per share.
A company spokesperson, who asked not to be identified, says some urologists have reported patients claiming improved sexual function after having a Medtronic device implanted to stimulate their bladders. UCLA researchers are looking into that, says the spokesperson, who was unamused by the inquiries.
"But that's a far cry from sexual stimulation on demand. Clearly, we have no clinical studies in this area."
Maybe they should. Medtronic's stock closed higher for four consecutive days after the story broke.
Sign 'em up! Welfare recipients in California are being hit with a double whammy. About 14% of the state's 5 million uninsured adults are eligible for Medi-Cal but aren't enrolled.
That's the finding of a study from the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research at the UCLA School of Public Health.
Before welfare reform, people who signed up for welfare automatically were enrolled in the state's Medicaid program. Not anymore. Getting Medi-Cal benefits isn't dependent upon getting welfare. In other words, there's a program out there to help people get preventive healthcare, but they either don't know about it or don't know how to enroll.
Looks like that aspect of "reform" backfired.
False advertising. Police in North Miami, Fla., arrested a man late last month for impersonating a physician after being videotaped illegally administering treatments to an undercover inspector.
David Weston, who has several phony doctorates from mail-order universities, was accused of practicing medicine without a license and with advertising as a medical doctor without a license. The scams were uncovered in Weston's alternative medicine practice in the Miami suburb, according to North Miami Police Department desk clerk Kathy Kensy. Weston does not hold a medical degree of any kind.
Police nabbed Weston after a hidden camera captured him performing controversial prolotherapy and chelation therapy on an investigator from the Florida Department of Health, who came to Weston's L'Encore Medical Group as a patient complaining of foot pain. Prolotherapy is a nonsurgical pain treatment. Chelation therapy involves giving patients substances to remove toxins from their bodies.
Health Department officials also say Weston illegally "washed" patients' blood by drawing blood intravenously, purifying the blood and then returning it to their bodies.
He must have been an easy target for the authorities, as not that many licensed physicians would perform such quackery.
I see dead people. A variation on Chicago-style voter rolls in Nashville: Tennessee officials believe they are close to being able to remove people from the state's TennCare program who are either ineligible for coverage, in prison or dead.
TennCare, the state's embattled program for the uninsured and underinsured, faced a lawsuit brought by public interest groups and a restraining order prohibiting officials from dropping people from its ranks.
Some were concerned that those dropped would have no legal recourse if they were denied coverage improperly. State officials now believe they are close to negotiating a settlement that would allow them to drop the people who clearly are ineligible for coverage.
In 1999, a year after the suit was filed, an audit found that in 1998 taxpayers paid more than $6 million in capitation to health plans to insure 14,000 dead people. (Talk about a group unlikely to use health services.) The error apparently occurred when TennCare officials didn't cross-reference state death certificates with coverage rolls. The total number of ineligibles on TennCare's rolls is unknown.
And another audit found that 449 of the state's employees were receiving TennCare benefits instead of paying for their employer's insurance program.
It's hard to believe it took a lawsuit and three years to resolve this one.