Although Bio-Terry sounds like a Steven Spielberg creation or a Pentagon operation, he's actually the main character in a training manual advising hospitals on how to recognize and treat symptoms of conditions caused by biological warfare. Bio-Terry: A Stat Manual to Identify and Treat Diseases of Biological Terrorism is an 80-page guide to symptoms for 12 of the most common and deadly chemical warfare agents, better enabling emergency medical personnel to quickly identify the agent used and begin treatment.
The manual is the brainchild of Paul Rega, M.D., 52, an emergency medicine physician at 673-bed Toledo (Ohio) Hospital, which is owned by six-hospital ProMedica Health System of Toledo. The manual compiles medical literature to help healthcare professionals quickly distinguish exposure to biological agents. It explains the early, delayed and classic symptoms of agents such as smallpox, anthrax and pneumonic plague, as well as the course of the disease.
The manual also explains how toxins can be delivered, how lethal they are, the onset and duration of a related illness and the recommended therapy. It offers precautions for healthcare professionals to avoid transmission and contamination.
Rega said his primary audience consists of emergency room personnel and healthcare professionals working in industrial or airport clinics who may see patients but may not be trained in diseases related to biological agents.
"If they have a suspicion, they can access a reference material to verify what they have, how to manage the patient, how to take care of themselves and the people around them, and whom to call to refer," said Rega, who spent 18 months writing the manual.
"I wrote it for myself and people like me who feel very uncomfortable about how little they know about bio-terrorism. As an emergency room doctor, I felt I should know something more about this. But I couldn't find any resources that were authoritative, quick and concise."
ProMedica distributed more than 500 free copies of the manual to hospitals and healthcare officials throughout northwest Ohio and southeast Michigan. Bio-Terry information also is available through Rega's Web site at www.bio-terry.com.
"It's useful for first responders to a disaster," Rega said. "Biological terrorism is a danger in the United States, and many areas of the country are not as prepared as they should be in how to deal with a bio-terrorist threat."
The wrong way to skin a cat. Mary Smith thought she was getting a raise when officials at the University of Virginia Medical Center in Charlottesville called her in. Instead, according to the New York Times, the receptionist was fired. Why? Because she had a single felony conviction for writing $200 in bad checks four years earlier, and the university wanted to show it meant business in dealing with "criminals" after a spate of bad press involving rapes of psychiatric patients. The alleged rapist, an employee, had a felony drug record-and had been allowed to keep his job for two weeks after a patient first accused him of rape. He was charged with raping three patients.
A lot has happened since the hospital fired nine probationary and temporary workers, most with nonviolent offenses years ago, in reaction to the rape case. The local paper has condemned the action and revealed that most of the fired workers did put their records on their job applications, contrary to what the university says; a university labor group, which has professors as members, has started a campaign to support the workers; and the local NAACP has stepped in. Some of the fired workers have filed a federal civil rights lawsuit against the university.
Market conditions. Thomas Scully, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, formerly HCFA, said he's sold all of his equity in healthcare-related corporations with the exception of some "very limited value" options to purchase stock. Scully, who was president and chief executive officer of the Federation of American Hospitals, owned stock worth up to $1.6 million in healthcare-related corporations. But that had to change before he could take his $140,000-a-year job at CMS. Scully must divest his remaining healthcare-related options by the end of August.
OK, but take it with a grain of salt. He said he was a neurosurgeon and prescribed Prozac-but on one important point, he was only kidding.
The man wasn't really a doctor. He only pretended to be to impress women, according to a report July 3 in the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. David Glatt, 31, recently reached a plea agreement with prosecutors on charges that he illegally prescribed Prozac for a woman who was the sister of a woman he was dating.
Glatt must serve at least 18 months of probation to clear his criminal record of practicing medicine and writing a prescription without a license.
Quotable. "It's like taking a torpedo to the side of the ship. You're going to list to port for a while, and it's going to take some time to recover."-Earl Washburn, M.D., a pediatrician from Placerville, Calif., on the damage to the American Medical Association of a $5 million lawsuit filed last month by former Chief Executive E. Ratcliffe "Andy" Anderson Jr., M.D., who has since been fired by the Chicago-based doctors' group.