There apparently is no limit to the creativity and ambition of the marketing departments of diagnostic imaging companies. Eastman Kodak Co. imaging scored a home run recently when it announced that it had sold a computed radiography system and a secure image distribution system to the Milwaukee Brewers.
As the Rochester, N.Y.-based company works to transition hospitals and clinics from film-based to digital radiology, it hasn't ignored the orthopedics and sports medicine markets. As a subset of that, Kodak identified professional sports teams as an untapped area, says Jane Hasselkus, business manager of specialty markets for Kodak's health-imaging group. Kodak has counted 190 stadiums or sports arenas around the country, each one with a training facility. "So we are working to evaluate where each one is at in terms of imaging solutions," she says.
The digital system in the training room at Miller Park will allow the team physician to X-ray injuries sustained on the field and then transmit the images to doctors and specialists for consultation, determining if a player will need to be sidelined or can safely play. In a Kodak news release Milwaukee Brewers officials said they will allow visiting teams to use the equipment as well.
Kodak's digital systems can cost anywhere from $200,000 to $1 million, Hasselkus says. The person with influence in selling to a sports team is frequently the athletic trainer. "Certainly the patients are different and the issues are different," Hasselkus says.
Here's the moral dilemma: A young girl is dying from cancer. Her only hope is an expensive drug. Is it ethical for her father to steal it?
A University of Pittsburgh researcher presented this scenario to a group of 98 people, half men and half women. Guess which ones were more likely to support the father's decision to steal the medication?
Among a group of lawyers, staff physicians, nurses, medical residents and academic administrators, 25 males and 25 females considered stealing the medicine wrong while 15 females and 14 males considered it correct under the circumstances. Fourteen (eight women and six men) took a harder line, characterizing it as a crime but still understandable, and five were undecided. Essentially, there were no differences in decision-making based on gender, but professional differences were statistically significant, according to the researchers.
Fourteen of the nurses and 10 of the doctors considered it morally wrong to steal medication. Just one lawyer agreed. Thirteen attorneys, however, said it was acceptable under the circumstances to take the medication. Those lawyers had three doctors and four nurses in agreement.
The lawyers frequently quoted Victor Hugo's novel Les Miserables to illustrate the injustice of punishing a father for trying to save his daughter's life, notes Susan Zickmund, assistant professor of internal medicine and communication at the University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine. Those arguing against taking the medication said it was always wrong and a violation of religious rules of conduct. The physicians added that the father should not be dispensing medicine without medical advice.
The study appeared in the summer issue of the Journal of Clinical Ethics.
Getting out the healthcare word
Americans for Health Care is sending the message around the country that healthcare has to be the top priority of the next president. As part of Health Care Action Week, voters in Iowa, Maryland, North Carolina, Oregon and Rhode Island will join with allied organizations that support the goal of quality, affordable healthcare for all to draw attention to the healthcare crisis and urge a solution.
"I'll be watching the debate this Friday, along with others in my town who have been affected by the healthcare crisis," says Lisa Scott, a voter from Greenville, Iowa, who was quoted in the organization's news release. "I'm tired of hearing President Bush say that he has a healthcare plan, when he would do nothing to control costs or significantly expand coverage for those who need it. Senator Kerry has proposed a healthcare plan that would cover nearly 95% of all Americans. That's why I support him and am encouraging voters who share my goal of quality, affordable healthcare for all to do the same."
In addition to planning actions around the presidential debate in St. Louis, Americans for Health Care is working with more than 300,000 healthcare voters around the country who have pledged to vote only for candidates who are committed to finding a solution to the nation's healthcare crisis. The organization has developed a comparison of the healthcare plans released by Bush and Kerry that was sent to prospective voters so they are clear on where the candidates stand.
Americans for Health Care is a project of the Service Employees International Union, the nation's largest healthcare union. The organization says its mission is to unite working families, small business owners, seniors, healthcare professionals, community leaders and policymakers to secure affordable, quality healthcare for every American.