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11 events to accompany Smithsonian exhibition in Essex

11 events to accompany Smithsonian exhibition in Essex

11 events to accompany Smithsonian exhibition in Essex | News |  Gloucester Daily Times

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Hospital ‘adverse events’ rose during pandemic

Hospital 'adverse events' rose during pandemic

COVID-19 put Minnesota hospitals under extreme pressure at peak points over the past two years, and the latest adverse event data show some of the human cost.

Fatal or disabling falls of hospitalized patients increased during the pandemic, and severe bedsores appeared in unexpected places as COVID patients were rotated from their backs to their bellies for days to support their failing lungs.

Collectively, hospitals disclosed a record 508 reportable adverse events in the 12 months ending in October 2021, according to a report Wednesday by the Minnesota Department of Health. That total, exceeding the 382 disclosed the prior year, caused 207 serious injuries or corrective surgeries and 14 deaths.

While the pandemic can get the brunt of the blame, hospitals don’t get a “free pass” for errors that are ultimately preventable with the right staff and safety policies in place, said Jennifer Schoenecker, associate vice president for quality and safety for the Minnesota Hospital Association. Trends were improving before the pandemic.

Hospitals must “learn from the past couple of years and then recover,” Schoenecker said. “We know that the work we’re doing works. We are improving quality and safety, and these last two years have certainly challenged the progress we made. We need to get back now to the point where we’re going to start seeing that decline again.”

The 86 fatal or disabling falls reported Wednesday went beyond the 61 recorded the prior year and the annual average of 75 since 2010. Falls increased from seven to 15 just at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, where COVID-related gowning and personal protection requirements made it harder for staff to get to patients in time, said Dr. Kannan Ramar, Mayo’s chief safety officer.

Mayo has an arm’s-reach policy requiring a nurse or staff member to be there any time a patient at risk of falling gets up, but it’s dependent on adequate staffing, Ramar added. “The workforce shortage and the turnover, to be honest, that doesn’t help matters,” he said.

Even COVID-related restrictions on visitors played a role, Schoenecker said, because friends and relatives can bring patients meals, phones and provide an extra set of eyes before falls occur.

The 217 severe bedsores in the latest report marked an increase from 169 the prior year as well — adding wounds and sepsis infection risks for patients who were already ill.

The average length of stay in critical care doubled to nearly 5.5 days last year, which increased the risks for largely immobile patients, according to the state report. Poorer vascular health especially increased the risks for COVID patients, who were rubbing against mattresses and tubes when they were placed face down in prone positions.

Bedsores normally appear on elbows, heels and other bony parts of the back of the body, Ramar said. “We started noticing pressure injuries in areas around the chin, the forehead area, around the breathing tube, around the mouth area — things that we hadn’t seen before,” he said.

Mayo and other hospitals saw their reportable bedsore numbers decline later in the pandemic as they became more adept at managing the new risks.

Minnesota was the first state in 2005 to publicly report adverse events by hospital. The pandemic prompted the state to pause its usual annual reporting of 29 types of adverse events, and the state belatedly released the data for reports in 2020 and 2021. There were oddities as well in the report issued last year, which covered the 12 months ending in October 2020 and included Minnesota’s first COVID wave and the start of the second.

CentraCare’s Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar provided the state’s first-ever report of someone being injured when a metallic object was introduced in the hyper-magnetic environment of an MRI imaging bay. Spokeswoman Karna Fronden declined to elaborate, but said “for all adverse health events, we do perform a root-cause analysis to see if anything could have been done differently.”

Results of such analyses are shared statewide to prevent similar errors, part of the unique collaboration by which Minnesota hospitals endure individual humiliation as a trade-off for broader safety improvements.

Moving pieces

Pandemic pressures showed in other ways, including the discharges of children or adults lacking decisionmaking capacity on their own, or releasing them to the wrong people. Five such events were reported in the last two years, compared with two in the prior 15 years.

One case, at M Health Fairview’s Range Medical Center in Hibbing, occurred at a pandemic peak when a young adult was moved from an overcrowded emergency room to urgent care. The new caregivers discharged the patient, unaware of the requirement that legal guardians be there for pickup.

The young adult got home safely. But the health system changed its electronic medical records to make sure all caregivers are alerted to discharge instructions, said Dr. Abe Jacob, chief quality officer for the health system.

“Adverse health events are rare,” he said, “but any event in our health care system is too many.”

Rushed hospitals also reported a record 36 incidents in which irretrievable biological specimens were lost — preventing or delaying patients from being diagnosed and treated. In response, many hospitals added tamper-proof containers and secure delivery systems because many specimens were lost in transit, said Rachel Jokela, director of the state’s adverse event reporting system.

“That falls in line with some of what we saw related to health care in the pandemic,” she said. “There were so many moving pieces that sometimes things got lost in the shuffle, unfortunately.”

Surgical adverse events increased statewide from 73 to 90 in the most recent year, but that was somewhat expected. Surgical volumes declined in 2020, when the state canceled nonemergency procedures for two months during the beginning of the pandemic. The number of scheduled operations rebounded in 2021.

The total included 36 occasions in which needles, sponges, catheters and other objects were accidentally left inside patients. The state in 2020 changed its reporting of these incidents to make sure that any resulting in a corrective procedure was classified as a serious injury.

Only eight injuries and one death from such surgical errors had been reported before 2020, but 53 injuries have been disclosed in the last three reports.

Jokela said she was proud that hospitals maintained reporting and safety procedures through the pandemic, preventing other surgical errors with no direct COVID connection.

“It’s not like we saw surgical events go through the roof,” she said. “Those event numbers were very in line with where they were pre-pandemic.”

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JAMA Study: U.S. Hospital Adverse Events Drop Significantly – UConn Today

JAMA Study: U.S. Hospital Adverse Events Drop Significantly - UConn Today

The largest medical record-based study ever of adverse events suffered by hospitalized patients in the U.S., published in the July 12 issue of JAMA, reports a significant decrease in the rate of adverse events over the last decade. The study findings hold promise for both the safety of patients and the effectiveness of hospital patient safety initiatives.

In this study, the de-identified medical records of 244,542 patients across 3,156 U.S. hospitals over 10 years were examined. Researchers used the Medicare Patient Safety Monitoring System (MPSMS), a surveillance system managed by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) designed to assess 21 in-hospital adverse events in patients with the key conditions of acute myocardial infarction (heart attack), heart failure, pneumonia, major surgical procedures, and all other conditions. Relative risks were adjusted for patient age, sex, race ethnicity, specific comorbidities, and each hospital’s characteristics.

The researchers report the rate of adverse events declined significantly between 2010 and 2019 in patients admitted for acute myocardial infarction, heart failure, pneumonia, and major surgical procedures. Some of the adverse events captured included adverse drug events, hospital-acquired infections, procedural complications, pressure ulcers and falls.

Dr. Mark Metersky (Tina Encarnacion/UConn Health)

“Our study is the biggest and most comprehensive assessment of adverse events in patients hospitalized in the U.S. that is based on detailed analysis of the medical record as opposed to billing data, which can be misleading,” said co-author Dr. Mark Metersky, professor of medicine at UConn School of Medicine and chief of the Division of Pulmonary, Critical Care and Sleep Medicine at UConn Health. “There has been an improvement in patient safety in U.S. hospitals during the 10 years we studied. Our data shows that the major safety improvement efforts made by our country and our hospitals seems to be paying off.”

Researchers evaluated the in-hospital trends in the number of adverse events per 1,000 hospitalizations. For example, adverse events among patients who experienced heart attacks declined significantly over a decade from 218 in 2010 to 139 per 1,000 discharges in 2019; in heart failure patients, adverse events dropped from 168 to 116; in pneumonia patients from 195 to 119; and in major surgery patients, from 204 to 130. However, for those with other conditions there was no observed change in the number of adverse events in the same time period; however, reductions were seen in the first four groups and this fifth group as well when comorbidities and other factors, such as the age of patients, were taken into account.

Interestingly, the researchers observed larger improvements in the adverse event rate in older patients than younger ones, and there were few apparent differences in risk based on a patient’s race, ethnicity, sex or region of care in the U.S. All groups saw similar reductions. However, those patients who experienced adverse events throughout the period of study had substantially higher mortality rates and longer lengths of stays than those that did not experience an adverse event.

This study was funded by the AHRQ and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). At AHRQ, the collaborative research work was led by Noel Eldridge, who was the first author on the paper. Metersky from UConn is the clinical lead for the MPSMS and was a co-author along with a collaboration of researchers from Yale, CMS, the Federal ONC, Harvard, and others.

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Fund-raising events held for Indus Hospital and Health Network

Fund-raising events held for Indus Hospital and Health Network

ISLAMABAD    –    The fund-raising events for Indus Hospital and Health Network (free of cost cancer hospital Lahore) held in Berlin, Frankfurt and Münich the other day.

Dr Abdul Bari Khan, the founder of Indus Hospitals Network, along with his two dedicated team members Ibrahim Jamali and Pervaiz Ahmed arrived in Germany and participated in the fund-raising events.

Besides, Pakistan’s Ambassador to Germany Dr Muhammad Faisal, Counsel General Zahid Hussain, Head of chancery Shafaat Hussain, famous Pakistani TV artist/actor Nauman Ijaz also joined the events and appreciated the noble cause.

In the events, the Pakistani Community in Germany participated with full enthusiasm and donated 1,67,000 Euros to the administration of Indus Hospitals Network.

Dr Muhammad Faisal, the Ambassador, and Nauman Ijaz, the TV actor, along with other speakers addressed the ceremonies.

They thanked to the Pakistani community in Germany for donating funds for a free of cost cancer hospital chain wholeheartedly.

The said fund-raising can be a good and noble cause and empowering, especially when you know how much it matters to the people your efforts will help.

“To date, our fund-raising volunteers have tackled all manner of challenges,” said Dr Abdul Bari Khan in his address.

He said the Pakistani community in Germany has not only helped raise cancer awareness but they have also restored hope to hundreds of cancer patients in Pakistan.

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Modeling the influence of COVID superspreading events

Study: Exploring the Role of Superspreading Events in SARS-CoV-2 Outbreaks. Image Credit: StockTom / Shutterstock

In a recent study posted to the medRxiv* preprint server, University of Kansas researchers assessed the effect of superspreading events (SSEs) on the United States (US) severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) outbreak dynamics.

Study: Exploring the Role of Superspreading Events in SARS-CoV-2 Outbreaks. Image Credit: StockTom / ShutterstockStudy: Exploring the Role of Superspreading Events in SARS-CoV-2 Outbreaks. Image Credit: StockTom / Shutterstock


SARS-CoV-2, the novel coronavirus that emerged in late December 2019, has quickly swept over the globe, resulting in over 546 million illnesses and more than 6.3 million fatalities thus far. Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has strained the US healthcare network, with several hospitals exceeding or nearing capacity and few limiting services. 

Governments at the state and national levels have responded by issuing guidelines and regulations for decreasing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, including social-distancing directives, mask mandates, stay-at-home instructions, and restrictions on big gatherings. However, insufficient adherence and compliance by the population have affected the efficiency of these laws and regulations, encouraging SSEs, which have assisted the SARS-CoV-2 transmission.

About the study

In the present study, the researchers developed a continuous-time Markov chain (CTMC) model to examine the impact of SSEs on the dynamics of the SARS-CoV-2 outbreak in the US. The authors defined SSEs as social or public events that lead to numerous SARS-CoV-2 infections over a short period.

The current research sought to determine the effect of SSEs compared to non-SSEs on COVID-19 outbreak dynamics, the efficacy of hospitalization and quarantine as containment methods for SSE relative to non-SSE-dominated outbreaks, and the impact of quarantine violation on the efficacy of quarantine for SSE compared to non-SSE-dominated outbreaks.

The investigators simulated a CTMC model for SARS-CoV-2 spread utilizing Gillespie’s direct algorithm under three distinct scenarios: 1) neither hospitalization nor quarantine; 2) quarantine, hospitalization, premature hospital discharge, and quarantine violation; and 3) hospitalization and quarantine but not premature hospital discharge or quarantine violation. They also alter the rate of quarantine violations under realistic hospitalization and quarantine (RHQ) scenarios.


The study results demonstrated that the SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks with SSE dominance were often more variable yet less severe and more prone to extinction than outbreaks without SSE dominance. The authors observed this after eliminating hospitalization and quarantine conditions or upon the inclusion of hospitalization, quarantine, early hospital discharge, and quarantine breach. 

However, the severity of the most catastrophic SSE-dominated outbreaks was higher than the most severe outbreaks without SSE dominance, despite most SSE-dominated outbreaks being less severe. Upon the inclusion of quarantine and hospitalization, while excluding quarantine breach and premature hospital discharge, SARS-CoV-2 outbreaks dominated by SSE were more susceptible to extinction than outbreaks without SSE dominance but were more severe and less variable.

Upon the inclusion of quarantine, hospitalization, premature hospital discharge, and halved quarantine breach, outbreaks dominated by SSE were comparable to when quarantine and hospitalization were included, but quarantine breach and premature hospital discharge were excluded. Besides, when quarantine breach was doubled outbreaks were similar to when quarantine and hospitalization were excluded.

Quarantine and hospitalization were more potent at regulating outbreaks dominated by SSE than those without SSE dominance in all scenarios. Similarly, quarantine breaches and premature hospital discharge were significant for outbreaks dominated by SSE.

SSE-dominated outbreaks were extremely improbable to become extinct when quarantine and hospitalization were excluded. They were moderately unlikely to become extinct when quarantine, hospitalization, premature hospital discharge, and quarantine violation were included. Furthermore, they were highly plausible to become extinct when hospitalization and quarantine were included, but quarantine breach and premature hospital discharge were excluded. 

Moreover, SSE-dominated outbreaks were more likely to become extinct when quarantine violations were halved. However, outbreaks dominated by SSE were less likely to become extinct when quarantine breaches were doubled.


Altogether, the study findings showed that COVID-19 outbreaks dominated by SSE differ noticeably from non-SSE-dominated outbreaks in their severity, variability, and chances of extinction. They also vary, albeit more low-key, from outbreaks dominated by superspreading individuals (SI). The possibility of hospitalization or quarantine and the likelihood of premature hospital discharge or violation of quarantine significantly impact the dynamics of SSE-dominated outbreaks.

Hospitalization and quarantine were substantially effective preventative interventions for COVID-19 outbreaks dominated by SSE. Nevertheless, premature hospital discharge and breach of the quarantine drastically diminished their efficacy. Besides, the team assessed control techniques using the probability of extinction.

The present findings have significant public health consequences, necessitating SARS-CoV-2 modelers must: 1) assess the contribution of SSEs or SIs to COVID-19 spread; and 2) differentiate between SSEs, SIs, and non-SIs/non-SSEs in their models. More research into the combined and individual effects of SSEs and SIs on SARS-CoV-2 outbreak dynamics and the efficacy of control strategies for various kinds of outbreaks were required to guide eradication and containment initiatives.

*Important notice

medRxiv publishes preliminary scientific reports that are not peer-reviewed and, therefore, should not be regarded as conclusive, guide clinical practice/health-related behavior, or treated as established information.

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St. James Parish Hospital previews upcoming classes & events – L’Observateur

St. James Parish Hospital previews upcoming classes & events - L'Observateur


LUTCHER — There’s a lot for the community to get involved in at St. James Parish Hospital. Read on to learn more about the Hospital’s upcoming events.


5.6.22 Hospital Blood Drive

Friday, May 6

11 a.m. – 4 p.m. in the Medical Plaza

In partnership with The Blood Center, St. James Parish Hospital will be hosting a community blood drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Friday, May 6. The drive will be held in the Community Education Room located in the Medical Plaza next to the Hospital. Remember to eat a good meal and stay hydrated before and after your donation. Appointments are offered, but not required. Visit to schedule an appointment.


5.24.2022 Parish Senior Picnic & Health Fair

Tuesday, May 24

9 a.m. – 1 p.m. at Lutcher Park

As a celebration of Older American’s Month, St. James Parish Hospital is partnering with the parish government to host a free Senior Picnic and Health Fair. The hospital will offer education and several screenings free of charge. Seniors participate in fun activities, a health fair and are treated to a catered lunch. We are currently seeking health, wellness and lifestyle-related vendors that can offer important information to our local senior citizens. For more information visit,


6.21.22 Heartsaver CPR & First Aid (RSVP at

Tuesday, June 21

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Medical Plaza

$75/Attendee (Heartsaver CPR-Only $60/Attendee)

The Heartsaver CPR/First Aid Course is a course that teaches lay rescuers how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies including cardiac arrest and choking for adult, child and infant victims. The First Aid Class teaches basic first aid procedures for medical emergencies and environmental emergencies. This class is held in the Medical Plaza Community Education Room. Payments for classes are due on the day of the class and can be paid to the hospital cashier located in the main entrance of the hospital. Students currently enrolled in college must bring a valid student ID to qualify for the student rate. If you need a Pediatric Course, please email


7.19.22 Healthcare Provider CPR/BLS Certification (RSVP at

Tuesday, July 19

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Medical Plaza

$60/Attendee ($50/Student with School ID)

The Healthcare Provider course is designed to teach the skills of CPR for victims of all ages. This class is for participants who provide healthcare to patients in a wide variety of settings including both in-hospital and out-of-hospital settings. This course is a recertification for participants needing to renew their CPR certification. If you need to take this class for the first time, email


10.4.22 Heartsaver CPR & First Aid (RSVP at

Tuesday, October 4

8 a.m. – 2 p.m. in the Medical Plaza

$75/Attendee (Heartsaver CPR-Only $60/Attendee)

The Heartsaver CPR/First Aid Course is a course that teaches lay rescuers how to recognize and treat life-threatening emergencies including cardiac arrest and choking for adult, child and infant victims. The First Aid Class teaches basic first aid procedures for medical emergencies and environmental emergencies. This class is held in the Medical Plaza Community Education Room. Payments for classes are due on the day of the class and can be paid to the hospital cashier located in the main entrance of the hospital. Students currently enrolled in college must bring a valid student ID to qualify for the student rate. If you need a Pediatric Course, please email


11.15.22 Healthcare Provider CPR/BLS Recertification (RSVP at

Tuesday, November 15

8 a.m. – 12 p.m. in the Medical Plaza

$60/Attendee ($50/Student with School ID)

If you need to take this class for the first time, email The Healthcare Provider course is designed to teach the skills of CPR for victims of all ages. This class is for participants who provide healthcare to patients in a wide variety of settings including both in-hospital and out-of-hospital settings. This course is a recertification for participants needing to renew their CPR certification.


Event information and schedules are subject to change. Visit for the latest information or to register online for classes and events.

If you do not have access to a computer, need to schedule a group class or need to take a Healthcare Provider CPR Class for the first time, call 225.258.2009.


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Reduced kidney function caused by antithrombotic therapy can influence bleeding events

Reduced kidney function caused by antithrombotic therapy can influence bleeding events

Antithrombotic therapy is prescribed to prevent thrombotic (blood clotting inside a blood vessel) events but the treatment also increases the likelihood of experiencing a bleeding event, which can be extremely serious if it occurs in a vital organ. Aging societies tend to have an increased number of patients undergoing antithrombotic therapy, and the drugs used in this treatment can affect kidney function. In particular, reduced kidney function caused by antithrombotic medications can significantly influence bleeding events. It is highly recommended that patients, especially those with decreased kidney function, have a detailed discussion with their doctor about the possible risks and benefits of proceeding with antithrombotic therapy.

Patients with heart arrythmia (atrial fibrillation) have a high risk for thrombotic events in blood vessels that could lead to permanent organ damage-;such as cerebral infarction-;and are prescribed antithrombotic therapy to lower their risk of developing blood clots. However, the risk of bleeding events simultaneously increases due to the nature of these medications. The severity of these bleeding events is highly variable, ranging from epistaxis (nosebleeds) to fatal brain hemorrhage.

While kidney function is known to be related to bleeding event risk, researchers at Kumamoto, Miyazaki, and Tohoku Universities in Japan conducted a post-hoc subgroup analysis of the Atrial Fibrillation and Ischemic Events with Rivaroxaban in Patients with Stable Coronary Artery Disease (AFIRE) trial to determine the impact of kidney function on the risk of recurrent bleeding events during antithrombotic therapy. Their analysis revealed that the effect of kidney function on recurrent bleeding risk events was quite large for patients undergoing this treatment. They also found that the bleeding risk decreased with time for patients with healthy kidney function but remained high for patients with decreased kidney function. Clearly, the decision to use such a therapy should be balanced between the expected antithrombotic effects and bleeding risks.

In most cases, it is considered better to continue antithrombotic therapies even after bleeding events as long as the event was not severe. However, it is not surprising that both patients and physicians hesitate to continue the therapy after any bleeding event. To assess for drug safety and efficacy, these drugs are usually measured by the numbers of bleeding and thrombotic events. Unfortunately, in the assessment of antithrombotic therapy, most studies only consider the first event in their analyses even though patients could experience multiple events throughout their lifetime. This study revealed that the impact of kidney function on bleeding risk during antithrombotic therapy is larger than estimated in previous studies. Furthermore, patients with healthy kidney function appear to have a decreased risk of experiencing a bleeding event over time, but the risk for patients with reduced kidney function remains high as time continues.

A detailed discussion between patients and physicians based on all current scientific evidence about the risks and benefits of antithrombotic therapy is highly recommended. Our analysis should be quite useful in facilitating this type of discussion.”

Dr. Kunihiko Matsui, Study Leader, Kumamoto University Hospital’s Department of General Medicine and Primary Care


Journal reference:

Matsui, K., et al. (2022) The impact of kidney function in patients on antithrombotic therapy: a post hoc subgroup analysis focusing on recurrent bleeding events from the AFIRE trial. BMC Medicine.

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World events, time change and anger piling on pandemic pressures

World events, time change and anger piling on pandemic pressures

Chuck Norris

Chuck Norris

Don’t care much for the constant mid-March ritual of moving our clocks ahead one hour? According to Beth Ann Malow, a professor of neurology and pediatrics at Vanderbilt University, 63% of Americans would like to see it eliminated.

The thing is, daylight saving time represents much more than a disruption to daily routines. Given the stresses heaped upon us in our world of uncertainties, it could be the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back.

“Beyond simple inconvenience,” writes Malow on, “Researchers are discovering that ‘springing ahead’ each March is connected with serious negative health effects.”

“In a 2020 commentary for the journal JAMA Neurology, my co-authors and I reviewed the evidence linking the annual transition to daylight saving time to increased strokes, heart attacks and teen sleep deprivation,” she says.

A separate post on co-authored by Deepa Burman, co-director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center at UPMC Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh, and Hiren Muzumdar, director of the Pediatric Sleep Evaluation Center, notes that sleep deprivation can result in increases of workplace injuries and automobile accidents. One individual’s sleep deprivation can affect an entire family.

People are also reading…

“You may notice more frequent meltdowns, irritability and loss of attention and focus,” they say.

I wonder, could uncontrolled anger be far behind?

Now, watching a devastating war unfold on social media is also hammering away at our collective mental health. We’re all being heightened by graphic and disturbing images that fill our feeds, writes Time magazine reporter Jamie Ducharme.

“Tracking up-to-the-minute developments can come at a cost. … Footage and photos from Ukraine flooding social media and misinformation spreading rampantly (has) implications for public health,” she reports.

It has long been the responsibility of traditional media outlets for editors to decide which content is too graphic to show, or to label disturbing images with warnings. As pointed out by Roxane Cohen Silver, a professor of psychological science at the University of California, Irvine, today anyone “can take pictures and videos and immediately distribute that (on social media) without warning, potentially without thinking about it.”

Jason Steinhauer, founder of the History Communication Institute, says, “Russia has been waging a social media and misinformation war for the past 10 to 12 years.” This has only gotten worse since its invasion of Ukraine.

We should not be surprised at all that studies now suggest that news coverage of the pandemic has contributed to our mental distress. “Adding yet another difficult topic to the mix can worsen those feelings,” Cohen Silver says.

Yet the war is hardly the only attack on our senses. At a time when we are most vulnerable, the Federal Trade Commission reports that predatory fraudsters bilked consumers of an estimated $5.8 billion last year. According to the agency, it represents a 70% increase over 2020. “Almost 2.8 million people filed a fraud complaint, an annual record” and “the highest number on record dating back to 2001,” reports the FTC. “Imposter scams were most prevalent, but investment scams cost the typical victim the most money.”

“Those figures also don’t include reports of identity theft and other categories,” the report points out. “More than 1.4 million Americans also reported being a victim of identity theft in 2021; another 1.5 million filed complaints related to ‘other’ categories (including credit reporting companies failing to investigate disputed information, or debt collectors falsely representing the amount or status of debt).”

The mounting stresses placed upon us are now posing a threat to not just our mental and financial health but our physical well-being.

According to a working paper from researchers at the Naval Postgraduate School and the University of Pennsylvania, “In 2020, the risk of outdoor street crimes initially rose by more than 40% and was consistently between 10-15% higher than it had been in 2019 through the remainder of the year.” Researchers also believe that the finding “points to the potential for other crimes to surge the way homicides have as cities reopen and people return to the streets,” says the report.

Adds Megan McArdle commenting on the report in an op-ed for the Washington Post, “community trust in the police might have plummeted, possibly making people more likely to settle scores on their own. Or police might have reacted to public anger by pulling back from active policing, creating more opportunities for crime.”

Hans Steiner is a professor emeritus of Stanford’s Department of Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences who has logged decades of work studying anger and aggression. In an interview posted on the Stanford University website, he says he believes that “the coronavirus pandemic, with its extreme disruption of normal daily life and uncertainty for the future, compounded by several other crises (economic distress, racial tension, social inequities, political and ideological conflicts) puts us all to the test: we find ourselves immersed in a pool of negative emotions: fear, sadness, contempt, and yes, anger. What do we do with this forceful emotion?”

“Anger signals that we are being threatened, injured, deprived, robbed of rewards and expectancies,” Steiner says. It should be “one of our adaptive tools to deal with the most difficult circumstances. Sometimes it becomes an obstacle to our struggles, especially when it derails into aggression and even violence.”

Anger problems are now spilling over into record accounts of hate crimes. It seems that today’s circumstances, with anger management and rule of law seemingly at an all-time low, have caused many individuals to become ticking time bombs. Reports CBS News, “the total number of hate crimes nationwide has increased every year but one since 2014, according to FBI data, which includes statistics through 2020.”

Steiner says that “maladaptive anger and aggression has the following characteristics: 1. It arises without any trigger, seemingly out of the blue; 2. it is disproportionate to its trigger in its frequency, intensity, duration and strength; 3. it does not subside after the offending person has apologized; 4. it occurs in a social context which does not sanction anger and aggression.”

Who among us has not seen or maybe even experienced some, maybe all, of these behavior characteristics?

“In such conflicts we need to remind ourselves that diatribes, lies and accusations will not move us forward; compassion, empathy and the reminder that we are all in this horrible situation together (needs to) inspire us,” Steiner advises.

Write to Chuck Norris at with questions about health and fitness.

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Clinic marks Health Wagon’s return to larger public events

Clinic marks Health Wagon’s return to larger public events

WISE — Zion Family Ministries’ activity and kitchen spaces were busy on Wednesday as the Health Wagon got back to business with its annual late winter free clinics in Wise and Clintwood.

Health Wagon President and Executive Director Dr. Teresa Tyson said Wednesday’s event marks a pair of shifts for the more than four-decade-old organization that got its start as a small mobile exam van based in Dickenson County.

Wednesday’s clinic was the first of the late winter events since 2019, when COVID-19 forced Health Wagon staff to stop mass events for fear of the disease’s spread, Tyson said.

While the organization continued with smaller community visits and appointments at its Wise and new Clintwood main offices, she said the past two years have been a balance between public safety and continuing to serve a region facing a range of health care challenges.

Tyson said the clinic’s new name — Move Mountains Medical Mission — also marks a rebranding after two decades working with Tennessee-based Remote Area Medical on annual summer free clinics in Wise County. RAM officials in 2019 acknowledged that the Health Wagon had developed a range of partnerships and regional support allowing RAM to support other health care efforts across the U.S.

COVID-19 screening was the first step for patients at Zion Family Ministries on Wednesday, but Tyson said that was not the only stage for dealing with the disease.

“One of the many things we’re doing is giving COVID shots and boosters and flu shots,” Tyson said. “The Coeburn Economic Development Authority gave us $500, and we’re using that to incentivize people to get vaccinated by putting their names in a drawing for cash prizes. That really helps because vaccinations are our best defense against the virus.”

Even though Tyson and her staff felt the pandemic situation had become safe enough to resume mass clinics like Wednesday’s event, the clinic and Thursday’s event in Clintwood were advertised as appointment-only by calls to the Health Wagon’s Wise and Clintwood offices. Tyson said the new system has helped spread out people onsite for health and safety.

While a pre-pandemic clinic would draw 150 to 200 people for services including physical exams, chest X-rays, pap smears, regular vaccinations, ultrasounds, prescription services, Medicare enrollment help and health education, Wednesday’s clinic still saw more than 100 patients.

Local attorney Brett Hall, working as a volunteer runner at Wednesday’s clinic, said he owed it to Move Mountains because Health Wagon medical staff probably saved his life when he contracted COVID-19 a second time despite being vaccinated.

“They were able to give me monoclonal antibodies when I showed symptoms and I was much better the next day,” Hall said.

Dr. Joe Frank Smiddy, who has operated the Health Wagon’s radiology van and provided chest X-ray services for its events, said COVID-19 has added an extra dimension to what had been a longtime focus on helping diagnose the region’s residents with COPD and black lung.

“Before COVID we were dealing with coal workers, COPD and asthma, people with lung fungus and smoking,” said Smiddy. “Immediately, when COVID hit, we knew that some of the COVID patients would have underlying lung disease and we started doing chest X-rays. If we could improve their lung health, they could deal with COVID better if they got it.”

Smiddy said “long COVID” — symptoms that infected patients face after recovering from the disease — pose another challenge for Health Wagon staff and other health care providers. While some long COVID symptoms can be neurological, Smiddy said some symptoms can be treated medically or by exercise and good health practices.

The Health Wagon’s X-ray and lung services can help patients determine if they can return to work or if they may be medically eligible for services such as Medicaid or Social Security disability, Smiddy added.Smiddy and Tyson said that Move Mountains Medical Mission’s partnership with the Virginia Dental Foundation’s Mission of Mercy dental care events in Southwest Virginia will continue. Tyson said the Health Wagon has applied to participate in a summer program where armed forces medical teams practice emergency deployments by offering human medical care and veterinary services for pets. She said the 2019 program was a success, with people coming to get pets treated and vaccinated leading to many getting needed medical care for themselves too.

“We’re excited about what we can do, we’re excited that it’s free health care, and we’re excited that it’s the Health Wagon,” said Smiddy.