BACKGROUND: 2,3,7,8-tetrachlorodibenzo-p-dioxin (TCDD) has a long half-life of 5-10 years in human beings as a result of its high lipophilicity, and little or no metabolism. We monitored TCDD, its form, distribution, and elimination in Victor Yushchenko after he presented with severe poisoning. METHODS: In late December, 2004, a patient presented with TCDD poisoning; the levels in his blood serum (108000 pg/g lipid weight) were more than 50 000-fold greater than those in the general population. We identified TCDD and its metabolites, and monitored their levels for 3 years using gas chromatography and high-resolution mass spectrometry in samples of blood serum, adipose tissue, faeces, skin, urine, and sweat, after they were extracted and cleaned with different organic solvents. FINDINGS: The amount of unmodified TCDD in the samples that were analysed accounted for about 60% of TCDD eliminated from the body during the same period. Two TCDD metabolites-2,3,7-trichloro-8-hydroxydibenzo-p-dioxin and 1,3,7,8-tetrachloro-2-hydroxydibenzo-p-dioxin-were identified in the faeces, blood serum, and urine. The faeces contained the highest concentration of TCDD metabolites, and were the main route of elimination. Altogether, the different routes of elimination of TCDD and its metabolites accounted for 98% of the loss of the toxin from the body. The half-life of TCDD in our patient was 15.4 months. INTERPRETATION: This case of poisoning with TCDD suggests that the design of methods for routine assessment of TCDD metabolites in human beings should be a main aim of TCDD research in the metabolomic era. FUNDING: University of Geneva Dermatology Fund, and Swiss Centre for Applied Human Toxicology.
Comment In: Lancet. 2009 Oct 3;374(9696):1131-219660808
[20th century view of Poland by Russian historians. An account of: Pol'sza XX wiekie w: oczerki politiczeskoj istorii [Poland in the twentieth century: political history essays], Indryk, Moskwa, 2012, 949 p].
In several European countries, including Norway, polices to increase patient choice of hospital provider have remained high on the political agenda. The main reason behind the interest in hospital choice reforms in Norway has been the belief that increasing choice can remedy the persistent problem of long waiting times for elective hospital care. Prior to the 2013 General Election, the Conservative Party campaigned in favour of a new choice reform: "the treatment choice reform". This article describes the background and process leading up to introduction of the reform in the autumn of 2015. It also provides a description of the content and discusses possible implications of the reform for patients, providers and government bodies. In sum, the reform contains elements of both continuity and change. The main novelty of the reform lies in the increased role of private for-profit healthcare providers.
Starting in 2015, the Swedish government has initiated a national reform to standardize cancer patient pathways and thereby eventually speed up treatment of cancer. Cancer care in Sweden is characterized by high survival rates and a generally high quality albeit long waiting times. The objective with the new national program to standardize cancer care pathways is to reduce these waiting times, increase patient satisfaction with cancer care and reduce regional inequalities. A new time-point for measuring the start of a care process is introduced called well-founded suspicion, which is individually designed for each cancer diagnosis. While medical guidelines are well established earlier, the standardisation is achieved by defining time boundaries for each step in the process. The cancer reform program is a collaborative effort initiated and incentivized by the central government while multi-professional groups develop the time-bound standardized care pathways, which the regional authorities are responsible for implementing. The broad stakeholder engagement and time-bound guidelines are interesting approaches to study for other countries that need to streamline care processes.
The Commission on the Future of Health Care in Canada asked whether Medicare is sustainable in its present form. Well, Medicare is not sustainable for at least six reasons. Given a long list of factors, such as Canada's changing dependency ratio, the phenomenon of diminishing returns from increased taxation, competing provincial expenditure needs, low labour and technological productivity in government-funded healthcare, the expectations held by baby boomers, and the evolving value sets of Canadians--Medicare will impoverish Canada within the next couple of decades if not seriously recast. As distasteful as parallel private-pay, private-choice healthcare may be to some policy makers and providers who grew up in the 1960s, the reality of the 2020s will dictate its necessity as a pragmatic solution to a systemic problem.
Given the increase in the number of abortions being performed in hospitals throughout the United States and Canada, there is an obvious need for counseling programs for these patients. The authors describe one such program, and emphasize the importance of close working relationships between the counselors and their supervising staff.