A University of Iowa Hospitals nurse is among six people in the nation being recognized by an international organization dedicated to preventing injuries to health care workers caused by needles and other sharp medical instruments. Renee Gould, an advanced practice nurse in Iowa City, got the award from the International Sharps Injury Prevention Society. Gould says all sorts of hospital items can pose a hazard. Anything that’s used to start an I-V, collect a blood sample or specimen, once they’ve been contaminated, they could transmit a blood-borne infection if a health care worker gets stuck by them. Gould knows about such hazards first-hand. She was injured 16 years ago and went through “heartache” over the following year which motiviated her to make it so no one else would get a similar injury and have to endure that experience. Gould says she’s been instrumental in the evaluation and implementation of “sharps” injury prevention products in use at the medical center. She’s spoken on the subject to a variety of audiences, from local Rotary Clubs to the Governor of Iowa’s Needlestick Study Group. When Gould first started working as a nurse at University Hospitals in 1989, she was drawing blood from a patient for a blood-sugar test. Gould says when she removed the needle that had poked the patient, she was poked too with the needle that was contaminated with the patient’s blood. She went through a full year of AIDS testing, fearing she may have contracted HIV, while she also had a then-16-month old child and a husband she was worried about contaminating. It turned out that she was fine and from the bad experience, Gould says she was inspired to become a better nurse. She jokes her co-workers now consider her the resident “safety queen.”
Archives for December 2005
One of the biggest studies around has proven that scrupulously controlling a diabetic’s blood-sugar can be worth the effort. More than 1,400 people have been followed since 1983, when doctors thought complications from blindness to kidney disease were inevitable side effects of diabetes.
But Dr. William Sivitz, a University of Iowa professor of internal medicine, says the study proved conclusively that the rate of serious complications was three times less in the group that intensively monitored and controlled their blood sugar. And there were other effects they didn’t know about. “Vascular events” — heart attacks, strokes, damage to the big arteries in the legs, were too rare to find out if blood-sugar control would have any effect on those. But after following patients all this time, they’ve said in a report in a recent New England Journal of Medicine that intensive control can reduce those large-vessel complications.
The study never ended — it’s still going on, and the longer doctors follow the diabetic clients, the more they learn, much of it unexpected. So now the researchers know the benefits of careful control may not only spare the eyes, kidneys and nerves, but also benefit the large blood vessels that supply the heart, brain, and feet. The lower the blood sugar, the less the likelihood of developing complications, a pattern that’s taken a long time and a lot of patients to make clear.
Sivitz says they’re also finding out which treatments work best for which people, since many new treatments have been developed. Some patients were treated with several shots of insulin taken throughout the day, some with insulin pumps implanted in the body, and some with newer forms of insulin that preclude the need for the pump. They plan to follow this group for at least another ten years, and expect the National Institutes of Health will continue the funding that allows the 28 research institutions, including University of Iowa, to do it.
If you’re parents are older, the Easter Seals Society says a trip to their house to watch a bowl game or celebrate the New Year is a good time to check up on their welfare. Spokesperson Abbie Hausman says check up to see how your parents are handling their finances. She says you should look for unpaid bills, overdue bills or even duplicate payments to make sure that they aren’t falling behind on maintaining their own home. Hausman says driving is something that parents are often not happy to give up — but she says you need to be sure they can still drive and be safe. She says you should take a ride with your parents and see how they react to their surroundings. Hausman says if they become frustrated or have difficulty maneuvering, then it may indicate that they shouldn’t be driving anymore. Hausman says look for changes in social habits.Hausman says if they used to go to church every Sunday, see if they’re still going to church and if they are still doing other social things. Hausman says if you find problems, take time to talk with your parents and let them know you’re concerned. She says it’s important to listen and let them know you’re not trying to take over their lives.
With their final practice out of the way, the Iowa State Cyclones are now set for tomorrow’s kickoff of the Houston Bowl against TCU in Reliant Stadium. The Cyclones finished the regular season 7-4 and are looking to win consecutive bowl games for the first time in the program’s history. TCU opened the season with a shocking win at Oklahoma and never looked back. The Horned Frogs are 10-1 and ranked 14th. The TCU defense is built on speed and Cyclones running back Stevie Hicks says that is their biggest concern. Quarterback Brett Meyer says that speed will force him to make split-second decisons. After a long layoff since the end of the regular season, Meyer would like the offense to get some confidence early in the game.On the other side of the ball, the Cyclone defense will try to slow down a TCU offense that prides itself on balance. Senior defensive lineman Nick Leaders says the Cyclone defense needs to play well on first down and try and make TCU become more predictable. TCU is a three point favorite. Kickoff is at 1:30 and the game will be televised on ESPN2.
The Iowa defense has faced the spread offense on several occasions this season but none quite like the offense Florida will employ in Monday’s Outback Bowl in Tampa. It’s the offense first-year Gator coach Urban Meyer brought with him after a successful stint at Utah and it has given the Hawkeyes something new to work on. Iowa coach Kirk Ferentz says it has been a tough preparation.Option attacks can be tough on defenses that play man coverage because many times defenders will have their backs turned to the play. Senior corner Jovon Johnson says that won’t be an issue for an Iowa defense that is mainly zone. Linebacker Abdul Hodge says that will allow the Iowa defenders to keep their eyes on the play. It will be the Hawkeyes fourth-straight January Bowl.
The state’s casino industry and the state-run lottery are feuding. At issue are the Iowa Lottery “touch-play” machines in bars, convenience stores, grocery stores and restaurants around the state. T
The Iowa Gaming Association which represents the state-licensed race tracks and riverboat casinos says those machines should be regulated just like the slot machines in their facilities. The Gaming Association also says residents in each of the towns where those “touch-play” games have been placed should have voted on having them in town, just like voters decided in gambling referendums whether the casinos could open.
Wes Ehrecke is executive director of the Iowa Gaming Association and speaks for the casinos. “People should decide whether they want these types of machines in their area,” Ehrecke says. “We’ve never had an issue with the lottery — instant tickets, Powerball and the like. But now you have machines that are showing up in a large number of locations and are these indeed what we want in our area?”
Iowa Lottery spokeswoman Mary Neubauer says by secretly sending their complaint to the governor rather than the Lottery’s governing board, the casinos have shown that they’re positioning for a political battle over the machines. “Our initial reaction was one of just extreme disappointment because if their concern truly is public policy…why didn’t they ever bring these concerns to the Iowa Lottery or to the Iowa Lottery Board which is appointed by the governor and sets policy for the lottery and oversees lottery operations,” Neubauer says. “This is simply a political fight and I don’t think the real intent is to have a serious, meaningful discussion of the issues.”
Ehrecke, the spokesman for the casinos, questions whether the “touch-play” machines in retail shops, bars and restaurants are being watched to make sure underage kids aren’t playing. Ehrecke says D-C-I agents should monitor the machines just like the agents monitor activity in the casinos. He contends minors are playing the games and no one’s being penalized.
Neubauer, the Iowa Lottery spokeswoman, disputes that. Neubauer says there have been “no instances of underage play on the machines.” Neubauer says Ehrecke is wrong, there are penalties if someone underage were caught playing. The Lottery retailer would be penalized and under a first violation would not be able to sell Lottery products for a week. A second violation would mean a loss of Lottery sales for a month, which Neubauer says would be a huge loss for a retailer. Neubauer says by comparison, the penalty for underage gambling is $10,000 for the casinos, which she says amounts to how much the casino at Prairie Meadows grosses in just half an hour.
The casinos, though, have more beefs. Ehrecke says when the Lottery first introduced the concept, the machines were to dispense “pull tab” tickets with sound and video ads. Ehrecke says the machines that are in Iowa stores today look, act, sound and feel just like a slot machine, and dispense “cash vouchers” just like a slot machine. “We will compete with anybody on a level playing field,” Ehrecke says. “This isn’t about competition. This is about fairness and regulation…and equity.”
Neubauer says the Lottery products are offered statewide and it’s only fair that the “touch-play” machines are spread out statewide, too. There are about 4,500 “touch-play” machines in about 2,500 Iowa businesses. Neubauer says they’re in businesses which have sold Lottery products in the past and understand how to monitor “age-sensitive products.”
Neubauer says there’s no evidence the “touch-play” machines are eating into slot machine casino income because it continues to grow. “For years, (the Lottery and the casinos) have peacefully coexisted and I think we have both run successful, well-regulated programs. It is my hope that that kind of relationship can continue but I really think it is being compromised at this point,” Neubauer says. “There are thousands of other businesses that also are in existence and deserve the opportunity to do business and those are the businesses that have ‘touch-play’ are doing a good job.”
Ehrecke, in a letter to Governor Vilsack, said the “vast majority of the consuming public” thinks the Lottery’s “touch-play” machines are slot machines, and the differences between a slot machine and a “touch-play” machine are “indistinguishable.”
Ehrecke, on behalf of the casinos, asked the governor to immediately set up a task force to examine new regulations for the Lottery. Iowa Lottery C-E-O Ed Stanek said in a letter to the governor that comparing the Lottery’s “touch-play” machines to slot machines is like “comparing beer to near beer. Near beer looks, smells and tastes like beer, but it does not contain any of the bad stuff.” Stanek says the “touch-play” machines will help move the Lottery out of the “paper era” into the “electronic era, as all savvy businesses are doing.”
One of the Democrats who’s running for governor says he has questions about a proposal that could see the dining services at Iowa State University taken over by a private contractor. The state-run school is in the process of reviewing bids to run its food service. Representative Ed Fallon of Des Moines says he’s concerned that the new contractor won’t buy as much Iowa-grown meat and produce.
I-S-U food services buy about $5.3 million in food each year. He’s also concerned that the 800 or so students who work “food service” wouldn’t be paid as well. Fallon says outside contractors would likely cut the wages that’re now paid I-S-U students. He says the starting wage for I-S-U food service workers is $7.25 an hour, but he says Drake University students employed by one of the companies that’s bid on the I-S-U contract are paid a dollar an hour less.
Fallon says that’s important because students depend on that money to finance their college education. Fallon says it’s important to keep the business of the state-run schools in Iowa. He says Iowa universities ought to be focused on supporting the businesses in their communities. He says, “That’s one of the main problems that we’re seeing with the economy right now, too much is being outsourced.” Fallon says outsourcing the business at the state-run universities would go in the opposite direction we should be going. ISU plans to open the bids for the food service contracts for public viewing next week.
A southeast Iowa man is in jail, charged this (Friday) morning in connection with a bar fight. Cops were called to Vinnie’s Bar in Fort Madison on Thanksgiving Day to break up a fight. They sent most everybody home. The next day, 41-year-old Charles Boyle, Junior — who had been in the bar that night — was found unconscious in his bed. Boyle stayed in a coma until he died December 12th. An autopsy found he died because his brain had swelled due to a “severe” blow to the skull. Investigators say during the bar fight, 47-year-old Brian Keith Davis of Fort Madison hit Doyle over the head with a bar stool. Davis has now been charged with involuntary manslaughter. Davis faces up to five years in prison if convicted.
Senator Charles Grassley is promising a review of the American Red Cross. Grassley’s concerned by reports that the agency isn’t using donations appropriately and lacks proper management. Grassley sent Red Cross executives a five-page letter Thursday, asking for reams of documents like minutes from board meetings from the past five years and executive pay records. He also said the public should get more than a “papering over” of the reasons behind the recent departure of Red Cross president Marsha Evans. Grassley’s also asking the Red Cross to explain its spending practices. Grassley and his Senate Finance Committee conducted a review of the Red Cross response to the September 11th attacks and got the group to change its donation policies so individuals may direct their checks to certain projects.
An Iowa State University senior in economics and ag business is going to China to work with that country’s fledgling dairy industry. Twenty-one-year-old Lorilee Schultz learned of USDA internship earlier this month.She’ll be working on the South China Dairy Improvement Project. With what she describes as her “strong dairy background,” she’ll mainly work with producers to hopefully improve their herds, while working to create opportunities for US imports into China, like forages and genetics. Her job will be to edit market reports and organize a series of seminars throughout southeast China for dairy producers. “If I was to pick anywhere in the world that I was going to go, China would probably not be the first place on the list,” she says. “But it’s an exciting opportunity and I’m really grateful for it and looking forward to it.” It’s an opportunity that didn’t exist a few generations ago since the Chinese traditionally didn’t consume milk or cheese. She says dairy consumption in China is increasing at a tremendous rate now, and the Chinese dairy industry is “exploding,” according to Schultz. The senior from Ogden says they’ve already lined up an apartment for her and she spent her last few days in Iowa practicing Chinese, which she does not speak. She plans to be at her office January 7 in Guangzhou for the USDA’s International Agricultural Internship program.