D&D remembers Regis Philbin

While this post is a departure from our usual medicine-focused content, we at D&D wanted to acknowledge the recent passing of Regis Philbin. A few members of our staff were fortunate enough to meet Regis during his 88 years on earth — their reminiscences are below.

From Greg Dennis, retired co-founder of Dowling & Dennis:

Regis Philbin had a son who was confined to a wheelchair and relied upon a small piece of technology made by a large medical company. As it happened, Dowling & Dennis did some PR consulting work for that company.

Back in about 2007, the company contacted me to say that Regis wanted to make a deal with the medical company so that when he died, his son would have a lifetime of free access to the technology — and what could we do with Regis? Did Liz and I have any ideas?

We came up with the idea of trading for a day of Regis’s time in Washington, D.C, to emcee the medtech industry’s annual event on Capitol Hill. I suggested we also add a tour for Regis through Walter Reed, where he could meet with wounded warriors hospitalized after being injured in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

Regis and his representation agreed to our proposal, at which point we spent a frantic month pulling it all together. Which is how I got to spend the day with Regis Philbin in Washington, D.C.

He was as much fun and as much of a gentle man as this WSJ piece by Jason Gay makes him out to be. It was truly an honor to spend time with him.”

From Dr. Warren Farrell, strategic consultant at Dowling & Dennis:

“During my years on the Board of N.O.W. in NYC and later, I enjoyed three interviews by Regis Philbin — two in St. Louis and one in NYC.

Regis was neither constrained by the handcuffs of political correctness nor those of tradition. He was playful, challenging and indignant.

If humor, ‘telling it like it is’ and playful sparring leads to less stress and a longer, healthy, happy life, then it is little wonder that Regis exceeded the life expectancy of his generation by more than a decade.”

COVID-19 and the Importance of Virtual Learning: The Future of Medical Education

When the novel coronavirus began sweeping around the world earlier this year, it left doctors, hospitals and public health experts scrambling for answers. How should diagnoses of COVID-19 cases be made? What are the symptoms that need the most careful monitoring? What are the right treatment options for each stage of the disease? And what happens if patients have other conditions, such as being pregnant? The answers were—and continue to be—evolving so rapidly that it has been hard for overworked physicians, nurses and other healthcare providers to keep up.

But there is one place they can turn quickly for the latest information—a free online training module from a medical education company called CaseNetwork. First released on March 17, this program also illustrates the growing potential of virtual, case-based medical education even long after the pandemic has subsided.

Continue reading “COVID-19 and the Importance of Virtual Learning: The Future of Medical Education”

Using Liquid Biopsy to Capture Circulating Multiple Myeloma Cells: The Key to Personalized Treatment?

What if you could isolate a single cancer cell from a patient and use its genetic makeup to create a personalized treatment plan optimized for that individual?

That’s exactly what Menarini Silicon Biosystems Inc. (MSB) hopes its technology could one day do for people with multiple myeloma.

Multiple myeloma is the most common hematological malignancy.  It forms in plasma cells, white blood cells found mainly in the bone marrow that protect the body from infection by producing antibodies. When these cells become malignant, abnormal plasma cells accumulate in the bone marrow, producing abnormal antibodies and crowding out normal blood-forming cells. Some of these abnormal cells, known as circulating multiple myeloma cells (CMMC), escape from the primary tumor space and travel through the bloodstream.

Current approaches for diagnosing patients with multiple myeloma require bone marrow aspiration and biopsy. These are invasive procedures that use a hollow needle inserted into the hipbone or breastbone to remove bone marrow, blood, and a small piece of bone. While generally safe, bone marrow exams can result in excessive bleeding, infection, and long-lasting discomfort.

Liquid biopsies, on the other hand, examine cancer-related material from a peripheral blood sample obtained from a simple, common blood draw. MSB has developed a method for enumerating CMMC from liquid biopsies using CELLSEARCH® and DEPArray™ technologies.

Continue reading “Using Liquid Biopsy to Capture Circulating Multiple Myeloma Cells: The Key to Personalized Treatment?”

Transforming IV Therapy: Using the Right Approach to Get the Right Result

 

The IV Therapy Services team at Hartford Hospital was recognized as the 2019 Clinical Team of the Year for their remarkable work in improving IV care for patients.

Patients hate needles.

This basic fact makes IV therapy a pressing healthcare issue affecting nearly every specialty, according to Lee Steere, RN, CRNI, VA-BC, Manager of IV Therapy Services at Hartford Hospital – especially when you consider that nearly 90 percent of hospitalized patients will require a peripheral IV (PIV) catheter at some point during their stay.

In the United States, PIV failure rates average around 53%, meaning one out of every two catheters fail to last until the end of treatment. This could be the reason that needle sticks are among the top ten patient fears, according to a national survey of hospitalized patients.

“Patients seeking care at healthcare facilities receive too many needle sticks,” Steere said. “My passion is to achieve the goal of one PIV per patient which entails getting an IV inserted on the first attempt and lasting until the prescribed treatment is complete.” Continue reading “Transforming IV Therapy: Using the Right Approach to Get the Right Result”

From Reconstruction to Going Flat – Helping Women Look & Feel Better After Breast Cancer with Oncoplastic Surgery

Barry Rosen, MD, Guest Contributor

Barry-Rosen-OR-photo-1.jpgRecovery from breast cancer can be a difficult journey, both physically and emotionally. An important part of recovery from the trauma of cancer diagnosis is to be able to put the entire experience in the rear view mirror, so to speak. But it’s hard to do that if you have a daily reminder in the form of a disfiguring scar.

It was once common for surgeons to focus solely on removing a breast cancer tumor with little regard for the appearance of the breast. But we now know we can deliver excellent cosmetic outcomes without compromising oncologic safety. There have been tremendous advances in the past 20 years in the diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer that enable us to help our patients look and feel better after breast cancer.

One of these important advances is oncoplastic surgery (OPS). Though popular in Europe for several decades, it’s only begun to gain traction in the United States within the last 10 years. OPS combines breast surgery with plastic and reconstructive techniques to achieve the best possible cosmetic outcomes without compromising cancer care. It can be as simple as closing the cavity and hiding the scar, or performing a more complex procedure like a breast lift or reduction in conjunction with removing the tumor. Continue reading “From Reconstruction to Going Flat – Helping Women Look & Feel Better After Breast Cancer with Oncoplastic Surgery”

Following the (Investment) Money in Medical Devices

It will come as no surprise to medical device startups that the funding climate in medical devices is still challenging. We talked recently with two experts who come to this question with two different perspectives.

– Alice McKeon is VP Healthcare Investment Banking at Network 1 Financial, which is based in Red Bank, N.J.

– Dan Clark is a Cofounder and the Chief Marketing Officer at Linear Health Sciences, makers of the Orchid Safety Release Valve.

The power and policies emanating from Washington DC are on the minds of many people these days. How will the Trump Administration affect the investment climate in medical devices?Wall Street Bull image

“The short answer is, no one really knows,” McKeon said. It’s unclear what will happen to the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare). That in turn raises questions in potential investors’ minds. Continue reading “Following the (Investment) Money in Medical Devices”

When Catheter Stabilization Isn’t Enough for Patient Safety

1462041601658Many drivers have experienced the kind of fender-bender or sudden stop that made them glad they were wearing a seat belt. But a seatbelt can only protect us from so much — which is why airbags and more advanced safety approaches were invented.

To use another auto analogy, think of the breakaway hoses at gas stations pumps. They prevent the full hose from being pulled out of the pump when an absent-minded driver drives away without removing the nozzle from the gas tank.

Similarly in nursing care, there’s only so much that catheter stabilization can do when it comes to protecting IV lines. Given those limitations, a better safety option is now being developed to address a pain point for nurses: accidental dislodgement of IV lines. Continue reading “When Catheter Stabilization Isn’t Enough for Patient Safety”

Why IV Lines Fail: A Crazy Little Thing Called Dislodgement

With something like 300 million peripheral IV lines sold in U.S. each year – and a failure rate that’s often cited as being 50% – researchers continue to try to understand a problem that’s a daily headache in vascular access and infusion therapy.

4-1Common causes of line failure are dislodgement, infection, thrombosis, phlebitis and occlusion. Peripherally inserted central catheters (PICCs) and central venous catheters (CVCs) tend to be better secured than peripheral IVs, but they are also subject to high failure rates.

“Intravenous catheter dislodgement is a significant and avoidable problem,” said vascular access consultant Leigh Ann Bowe-Geddes, BSN, RN, CRNI, VA-BC, a well known vascular access clinical consultant and former president of the Association for Vascular Access. Continue reading “Why IV Lines Fail: A Crazy Little Thing Called Dislodgement”

When a ‘Low Profile’ Is a Good Thing

When a company comes up with something better, it typically wants a high profile for the technology. But it’s not always the case with Focal Therapeutics.

That’s because the company recently launched a low-profile version of the BioZorb® implant used in breast conservation treatment (BCT).

laidley2
Breast surgeon Alison Laidley compares the original, spiral version of BioZorb (left) to the new BioZorb Low Profile (right).

Focal’s new BioZorb LP (for “low-profile”) design means more women who need breast cancer surgery could benefit from the implantable device. BioZorb is used in “reconstructive lumpectomy” and other types of BCT. It marks in three dimensions the site from which a breast tumor is removed.

The BioZorb LP device is designed to be implanted in smaller breasts, peripheral areas of the breast, and locations with less tissue coverage.

“Everyone understands the need for delivering more personalized medicine,” said Alison Laidley, M.D., a prominent Dallas breast surgeon with Texas Breast Specialists who was among the first physicians to use BioZorb LP. “The new designs of this device enable us to provide it to many more patients.” Continue reading “When a ‘Low Profile’ Is a Good Thing”

Does the Mammography Debate Miss a Key Point?

Every time the US Preventive Services Task Force issues a recommendation about when women should start getting mammograms – and how often they should have these screenings – it sends shockwaves through the breast-cancer world.

modiglianiThis last time was no different.

But now two influential breast cancer experts assert that – as important as the debate is – it misses an essential point about evaluating a woman’s individual risk of getting breast cancer.

Those experts – Dallas breast surgeon Dr. Peter Beitsch and Nashville breast surgeon Dr. Pat Whitworth – say the key question is how to evaluate “risk.”

The latest recommendations from the task force call for women at “average risk for breast cancer” to begin every-other-year screening at age 50. It casts doubt on the true value of screening beginning at age 40 – citing the high number of false-positive test results in women 40 to 50, plus potential harm from overdiagnosis and unnecessary treatment. Continue reading “Does the Mammography Debate Miss a Key Point?”