Knees Horror Story

Knees Horror Story

So I’m at a new medical practioner, and he sees on my information sheet that I am scheduled to have some orthopedic surgery.

He comes out of his office and sits down next to me, and he is rubbing his knees.

He proceeds to tells me that he had knee replacement surgery about a decade ago.

I’m watching him still rubbing his knees, and I say curiously, “So how did it go–were you happy with the results?”

He says, “I still have some soreness”–and I’m thinking, after all these years, yikes!

Then he goes on to tell me this horror story about his brother (I think it was) that had double knee replacement.

But after the surgery, the knees got infected, and they had to remove the replacements and put in studs (like placeholders) until the infection cleared with antibiotics.

I suppose he couldn’t walk around without knees, and I was wondering how long this guy must’ve been laid up.

Anyway, once the infection was gone, they put in new replacements for him.

OMG, all in all, the guy had to have 8 surgeries!

Needless to say, this was not the orthopedic success story that I wanted or needed to hear.

But I guess it’s good to know what can happen (bli ayin hara)–in all the gory details. 😉

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Isbye)

Nasty Flu Shot

Nasty Flu Shot

I took my daughter for a flu shot last evening.

We went through the typical drawn-out paperwork and long wait to get something so routine.

When the medical practitioner finally arrived with the flu shot, there was a little baggy with all the acoutrements including alcohol wipe, band-aid, cotton, etc.

As the lady starts taking out the items to get ready for giving the shot, she drops the cotton on the floor.

She picks it up quickly, and pretending we didn’t see, she quickly throws it back on the medical tray.

Now I am watching…

She open the band-aid and places it at the ready on the side.

Then she get the syringe AND the cotton that had just fallen on the floor, ready in hand.

As she is about to give the shot, I say, “You’re not going to use the cotton on my daughter that just fell on the floor, are you?”

Her eyes look askance and she throws the cotton back down on the tray, and says, “Oh, of course not.”

I spoke with my daughter afterwards about this as it was hard to understand how a medical practitioner could on one hand, be administering a helpful medicine to a patient, and at the same time, was about to use a dirty cotton on the wound afterwards.

What happened to people actually caring about people and taking pride in the jobs they do, rather than just being in it for the paycheck only?

(Source Photo: here with attribution to Sun Dazed)

Now That’s Robot Clean

How many of you heard the phrase as a child, “Cleanliness is next to G-dliness”?

Over the years, we’ve learned that germs and associated illnesses are frequently transmitted by touch and through the air.

And so we’ve become sensitized to the importance of things like regularly washing our hands, using antibacterial soap, and generally keeping our homes and offices as clean as they can be. (Okay, some people I know aren’t so good about this–yes, you know who you are!)

The problem is that even with regular cleaning, corners, cracks, and surfaces are missed and harmful germs survive.

You can imagine that this can be especially true in places like hospitals and nursing facilities where unfortunately, there are already a lot of sick people.

Xenex Healthcare has invented an amazing robot that takes care of the problem–no, I am not taking about euthanasia (just kidding).

But really, this robot is wheeled into a room–generally after a manual cleaning that according to Bloomberg BusinessWeek (25 February 2013) often leaves 50% of the room still infected–and these germs can survive up to six months.

The Xenex robot generates a pulsing ultraviolet (UV) light from its extending head that zaps viruses and bacteria–destroying their DNA–and leaving a room 20 times cleaner!

There are 20 million hospital infection a years in America, killing about 100,000 people, and costing about $30,000 per infection, so the Xenex robot that kills up to 95% of many deadly infections and superbugs is significant.

The robot costs around $125,000 or it can be rented for $3,700 per month–but it can disinfect dozens of rooms a day.

I’d like to see a Xenex robot for every home and office–that should do wonders for improved health care in this country.

Oh and it makes a great gift for Howie Mandel. 😉

Plenty Of Food For All

Bread

I remember as a teenager visiting, on occasion, the Catskill Mountain hotels for the holidays and watching not only the enormous amounts that people seemed to order and eat, but also the huge amounts that simply went uneaten and was discarded.

Taste from this dish…don’t like it, throw it out. Try that food…but your not in love with it either, into the trash as well. Like a smorgasbord or food orgy to end all others. 

Honestly, the waste from such hubris is disgusting especially with world hunger unbelievably still topping 925 million people or 1 in 7 worldwide. 

Bloomberg BusinessWeek (21 December 2012) reports that in India alone villagers average only about 2,000 calories a day–when less than 2,400 qualifies for government food aid. And “half of all children younger than three years old in India weight too little for their age; [and] 8 in 10 are anemic” (i.e. do not have enough healthy red blood cells).

Despite the mass poverty and corruption hindering people getting enough healthy food around the world, BBC News (30 November 2012) cites incredible statistics that “the average American family throws away 40% of the food they purchase–which adds up to $165 billion annually.” 

However, not all the food being thrown out is because of people acting like–I’ll just say it–like pigs, but because if not eaten right away, food spoils.

Food spoliage affects the taste, smell, and appearance of food and the pathogens involved can make people sick. So some food–not fresh anymore–really needs to get discarded. 

Now Texas Tech University has invented MicroZap a microwave technology that functions to pasteurize food so it stays fresh longer.

For example, MicroZap can kill mold spores in bread in about 10 seconds. Thus, normal bread which goes moldy after 10 days, can stay fresh instead for 60 days–and at the “same mold content as it had when it came out of the oven.”

MicroZap can also be used on eggs and meat to improve food safety by killing E. Coli, Salmonella, and Listeria. 

An additional benefit to MicroZap is that food manufacturers may not need all the additives and preservatives that get mixed in, as well as the other chemicals used to mask the taste of them. 

 Further uses for MicroZap include the washing and drying of clothes in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centers, and fitness centers to sterilize them and even kill superbug MRSA (in excess of 99.999%).

The application of microwave technology to food safety and to sterilizing laundry is exciting not only from the perspective of reducing illness and infection, but also in terms of cutting waste and reducing hunger and malnutrition. 

If we can cost-effectively deploy this technology to improve safety and reduce waste, and then redistribute food to those in genuine need, we can feed the world with the food we already have at our fingertips–and there can be plenty of bread for everyone. 😉

(Source Photo: Minna Blumenthal) 

>“I Am Legend” and Enterprise Architecture

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Sometimes, when we architect change, we can make mistakes and people and organizations end up getting hurt.

In the movie I Am Legend, mankind architects a way to use a virus to kill cancer—seemingly, the cure that we’ve all been hoping for; but something goes terribly wrong and 90% of the world ends up dead, while another 9% end up as zombie cannibals feeding off of the remaining 1% of the population that is immune to the virus.

“Viral diseases such as rabies, yellow fever and smallpox have affected humans for centuries…Examples of common human diseases caused by viruses include the common cold, the flu, chickenpox and cold sores. Serious diseases such as Ebola, AIDS, avian influenza and SARS are caused by viruses…The ability of viruses to cause devastating epidemics in human societies has led to the concern that viruses could be weaponized for biological warfare.” (Adapted from Wikipedia)

So is there such a thing as a good virus?

Now scientists have architected, they believe, a way for viruses (bacteriophages) to kill bacterial infections (hopefully, not a repeat of the I Am Legend plot!)

MIT Technology Review, 15 April 2008, reports that “in the fight against infection, viruses take up where antibiotics leave off.”

Superbug bacteria infects up to 1.2 million patients a year in the U.S., particularly in hospitals where bacteria can spread from countertops, stethoscopes, and catheters.

Scientists have developed “nylon sutures coated with bacteriophages—viruses, found naturally in water, that eat bacteria while leaving human cells intact.”

Bacteriophages were used in World War II to treat soldiers with dysentery and gangrene, but this was soon overcome by rising interest in antibiotics. But “it takes time to get new classes of antibiotics onto the market, whereas bacteriophages can be easily isolated from environmental sources such as sewage water.”

How do the bacteriophages work?

“In water, these natural born-killers are extremely effective at eating up bacteria. The virus binds to bacteria and injects its DNA, replicating within its host until it reaches capacity, whereupon it bursts out, killing the bacteria in the process.”

What is the advantage to using bacteriophages?

“Antibiotics are broad-spectrum, and for certain bacterial strains, it’s easier to use bacteriophages if you know exactly which bacterium is causing the infection. You can target one strain, and it wouldn’t affect any other bacteria that may be protecting cells.”

Aside from sutures, how else might bacteriophages be applied?

They can be incorporated into sprays and creams.

Additionally, bacteriophages, aside from use in fighting bacteria, may be useful in detecting bacterial infection.

From an enterprise architecture perspective, the baseline for fighting infection has for many years been through antibiotics. Now, the target architecture includes viruses that can kill the bacteria. However, as in the case of the virus that is supposed to help cure, but instead causes a lethal epidemic, there is always the potential for things to go off course, when we architect change in the enterprise.

Catastrophic consequences from change can occur for example, when we make changes to products, processes, people, and technologies in organizations. These can result in unintended consequences like defective products, inefficient processes, accidents to employees, and failed IT implementations to name just a few.

The point is that enterprise architecture is not a bacteriophage or antibiotic cure-all. As architects, we need to be cognizant of the risks inherent in change (as well as in maintaining the status quo) and manage change thoughtfully, carefully, and with an eye toward risk management all along the way.

The last thing we want to be is Lieutenant Colonel Robert Neville (in the movie I Am Legend) left as the last healthy human along with his trusty dog in New York City and possibly the entire world.