Don’t get sick in July – really!

With almost no experience, newly graduated medical students enter teaching hospitals around the country every July, beginning their careers as interns. At the same time, the last year’s interns and junior residents take a step up and assume new responsibilities.

In addition to developing their nascent clinical skills, each entering class of interns must grasp the many rules and standards for operating in this “new” hospital structure.

More experienced physicians share a joke about this changing of the guard: Don’t get sick in July

“The good news for patients is that in most cases, it’s very difficult for a physician to make a mistake that results in a patient’s death,” said Anupam Jena, HMS assistant professor of health care policy and of medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital and lead author of the study. “But for severely ill patients, health can be very tenuous. A small error or a very slight delay in care is potentially devastating…”

Overall, they found that patients at teaching hospitals had a lower risk of dying than at non-teaching hospitals, but in July, the risk at teaching hospitals rose to the same level that patients at non-teaching hospitals faced. For high-risk patients who came to the teaching hospitals with heart attacks, the risk of death in hospital went from 20 percent to 25 percent. They also found that among teaching hospitals, the difference between outcomes in May and July is greatest in institutions with the highest percentages of trainees.

The researchers ruled out two potential factors that they suspected may have accounted for some of that difference — the prevalence of percutaneous coronary intervention (i.e. cardiac stents) and of complications from the use of blood thinners.

Without evidence for specific procedures or protocols that could prevent increased deaths, the researchers said that their findings suggest that, especially during the early months in the training cycle, oversight should be intensively focused on high-risk cases rather than across cases overall. In July, doctors with more experience should play a greater role in the care of high-risk patients than has typically been the case.

I never ran into this dicho before. Though it has been at least 40 years since I worked in a teaching hospital. And it was one of the very best.

Still – remind self not to have a stroke or heart attack in July. Especially since the only hospital in town is known as Saint Victims.

Twinkies set to return to supermarket shelves – I can hear teeth starting to rot already!

twinkies

Twinkies will soon be making a triumphant return to store shelves, according to Hostess’ website.

The company, which went bankrupt in 2012 and is under new management, is touting the return on July 15 as “the sweetest comeback in the history of ever.”

Hostess is now owned by the private equity firms Apollo Global Management and Metropoulos & Co.

“America wanted Hostess back — they wanted the original. Very soon consumers will once again be able to enjoy Twinkies, CupCakes and other great Hostess snack cakes. A comeback by any other name could never be as sweet,” Daren Metropoulos, principal of Metropoulos & Co., said in a statement to ABC News…

Rich Seban, president of Hostess, told the AP that prices for the cakes will remain the same: A box of 10 Twinkies will cost $3.99.

You could just eat $3.99 worth of sugar with a spoon and get more value.

He also said that the new Hostess company will invest in new products, something the old company was criticized for not doing.

He told the AP that the company is looking to expand with gluten-free, added fiber, low sugar and low sodium products.

They plan to offer additional products not as sugary, not as crappy, not as lacking in dietary fiber, not as many chemical flavors. In other words, stuff better for you than frigging Twinkies.

Yes, I have tried a Twinkie. In 1959. I see no need to repeat the experiment.

July was hottest month on record for continental United States

July was the hottest month in the continental United States on record, beating the hottest month in the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the U.S. government reported on Wednesday.

It was also the warmest January-to-July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, and the warmest 12-month period, eclipsing the last record set just a month ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) said.

This is the fourth time in as many months that U.S. temperatures broke the hottest-12-months record…

Along with record heat, drought covered nearly 63 percent of the 48 contiguous states, according to NOAA’s Drought Monitor, with near-record drought conditions in the Midwest, where 75 percent of the U.S. corn and soybean crops are grown.

Analysts expect the drought, the worst since 1956, will yield the smallest corn crop in six years, meaning record-high prices and tight supplies. It would be the third year of declining corn production despite large plantings…

Drought and heat fed each other in July, according to Jake Crouch, a scientist at NOAA’s National Climatic Data Center.

Dry soils in the summer tend to drive up daytime temperatures, and because dry soils prevailed over so much of the United States, that helped make things hotter over a wide area, Crouch said…

The hotter it gets, the drier it gets, the hotter it gets,” Crouch said.

President Obama has called on Congress to pass a farm bill so disaster aid can flow to livestock producers. Crop insurance covers most row-crop growers but ranchers aren’t especially covered.

Of course, the folks who pray for rain – could pray for a Congress that pays attention to science and real-time economics. Mail me a penny postcard when that happens. The Congress, that is. Not the praying.

Tesla Motors claims first-ever monthly profit = $1 million in July

It’s shaping up to be a bittersweet summer for Tesla Motors. While in June the electric car startup became embroiled in a lawsuit with founder Martin Eberhard, the Department of Energy also approved a long-awaited $465 million loan for battery manufacturing and the Model S electric sedan. And now Tesla says that in July, for the first time ever, it achieved “overall corporate profitability,” with $1 million in earnings on $20 million in revenue.

Over the last several months, Tesla has highlighted units within the company as they became cash-flow positive — first the powertrain supply unit, and then the core Roadster business…

What made the difference last month? It wasn’t the DOE loan. Konrad confirmed with us this morning that the government funds were not included in the calculation for July earnings. Rather, it was primarily sales of the new, second-generation Roadster (pictured above) that helped push it into the black for July. In addition, the $128,500 Roadster Sport, a tricked-out version of the Roadster, began shipping in late June with beefier margins than the $109,000 base model.

According to Konrad, there were no one-time events in July that boosted revenue — just healthy sales. But the company is now poised to make some big investments developing the Model S. “It’s definitely conceivable that we would not be in the black every month going forward,” Konrad told us this morning, “as expenditures ramp up” for the Model S project.

That’s OK. Any start-up having a profitable month this early in its young life is doing respectably well.

More power to you, folks. I still wish you’d think about starting up the low[er]-price sedan here in New Mexico.