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Orthopedic surgeon prepares to blast into space

Orthopedic surgeon Robert "Bobby" Satcher, MD, PhD, has traded in his scrubs for a space suit. Photo Dr. Satcher and the other five crew members will travel for three days to reach the International Space Station. One of his jobs at the station will be to operate the space shuttle's robotic arms, which "is similar to performing arthroscopic surgery in many ways," he told AAOS Now, a publication of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. [Photo courtesy of NASA] The specialist in child and adult bone cancer will leave behind operating rooms and the earth's atmosphere when he lifts off in space shuttle Atlantis, rocketing 5 million miles to the International Space Station. Launch is scheduled for Nov. 16, 2:28 p.m. Eastern time. Dr. Satcher, 44, will be the first orthopedic surgeon to orbit the earth. And he will be No. 23 on NASA's privileged list of American physicians who have become astronauts. "When we get within those last few seconds [of the countdown], I'm sure t ...

Donations to health care institutions drying up

One effect of the recession is that those who usually make charitable contributions to nonprofit hospitals and other health care institutions are keeping a tighter hold on their wallets. An increasing number of pledges are going unfilled, and donated stocks have become less valuable, according to a report issued Oct. 26 by the Assn. for Healthcare Philanthropy. "People are still supporting the institutions they care about, but they are giving less," said AHP President William C. McGinly, PhD. This analysis of data on 220 institutions showed that $8.588 billion was raised during fiscal 2008. This represented an increase of 2.9% from the $8.347 billion donated in fiscal 2007. Inflation, however, was 3.8%. Prior-year increases were 5.6% in 2007 and 11.5% in 2006. The philanthropy group said the report is of particular concern because many institutions closed their 2008 books in September, before the full scale of the economic downturn became apparent. Institutions that wrapped ...

DEA enforces written order requirement for schedule II drugs

Concerned about the diversion of controlled substances in nursing homes, hospice care organizations and long-term-care facilities, the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration no longer is allowing pharmacies to dispense schedule II drugs based on chart orders. The DEA has taken actions against long-term-care pharmacies in Ohio, Virginia and Wisconsin for violating the Controlled Substances Act. The agency says the federal law requires that, except in emergencies, doctors provide written orders directly to pharmacists. Following an emergency, a written order authorizing the prescription is required within seven days. Pharmacists who fill schedule II orders without a written prescription could face fines or criminal prosecution from the DEA. A letter from the DEA about these requirements is available online ( Traditionally, physicians have given orders for schedule II drugs verbally to nurses who enter them as chart ...