What's New and Noteworthy

Recall of Cryolife tissue

In case you have not read in the New York Times and Wall Street Journal, or your daily newspaper, in the last several months there has been a problem with tissue bank products from a company whose name is "Cryolife".

It first came to light in Minnesota in which some serious infections were caused by human donor tissue from this company. One patient with a serious infection caused by the tissue died. In Canada, "Health Canada" has recalled all soft tissue that was produced by Cryolife since October 2001.

There are many excellent tissue banks around the country. In our practice we have dealt primarily with a company whose name is Musculoskeletal Transplant Foundation. Like most orthopaedic surgeons, we are using what is termed "allograft" tissue, which is donor tissue from tissue banks on a frequent basis.

The problem in dealing with human graft tissue from one patient to another is to sterilize the tissue, but not compromise the strength or integrity of the tissue.

In the future, and no one knows exactly how far in the future this will be, research is ongoing to grow human tissue or to produce growth factors that induce a patient's body to make new bone, ligament, or tendon tissue.

Web Links: FDA News Release: http://www.fda.gov/bbs/topics/NEWS/2002/NEW00827.html LaurusHealth.com News: http://www.laurushealth.com/healthnews/reuters/NewsStory0315200222.htm

House calls

House calls by physicians are increasing greatly according to Medicare data. Actually home visits on Medicare patients rose to 1.5 million in 2001 nationally, which is an eight fold increase since 1996.

Apparently Medicare has recognized that reimbursement to the physician for a house call is far less expensive than the patient being brought to the emergency room. It is a much lower cost means of screening patients before they are brought to the hospital by their families.

Medicare believes we may see more of this in the future and feels that it is beneficial to the patient.

Have we come full circle or what?