The Accreditation Council for Graduate Medical Education (ACGME) announced on March 10 that first-year doctors will be allowed to work 24-hour shifts in hospitals starting July 1. The cap currently limiting physicians to 16 consecutive hours of patient care will now be lifted. The new standards will allow four hours to transition patients from one doctor to the next, so first-year residents could work as long as 28 straight hours, the same as more senior medical residents.
New Jersey health officials report that 31 patients developed infections after receiving injections to treat knee pain at the Osteo Relief Institute in Wall Township. The New Jersey Department of Health says the patients developed cases of septic arthritis, a painful infection surrounding their joints. The infections are all linked to the Osteo Relief Institute Jersey Shore.
Contaminated syringes have been blamed for a deadly outbreak of Burkholderia cepacia bacteria that has infected nearly 150 people since August, including 52 cases in New Jersey. According the CDC “the majority of these cases have occurred in patients residing at long-term care or rehabilitation facilities who were receiving intravenous (IV) fluids and/or antibiotics through central venous catheters.” The outbreak may be linked to the deaths of six people who contracted the bacteria in the states of New York and Pennsylvania. The locations and number of known infections are detailed in the chart below:
It has been reported that the State of New Jersey is now aware of 52 cases of B.cepacia infection in 2016. These cases are linked to an outbreak being investigated by health officials on the Federal and State level.
B.cepacia, or Burkholderia cepacia, is a complex of bacteria usually found in soil and water, and it can survive for prolonged periods of time in a moist environment. People who are most susceptible to this infection typically have health problems such as weakened immune systems or chronic lung diseases, particularly cystic fibrosis.
The former Vice President of Robert Wood Johnson Hamilton’s medical staff has agreed to an indefinite suspension of his medical license with the New Jersey State Board of Medical Examiners. RWJ Hamilton announced the doctor’s immediate resignation from their staff on December 31, 2015.
The surgeon, Dr. Vijay Vaswani, signed the consent form from the State Board, which admitted to his long history with substance abuse, in particular cocaine. In addition, Dr. Vaswani admitted to prescribing Percocet to three people who were not his patients and did not have a medical use for this drug. In the consent order, these allegations of his inappropriate behavior represented “a palpable demonstration of an imminent danger to the public.”
Dr. Vaswani had a history of drug abuse prior to obtaining his medical license, and in obtaining his New Jersey license in 2001 he agreed to participate anonymously in the Board of Medical Examiners alternate resolution program through a professional assistance program. In 2011, he completed his treatment and was allowed to withdraw from the program.
However, on December 22, 2015, Dr. Vaswani was interviewed by investigators in New Jersey’s Division of Consumer Affairs as well as the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) for undisclosed reasons.
Besides a suspension of his medical license, the surgeon also agreed to surrender his federal DEA drug registration. Stark & Stark is investigating claims on behalf of patients and family members of patients of Dr. Vaswani. Anyone treated by Dr. Vaswani is invited to contact us for a case evaluation and consultation.