Conjoined Twins Separated at Medical City Children’s Hospital

Surgeons at Medical City Children’s Hospital successfully separated conjoined twins Owen and Emmett Ezell on Aug. 24, the hospital announced Wednesday afternoon. The babies are in stable condition. Owen and Emmett were born joined from the breast bone to the belly button, and shared a liver and bowels. Also, the infants’ intestines were outside of their bodies, covered only by a thin layer of tissue. Owen and Emmett were delivered at Medical City on July 15, and they have been treated in the hospital’s Level 4 NICU for the past six weeks. At birth, they weighed a combined 11 pounds, 15… Full Story

Dallas County Medical Society Petitions the State to Require Coal-Powered Plants to Reduce Emissions

The Dallas County Medical Society filed a petition with the Texas Commission on Environmental Quality Wednesday, asking the agency to adopt rules to reduce the pollution from three coal-fired power plants contributing to high ozone levels across Dallas-Fort Worth and East Texas. DCMS and the Texas Medical Association previously sponsored a study by Rice University environmental engineering scientist Daniel Cohan to review all the scientific information about ozone pollution in North Texas and identify ways to reduce ozone levels without compromising the state’s energy grid or jobs. “Evidence is overwhelming that our high ozone levels are causing increasing numbers of area children to develop asthma,… Full Story

Tax Breaks and Incentives Available for North Texas Small Businesses Trying to Keep Up With the Affordable Care Act

Small businesses across North Texas soon will be eligible for tax breaks and incentives to help them comply with new Affordable Care Act-mandated rules, U.S. Health and Human Services regional director Marjorie Petty said Wednesday in Dallas. Healthcare reform was the front-running topic of a lengthy lunchtime discussion Wednesday during which Petty addressed the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and its health insurance exchanges. Petty cited the 48.6 million uninsured Americans and 17.9 percent of economic output currently tied up in the healthcare system as key indicators of the critical problem. Without reform, she said, a third of total economic… Full Story

Texas Cyclospora Cases Not Related to Nationwide Outbreak, Investigation Finds

At least 280 people have been infected with cyclospora in Texas since July, but those cases don’t appear related to similar illnesses in Iowa and Nebraska, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said this week. “The findings in Texas differ from those from earlier investigations in Iowa and Nebraska,” CDC officials wrote in an update. So far, at least 610 people in 22 states have been sickened by cyclospora, a parasite that typically spreads through contaminated produce or water, the CDC said. Forty-three people have been hospitalized. New cases have been winding down, though illnesses that began in mid-July might… Full Story

Texas Health Resources To Open New Center Focused on Population Health

Texas Health Resources unveiled plans this week for the Texas Health Population Health, Education & Innovation Center, appointing Tricia Nguyen, M.D., as the center’s president. The center will serve as a hub for sharing best practices, disseminating information about innovative approaches, leading physician-directed population health initiatives, and coordinating community-based well-being collaboration. “Texas Health is the vanguard of improving well-being and implementing physician-directed population health initiatives,” said THR CEO Douglas Hawthorne. “We are leading the way in advancing from the old world of episodic, fee-for-service health care to the new world of accountable care and a value-based model of health care.… Full Story

First Class of Dallas Health Wildcatters Announced

Health Wildcatters, a Dallas-based healthcare seed accelerator, announced this week the 12 companies chosen for the inaugural program. Similar to other healthcare technology-based incubators, Health Wildcatters will focus on healthcare IT, digital health/mobile health companies, medical devices, diagnostic, and pharmaceuticals. During the three-month accelerator program, the teams will be paired with mentors to prepare their companies for investment.  Startups receive up to $35,000 in seed money. In exchange, Health Wildcatters takes 8 percent equity. This year’s companies: – 20over8 develops a vision testing system that goes beyond the standard eye chart to reflect realistic, real-world testing conditions. – Care Starter is an app that gives patients… Full Story

Doctors Urge More Hospitals to Perform Abortions

The medical community should integrate abortion into women’s-health services and medical training, according to a letter signed by 100 OB-GYNs and set to publish in the September issue of the American Journal of Obstetrics and Gynecology. Time Magazine obtained an early copy of the article, which also condemns new state restrictions on abortion as a “political regression” and criticizes hospitals for relinquishing abortion to stand-alone clinics. “In our view, hospitals have disregarded the responsibility that our academic predecessors expected them to assume,” the professors wrote, according to Time. “The savings in lives and money from legalization were soon forgotten and many hospitals now claim they… Full Story

As Measles Outbreak Continues, Pediatricians Urge Immunization

The measles outbreak in North Texas has now grown to 21 cases, forcing area pediatricians to remind their patients and their communities to do something that they long thought was a given: get immunized. “There appears to be an element in our society that has a fundamental mistrust of any recommendations to the public,” said University of North Texas Health Science Center pediatrics department chair Paul Bowman. “They think there is some sort of peculiar motivation behind recommending these treatments. But many people are not familiar with the devastation that can occur [from a lack of immunization], devastation that is almost entirely preventable.” All… Full Story

Healthcare Job Growth Slows

The federal budget sequester and uncertainty about healthcare reform may be curtailing hiring in physician practices and hospitals, a recent survey conducted by outplacement consulting firm Challenger, Gray & Christmas found. The U.S. economy recorded the fewest number of announced job cuts in a month since 1997, but the healthcare care sector was not as fortunate as much of the rest of the economy, the firm said. Its survey indicated that the sector had announced 6,843 job cuts in July, the most job losses announced in a month since November 2009. “Cuts in Medicare reimbursements brought about by sequestration and healthcare… Full Story

Amgen Buying Cancer Drugmaker Onyx for $10.4 Billion

Although Amgen is the world’s biggest biotechnology company, the drugmaker has lacked a presence in one of the industry’s largest sectors: cancer drugs. On Sunday, that changed. The company agreed to buy Onyx Pharmaceuticals for close to $10.4 billion in cash, the Associated Press reported. The transaction is expected to close at the beginning of the fourth quarter, subject to regulatory approval. Amgen’s purchase ranks among the five biggest-ever takeovers of a biotechnology company, according to the New York Times. It’s also the second-biggest takeover in Amgen history, trailing only the company’s $17 billion deal for Immunex in 2002.