New Phila. health agenda; OT risks

February 22, 2008 3:21:16 PM PST
We're finding lessons for living in deaths, and learning why working overtime may not be so good.

In Healthcheck today -

Here's one to tell your boss - people who work overtime regularly are more likely to be injured on the job - 60 per cent more likely.

Researchers at the university of massachusetts say the injuries range from serious ones, to overuse injuries, like carpal tunnel syndrome.

The long hours also raise the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes.

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"The Medical Examiner's office is ready for a fresh perspective." Dr. Sam Gulino doesn't plan to be a stereotypical medical examiner, like the television character Quincy, focused only on victims of crime.

When Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Donald Schwarz named him to the post last week, Dr. Gulino said forensics can be used to help AVOID deaths.

He explains, "Not look only at individual cases, but groups of cases within the community over time, for similarities between the cases, looking for chances for prevention."

Two special interests are child abuse, and preventing falls.

Dr. Gulino says the interest in forensic medicine, spurred by the crime shows, can be a boost, however.

As he says, "If you can get the public's interest, and hold that attention, that's the time you can get the other messages out."

Dr. Donald Schwarz, the new health commissioner plans to give his entire department a higher profile, with the backing of Mayor Michael Nutter.

He says of Mayor Nutter, "We now have a mayor who understands the importance of health."

Dr. Schwarz, who comes from Childrens Hospital of Philadelphia, says environmental concerns, like exposure to lead paint, and pollution - which last week was linked to lower IQ's in children, will be high priorities.

And look for improvements in city health centers, which have been the target of complaints because of long waits, and red tape.

He says, smiling, "We are committed to making them more customer-friendly."


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