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November 22, 2019

When Google says, "I have your health data"

Give it here, Malfoy! A "fact-finding" review by federal regulators has brought up concerns over patient privacy. Google recently gained access to millions of patient records (some maybe un-anonymized) to use for data synthesis and analysis. Google has formed relationships with the Mayo Clinic and a hospital chain called Ascension, among others, to collect this data for analysis by its artificial intelligence tools. Private institutions are currently able to share this information at an ad hoc, individual basis. Until there are universal regulations on the sharing of patient data, there's no control over who shares what... and with whom.

What's to thank (blame) for the first double lung transplant? —

Vaping. Recently, the first double lung transplant was performed in the USA on a 17-year-old patient whose lungs had been irreversibly damaged by vaping. While the patient has a long road to recovery, we are happy to report that he is doing well so far. This is one of many recent articles that highlights the dangers of vaping, with a total of 39 deaths and 2,000 known lung injuries in the USA alone. Can we just go ahead and cancel vaping? #vapingisover, get it trending.

Who's the new belle (or bro) of the ball? —

Male nurses. More men are turning to nursing as a second career. With roughly 4 million nurses in the US, a 2017 analysis of this number indicates men account for nearly 13%, which is up from 9% in 2010 and 3% in the 1970s. Many nursing schools are looking to increase the number of male students starting nursing programs. This is a welcome shift given the increasing demand for nursing professionals across the country and also ensures that some patients who feel more comfortable with a same-sex nurse can receive the care they're looking for.

How can we address workplace violence in medical settings? —

De-escalation, panic buttons, and more transparency. Many nurses, especially those working in the ER, are becoming more vocal about instances of workplace violence. Some say it's not uncommon to witness, or experience first-hand, some instance of workplace violence during each shift: "For many years it's been accepted as part of the job, but in today's world we recognize no one should be scared at work," says Patti Kunz Howard, president of the Emergency Nurses Association. Some more popular approaches include teaching more de-escalation techniques in nursing school, making panic buttons in hospital rooms more accessible, and encouraging victims of workplace violence to report incidents.

Will space travel shed light on cancer treatment? —

Know, we will soon. Six years of research and development done by NASA has resulted in a novel countermeasures program (CMP) utilized to better understand and then limit, or altogether prevent, the negative physiological effects of space travel. Researchers have since been able to learn from this program and show remarkable similarities between the physiological effects of spaceflight and those of cancer. Could the efforts to mitigate the negative consequences of space travel also play a role in limiting the effects of cancer on the body?

Speaking of which, who's not letting cancer get in the way of their plans? —

This couple. Jillian Hanson was diagnosed with Stage 1 breast cancer in July of 2017. After removing two of her lymph nodes, doctors realized her cancer was far more advanced than initially suspected. Given the prognosis, she told her boyfriend, Max Allegretti, that she would understand if he wanted "out." He said he wanted to stay by her side no matter what, and that's exactly what he did. On her last day of chemotherapy treatment, he proposed to her, and the two are set to spend a long and healthy life together.

Clockin' Out ✌

Dogs can't operate MRI machinery... but CATscan!

Your turn! For next week's Handoff, we're going to share your nurse-related stories, whether they be horror stories, comedies, or heart warmers. To share your story with us, simply reply to this email with your name, story, and current unit/specialty!