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Health Highlights: June 3, 2019


Here are some of the latest health and medical news developments, compiled by the editors of HealthDay:

12 Million Patient Files May Have Been Stolen From Quest Diagnostics

Quest Diagnostics says millions of patient files may have been stolen in a data breach.

The giant clinical laboratory company said an unauthorized person gained access via the American Collection Agency, a billing company used by Optum360, which is contracted by Quest, CNN Business reports.

The breached data may include Social Security numbers and medical information, but not test results, the company said.

Since Quest was notified of the theft on May 14 it has stopped using the American Collection Agency and has engaged investigators to get to the bottom of the hacking problem.

"We are committed to keeping our patients, health care providers, and all relevant parties informed as we learn more," Quest said in a press release.

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Patient Dies in Outbreak of Legionnaires Disease in Ohio Hospital

A patient died Sunday during an outbreak of Legionnaires disease, a severe type of pneumonia, at Grove City, Mount Carmel Health System, the Associated Press reported.

Dr. Richard Streck, the hospital's chief clinical operations officer told the AP that it's too soon to know exactly what the patient died from.

The first patient to come down with Legionnaires had been admitted to the hospital April 29, the day after the facility opened.

Legionnaires is caused by the Legionella bacteria, which can grow in water in building cooling systems. It's spread as people inhale contaminated water droplets, according to the CDC.

Those most at risk are people with weakened immune systems or chronic lung disease, the agency says.

The hospital is working with county health personnel to determine the cause of the Legionnaires outbreak.

The Ohio Department of Health ordered the hospital to test its ice making machines and clean them. It's also been ordered to test and clean the building's cooling towers and give the test results to the department.

Mount Carmel has been under investigation since a doctor was caught overprescribing pain medicine to 29 patients who died in their other hospitals, the AP notes.

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FDA Making Experimental Cancer Treatments Easier to Get

Each year, thousands of cancer patients seek access to drugs that have shown promise, but haven't be approved. Now they may have a better shot at getting them under a new initiative from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Associated Press reported.

A case in point is that of Sally Atwater whose doctor spent two months calling and filling out forms to get an experimental drug to treat her lung cancer that had spread to her brain and spine.

And then there's Nancy Goodman, who unsuccessful pleaded with eight companies for a drug to treat her child's brain tumor, which ultimately killed him.

Rather than making doctors beg for these drugs, if the company approves, the FDA will intercede and help the process along, the agency announced at the meeting of the American Society of Clinical Oncology in Chicago.

"We are here to help. We are not here to make a drug company give a specific drug to a patient. We don't have that authority," Dr. Richard Pazdur, who is leading the FDA program, told the AP.

"We do not want to have the situation where somebody who screams loudest gets the drug" while others don't, he said.

Goodman, who started the group Kids v Cancer, told the AP that the FDA was never the problem, it was drug companies' refusals. But the FDA's new program "is absolutely going to change things," she said.

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Perdue Recalls Almost 32,000 Pounds of Chicken

Poultry giant Perdue is recalling 31,702 pounds of ready-to-eat chicken, the company announced Friday.

The recall follows customer complaints that the fully cooked chicken products contained pieces of bone, according to the recall notice posted by the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

The recalled products, which were sold by retailers nationwide, include:

  • 11.2 oz. plastic trays containing "PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST TENDERS GLUTEN FREE" with a "USE BY MAY 20 2019" and UPC bar code of 072745-001437 on the label.
  • 12 oz. plastic trays containing "PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST NUGGETS WHOLE GRAIN" with a "USE BY MAY 20 2019" and UPC bar code of 072745-001642 on the label.
  • 12 oz. plastic trays containing "PERDUE Simply Smart ORGANICS BREADED CHICKEN BREAST STRIPS WHOLE GRAIN" with a "USE BY MAY 20 2019" and UPC bar code of 072745-002656 on the label.
  • 10-lb. bulk boxes of "Chef Quik Breaded Chicken Tenders Boneless Tender Shaped Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat" with Case Code 22143 on the label.
  • 10-lb. bulk boxes of "Chef Quik Chicken Breast Strips Strip Shaped Breaded Chicken Breast Patties with Rib Meat" with Case Code 77265 on the label.

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