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August 28, 2020

Weekend reads: The woman who was declared dead—until she got to the funeral home

Daily Briefing

    Ben Palmer's reads

    This woman was declared dead—and found alive at the funeral home. On Sunday, paramedics in a Detroit suburb responded to a call of an unresponsive woman. According to Johnny Menifee, chief of the Southfield Fire Department, the woman wasn't breathing when paramedics arrived. The paramedics then performed CPR and "other life-reviving methods for 30 minutes," after which the woman was declared dead. But later that day, staff at the James H. Cole Funeral Home discovered that the 20-year-old woman was actually alive, and when paramedics arrived to the funeral home, the woman "was breathing, she had a decent heart rate, she had decent blood-oxygen," according to Dave Fornell, deputy commissioner of the Detroit Fire Department. The woman was transported to Sinai-Grace Hospital.

    Can you safely go to a movie theater right now? Movie theaters are starting to reopen across the country—but just how safe is it for you to go? Writing for Vulture, Jason Bailey talks with Robert Lahita, chair of medicine at St. Joseph's Health, who said while there's an "inherent risk" in going, he "was actually surprised at how thorough some of the planning is" for audience safety, including socially distant seating plans, frequent cleaning of theaters, and temperature checks. And while he cautions people to be careful—to wear masks, socially distance themselves, and sanitize their seat, among other measures—he thinks people are probably "95% safe if you go to the movies."

    Marcelle Maginnis' reads

    Hospitals tend to dispense drugs in the morning—not when best for patients, study finds. Hospital clinicians tend to prescribe medicines in the morning, which while convenient for clinicians, is not necessarily optimal for patients' circadian rhythms, according to a new study in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. For the study, researchers examined the administration of about 500,000 doses of a dozen different drugs, including painkillers and antibiotics, noting a pattern of "distinct morning-time surges and overnight lulls," with most concentrated between 8 a.m. and 12:00 p.m. However, that schedule doesn't necessarily align with when patients need their medication (heartburn, for instance, often strikes at night), nor is it calibrated as to when drugs work best (antipsychotics, for example, appear to cause fewer metabolic issues when administered in the morning, while patients tend to respond better to blood pressure medication at night). The researchers concluded, "The prevailing dogma is that hospital treatment is administered as needed regardless of time of day," but "[o]ur findings challenge this notion and reveal a potential operational barrier to best clinical care."

    Is the coronavirus epidemic making us all more clumsy? Writing in The Atlantic, Amanda Mull explains how she's noticed herself becoming progressively more clumsy over the course of the epidemic—breaking, dropping, and bumping into things "not only at home, but also out in the world"—and every time she complains about the change, someone else "chimed in with their own recent examples." Mull writes that while it's "basically impossible" to determine whether people have collectively become clumsier over the past few months, reports have indicated that Americans are becoming increasingly stressed and anxious—mental processes that, according to Gerald Voelbel, an occupational-therapy professor at New York University, can affect spatial awareness. But it's just as likely, Voelbel said, that people are not so much more clumsy than they used to be as they are more aware of their clumsiness—these accidents can be frustrating, and when people are "already highly agitated," they can spur "an outsized emotional reaction," Mull writes. Either way, Mull advises that "it might be smart to get a case for your phone and some hard-plastic drinking glasses. Think of them as safety gear for the long haul."

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