The flu, Donald Fagan, Dana Blankenhorn, and the fellow in the brite nightgown


"The Brite Nightgown," from Donald Fagen's First And Only Solo Tour (2006) -

Dana Blankenhorn, who brings a distinctive mix of skepticism, intelligence, and gruff impatience to his flu coverage, digests some unsettling stats from the JAMA articles. Some of his highlights:

* Health care workers get little protection from fancy masks. Workers given ordinary medical masks had a nearly 1 in 4 chance of getting the disease. The same for those given fancy N95 fitted masks. Many medical workers have been resisting getting the shot.

* Hospitals must be prepared for extraordinary burdens in the face of H1N1. âHospitals must develop explicit policies to equitably determine who will and will not receive life support should absolute scarcity occur.â Short version, convene the death panels now.

* A study of early victims in Mexico found critical illness concentrated in the young, with 58 of 899 patients admitted to the hospital. Among these 58, hospital admission âwas associated with severe acute respiratory distress syndrome and shock, and had a high case-fatality rate.â If you were sick enough to go to the hospital you were sick enough to die.

* A study in Canada of 168 patients admitted to intensive care, including kids, found a median age of 32, with nearly one-third of the patients children. A variety of techniques were tried but overall, about 18% of these patients died.

Blankenhorn ends with this gem:

I have noted in comments here a blase attitude toward H1N1, and a definite resistance to get protection against it, for a variety of reasons.

W.C. Fields (above) famously called death the âfellow in the brite nightgown.â A few years ago Donald Fagan turned this into a catchy song. To those unconcerned about H1N1 feel free to hum it on your way out the door, when said fellow gives you the victory hug.

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Oh, please, call me Dana. I get embarrassed when I see myself referred to in the third person as "Blankenhorn."

I understand the name is spelled the same way in German, but pronounced quite differently.