Dr. Atul Gawande has written a number of fascinating books and articles on low-tech, money-saving solutions to our health care woes, including importance of simple check lists in the emergency room and the costly problem of unnecessary tests and procedures that don’t actually improve heath outcomes. His latest article, published in the January 24 issue of The New Yorker, examines the benefits of providing personalized care — some might call it lifestyle coaching — for the neediest patients. Producer Shoshana Guy caught up with Gawande to learn more.
The Daily Need
Thousands of police are on the streets of the capital and hundreds of arrests have been made in an attempt to quell anti-government demonstrations. Protesters, spurred on by recent events in Tunisia, want Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to end his 30-year rule and for the parliament to be dissolved.
The government blocked Internet access inside the country Friday. As darkness fell in Cairo on what some demostrators have called the “Friday of wrath,” a curfew imposed by the military has gone largely ignored. The government opposition leader, Nobel Peace laureate Mohamed ElBaradei, was placed under house arrest shortly after being doused with a water canon while his supporters tried to shield him from police. Reports and video indicated that Egypt’s ruling party headquarters are on fire. President Mubarak is expected to make a televised speech this evening to address the unrest.
Residents in the Northeast are digging themselves out again this morning. More than a foot of new snow fell overnight in some places, and New York’s Central Park recorded 19 inches of new snow, bringing the total for January to a record-breaking 36 inches. Facebook status updates abound with photos of snow-covered cars and gleeful announcements of where the sledding will be taking place because public school kids in Boston, New York City, Washington, D.C., and Philadelphia woke up to find they’d been granted a snow day.
New York City offices were closed and bus service was suspended. Downed power lines in Washington, D.C., left thousands without power, and snow-slicked roads disrupted even President Obama’s travel schedule, as Marine One was grounded and his motorcade got stuck in traffic. There is more snow in the forecast for tomorrow.
A grand piano has mysteriously appeared on a sandbar about a half mile from shore in Miami’s Biscayne Bay. Exactly how or why someone would haul a 650-pound piano out there is not known. Biscayne Bay is where salt water from the sea mixes with freshwater from the land, serving as a nursery to young marine life. Dumping anything in that area is illegal and violators are subject to arrest.
The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission has no plans to remove the piano. Having decided that it poses no threat to wildlife or boaters, they will let the salty sea water and air do what they will with the instrument.
If you had the chance to tickle its keys, which song would you play?
UPDATED | Thursday, Jan. 27
Mystery solved, and you can read about it here. But the answer is not as interesting as the question.