Tag Archives: New Orleans

BP to Pay Spill-Related Health Claims

Gulf Coast residents who may have been made sick — or who may become sick in the future — as a result of the April 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil spill may now be able to make a claim against BP. The oil giant announced on March 2 that it had reached an agreement in principle for a settlement with the attorneys representing the thousands of plaintiffs in the massive case.

Overall, the company says it will make almost $8 billion available — about $5 billion will go toward health claims.

Photo by Alicia Ault/IMNG Medical Media

In a sense, it is opportunity No. 2 for the fisherman, shrimpers, restaurant and hotel owners, and hundreds of thousands of others who make their living or just live in the areas affected by the spill. BP had already set aside $20 billion — in June 2010 — to pay mostly economic damage and other direct economic claims.

At that time, there was an outcry about the lack of any dedicated funds to cover mental health issues or physical illnesses that might arise out of the oil spill. I blogged about that here, in an earlier post.

In the almost 2 years since the disaster, BP says it has paid “approximately $6.1 billion to resolve more than 220,000 claims from individuals and businesses” through the trust fund, known as the Gulf Coast Claims Facility. It has been administered by Kenneth Feinberg, not coincidentally, the man who also oversaw the claims process for the Sept. 11 Victim Compensation Fund.

According to lengthy article in the New Orleans Times-Picayune on the proposed settlement, Mr. Heisenberg is now stepping down and another special master will take over administration of the Trust Fund.

The proposed settlement — which will come out of the $20 billion Trust Fund — has one agreement to address economic loss claims and another for medical claims. For those who have a qualifying medical claim, there is essentially a 21-year statute of limitations. It’s likely taking into account that some conditions — such as cancer — may take that long to show up in clean-up workers or others exposed to either the oil or the chemicals used to mitigate the disaster.

BP is also making $105 million available “to improve the availability, scope, and quality of health care in Gulf communities.” The money will cover an expansion of primary care, mental health services, and access to environmental health specialists, according to the company.

If the agreement in principle goes into effect, the plaintiffs who eventually get paid will release BP from future liability claims.

Alicia Ault

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Filed under Epidemiology, Family Medicine, Health Policy, IMNG, Internal Medicine, Litigation, Psychiatry

Video of the Week: Propranolol and Hemangiomas at AAD

Over the past several years, the blood pressure drug propranolol has engendered a lot of excitment as a treatment for infantile hemangiomas.  While the drug has shown impressive results, caution is still needed, Dr. Sheila Fallon Friedlander told our reporter Naseem Miller at the annual meeting of the American Academy of Dermatology in New Orleans.

There are still many unknowns, such as the proper dosage, length of treatment and the mechanism of action, according to Dr. Friedlander, who is professor of clinical pediatrics and medicine at the University of California, San Diego, and section chief of pediatric dermatology at Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego.

To find out more, read the story at Skin & Allergy News, where you can also read the latest news from the AAD meeting.

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Filed under Dermatology, IMNG, Pediatrics, Video

Going to AAD? Places to Get Your Groove On

The twin foundations of New Orleans life are music and food.  If you’ve ever been to the city, you already know that, and it’s likely what draws you back — that and the plethora of medical meetings held there each year.

Just as an aside, is there anyone who doesn’t think it’s ironic that cardiologists would choose to gather in a city that has enshrined butter, pork fat, and salt?

If you are headed to the American Academy of Dermatology’s annual meeting Feb. 4-8, we’ve got guides to both food and music for you. Food was ably covered by my colleague Michele Sullivan, here.  Now on to music.

First, know that it is New Orleans; being a laissez-faire kind of town, nothing ever is written in stone. So it is wise to check the listings before heading out anywhere.  Good places to look are in the New Orleans Times-Picayune’s daily events page, WWOZ’s live wire (on-air at 90.7 FM on the hour and on the Web), and Offbeat magazine’s club listings.

Many bands or musicians have weekly gigs, and some play nightly, so there is more than one opportunity to catch some of them.

Geno Delafose via Flickr user Bruce Tuten

Thursday is one of the most popular nights to go out and always offers an embarrassment of riches. On Thursday, Feb. 3, you can choose from the smooth jazz sounds of Jeremy Davenport at the Ritz-Carlton, to the funkier trumpet of Shamarr Allen at Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta, to the pounding zydeco beat of Dwayne Dopsie at the Krazy Korner on Bourbon St.  Zydeco, with its deep bass and drums, is actually not a New Orleans music form. It originated in southwest Louisiana, just as Cajun music did.  If you want to see a real zydeco cowboy from that area and some serious dancing, head to Rock ‘N’ Bowl to see Geno Delafose. Rock ‘N’ Bowl is a New Orleans icon: part bar, part bowling alley, and a testament to post-Katrina survival.

For a divey experience, try Le Bon Temps in Uptown on Magazine St. for the Soul Rebels brass band’s regular gig in the cramped collegiate space.  At the opposite end of the spectrum is the music/interview at the Ogden Museum of Southern Art’s Odgen After Hours program. You can sip wine, tour the museum, listen to music, and be in bed by 10pm.

On Friday, try walking up and down Frenchmen St., where many of the clubs lining both sides of the street for several blocks have no cover, and you can check out the music from the street. There’s almost always a party around  trumpeter Kermit Ruffins — a one-man New Orleans- and self-promoting machine who will be at the Blue Nile, but not until 11 pm.  Kermit also holds court Tuesday nights at a bar in Treme, Bullets, and Thursday nights at Vaughan’s in the Bywater.  He will be recognizable to anyone who has seen the HBO miniseries Treme, as will Vaughan’s.

Something more low-key? Try local singer-songwriter Paul Sanchez at the off-the-beaten path and no-smoking bar, Chickie Wah Wah.  Or the Ellis Marsalis Quartet at Snug Harbor, a premier jazz club on Frenchmen St. The Marsalis family is one of the pre-eminent New Orleans music families, along with the Nevilles.

Saturday night, check into d.b.a. (which also recently went nonsmoking) on Frenchmen for the superbly soulful vocals of John Boutte.  John lent his song Treme to HBO for the series’ theme song.  Only a $5 cover and the show starts at 8pm.

Kermit Ruffins via Flickr user dsb nola

Monday night is a good time to see David Doucet of Beausoleil play his acoustic guitar and spin tales from his Cajun upbringing at the stately Columns Hotel on St. Charles Ave. No cover. Funk and jam band devotees go to the Maple Leaf Bar for Papa Grows Funk.  Tuesday night belongs to the quintessential horn-based sounds of Rebirth Brass Band at the Maple Leaf.  Expect a mostly college-age crowd and a very late start.

Wednesday night, you’d be remiss if you did not at least stop in at d.b.a. for some of Walter Wolfman Washington’s seriously bluesy funk.

Almost any night is a good time to stop into Preservation Hall, which opened in 1961 with the aim of protecting the heritage of New Orleans jazz. If Clint Maedgen is singing with them, you’re in for a treat. The powerful vocalist is usually tied up with his side project, the quirky New Orleans Bingo Show.  For a taste of him and the band, consider purchasing the excellent benefit CD,  Preservation, which features vocalists from Merle Haggard to Tom Waits.

The best place to pick that up, aside from the Hall itself, is one of America’s best independent music stores, the Louisiana Music Factory, across from the House of Blues on Decatur St. in the French Quarter. The Factory also has free music on Saturday Feb. 5.  But I’d recommend stopping here right before you go home — to stock up on CDs from all those great musicians you heard.

— Alicia Ault (on Twitter @aliciaault)

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Filed under IMNG, The Mole, Uncategorized

Dermatologists Doing Good

If you’re a dermatologist planning to attend the next American Academy of Dermatology annual meeting in New Orleans, you can make a difference in a neighborhood still recovering from Hurricane Katrina.

The AAD new’s “Dermatologists in Action” program is organizing volunteers to refurbish a local school on February 3, 2011 from noon to 5 PM.  (The annual meeting will run from February 4 – 8). December 15, 2010 is the deadline to register.

Dr. Susan Olbricht (photo by D. McNamara)

“There are still a lot of schools struggling after Hurricane Katrina,” Dr. Susan Olbricht said at the annual meeting of the Florida Society of Dermatologic Surgeons. She is Assistant Secretary and Treasurer for the AAD.

The hands-on volunteer opportunity, planned in conjunction with HandsOn New Orleans, is open to AAD members and spouses, said Dr. Olbricht, who is also Chair of Dermatology at the Lahey Clinic and on the dermatology faculty at Harvard Medical School in Boston.

You can also donate money to the academy’s Sustaining Fund and/or donate requested medical supplies to the Tulane Community Health Center, which serves populations with limited access to primary care.

Remember to pack clothes appropriate for painting and cleaning.

–Damian McNamara, @MedReporter on twitter

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Filed under Dermatology, IMNG, The Mole, Uncategorized