ProPublica has been tracking drug company payments to doctors since 2010 through a project known as Dollars for Docs . Our first lookup tool included only seven companies, most of which were required to report their payments publicly as a condition of legal settlements. The tool now covers every drug and device company, thanks to the Physician Payment Sunshine Act , a part of the 2010 Affordable Care Act. The law required all drug and device companies to publicly report their payments. The first reports became public in 2014, covering the last five months of 2013; 2014 payments were released last year.
One typical course of medical treatment began the morning of 13 July 1824. A French sergeant was stabbed through the chest while engaged in single combat; within minutes, he fainted from loss of blood. Arriving at the local hospital he was immediately bled twenty ounces (570 ml) "to prevent inflammation". During the night he was bled another 24 ounces (680 ml). Early the next morning, the chief surgeon bled the patient another 10 ounces (285 ml); during the next 14 hours, he was bled five more times. Medical attendants thus intentionally removed more than half of the patient's normal blood supply—in addition to the initial blood loss which caused the sergeant to faint. Bleedings continued over the next several days. By 29 July, the wound had become inflamed. The physician applied 32 leeches to the most sensitive part of the wound. Over the next three days, there were more bleedings and a total of 40 more leeches. The sergeant recovered and was discharged on 3 October. His physician wrote that "by the large quantity of blood lost, amounting to 170 ounces [nearly eleven pints] ( liters), besides that drawn by the application of leeches [perhaps another two pints] ( liters), the life of the patient was preserved". By nineteenth-century standards, thirteen pints of blood taken over the space of a month was a large but not an exceptional quantity. The medical literature of the period contains many similar accounts-some successful, some not.