Tag: medicine

Science in Crisis


I have an uneasy feeling about how things are going.

Years ago I was involved in clinical studies that examined the effectiveness of treatments for acute stroke. I participated in four of these. Each one took years and enrolled thousands of patients. We were one of hundreds of centers worldwide that did this work. All in all dozens of different medications for the treatment of acute stroke were tested. The idea was that people who had a stroke would receive one of these medications, and this would reduce the disability the stroke caused. They were supposed to work in various ways — reducing toxicity, reducing inflammation, inhibiting oxidation, etc. — all of them having been tested in labs and found to work in tissue cultures and animals prior to being tried in patients. At the end of it, not a single one of these medications worked when they were tried on human beings.

The Equality Act Will Guarantee Inequality for Almost Everyone


‘Every American deserves to be treated with respect and dignity. With today’s vote, the House has again affirmed that LGBTQ people should enjoy the same rights and responsibilities as all other Americans,’ said Democratic Representative David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who led the push for the bill.

Sounds good, doesn’t it? The truth is that every American does not deserve to be treated with respect and dignity; rapists, murderers, illegal immigrants, and many Leftists have not earned respectful treatment, for starters. And the Equality Act H.R.5, which was passed by the House 224 to 206 votes on February 25, is not only deceptive but opens the door to abuses of the rights of most Americans.

The Equality Act, no matter what it says, is not intended to make sure that everyone has equal rights. Specifically, it would very likely show favoritism toward LBGT groups, and discrimination against religious groups, girls and women, businesses, medical professionals, and others. The Heritage Foundation describes the bill in this way:

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Pulse oximetry works on the principle that oxygen levels in the blood can affect the transmission of light through the tissue. It is also known that skin color also impacts the transmission of light. Forty years ago (when I worked on early university development of oximetry technology), it was common practice to calibrate the oximetry […]

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You may have read my posts over the last six weeks talking about my mysterious medical issues. I lauded the medical system and its practitioners; in spite of some glitches due to the corona virus, people were kind and attentive. Now I feel as if all that is out the window. Preview Open

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Testing… Testing…


If I were a certain sort of woman, I’d blame it on The Patriarchy. If I were another sort, I’d blame it on A Culture Insufficiently Supportive of Life. (And, if I were a very specific sort, I’d do both.) Instead, it was the understandable result of The Powers That Be in our neighborhood hospital system not having leeway to make more fine-grained distinctions in a crisis. Which is how pregnant women, who aren’t permitted to receive any in-person prenatal care right now if they have the least little sniffle but no negative lab result for Covid-19, must go through a lengthy, frustrating, and high-exposure screening process to see if they qualify for Covid-19 testing, while the nonpregnant may simply waltz – or rather drive – through safer, low-exposure Covid-19 testing in about 15 minutes.

If you’re pregnant, though, the screening process might take hours, during which you hear, at each step along the way, that you may be ineligible for the lab anyhow – and that’s just your time spent at the walk-in screening center. It doesn’t count the hours (days) you may have spent trying to find a walk-in screening center that hasn’t run out of swabs for the day, and finding out whether you’re even eligible to visit it.

American Emergency Medicine Works


This is both a brief story in itself and preface to another tale, “Strategic Logistics Work.” The point of observation: the Valley of the Sun, Maricopa County, the population center of Arizona. The time: summer 2018 and last weekend, March 21-22, 2020.

Foreshadowing: It was a normal summer Saturday afternoon in 2017. Which is to say, it was a dry heat in the Valley of the Sun. I was out for a 2.5-mile brisk walk when I got the urge to sprint. Nevermind that I had not done a wind sprint over a year, I just had the urge. Pulling up at the end of a 200-yard dash, I noticed something was a bit odd. My heart rate was not slowly dropping. I got indoors, sat down, and drank water. No change. In fact, I was getting increasingly light-headed, even with my head down, so I had someone dial 911.

The fellows in the ambulance were quickly on the scene. I had had a complete cardio workup the summer before, and had been pronounced fit as a fiddle. Now the lead paramedic was coaching me through something called a vagal maneuver.

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One of our Resistance Library readers reached out to us recently and shared a BBC article that they found interesting. They said it reminded them of our piece Prescription For Violence: The Corresponding Rise of Antidepressants, SSRIs & Mass Shootings and thought it supported some of the connections made there.   They’ve been linked to road rage, pathological gambling, and […]

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Article I Section VIII of the Constitution lays out the Powers of Congress, among them is: “To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;” * The temporary monopolies we grant to drug companies is a balancing […]

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But Wait, There’s More!


You have to go looking for this kind of news. You might find it online, but won’t find it printed in the paper. If a local TV station heads out for some brief coverage, you can be certain they will heavily edit any interviews so they can maintain a sense of decorum. After all, we can’t discuss what really happens out there. Our local crime story continues:

“When I saw it on the news, I’m like, ‘If this guy’s that nuts, would he do something like that?’ And evidently, he did.”

Maybe, Baby


If you knew you only had a 1% chance of surviving tomorrow, would you consider that a death sentence? What about 2%, 5%, 10%… at what point would your odds of survival be good enough you wouldn’t feel doomed? And what if you had to purchase your fairly slim chance at survival by risking the life of another? When would you do it? What balance of risk would just barely escape counting as doom?

What if you were the other whose life was risked on the slim hope of avoiding someone else’s death sentence? When would that hope be worth it, and when would it be a forlorn one? How effective must our efforts to lift another’s doom be in order to merit the price?

Should We Just Let Them Die?


I just logged onto our computer system at work to see what our patient list is looking like and if there have been any emergency surgeries this weekend. I noticed something peculiar about the bed assignment of one of our young patients. I opened a nurse’s note to discover that just two days after we operated to repair one of the heart valves that had been damaged by this patient’s IV drug use, the patient was discovered using IV drugs while in the bathroom.

Of course, they deny any wrongdoing but the evidence is overwhelming. I have no idea how this young person’s life will turn out after the follow-up visits are done, but I can say the chances are they will end up like so many of our other patients that require open heart surgery because of their drug use — dead.

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Can a story about a potato be disarming – ok, downright alarming? This story titled “Beware of GMO Potatoes.” was scary. We know Monsanto and spin off companies, the producers of seeds that don’t reproduce, seeds that contain “Round Up”, the pesticide that is a potential carcinogen, is altering the genetic makeup of several species […]

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Medical Doctor Pushes Political Agenda with Patients


If this story is true, it’s a disgusting abuse of power by a doctor, and worse yet—he’s a Republican. A doctor in Lakeland, FL, apparently makes a practice prior to important elections of promoting Republican candidates. A patient of his, who was receiving injections for chronic pain, described the exchange in this way:

The patient lay on an examination table, semi-clothed and crying, after having just received excruciating injections to help relieve her chronic pain.

At that point, she says, Dr. Tom Porter approached her and asked if she was registered to vote. Though stunned by the unexpected question, she said she was.

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I write a weekly book review for the Daily News of Galveston County. (It is not the biggest daily newspaper in Texas, but it is the oldest.) My review normally appears Wednesdays. When it appears, I post the review here on the following Sunday. Book Review ‘I’m Dr. Red Duke’ a study in greatness By MARK LARDAS […]

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Let’s Blow It Up


In a recent comment, Ricochet member @DonG wrote, “The drug industry in the US is a giant racket enabled by a corrupted regulatory system.” After over 20 years of working in medicine, and doing occasional part-time work for pharmaceutical companies in the cardiovascular field, I find that statement to be precise and accurate. Fascism is an explosive word, almost like Nazi. But this is, precisely, fascism. It’s not socialism. Our government does not want to own the means of production; it just wants to control it. Regulate the heck out of it, get private industry to do what you want, then tax the crap out of it to fund a welfare state huge enough to buy sufficient votes to get you re-elected. It’s simple, really. It’s too bad that the term “fascism” is widely viewed as a pejorative because it’s a perfect description of much of our government.

To get back to Don’s point regarding the pharmaceutical industry: This is what excessive regulation creates. You destroy everybody, except for the few corporations enormous or well-connected (usually the same thing) enough that they can withstand the regulatory pressure with top-flight, very expensive legal departments. Then you control and profit from those few. You can’t control 1,000 drug companies, but you can control six of them; maybe eight. Note that this type of evolutionary pressure selects out those who are good at government, not those who are good at creating new drugs.  As is true in every industry.

Take a new drug that costs $100 per month. How much of that do you think was used, directly or indirectly, as protection money against government regulators? I would suggest that it must be more than half; probably a lot more than half.

Hospital Ethics Committees and Death Panels


Remember how people were afraid that based on the Affordable Care Act, “death panels” would be making life and death decisions for their patients? The fact is that at least in hospitals, these panels have existed since the 1970s, in the form of ethics committees. I must say after researching these committees, I’m even more confused and ambivalent about their roles and decisions.

Listening to talk radio in my car, I learned about this issue and how it became a hot topic in Texas. One of the most publicized cases was the case of David Chris Dunn, 46 years old and a former deputy sheriff for Harris County, Texas. He was transferred to Houston Methodist on October 12, 2015. He had a mass on his pancreas which affected his other organs and was in renal failure. The family was told he would die that night, but he didn’t. Over time the medical team met to discuss Dunn’s condition; he wasn’t improving.

One day, J. Richard Cheney, the chairman of the hospital Bioethics Committee entered the room. Dunn’s mother, Evelyn Kelly, woke up to learn that the committee had decided to remove all of Dunn’s life-support machines. Kelly refused to let them take these steps. The committee met again, approved of the doctor’s decision to end medical care. The only option Evelyn Kelly had was to try to get her son transferred to another hospital. She was not surprised to discover that no one would take him.

Alfie and the Failure of Medical Ethics


The case of Alfie Evans once again brings to light the ethical and moral landmines that are promulgated as governments intrude further and further into the personal lives of its citizens.

Young Alfie suffers from a so-far unknown and undiagnosed congenital ailment that has left him in a near-vegetative state since late 2016. As such, the officials of the UK’s National Health Service have brought it upon themselves to hasten the death of the child … for his own well-being.

If you think that is sarcasm … it is not. The Royal College of Pediatrics literally made that argument this week. And that would be bad enough except for the fact that there is no medical or moral reason for their conclusion. So far, there is little to no medical evidence that the child has been suffering at all.

The Opioid Use Hiding Behind the Alleged Superiority of “Nonopioid” Chronic Pain Treatment


The SPACE randomized clinical trial, which 234 veterans with chronic back or knee pain completed, has been touted as demonstrating that opioids are superfluous to chronic pain management. According to JAMA’s summary of the trial,

In the opioid group, the first step was immediate-release morphine, oxycodone, or hydrocodone/acetaminophen. For the nonopioid group, the first step was acetaminophen (paracetamol) or a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Medications were changed, added, or adjusted within the assigned treatment group according to individual patient response.

Give Me Misery or Give Me Death?


Doctors retire. That’s the context of my recent experiment in “detoxing” from two prescriptions, both of which strike me (but not yet the FDA) as good candidates for over-the-counter (OTC) sale. (Most striking detox effect so far: a massive earache.) One is Celecoxib, an anti-arthritis drug. The other is Montelukast, an anti-asthma and anti-allergy drug. What’s scary about selling both these drugs OTC is allegedly death.

Celecoxib is a Cox-2 inhibitor, and those drugs as a class still haven’t completely aired out the stink of death brought on by Vioxx. Montelukast maybe sometimes cause psychiatric side-effects, according to postmarketing reports, raising the specter of suicide (though postmarketing reports could report anything as a side-effect, short of “pet turtle died”). But the most frightening thing about Montelukast appears to be that it’s an effective asthma control medicine, and the FDA is apparently nervous about making effective asthma control medicines available to consumers directly.