Posts Tagged Health
Posted at 07:15 AM ET, 05/14/2013
Oops! Missed this!
By Tom Toles
Sometimes the professionals, the media, the victims and potential victims all miss a huge fact. Huge. Here’s one! It finally got noticed, and reported on, but still hasn’t really registered with anybody. Tens of thousands of people are dying because patients got diagnosed with a disease they didn’t have.http://www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/misdiagnosis-is-more-common-than-drug-errors-or-wrong-site-surgery/2013/05/03/5d71a374-9af4-11e2-a941-a19bce7af755_story.html
I’ve written about this subject once or twice before because I noticed when reading those “Medical Mystery” stories about hard to diagnose conditions, there is usually a key unaddressed question that is common to mystery stories: the dog that didn’t bark. These mysteries go on and on with untold suffering until one day a 113-year-old doctor happens to wander by and remembers seeing a case like that during The Great War. Bravo! Except why bravo? Why in this age of information are valuable medical facts quarantined in the skull of isolated doctors? WHERE ARE THE DATABASES? Woof woof! I’ll tell you where. Buried under the pride of a lot of big egos invested in the paradigm of Doctor as Hero. Computers? What an insult! This story does mention computers as a diagnostic tool, and just as quickly dismisses them because “their usefulness remains a matter of debate.” Huh? Where else in an information society does computer usefulness “remain a matter of debate”? If they’re not useful, it’s because we’re not trying very hard to use them is the answer to that.
The story goes on the sing the praises of “differential diagnosis,” where leading and secondary potential diagnoses are listed and ranked, based on symptoms and the array of possible known causes for those symptoms. Apparently just creating and studying such a list, instead of proclaiming one single diagnosis leads to better treatment, and big surprise there! And what might, just might a huge computerized, searchable symptom/disease database be able to instantaneously produce? And why is this not being aggressively pursued and developed and talked about? Now THERE’s your real medical mystery.
We are a sick bunch of people.
Everywhere I go, all I hear and see is hacking and sneezing.
“I have allergies,” a woman said in line while I was waiting for my food.
Joe Heller / Green Bay Press-Gazette
No, you don’t. You have a virus like the rest of us.
Blaming allergies makes people around you feel safer. Allergies are not contagious, like that crud we’re all struggling with.
“Don’t worry, it’s just allergies,” she said. Yeah. That’s why everyone around you is going to feel like poop by tomorrow, right?
This season’s crud is stronger than usual. It grabs you and makes you feel like … crud.
“I’m sick as a dog,” I overheard another person saying.
No, you’re not. I have dogs, and they don’t get sick. If they did get sick, I would rush them to the veterinarian and get them well.
And, if you are sick as a dog (let’s assume that a dog got really sick and had to be rushed to the vet), what are you doing out here in public, spreading germs?
I used to get sick more often when I had little kids because kids are germ magnets. They got sick, shook it off in a few days, and I suffered for the next two weeks.
When I was in kindergarten, I remember chewing on the same rubber toy every other kid in the class chewed on. What an efficient way to spread germs. Only kids would think of that. Oh, yes, then comes kissing. That’s even more efficient.
After I sucked on the toy, I always washed my hands, just to be on the safe side.
Yes, we are sick, sick, sick.
I get the flu shot each year, but it does not protect against the crud. Last time I got it, I didn’t even feel the needle. Not that I’d freak out if I did, but I expected to feel a prick, and there was nothing. The tech did a great job. Then she sneezed. Good thing I got the shot.
A friend said she would rather be sick with the flu than get a flu shot. Excuse me? The flu is vicious. It takes you down and keeps you down.
With my luck, the only year I don’t get the shot, we’d have a repeat of the 1918 pandemic.
It actually lasted two years and killed between one and three percent of the world’s population.
It was started by a group of kids in a kindergarten class chewing on the same rubber toy. Just kidding. It started some other way.
So, getting the shot and parting with a few dollars is actually a much better option than becoming a human faucet for a couple of weeks.
What’s really unfair is when I get sick right before a big trip, and I bought non-refundable airline tickets. Watch out fellow flyers, here I come. I cannot get my money back, so all of you are now going to get the germ treatment.
I try to be thoughtful of others. I sneeze into my sleeve, not in the air. I even do silent sneezes, but that feels like a bomb going off in my head. It feels better when the sneeze is released normally … into my sleeve.
So, when you’re around me, and I don’t look all that good, don’t touch my sleeve; nor my rubber toy.
Being self-employed, it’s really a big problem when I get the crud. It took me a while to learn to deal with it.
I once called in sick, but nobody picked up the phone.
So, I left a message.
Nothing got done that day. I then decided to go back to work and stay late.
Like I said, we are sick people.
The annual medical checkup is not one of my favorite things to do. I dread it and procrastinate, like many other men.
I know I have to do it, but it’s really easy to find excuses to keep postponing it.
My side of the family has put off going to the doctor for generations and has paid the price. Both of my parents died relatively young from complications that could have easily been prevented.
So, I know that I have to get those numbers checked and tests run, but it’s so hard to pick up that phone and call for an appointment.
This is why every man like me (and that makes a lot of us), needs someone to constantly remind him that things like this cannot be postponed long.
It’s the same with dentists. And defensive driving. You know that you have to take care of it and time is running out, but not today, or tomorrow.
Well, I finally made it into the waiting room. That’s another place I don’t like to be. There is nothing to do.
The magazines don’t interest me. The people around me are silent. Some whisper, but I cannot hear them clearly – something about their illnesses. I’m so bored that I try to pay closer attention to make out some of the words, but no luck.
I’m reverting to my old stand-by, the cellphone. Might as well get on Facebook to pass the time. But the phone doesn’t get 4g in here. Now I cannot even access the outside world. I’m getting anxious. Maybe the doctor can give me something for that. I’m here, anyway.
I’m in the examination room. We’re doing all the basic stuff – weight, blood pressure, etc.
I bought a blood pressure gadget on eBay recently. It goes around my wrist and inflates. I found out quickly why it was so cheap. It shows whatever readings it wants. One time it showed that I should be dead because my blood had stopped circulating. Another time it showed that it was so high that I should be in the ICU. So, basically, it’s a toy.
The blood pressure monitors at the mall and supermarkets aren’t much better. So, here I am, with the nurse doing it manually, the old-fashioned way.
Another routine exam. Everything looks good. I’m asking questions while the doctor is listening to my heart. He is not answering.
I’m taking deep breaths. He’s listening more.
Here comes the needle for the blood sample, just like the year before. We’re done. Results in a few days.
The results turned out fine. I’ll live to print another week.
I went to settle the bill.
“You’re insurance doesn’t cover wellness visits,” the clerk said at the counter.
I suspected that. How much?
$180, including the blood tests.
Not bad. I consider it money well-spent. We’ll see you in a year or so.
Next stop, the dentist. But, I have to take care of a few things first.
- What Tune-ups Do Men Over 50 Need? (belmarrahealth.com)
- Massage Therapy Lowers Blood Pressure (massageenvy.com)
- Supporting Healthy Blood Pressure with Soy (belmarrahealth.com)
- Can Your Job Determine Blood Pressure? (belmarrahealth.com)
- Are automatic blood pressure monitors accurate? (ask.metafilter.com)
- Saturday Stories: Blood Pressure, Horse Whisperers, and Booze. (weightymatters.ca)
- Don’t Forget About Your Blood Pressure (asourparentsage.net)
- CDC Report – Getting Blood Pressure Under Control (bespacific.com)
- Eat your way towards lower blood pressure (asianheartinstitute.wordpress.com)
- Stiffening of aortic wall linked with increased risk of high blood pressure (medicalxpress.com)
With July 2012 officially behind us, the U.S. jobs report for the month has economists and politicians concerned about the employment situation in America. And even though the economy added 163,000 jobs (economists had predicted only 100,000 jobs to be added for July,) the unemployment rate and the underemployment rate both crept slightly upwards. And with national elections coming up in three months, poor jobs numbers could be bad for our health.
If history is any indicator, Conservative politicians and think tanks will use last month’s poor jobs report in an attempt to provide massive giveaways to their friends in the dirty energy industry. They attempted the same thing after below-average job growth in May of this year, claiming that approval of the Keystone XL pipeline would be the job boon that Americans desperately need.
But Republicans in Washington didn’t wait for a bad jobs report before they started planning their dirty energy bonanza, but its likely they will use it as a catalyst to gain more support for their disastrous plans.
In mid June of this year, Republicans on the “House Energy Action Team” (HEAT) proposed a set of bills that would destroy many of the safeguards that are currently in place to protect our environment and our personal health in order to make things “easier” for businesses to create jobs without worrying about those pesky safety standards. What the package of legislation is really about is repaying HEAT members’ financiers from the dirty energy industry who stand to save a ton of cash by destroying regulations.
The legislation package would remove many current existing safeguards for environmental and public health until the unemployment rate drops below 6%, a rate that hasn’t been seen since July 2008, when it was 5.8%. Since that month four years ago, the rate has stayed consistently above 6%, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics.
When I wrote about the legislative package back in June, I focused mainly on the ties to industry of the bills’ sponsors. Recently, the Coalition for Sensible Safeguards put together an analysis of the safeguards and regulations that the bills would removed if passed:
The House of Representatives will soon consider a radical bill proposed by Republican members: ‘‘Red Tape Reduction and Small Business Job Creation Act’’ (H.R. 4078). This bill is made up of provisions H.R.4078, H.R. 4607, H.R. 3862, H.R. 373, H.R. 4377, H.R. 2308, and H.R. 1840 which would, in an unprecedented move halt all regulatory action on national safeguards that protect the health and safety of Americans and bolster the nation’s economy.
Combined, these provisions would halt or delay virtually ALL regulations and do absolutely nothing to stimulate the economy or new job opportunities. They would shut down crucial safeguards that give Americans confidence in the products at the grocery store, the safety of their workplaces, the cleanliness of the water system, the soundness of our financial system, and the safety of vital infrastructure…
Public Health and Clean Air – These bills would continue to prevent the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency from implementing standards defining power plants, industrial boilers, process heaters and cement plants compliance with the Clean Air Act. Those structures are the largest emitters of mercury and toxic air pollutants. Compliance would curb their harmful impact on the respiratory health of millions of Americans.
Food Safety – Each year, 1.2 million people get sick, 7,125 are hospitalized, and 134 die from foodborne illnesses contracted from contaminated produce. Illnesses and food recalls also hurt the U.S.agriculture and food industries. The Food Safety Modernization Act, passed with support from both industry and consumer groups, calls for new regulations on produce handling on large farms and an inspection system for foreign farms to be in place by 2013. Its implementation depends on rulemaking that would be blocked by the proposed bills.
Workplace Safety – Beryllium, a toxic substance (lung cancer and other fatal and chronic diseases) exposed to workers in the electronics, nuclear, and metalwork industries. Current1950s-based standards allow workers to continue to be exposed to levels higher than ruled safe for nuclear power plant workers. The three proposed bills would stop the Occupational Safety and Health Administration from updating exposure standards to protect all workers.
Energy and Environment – The proposed bills would block the U.S. Department of Energy from implementing the Energy Security and Independence Act, delaying for five years updates of energy efficiency standards for a wide range of products. The estimated lost savings for the U.S. economy would be $48 to $105 billion. The bills also would halt the Federal Trade Commission’s rulemaking for energy efficiency labeling designed to protect consumers from misleading and deceptive claims about product energy savings.
In addition to these measures, some of the bills in the package would reduce benefits for our veterans, and loosen the already lenient rules regarding the approval of medical devices in America.
If passed, these laws would sacrifice the lives and well being of American citizens based solely on the hope that companies will create more jobs. To the House Republicans who proposed this legislation, their faith in corporations to “do the right thing” is greater than their belief that every life is sacred and worth protecting.
But the most important thing to remember about their proposals is that they won’t work. As I have pointed out over the years, regulations are not destroying jobs, nor are they hindering job creation. In fact, tightening safeguards would actually lead to greater job creation than destroying regulations.
Talking points aside, House Republicans are also overlooking the fact that destroying safeguards will also have a devastating effect on the fragile U.S. economy. Studies tell us that for every dollar spent on safeguards and regulations, an economic benefit of between four and eight dollars ripples throughout the economy. To put it simply, every dollar spent on regulations has a minimum return of 400% for the U.S. economy. Any investor could see that this would be a wise decision.
In addition to the lost investments, we have to look at the jobs that would be lost by doing away with regulations. Delaying implementation, or doing away with completely, the Clean Air Act standards could cost our economy an estimated 1.5 million jobs.
And those numbers are just the ones on the surface. We would also have to factor in the economic impact of health and environmental degradation that would be placed on the economy if these safeguards were removed. It is a fact that U.S. taxpayers already pay for healthcare costs related to air pollution, estimated to be about $50 billion a year. Environmental costs shifted to taxpayers also total in the billions a year, as seen with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill and the Exxon Valdez spill (every disaster has costs that are shifted to taxpayers, those are just two of the largest examples.)
And again, all of these costs and dangers that will be imposed on the American public are only in the HOPE that corporate America will create more jobs. After analyzing all of the available information about regulations and job creation, its clear that repealing these safeguards will do little, if anything at all, to spur job growth in America. On the other hand, tightening these safeguards and fully implementing ones that have been delayed would provide an enormous benefit to both our health and our economy. But the dirty energy industry only thinks about their profits, not what happens in the world around them.
- House Republicans’ New “Job Creation” Bill Creates No Jobs, Increases Workplace Abuses | Alternet (mbcalyn.com)
- House Republicans Sacrifice Human Health For Alleged Job Creation (desmogblog.com)
- Rick Scott in Tampa for release of July jobs report (tbo.com)
- Nurses Unite to Expose Health Risks of Fracking and Fossil Fuel Energy (ecowatch.org)
- Jobs report: US economy still stalled – Washington Post (blog) (washingtonpost.com)
- Rep. Lynn Jenkins Reacts To Jobs Report (wibw.com)
- July California jobs report: Golden State leads the nation (scpr.org)
- California employers add 25200 jobs; unemployment stays at 10.7% (latimes.com)
- The Jobs Mirage and the Election (conservativeread.com)
- House GOP leaders rip Obama over jobs report (politico.com)
Dog Owners Have Healthier Babies
JULY 10, 2012
A study in the journal Pediatrics found that infants who lived in homes with dogs had fewer coughs, colds, and ear infections than infants from canine-free homes. What do you think?
On the downside, you’ve got to be the person who has a dog and a baby and acts like a better person for having both.
Meanwhile, babies who like iguanas are more likely to one day listen to the Cure.
Community Outreach Coordinator
That makes me feel better about all the deer ticks.
Flight Kitchen Manager
- Supreme Court Upholds Bill Of Rights In 5-4 Decision | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- U.S. Facing Helium Shortage | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices (mbcalyn.com)
- Overhead Bins Grow To Hold Larger Carry-Ons | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices (mbcalyn.com)
- Americans Pool Together $945.23 To Counteract Corporate Money’s Influence In Politics | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Governor Too Embarrassed To Say Which State He Leads | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Year Of Law School Now Mandatory For Nation’s 25-Year-Olds | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- New Preventative Drug Would Kill People Before They Get Alzheimer’s | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Nation Celebrates Independence Day | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- U.S. Improves Infrastructure With Transnational Power Strip | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Area Man Lives Vicariously Through Son’s Bully | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
I Don’t Want Health Care If Just Anyone Can Have It
As a concerned citizen, I must voice my adamant disapproval of the “universal health care” proposals we’ve been hearing so much about. I don’t have any gripes with expanding and improving health coverage, per se. It’s the “universal” part that irks me. Providing health care for all would completely undermine the whole idea of health care. If every last one of the 40 million uninsured bozos in this country is going to get access to the vast, virtually unnavigable system of medical care we chosen few now enjoy, then I no longer even want it.
When hospital administrators see me flash my Blue Cross card, it means something. It tells the world, “Hey, look at me: I pay increasingly high monthly premiums, submit to annual exams, and claim any health-related expenditures over seven percent of my yearly income on my taxes, and you can’t.” But when this bill passes, they’ll be handing out insurance cards willy-nilly, and nobody will be able to tell the difference between someone who’s had health coverage for 20 years and someone whose boss was compelled by law to provide it to all full-time employees.
Then again, maybe they’ll offer some sort of special Platinum Plus medical card. But I can’t count on that.
Health care is all about exclusivity, pure and simple. It’s for a group of like-minded people bonded by the dream of only having to contribute a portion of their weekly wages to ensure unfettered access to a number of licensed health care professionals. If we change all that, health care will be about as elite as a public restroom, open to any yokel who waltzes into an emergency room and can legally establish California residency.
Mark my words, this will completely destroy the allure of filling out all the necessary-but-time-consuming paperwork, choosing one primary care physician attached to one specific plan, and becoming eligible for prescription medications at a reduced rate.
The only reason this is even being considered is because a majority of voters want it. Well, of course they do—they don’t have it! But you don’t see 33rd Degree Freemasons letting any old average citizen into their inner sanctum just because he’s curious. And you won’t catch me sharing my God-given right to affordable lifesaving medical procedures with every bum who’s got a jones for another hepatitis vaccination. It’s undignified.
After all, how do I know I’ve made it in this world if I’m not able to enjoy something others can’t?
Lack of access to health care is the seventh leading cause of death in the country, and that says something. It doesn’t get much more elite than being part of a club other people are literally dying to get into. So what incentive would there be if everyone were guaranteed equal health care, regardless of income, age, or employment status? Who would be left to proudly tell their grandchildren about the glory days of PPOs? That is a future I’d rather not imagine, thank you very much.
So why the constant desire to guarantee basic yearly screenings and vital operations for all, thus creating some kind of ridiculous, unrealistic safety net? How will people fully appreciate the excellence of the American health care system without the constant threat of it being yanked away at any moment?
If middle-class children are given government-subsidized medical coverage from the beginning, they won’t have anything to look forward to when they get older. Though my offspring will never have to worry about desperately trying to scrape together the money for a hospital visit, it doesn’t mean we should do away with the millions of other uninsured Americans who show them how privileged they are to have it in the first place.
That’s just a simple matter of respect.
I urge all citizens of good sense to reject any universal health care plan that gets put forward. It’s time to stand up for what’s right, and protect our most respectable institutions. If we don’t do it now, what will they tell us next—that everyone deserves a free public education and “the right” to a fair trial?
- Tyler Cowen on Health Care Egalitarianism (notunlikeresearch.typepad.com)
- Poll: Americans don’t like health care reform, but don’t like current health care either (americablog.com)
- Supreme Court Holds The Fate Of Millions Of Americans In Its Hands (huffingtonpost.com)
- Dave Helling | A very certain forecast for health care (kansascity.com)
- Fox News poll: Nation divided on health care law ahead of Supreme Court ruling – Fox News (drugstoresource.wordpress.com)
- Ron Paul on Health Care Ruling: No Matter What Happens Tomorrow, the Patient Is Still Going to Suffer (foxnewsinsider.com)
- Predictions on the Health Care Cases (volokh.com)
- Club Med: The Surge in Medical Tourism (kvsmith.com)
- Health-Care Reform and the Next Recession (fool.com)
- Former federal health official, Dr. Donald Berwick, says health care should be a human right (charlotteobserver.com)
Stress Up Since 1983
According to a Carnegie Mellon University study, stress levels in the United States increased 18 percent for women and 24 percent for men between 1983 and 2009. What do you think?
That sounds about right. I feel about 6 percent less additional stress than my husband.
Finally, scientific proof that things were better when I was a kid. Now to tell my children of the paradise lost that was the ’80s.
Every year since I lost my piano tie, my life has been a living hell.
- Governor Too Embarrassed To Say Which State He Leads | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Tesla To Sell Cars In Malls | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices (mbcalyn.com)
- High School Seniors Texting While Driving | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source | American Voices (mbcalyn.com)
- Goldman Sachs Hires Single Morally Decent Human Being To Work In Separate, Enclosed Cubicle | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Romney Spends Most Of Factory Visit Yelling At Employees To Work Harder | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Undercurrent Of Inequality And Fear Roiling Just Beneath Surface Of ’50s-Themed Diner | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Why Women’s Professional Soccer Failed in the U.S. | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Hershey’s Announces It’s All Out Of Candy | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- Tired Twins Ask If They Can Stop Swinging Bat All The Way Around | The Onion – America’s Finest News Source (mbcalyn.com)
- American Voices: Stress Up Since 1983 (theonion.com)