Black Shards Press – Electronic Gumbo is Our Specialty

Ebola Nurse a Criminal?

30.10.2014 (9:11 pm) – Filed under: Health,Medicine,Stupidity ::

Kaci Hickox, a nurse who treated Ebola patients in Sierra Leone but has tested negative for the virus, went for a bike ride on Thursday, defying Maine’s order that she be quarantined in her home and setting up a legal collision with Governor Paul LePage.

Kaci Hickox and boyfriend Ted Wilbur go for a bike ride in Fort Kent

 

Hickox has flaunted her defiance of the governor by deliberately appearing in public over the last two days. Does this make her a common criminal?

The answer to the question is No, at least for the moment. Certainly Maine’s authorities would like nothing better than to take her into custody, if they were allowed to do so; however, no legal basis exists for her arrest.

This begs the question, however, of mere right or wrong. A certified health professional should know better than to endanger the public as Hickox has. The Hippocratic Oath applies to all health care workers and Hickox has plainly violated her duty to the citizens Maine by placing dozens, if not hundreds of people at risk. As such, the state would be well within its rights to begin the process of stripping her of her professional certifications.

Moreover, two nurses have already been diagnosed with Ebola after having previously been cleared. Despite her foolhardy bravado, Hickox could prove to be the Typhoid Mary of 2014 America, with even more deadly results. Should this happen, Hickox should be charged with 1 count of murder for each death she causes and be liable for the injuries and associated medical costs for all afflicted with the deadly disease because of her deliberate malfeasance.

A Young Doctor’s View on The Healthcare Crisis

15.05.2011 (11:18 am) – Filed under: Health,Politics ::

Dr. Starner Jones’ short letter to the White House accurately puts the blame on a “Culture Crisis” instead of a “Health Care Crisis”. It’s worth a quick read.

Dear Mr. President:

During my shift in the Emergency Room last night, I had the pleasure of evaluating a patient whose smile revealed an expensive Shiny gold tooth, whose body was adorned with a wide assortment of elaborate and costly tattoos, who wore a very expensive Brand of tennis shoes, and who chatted on a new cellular telephone equipped with a popular R&B ring tone. While glancing over her
Patient chart, I happened to notice that her payer status was listed as “Medicaid”!

During my examination of her, the patient informed me that she smokes more than one costly pack of cigarettes every day and somehow still has money to buy pretzels and beer.

And, you and our Congress expect me to pay for this woman’s health care? I contend that our nation’s “health care crisis” is not the result of a shortage of quality hospitals, doctors or nurses. Rather, it is the result of a “crisis of culture”, a culture in which it is perfectly acceptable to spend money on luxuries and vices while refusing to take care of one’s self or, heaven forbid, purchase health insurance.

It is a culture based on the irresponsible credo that “I can do whatever I want to because someone else will always take care of me.”

Once you fix this “culture crisis” that rewards irresponsibility and dependency, you’ll be amazed at how quickly our nation’s health care difficulties will disappear.

Respectfully,
STARNER JONES, MD

FYI, Ohio spent 26% of its state budget in 2010 on Medicaid. Ohio is about average in this regard.

U.S. Meat Widely Contaminated with Staph

15.04.2011 (10:03 am) – Filed under: Health ::

A new study of the public meat supply indicates half of all meat purchased at common stores is contaminated with Staph and other bacteria.

A study by the Translational Genomics Research Institute, found that Staphylococcus aureus – a bacteria that causes most staph infections including skin infections, pneumonia and blood poisoning – are present in meat and poultry from U.S. grocery stores at “unexpectedly high rates.”

Researchers found nearly half of the meat and poultry samples — 47 percent — were contaminated with S. aureus

What’s more frightening is this additional information:

more than half of those bacteria — 52 percent — were resistant to at least three classes of antibiotics

The issue here is that the drug-resistant bacteria are then transferred to humans via kitchen cross-contamination, making antibiotics less effective or completely ineffective against common ailments.

According to the findings published in the journal Clinical Infectious Disease, “industrial farms, where food animals are steadily fed low doses of antibiotics, “are ideal breeding grounds for drug-resistant bacteria that move from animals to humans.”

None of this is new; however, the knowledge that half of our meat supply is infected should give us the necessary motivation to change the way the food supply is managed in this country.

TSA Scanner Risks

29.11.2010 (10:25 am) – Filed under: Health,National Security ::

Review of TSA X-ray backscatter scanner safety issues: http://bit.ly/fkIWES. Bottom line is that real risks exist.

A Known Fact About Government-run Healthcare: It Lowers Quality

03.04.2010 (11:26 pm) – Filed under: Health ::

Writing about Lockerbie bomber Abdelbaset Al-Megrahi’s miraculous recovery since being released from a Scottish prison, Abe Greenwald notes:

Take a look at cancer-survival rates under the British medical system we’re now tenaciously emulating in the U.S.

From the Concord study published in 2008 in Lancet Oncology: The five-year survival rate for breast cancer in the U.S. is roughly 84%. In the U.K., it is around 70%. Overall survival rates from all cancers in males is 66% in the U.S., 45% in the U.K. For prostate cancer specifically, the rather astounding numbers are 92% in the U.S. versus 51% in the U.K. [emphasis added]

In the UK, nearly half of all prostate cancer is terminal. In the U.S., nearly all cases are survivable.

Anyone else see this as a problem?

DemCare’s True Costs Already Showing

27.03.2010 (9:06 am) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism,Politics ::

American companies have responded to the Democrats’ new health care entitlement the only way they can – by anticipating how much it’s going to cost them to implement:

On top of AT&T’s $1 billion, the writedown wave so far includes Deere & Co., $150 million; Caterpillar, $100 million; AK Steel, $31 million; 3M, $90 million; and Valero Energy, up to $20 million. Verizon has also warned its employees about its new higher health-care costs, and there will be many more in the coming days and weeks.

President Obama and his Democratic cronies have been saying for more than a year that the plan will save Americans money while allowing them to keep their current coverages. Those claims have been bald-faced lies from the beginning and corporate America’s reaction to the program demonstrates the central fallacy that Democrats have been peddling: that we can get something – coverage for the poor – for nothing.

Now Democrats are hacked off at these companies for having the temerity to have done an economic analysis and revealing that the emperor has no clothes:

Henry Waxman and House Democrats announced yesterday that they will haul these companies in for an April 21 hearing because their judgment “appears to conflict with independent analyses, which show that the new law will expand coverage and bring down costs.”

Jennifer Rubin says it very well in response:

this is par for the course: a complete disregard for the consequences of their own handiwork, the bullying of private enterprise, and the determination to politicize what were once economic and legal judgments. One can see in the Democrats’ fury the desperate attempt to conceal the implications of their monstrous legislation, to maintain as long as possible the fiction that ObamaCare is a great cost-saver, and boon to employers. It’s going to be hard to keep up the charade, for as the editors note, ObamaCare “was such a shoddy, jerry-rigged piece of work that the damage is coming sooner than even some critics expected.”

We shouldn’t be surprised. Liberal Democrats were dead-set on passing healthcare reform – and I do mean dead set – for one reason: It is part of their agenda to create an all-encompassing welfare state, whether voters want it or not. So they did it, without regard to the economic consequences to the people and organizations that do the real work of making America go.

DemCare Will Raise Costs and Lower Quality for Those Who Pay

22.03.2010 (8:29 pm) – Filed under: Health ::

Does anybody believe the Democrats’ numbers saying their health plan, such as it is, will be a budgetary gain? The idea is ludicrous, as is the notion that quality of service will improve. Working Americans from the middle class will pay more and get less.

William Gale, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution and co-director of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, says:

The success of the bill depends on Congress having the discipline to enact tax increases and accept expert recommendations that it has not shown in the past.

For example, the bill would not impose the tax on generous insurance policies until 2018 and then it would make the tax more restrictive over time; however, Congress has continually shied away from its commitments to be more stringent over time.

If Congress isn’t disciplined, the benefits of the bill will evaporate into higher medical costs and larger deficits.

That’s pretty much a best-case scenario and fails to address the practical concerns of middle-class Americans whose taxes, whether direct or indirect, will inevitably rise to cover the costs of the entitlement that’s about to be granted to the poor.

DemCare Passes House, Unfortunately

21.03.2010 (9:17 pm) – Filed under: Health,Politics ::

Once again Democrats have voted to take money from people like me – who work for a living and vote for non-Democrats – and give it to their constituents as payola for their votes. This is what liberal politics is all about, using other people’s money against them by creating welfare programs that in turn spawn new generations of Democratic voters. Disgusting.

DemCare Set to Pass? Get Involved and Don’t Let That Happen!

21.03.2010 (12:16 pm) – Filed under: Health,Liberalism ::

Democrats in the U.S. House of Representatives seem to think they have the votes to ram a tweaked version of the Senate plan through, perhaps even today. That makes this afternoon perhaps the last opportunity for sanity to assert itself in the health care field for a generation.

The latest poll numbers show that more Americans oppose the DemCare plan than support it, but that opposition evidently doesn’t discourage Democrats and won’t stop them from pushing their agenda – something liberals have wanted for, in President Obama’s words, over a century – on the rest of us.

The premise, to the extent that liberals’ health care agenda can be said to have one, is that medical care is too expensive and that cost must be distributed to non-patients in order for patient care to be affordable under the guiding hand of the federal government.

Moreover, liberals assert, other western nations have embraced a nationalized system of medical care, therefore America should as well, regardless of cost and quality questions that abound in Canada, Britain, and elsewhere.

This is flawed thinking. First, the Democrats’ embrace of a need-based policy agenda is based on a false principle, namely that need should drive government action as a policy engine. This is incorrect. America’s national government exists for 2 reasons, to facilitate interstate commerce and to ensure national security. Obviously individual health care situations are not part of its mandate.

Second, the notion that the federal government can efficiently and without prejudice administer a national health care system is patently wrong. This is amply demonstrated by the existing Medicare, Social Security, and Veteran’s Health programs, none of which are shining examples of quality, balanced budgets, or low cost.

Third, liberals consistently refuse to examine the reasons behind the exploding cost of delivering health care in this country. This is because they are in large part responsible for cost increases because of the distorting effect programs like the aforementioned Medicare have on the market.

Root causes matter and beyond that warping of markets is a more insidious problem with liberal welfare programs: People paying for services with other people’s money have little or no incentive to be efficient.

The truth is that we’ve come to expect far too much in the way of medical services, to the point that we as a people seemingly cannot accept the fact that our bodies inevitably decline and fail, no matter how many resources are applied to keeping them alive. Yet we have to realize that medical science never saves lives – it merely prolongs them – and that there are real costs to doing so, costs that must be paid. Needless to say, paying is not the strong suit of liberalism.

The fact that other nations have embraced national health care systems is in itself not a recommendation given that citizens in those countries who can afford to often choose to come to the U.S. for their medical care because of timeliness and quality concerns at home.

Health care is and always will be a scarce commodity, one that’s rationed by one force or another. We know what Democrats want to do. It’s up to the rest of us to make sure that the rationing is done by efficient market forces rather than a bloated, under-performing federal government by raising hell with our representatives until they do the right thing.

President Obama says this about Congress and health care:

"This is one of those moments. This is one of those times where you can honestly say to yourself: ‘Doggone it, this is exactly why I came here.’"

If that’s really true, we’ve got the wrong people in Congress. And if that’s the case, the cure is 7 months away.

The Un-American Shame of DemCare

16.03.2010 (10:58 pm) – Filed under: Health,Politics ::

President Barack Obama and Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi should be ashamed of their un-American behavior on any number of levels, from their flagrant disregard for the wishes of the American people – a majority of whom want nothing more at this moment than for the Democrats’ relentless pressure to pass DemCare to stop before it becomes the worst law yet written – all the way to their cynical embrace of the so-called Slaughter Plan that would enact DemCare as a multi-trillion dollar health care fiasco without so much as the courtesy of a roll call vote in the House.

The very idea that Democrats would pass legislation equaling 1/6 of the entire American economy under the cover of darkness provided by the deem-and-pass rule is utterly unconscionable and any elected official who embraces the tactic should be summarily voted out of office, nay impeached, at the first opportunity.

Norman Ornstein points out that deem-and-pass was often used by Republicans during the Bush Administration and wonders if their recanting of the process isn’t hypocritical. Of course it is. Republicans should have known better than to embrace a questionable legislative tactic during their reign because of its potential misuse later. Now we see the fruits of their abuse of power. Yet Repubs’ hypocrisy is one of only a few precious roadblocks left in the path between us and the disaster of DemCare. Is there no shame? Ornstein wonders. No, there never has been, not in Washington, and thank God for it, this time.

Equally important is that not all Democrats are as slavishly single-minded on the left-wing agenda as the president and the speaker. Pennsylvania Representative Jason Altmire had this to say about the Democratic leadership’s plans:

… the plan to pass the plan using the so-called "deem and pass" procedure is "wrong" and unpopular among his constituents.

"I have a big issue with the way they’re doing the process. I think it’s wrong and my constituents don’t like it."

That’s an understatement. Perhaps the most important factor in Barack Obama’s broad-based appeal to independent voters was his pledge to conduct the business of government in a transparent, accountable manner. He has utterly failed on both counts in the battle over health care.

In fact, by embracing the fight-to-the-death mentality of crooked Chicago politics – the very opposite of the promises he made to the American people two years ago, Mr. Obama has conducted this policy debate in a manner unbecoming to the office he holds.

Here’s a fact for consideration: If a major piece of legislation – the biggest, in fact, to near passage in more than a generation – cannot gain the support of a simple majority of the American people, the bill does not deserve to pass, regardless of how important the powers that be deem it to be or how much of their personal political cache is on the line. Health care legislation in its current form does not deserve to become law if for no other reason than we, the people, do not want it.

Another fact: The more important a piece of legislation is, the higher the standard of approval it should have to meet in our legislative branch prior to it passing into law. This means that the skulking about in the shadows pursuant to enacting law via deem-and-pass is inappropriate for health care legislation because of its massive impact on the American economy and our way of life.

Neither is the reconciliation approach significantly more ethical, should it be undertaken by Democrats should the Slaughter plan fail. Health care is too integral to the American economy – and too personal to the people who work and pay for it – for a massive government takeover and re-organization to be undertaken by a single political party on a simple majority vote.

Speaker Pelosi has gone on record saying that Democrats should fall on their swords and pass the bill, even if it means not being re-elected in 2010. That would be true if the legislation in question was approved and championed by the American people.

To the contrary, DemCare enjoys no such democratic mandate. As such, the Democrats’ big-government agenda should give way to the will of the people now, before the poison pill baked into the plan by Senate Democrats – that of making the plan impervious to later recall by wiser Congresses – is forced down the throats of an unwilling citizenry.