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Showing posts from March, 2012
Last July, McDonalds’ Happy Meals became a little less happy. Kids in pursuit of culinary happiness will have to be satisfied with fewer French fries and some added fruit. Surprisingly, the calorie count only decreased by 20%. McDonalds held firm on the request to discontinue toys in the Happy Meals, despite opponents’ arguments that these trinkets emit an encrypted electronic signal that lure kids to the golden arches.  The Enemy of Mankind An Indiana billboard offers this announcement along with a graphic photograph that depicts innocent hot dogs masquerading as cigarettes in a cigarette package. “WARNING: HOT DOGS CAN WRECK YOUR HEALTH.” This publicity effort was spearheaded by the carniphobic group Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine (PCRM). This organization advocates that all of us restrict ourselves to the pleasure of an all plant diet. The billboard was a shrewd move. Beforehand, none of us had ever heard of these guys. Now, for a few hundred bucks, they ac

End of Life Care: The Feeding Tube Frenzy

Okay, readers, how many of you desire to have a feeding tube inserted into your belly one day? Some of you? A few of you? All of you? Not me, that’s for sure. So, if there comes a time when I cannot speak for myself, let this blog post serve as a statement of my philosophy that I do not wish to be subjected to everything that medicine may have to offer. If I am enjoying no meaningful life, and if I am not giving pleasure to others… I placed yet another feeding tube (PEG) in a patient this week. This is often an unsatisfying experience for me as I am not always serving the patient’s interest. Usually, the patient is not capable to express his own views and the decision is properly delegated to the family or to a designated medical power of attorney (POA). In this instance the tube was medically indicated and I reviewed the procedure and the alternatives with the 3 daughters in a conference room. The daughters were uncertain how to proceed. The ladies were clearly vexed. One of them w

Is Treatment for Hepatitis C Hype or Hope? Big Win for Big Pharm

I see many patients with hepatitis C (HCV).  None of them are under treatment and they all feel quite well. Why don't I treat them?  After all, potential consequences of HCV include: Cirrhosis Hepatocellular carcinoma. or liver cancer End stage liver disease with all the trimmings Liver transplantation Death One would think that a portentous list like this would justify any treatment, even hazardous therapies.  But, I've never seen it this way, and my hepatitis C patients are all doing well under periodic observation. Yes, I know that the disease can be serious.  I recall one patient with advanced disease whom I referred for consideration of a liver transplant many years ago.  There may have been a few others along the way who received treatment for the disease also. The vast majority of hepatitis C patients I see in my community practice feel entirely well and the diagnosis is discovered by accident.  In other words, these patients did not exhibit symptoms or abno

Chardon, Ohio: Searching for Answers

Volcano - A Metaphor of Evil This past week, I awoke to read a chilling headline in tall black letters that announced that some innocents were shot by an assailant who himself was still a boy. We read these headlines and watch related images every day as the volcanoes of evil around the world never stop spewing out their merciless lava. Why this happens is a question that tests the most erudite theologians, who must try to comfort us and help us to understand what can never be explained. This wanton murder was not a suicide bombing in Baghdad or a Taliban ambush on NATO troops in Afghanistan. This shooting occurred in Chardon, Ohio, a small town less than half an hour from my home. I remember being there a few years ago for their maple syrup festival.  A 17-year-old kid allegedly came to Chardon High School and in a few moments changed the lives of many thousands of innocent people. As I write this, I am still plagued with deep sadness and sharp anger. I cannot fathom how a mind