More Medical Socialism Hidden in the “Spendulus” Bill

Sunni's picture

[Addendum: Mama Liberty alerted me that the McCaughey essay that serves as the springboard for my rant may not be accurate. That tingled my spidey-sense, since as I was reading through the version of the bill available it seemed to me that the “new bureaucracy” McCaughey mentioned was already in place; so I checked into Mama’s allegation. Sure enough, The Washington Monthly has a post on it: Exposing a Lie on a Grander Scale. In that piece one is also directed to a Keith Olbermann vid on the subject.

I suppose I could try to persuade myself that I didn’t perpetuate the worst of the mistruths, since I hung my essay not on the “new bureaucracy”, but rather on a simple phrase in the version of the bill that I read. Similarly, decision-making has increasingly been removed from the patient’s and health-care providers’ hands via both government regulation and insurance mandates over the past decades; our brave new law may step that up, but it is not a new direction. But absolving myself in these ways feels very dodgy. I had suspicions about some of McCaughey’s assertions, and they later proved to be valid suspicions; yet in my haste while writing I did not bring any of it up. I apologize for that, and will do my best to be more careful.

While I’m eating this generous portion of crow, a comment by Wendy McElroy on this subject, in Socialized Medicine, merits attention:

BTW and IMO, Americans should stop focusing their wrath/fears on socialized medicine and realize that it is government control of medicine -- whatever form the control takes -- that's the problem. In some ways, medicine is more controlled by government in America than it is in Canada.

She named no names, nor pointed any links at anyone in her commentary, but one can clearly see why I suspect I’m one of the people she’s addressing. To my mind, our disagreement may be just semantics, because it is precisely overweening state intervention into both medicine and private insurance that is highly objectionable to me. That is coercive socialization, and I want no part of it. I am strongly interested in helping to form, and participating in mutual aid societies, as Jason mentions in the first comment on this post.

I haven’t altered my original essay in response to these findings. To read it, click on the “Read more” link below.]

I first read Betsy McCaughey’s commentary, Ruin Your Health With the Obama Stimulus Plan a couple of days ago; and again, in not wanting to focus overmuch on federal doings (nor wanting to turn this place into a wall of rantings) I refrained from commenting. But some of the stuff coming down the road is just too outrageous to let it pass by. Also, as someone who has tried to improve her health outside of the allopathic medical cartel, I may be a little ahead of others in this quest. (I cannot take credit for renaming the stimulus bill, however; I came across that moniker somewhere online and it tickled my fancy.)

Some context from McCaughey’s essay first (one link preserved below):

[N]o one from either party is objecting to the health provisions slipped in without discussion. These provisions reflect the handiwork of Tom Daschle, until recently the nominee to head the Health and Human Services Department.

Senators should read these provisions and vote against them because they are dangerous to your health. (Page numbers refer to H.R. 1 EH, pdf version [that is not a link to a PDF]).

The bill’s health rules will affect “every individual in the United States” (445, 454, 479). Your medical treatments will be tracked electronically by a federal system. Having electronic medical records at your fingertips, easily transferred to a hospital, is beneficial. It will help avoid duplicate tests and errors.

But the bill goes further. One new bureaucracy, the National Coordinator of Health Information Technology, will monitor treatments to make sure your doctor is doing what the federal government deems appropriate and cost effective. The goal is to reduce costs and “guide” your doctor’s decisions (442, 446). These provisions in the stimulus bill are virtually identical to what Daschle prescribed in his 2008 book, “Critical: What We Can Do About the Health-Care Crisis.” According to Daschle, doctors have to give up autonomy and “learn to operate less like solo practitioners.”

Keeping doctors informed of the newest medical findings is important, but enforcing uniformity goes too far.

Yowza! But is McCaughey scare-mongering here? I clicked through to try to find the relevant sections in the bill myself—and in the process, discovered that because it’s still being hammered out, the search results are frequently updated. Thus, I can’t provide a better link than the one in the quoted text above.

Anyway, she is not engaging in hyperbole, as the bill stands now. The current form—it has already changed once since I began this post—reads as follows (formatting not retained):

SEC. 3001. OFFICE OF THE NATIONAL COORDINATOR FOR HEALTH INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.

(a) Establishment- There is established within the Department of Health and Human Services an Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology (referred to in this section as the `Office'). The Office shall be headed by a National Coordinator who shall be appointed by the Secretary and shall report directly to the Secretary.
(b) Purpose- The National Coordinator shall perform the duties under subsection (c) in a manner consistent with the development of a nationwide health information technology infrastructure that allows for the electronic use and exchange of information and that--
(1) ensures that each patient's health information is secure and protected, in accordance with applicable law;
(2) improves health care quality, reduces medical errors, and advances the delivery of patient-centered medical care;
(3) reduces health care costs resulting from inefficiency, medical errors, inappropriate care, duplicative care, and incomplete information;
(4) provides appropriate information to help guide medical decisions at the time and place of care;
(5) ensures the inclusion of meaningful public input in such development of such infrastructure;
(6) improves the coordination of care and information among hospitals, laboratories, physician offices, and other entities through an effective infrastructure for the secure and authorized exchange of health care information;
(7) improves public health activities and facilitates the early identification and rapid response to public health threats and emergencies, including bioterror events and infectious disease outbreaks;
(8) facilitates health and clinical research and health care quality;
(9) promotes early detection, prevention, and management of chronic diseases;
(10) promotes a more effective marketplace, greater competition, greater systems analysis, increased consumer choice, and improved outcomes in health care services; and
(11) improves efforts to reduce health disparities.
(c) Duties of the National Coordinator-
(1) STANDARDS- The National Coordinator shall--
(A) review and determine whether to endorse each standard, implementation specification, and certification criterion for the electronic exchange and use of health information that is recommended by the HIT Standards Committee under section 3003 for purposes of adoption under section 3004;
(B) make such determinations under subparagraph (A), and report to the Secretary such determinations, not later than 45 days after the date the recommendation is received by the Coordinator;
(C) review Federal health information technology investments to ensure that Federal health information technology programs are meeting the objectives of the strategic plan published under paragraph (3); and
(D) provide comments and advice regarding specific Federal health information technology programs, at the request of the Office of Management and Budget.

First, out of all this gobbledygook, the phrase “health disparities” leapt out at me, and I just had to laugh. Given the uniqueness of each of us—uniqueness in health as well as illness—how the fuck do these healthocrats think they’re going to reduce disparities?

That one phrase is emblematic of the fundamental problem here: their solutions call for systematizing that which cannot be systematized. People are not interchangeable cogs; we do not respond uniformly to most things outside of some basics (such as oxygen or water; and it may be the case that our metabolic pathways may be somewhat unique even here), either in mind or in body. Medicine used to be considered part art and part science precisely for the same reason: helping someone heal requires attending to his unique situation as well as placing it (to some degree) into the broader context of accumulated knowledge.

The art has been undermined for decades, replaced by systems and institutions. And now the science is revealing its cracks, too, as it has narrowed in scope, become politicized and dogmatic, and allowed many of us to think its answers are more solid than they really are. I believe it was my spirited sister Wolfie, who commented recently that for all science’s explorations, relatively few bacteria have been identified, much less understood in the context of human health or unhealth. Yet to read news reports and science mags, one would think this stuff is all figured out. It may be to a high degree, in discrete little units of information, but those bits haven’t become integrated into bytes—there’s too little generalized understanding.

So the fedgov’s effort to herd us into neat little medical categories, and to dictate to doctors and other health care providers how we should be treated, is doomed to fail. It must, given how it’s set up. But it will cost millions, in dollars wasted, in hours of life and energy to no real purpose, and in lives unnecessarily shortened or snuffed by the medical manufacturers. This is not hyperbole—it is already happening, all around us. Too many of us—myself included, once upon a time—have ceded responsibility for our health to so-called experts who know far less than they let on, and whose biases help keep us in their grip, instead of taking responsibility ourselves. Too many of us have fallen for the seductive promise of definitive answers via scientific methods, requiring that we “understand” how something works before we’ll deign to try it. Tell me, does knowing that a pill is a beta agonist or selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor really tell you what is going on in your body if you swallow it? It sounds like we know what’s going on, when we haven’t a fucking clue.

I have stated publicly that I will not cooperate with any mandatory health insurance ponzi scheme. Health insurance is not necessary to obtain health care. It is a wholly unnecessary part of the current medical institution, socializing health care and vastly inflating its cost. In keeping with my desire to keep my health under my control, I will do everything in my power to avoid any health care provider who cooperates with this vast socializing of medical care. In a world that is rapidly stripping away both privacy and dignity, I will resist. In fact, I have been for some time—but I have increased my efforts of late.

What can one person do? Refuse to believe the propaganda the medico–pharma complex pushes. Most of the pills they peddle control or mask symptoms, rather than curing the problem for which they’re pushed; and in so doing, they inevitably create another set of symptoms. Thus does the chain reaction of multiple pill-taking begin. Step out of the mindset that asserts sterile laboratory research relates well to your personal circumstances; at best it has tangential bearing upon your own personal health. Let go of the idea that manufactured foods and processed pills from natural origins are better than whole, natural food and medicine. We are barely beginning to understand the complementarity of micronutrients, for starters. Pay attention to your body, and do what you know is right for it: all foods in moderation (I like the No S diet approach); and exercise in moderation (most of us could stand to do more, I’d bet). Understand and fully embrace the truth that your path to wellness will be your own. Pay attention to your mind too: indulge in things that help it regain equilibrium and health; let go of negative energy, stress, and unreasonable judgments, expectations, or demands.

Others can help you find your path, of course. Mama Liberty helped me open up a world of healing, both physical and mental, with EFT. I know that it probably strikes many readers as “woo woo”; it still does to me, a little. But it works. I’m enormously thankful that Wolfie, via her blogroll, introduced me to the Handmaiden’s Kitchen. She focuses on natural health, from foraging as well as old-time lore; and best of all, she doesn’t appear to me to be dogmatic about it. She collects information and disseminates it in the hopes others will find it useful, and perhaps contribute their own experiences and ideas. From the Handmaiden I discovered Earth Clinic, an interactive site offering folk remedies and allowing people to report their experiences with them.

While it remains true that some things, such as appendicitis, require specific medical expertise, far too much of our ill health is caused or exacerbated by allopathic medicine. All the more reason, with this stimulus bill seemingly headed for passage, to remove oneself from its clutches sooner rather than later. For those who think they can’t do without their prescription meds, start investigating offshore pharmacies as a resource that will help you retain some medical privacy, and also will allow you to stockpile meds. I will share some of my experiences in that realm, but only with trusted individuals and only via encrypted email (here’s my PGP key). Start looking into natural remedies for your conditions—it might be that you’ll find something that works for you, and is downright tasty to boot. For example, garlic and onions are known to have many healthful properties ... as do cranberries ... blueberries ... apples ... walnuts ... coconut oil ... flat-leaf parsley ...

You can take greater control of your health. Lots of information is out there—and yes, some of it is confusing and contradictory. Some of it insists that you must buy their formulations or follow their process exactly. Ask yourself how our ancestors survived without these things, and you will find much of the dross will fall away. (Relatedly, look around to see how many of your ancestors are still among the living. No one escapes death [so far], so don’t let your quest transform into obsession. Enjoy your life—don’t become a slave to trying to stay alive.) You know how your doctor often engages in trial and error in tweaking your prescription med(s)? Well, if you accept that, why not give yourself the same power? Research your needs, ask questions if necessary, and engage in your own trial and error. Health and peace can be had outside the medical system: I submit that they are enduringly available only there.

H.A.D by Mallcity...

Yes, I read about this on Mike Adams' Natural News site:

http://www.naturalnews.com:80/025575.html

How long will it be before one such database (i.e., medical records) is linked to individual chipping?

There is a wealth of information available for those who wish to take some responsibility for their health (and no, you're not likely to hear of much of the research available from your local mainstream 'pharma dispenser').


[Edited by Sunni to make link hot.]

A good source ...

Hi Shaun, good to hear from you!

That’s a good resource too. Your Mallcity creeps closer and closer to reality. Did you think it would come to pass so soon?

prediction V prevention

Hi Sunni

The best answer to that is, I truly hoped that it would not, but if you scratched the surface, I suspected that it would, and sooner not later. But being right (and let's be quite up front and clear about this - as a cynical psychologist, it was not hard to make such fictional predictions...all I had to do was look around and then turn up the volume half a notch) does not at all make me pleased.

As Ray Bradbury has said, I was in the game of preventing, not predicting...

PPS - nurses

While we're on this subject, I just remembered that one of the earliest non-invited reviews (and very positive) of Mallcity 14 that appeared on the web came from a nurses association (perhaps they saw something coming too).

No Place to Hide

I read a book a few years ago called "No Place to Hide" which describes the private sector firms who aggregate information on each of us. If you care to soil your pants, read this book. And it's several years old. After 9/11 these companies felt it their civic duty to provide total access to the government of all of their records as well as their extraordinarily sophisticated software. You cannot conceive of the power they hold without reading this book, unless maybe you're an insider in the industry.

I pretty much figure that anything that anyone can know about me is available to any government agent who cares to look. I don't see any way to live and avoid it. And so I just accept that this is so and go on with my life. What else can you do? Another reason I feel that the only way to stop this freight train is a total economic collapse. Nothing short of this can do it.

The good news is that I may get my wish. The bad news is that I may get my wish.

- NonE

Gov. "health" vs Wellness

So true, Sunni. I spent more than 20 years as a nurse in the grind and just barely escaped with my life.

I was talking about this in email with a friend yesterday. We started by talking about how many current college students seemed incapable of rational thought, let alone the ability to write a complete sentence.

The problems with western medicine go much deeper than current political meddling.

My comments:
Actually, it was no different 20 years ago when I was teaching at the college. Most of the nursing students could not write meaningfully, and many could not even construct a complete sentence without difficulty. What was worse, they could not analyze assorted data to come to reasoned conclusions, make use of research or even the library in some cases. In a word, they did not know how to think for themselves or use reason to solve problems. If they were given a "cookbook" and had time to match specific data with specific things to do, most of them could function at a minimal level, but there was little original thinking. Government "school" had eliminated most of their ability to use their minds for any but trivial things.

Even more unfortunately, I see the same pattern in most young doctors! They need a "cookbook" to match symptoms with diseases and the pills/whatever used to treat them. They don't take the time to really learn about the patient, so if it isn't clear in the cookbook, they simply do not have any idea what to do. Worse, they don't admit it and simply throw tests and pills at the problem, hoping something "sticks."

It was that which truly began my serious involvement with alternative medicine. I could see the gaping holes in western medicine and knew that I must do something else if I wanted to live, let alone be healthy again.

Western medicine darn near killed me. And it kills an awful lot of people every day.

Then he asked if we couldn't just use the computer to diagnose and treat our own illnesses.

To which I replied:
As for the computer diagnostics, I don't think so. That is the "cookbook" I was telling you about. We have even less chance of using it effectively since we don't have the rest of it available to us. We don't have the ability to do the required tests, or access to the pills and so forth. They have sewn up this monopoly very carefully. Remember that they don't really want to find permanent cures for anything. That would damage job security and they couldn't sell all those wonderful drugs.

What we do have, however, is a whole world of health and medicine that has little or nothing to do with their cookbook, their "diseases" or their pills. I am living proof that all or most of them are not only irrelevant to true health, but destructive of it. All the doctors and pills nearly killed me. Not once did any of them address my stress or the sickness of soul that was the true center of my illnesses. Remember that I had terribly painful fibromyalgia, crippling arthritis, serious asthma, three heart attacks, and various other problems brought on by the pills!! All of those things are gone, as if they had never been.

I actually "caught cold" last week end, for the first time in nearly 25 years!! I did all the things one normally does, fluids, rest, extra fruits and vegetables, a bit of decongestant to allow me to sleep, and I even broke down to take a few ibuprofen for the sinus pressure at night. But the most important thing I did was go back to my EFT and locate the core problem that allowed my immune system to slip and let this bug in!!! And as I worked on that my temperature rose alarmingly at first and I was suddenly exhausted!

Then my symptoms began to fade and I'm back to normal now. My body healed itself once I had restored my balance and released the negative that was damaging me.

The negative energy we experience with trauma and internal conflicts is stored in our tissues if we cannot release it. It then becomes our disease.

Nobody can ignore the need for conventional medicine for a broken leg or something purely physical like that, but health and healing depends on our emotional and energy state even then. I've watched far too many people die who should have lived according to the medical model... and many who lived in spite of the doctors who told them they would die. I've watched far too many people given pills that actually damaged their health (such as for high blood pressure) when what they needed was an effective way to deal with their stress, personal conflicts and toxic relationships, etc.

Ask yourself what one thing, incident or person you would most wish had never been part of your life. Carefully explore why. Do you continue to do things or relate to people that damage your health and soul? If so, you now recognize the core of the personal conflict that generates so much negative energy.

While we always need to remove as many sources of conflict and stress as we can, healing doesn't require we move to Shangri La and leave the world. The only requirement is to recognize the source of our stress and find a way to release that negative energy often and well. EFT has proven very effective for that, and there are so many other such approaches it is mind bending.

The physical damage may take a while to heal, but that healing is also a measure of how well we are rooting out the negative energy. It can be done. It has been done. It is being done every single day. I'm not the only one, by far.

We have so much more to learn about all this. Gary Craig so often says that we're on the ground floor of a high rise of opportunity. All we have to do is explore, learn and allow ourselves to grow and heal. :)

I'd love to share more about EFT with anyone who would like to talk about it. My client email address is: myeft_coach@yahoo.com Send your PGP public key if you wish to use encryption. All communications are strictly confidential.

Thanks!

Your perspective is much broader than mine, so I appreciate you sharing your thoughts on the subject.

And it just now occurred to me that it’d be helpful to include your PGP public key on your bio page here. I’ve added it, along with a link to your Salon interview.

So true.

Great post, Mama. Thanks for sharing it with us.

Your description of the thinking ability of those in the modern medical establishment immediately reminded me of a recent article by Karen De Coster, Life as a Trained Monkey, which is worth a read: http://www.lewrockwell.com/decoster/decoster144.html

- NonE

Hmm. Weird. I've put in the link, but it's not showing up as an active link in the preview screen. The gods are messing with me again!


[Edited by Sunni to try to make link work, but it didn’t, so I ended up just posting the URL]

Wonky setting

NonE., your comment somehow got switched from “Full HTML” input format (see the red box immediately below the comment text pane) to “Filtered HTML”; that’s why your code didn’t work.

Thanks Godess. -

Thanks Godess.

- NonEnabledGeek

Hardly!

And in poking around a bit more, it appears that something more sinister is going on with comments, so I’ll call in our big gun to track it down.

on with comments

Yesterday I wanted to reply to Ellen's post and when I clicked on the "reply" button up came a notice that the message I was looking at on my screen and on which I had clicked the reply button... did not exist. Many hours later that resolved and I was able to make my reply. I'd had this happen at some point in the past as well. I assume it has to do with Ellen's post having not yet been approved or some such, but that is different from it not existing... (bitch bitch bitch whine complain beat head against the wall of reality and so on)

- NonE

Yep.

Comments that are held for moderation—all comments by those who haven’t registered—do not exist for the accounting/tracking purposes of the database and software running the site. I think things would get too complicated, allowing comments on pending comments ... especially since others can’t see pending comments. Another point of note: when a comment is deleted, all its children (comments made in reply to it) are automatically deleted as well.

Right on!

Right on, Mama Liberty. Between you and Sunni, you've pretty much summarized the state of medicine today - from both sides of it.

Sunni has recently mentioned EFT to me, but I haven't had time to follow up. I'll be getting in contact with you.

I'll add this: Doctors are not being taught "hands-on" medicine, how to look, listen and feel the patient; they're letting testing and drugs substitute for their minds - and nurses are letting technology substitute for theirs. (I say "letting" because they DO have a choice; even if they've never learned to question their teaching, they're still responsible for their actions.)

All of which puts the lie to "health care."

Mama Liberty:

What we do have, however, is a whole world of health and medicine that has little or nothing to do with their cookbook, their "diseases" or their pills.

Patients have not changed in hundreds of years, and illnesses still need to be diagnosed and treated properly. So "health" is ignored and "care" is not given while the tools of modern medicine substitute for brains.

At my hospital we have a terrific staff turnover; new nurses coming in are usually fresh out of school. When working with them, they are constantly amazed at the simple, common-sense approaches that save hands, feet, and time, and that make the patient's life easier while lying helpless on his back - and I am constantly amazed at the number of times I hear, "Really? That would work?", "I never thought of that before!", or worst of all, "You're so smart". I blush when I hear THAT. No, I'm not that smart... some things are as simple as (at home) remembering to plug in the coffee pot when it doesn't work. Frankly, I blush for *them* for being so stupid.

You're right, they're not taught to think. But I guess they never have been since kindergarten.

Patients have not changed?

Seems to me people have changed a great deal in the last hundred years. We no longer have a population of rugged individuals, ready and willing to look after themselves and their own families, fierce with pride and determination.

A hundred years ago, children didn't spend half their life with "colds and flu." They didn't spend their lives indoors, with video games either, but had meaningful work to do that was necessary to the survival of their families.

Much of this was true even 60 years ago when I was young. And I've watched it vanish into the mist since then.

I could go on and on.

My uncle Jerry had a 400 acre farm in Michigan. He worked the farm weekends, then drove to the city and worked at a steel mill all week! His sons did the farm chores after school, never missing a day of school or allowing problems to develop - at least not a second time! My aunt Jessie milked the dairy herd of 27 cows, processed the cream for market, managed a good sized egg production, and all the rest of the things a farm wife has done for hundreds of years. They had at least a hundred acres planted to apples, so she managed and fed the picking crews and saw the produce trucked off to the railhead. They raised their own hay and feed for the cows, and she managed that too.

Aside from a few accidents, none of them ever saw a doctor. My uncle farmed until he was in his late 80s, long after he retired from the mill. He died in his sleep at 90, probably from plain cussedness, since I never heard otherwise.

I'm sure most of us have stories like that about people from that generation.

We still have a lot of people like my aunt and uncle here in rural Wyoming. I'm sure there are pockets of them in many places. But they are a dying breed. If more of their children and grandchildren don't develop those traits and become strong - who knows what will become of us as a people.

Health and wellness are a lot more complex than the absence of disease or alternative means of treating them. It has to do with who and what we are in total, down deep, for keeps.

At least that's my take on it. :)

On the other hand...

Mama,

I have an interesting story. I am acquaintances with an older couple. They are in their 80s, probably their high 80s, and are both virtual invalids. They are dual citizenship Canadian and U.S., and I think get "free" medical from both sources. They go to various doctors on such a frequent basis that it's a wonder the entire system hasn't been brought down just by them.

One day while visiting with them a few years ago the man was talking about his most recent visit to one of their many doctors and claimed that the doctor made some kind of inquiry in regards to the man's pill regimen and how it was working out for him. He stated that he told the doctor, "Hey, that's your business, that's what you are getting paid for. I don't have to do any of that!" I was astounded. He was totally disavowing ANY responsibility for his own health and was firmly convinced that it was someone else's responsibility to take utter and complete care of him. Did I say I was astounded? Well it bears repeating. I was astounded.

This same man was trying to get another one of those motorized chairs they offer "for free" to the elderly. The one he had worked fine, but this guy figured that since they give them away for free he'd get another one and that way he wouldn't have to pay for a new battery when his current unit needed to have the battery replaced.

(the sound of "astounded" is echoing off of my brain still...)

- NonE

Needs of patients

Well, what I'm referring to is the NEEDS of patients have not changed. Culture certainly has changed, as well as attitudes, but patients in the hospital still need holistic responses to their physical and mental problems: they still need understanding and concern shown to them, they still need to be touched and physical comfort given, they still need time to talk... and be heard. They still worry that spouses, kids and parents at home are not being cared for properly without their help. They're still just as scared about what they don't know or understand. And they still feel the pressure of money, job security, and inability to cope.

Those needs don't change with time. They may manifest themselves differently, and responses from the medical profession and the community may treat those needs differently, but the patient is, in the weird and wacky world of medicine, still at the mercy of an alien and unnatural environment.

Spot on!

You've hit on two key points - the gradual (and insidious) dumbing down of educational systems, and medical error.
Both are prevalent across Austramerica (in fact, the latter is the number one cause of death).

A new essay buttresses some of my observations

At least in my mind it does. Thanks to Mama Liberty for sending Scientific Stagnation to me.

Thanks!

I found that article after I'd posted my response and figured I'd drag it past you first anyway. Thanks for posting it. :)

And thanks for posting the PGP key in the profile. I forgot all about that! :)

Two different things, perhaps?

Pagan, I suspect we're talking about two different things. I'm not sure if the human comfort "needs" of patients as you describe them have really changed or not, but their demands most certainly have. I spent more than 20 years as a nurse, and I remember how patients changed even in that amount of time. They certainly want comfort and "service," but few of them want any responsibility for anything anymore.

I spent years trying to teach new diabetics, for instance. The diet alone is almost overwhelming even for those who want to take care of themselves. I don't remember ever having a patient who followed the program completely, and most didn't want to be bothered until failing eyesight, kidneys and vascular collapse hit home. By then, of course, it was too late. No, they wanted a pill or shot to make it all go away so they could continue to eat, smoke, drink and carry on as if none of that mattered.

There will always be some who are self directed, willing and able to learn what is needed for health and recovery, and not just swallowing whatever is told them. On the other end of the spectrum are those like the old couple who suck up every shred of "free" stuff they can lay hands on, have no intention of taking any responsibility for their own health, and suffer the consequences eventually. And then there are billions of people in between, at all points of that spectrum.

The shift over the last 50 years or so has been to the parasite end of that line. So, I don't know if we can blame the allopathic doctors totally. In many ways they are giving people what they demand. Who started it? I don't know. I suspect there is blame enough to go around.

This is a good example of what we've been talking about. (see article below) The push is to find some "drug" that will damage the cold virus, rather than working to promote real health and improved immune system so the body can reject the virus itself. The drugs will, invariably, create their own problems and might possibly further damage the immune system, especially if given to children.

But it is the "quick fix" most people want. Working for real health is too much effort for a lot of people. If they have a choice between a pill and making some hard choices between healthy and not so healthy foods, lifestyle, etc... guess which one most folks take?

Nothing to sneeze at — decoding the common cold
By LAURAN NEERGAARD, AP Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard, Ap Medical Writer – Fri Feb 13, 6:53 am ET
WASHINGTON – Scientists have unraveled the genetic code of the common cold — all 99 known strains of it, to be exact. But don't expect the feat to lead to a cure for the sniffling any time soon. It turns out that rhinoviruses are even more complicated than researchers originally thought.
In fact, the genetic blueprints showed that you can catch two separate strains of cold at the same time — and those strains then can swap their genetic material inside your body to make a whole new strain.

It's why we'll never have a vaccine for the common cold, said biochemist Ann Palmenberg of the University of Wisconsin-Madison, who led the three teams that assembled the family tree of the world's rhinoviruses.

"No vaccine, but maybe a drug," she said.

Lynn Margulis

In fact, the genetic blueprints showed that you can catch two separate strains of cold at the same time — and those strains then can swap their genetic material inside your body to make a whole new strain.

Lynn Margulis is a brilliant scientist I've recently come across. She has a unique perspective on life (from the biological view, not the metaphysical) but has slowly over the years been able to show the world that her ideas, which were rejected from all pear peer [I don't think any fruit were involved] reviewed journals for ages, are actually meritorious. One of the things that I find fascinating is her understanding that the Darwinian view of evolution, while not wrong, is incomplete. After years of serious disagreement on this, Richard Dawkins has finally come around to see what she is saying and retract his dismissal of her. What it is that she has found is that organisms are constantly trading bits of DNA back and forth between themselves and so the evolution of life is not solely based upon the success or failure of individual random errors or mutations in the transfer of DNA from parent to child, but rather is much more complex and robust.

Interesting stuff. She's an amazing woman. Especially for her integrity. She and her husband, Carl Sagan, sired a son who is apparently also quite a force. What a household that must have been to have grown up in.

- NonE

Yes, two different things

Yes, we are talking about two different things, M. L. (or at least, we may be focused on two different aspects of the same thing).

I see patients' demands often - not always, but more often than not - a *result* of the change in attitudes and "collectively-sponsored" culture that has taken place over the past fifty years. That is to say, the demands surfaced as a manifestation of their needs - they just haven't learned (and weren't raised on) the manners necessary to ask for or act on what they need in the proper civilized manner.

But their needs are still there, and medical personnel have an obligation to recognize those needs and meet them, no matter how the patient acts.

As far as not following courses of action to help themselves get well, many patients have NEVER done that. Forty years ago I was a Public Health nurse and patients weren't doing *even then* what they were told! COPD'ers continued to smoke, and diabetics ate sweets at will, while _nobody_(wrong word!) ate adequate fiber, so hemorrhoids and diverticulitis ran rampant.

The parasitic nature of our culture HAS dictated how we respond to each other and to our 'authorities' (including medical authorities) - no question about that. But it doesn't change or lessen the problems that patients must deal with, only *how* they deal with them. In hospitals, with little or no control over their bodies, minds, or privacy, this leads patients to anger, fear, and embarrassment. And in today's world, that translates into irrational demands and instant gratification.

(As an afterthought, I find it interesting that the more parasitic one becomes, the more demanding one becomes. Only a psychologist can figure that out!)

Frightening

...and medical personnel have an obligation to recognize those needs and meet them, no matter how the patient acts.

I find this a rather frightening perspective. Something that is what I would think to be the very opposite of what I would expect on Sunni's site.

Thank you, but I'd rather not have you deciding what is good for me and forcing it down my throat. I imagine that you don't think that is what you are saying, but you might want to look at what you said and examine your premises.

- NonE

Au contraire

I don’t see what you find so frightening here, NonE. Pagan isn’t saying that she—or any other health-care provider—should decide what is good for a patient and then force it upon him. To my mind, she’s highlighting a vanishing aspect of providing health care: empathy. Beyond the needs manifest in the broken bone or the tumor or wonky blood sugar levels, individuals often need other things to help them heal fully: information, support, and constructive feedback are just a few specific things ... and in conveying them, a health-care provider can show genuine concern for the individual, or can go through a canned routine, as if we’re all the same.

Sometimes a person may not recognize or be willing to admit to anyone that these things are needed; it should be within the provider’s skill to recognize this and respectfully handle it. That’s part of the job. But it’s a two-way street: and the patient is the driver. It may be that a person cannot be so reached; and ultimately refuses medical care. That too is his prerogative.

The fact that much of today’s medical care has fallen so far from this approach is obvious, if you see attempted coercion in her words.

Thank you, Sunni, that's

Thank you, Sunni, that's exactly what I'm saying.

Empathy is not really taught any more, possibly because the health instructors were never taught it - or worse, don't understand its value to the patient.

And I can pinpoint when it began to go out of style (for nurses at least): when nursing became a college course with a B. S. degree, and hospitals lost their nursing schools. The hospital nursing schools were closer to the patients and answered to the needs of the community.

It didn't help that Business Administrators became hospital administrators either, concerned only with the "bottom line." There once was a time when "the patient is the most important person in a hospital" - but that's true no longer.

I sit.

I sit corrected. I come from a family with a LOT of doctors in it. I've found so often that doctors are incredibly arrogant, and they know a whole lot less than they think and act like they do. And the medical industry as a whole is even worse. Thus my reaction.

- NonE

P.S. I am NOT paranoid. I am NOT paranoid. I am NOT paranoid!!!!!!!

Ah, context.

Okay, that makes some sense. My experiences with physicians don’t exactly line up with yours, but they do overlap a lot. And I doubt the RNs present will object strenuously to your depiction of them. Perhaps I’ve been away from medicine long enough that my recollections are no longer accurate, because I do remember a few genuinely caring people—if that’s the case, I hope to stay far away for the rest of my life.

Did someone call for a psychologist?

the more parasitic one becomes, the more demanding one becomes

I have some thoughts on that (although I was not that kind of psychologist). Seems to me a particularly vicious cycle gets started (the ways can vary, and may not be all that important). A person may have some genuine need filled by another, and, upon observing the relative convenience of the situation, starts turning to others to fulfill that which he could see to himself. But of course, others aren’t mind readers, nor can they reasonably be expected to do something exactly as one would do, and so somewhere, he’ll be disappointed. That disappointment can set up feelings of being owed something, which leads to increased demands, and often, increased irrationality along with them.

Of course, it makes little sense to expect someone else to balance out a previous slight (real or perceived) but that feeling of entitlement is frequently blind to such logic. It also seems to me that a lot of anger usually accompanies such attitudes—which hardly improves things.

And that reminds me of another possibility-scape: when a person finds himself in a frightening situation, with less personal power than he’s used to having, becoming demanding can be a way to try to grab some power (or at least the illusion of it). Not very pleasant, but it can work to some degree.

The Best Defense

And that reminds me of another possibility-scape: when a person finds himself in a frightening situation, with less personal power than he's used to having, becoming demanding can be a way to try to grab some power (or at least the illusion of it). Not very pleasant, but it can work to some degree.

I think this is often what happens (and not just in a hospital setting!). "The best defense is a good offense" is the maxim here.

And it DOES work! Many times the health care provider, IF he or she is not aware of what's happening, ends up being jerked around, wasting more time and energy catering to the demanding person while ignoring other patients.

It's a power struggle that doesn't have to exist if the care person can defuse the attitude with a little understanding early on in the relationship.