Alabama’s Historic Economic Prize!

Along with this state’s recent headline grabbing immigration policies rearing its ugly head the most populous county in Alabama is destined for the record books as well, in a story of greed and corruption.

Jefferson County, Alabama has filed for Bankruptcy and if the case is allowed to go ahead it will be the Largest Municipal bankruptcy filing in United States History.

When combined the water and sewage rates in this county of 658,466 residents the rates for these must have services has increased 329% over the last 15 years.

As with most of the gut wrenching economic hardships of our recent recession the poor are the unwarranted recipients of most if not all of the consequences. They are now being forced to bathe in bottled water and use portable toilets as they have been cut-off from these basic necessities through no fault of their own.

While disturbing it’s not surprising that local government officials and Wall Street financiers have been implicated again in another case of financial wrongdoing.

All of this stems from the debt the county took on to finance a new sewer system for Jefferson County residents. Initially the cost was to be $300 million dollars however that initial projection soared to $3.1 Billion dollars and the county is drowning in debt.

JP Morgan Securities along with two of its prior directors have already been fined as they were accused of offering bribes to local politicians to guarantee they would win business financing the project. Six former members of Jefferson County’s commissioners have also been found guilty of corruption as well as fifteen other government officials for accepting bribes.

The new local county commission has seen no other alternative other than to file for chapter nine bankruptcy protections in November as the only way to try to bring the county out of this current financial hole.

However the banks and bondholders who stand to lose $4.5 million dollars per month in repayment charges are fighting the commission’s decision and a bankruptcy judge will give the last word on whether the Jefferson County commission can proceed.

The local residents have absorbed rate hikes of 8.2% a year to attempt to deal with repaying the escalating debt. According to John S. Young the court appointed receiver the rates are projected to be 10% per year up to a whopping 25% for the cash poor citizens of the county in the future.

Along with the prospect of bankruptcy filing for the sewage project the country is also projected to have an extra $40 million dollar budget shortfall.

As five hundred county workers were recently laid off and are living off of unemployment insurance the county’s ability to finance local services is further called into question as tax revenues will most certainly fall.

Tony Petelos the new county manager believes it will be years before the county might be able to turn the tide. He stated, “The public has lost confidence in Jefferson County over the last decade and a half, because of the mismanagement, because of the corruption. We have got to rebuild that confidence” and that there is, “light at the end of the tunnel”.

However in regards to any relief the citizens might realize in their water and sewer rates he was quoted as saying, “When you look at the amount of debt, and you  look at the revenue that is produced from the rate payers, there is no way it is going to come down,”.

Mr. Petelos who was the former mayor of Hoover city, Alabama recalls a Wall Street presentation about the same type of bonds that were used to finance the Jefferson County sewage project. After the presentation he recalls talking with his finance director in dismay and how they were both in agreement that they did not want to have anything to do with the type of financing that was presented.

One resident has found it is cheaper for him to pay a portable sanitation company $14 dollars a month to deal with his household sewage. His previous sewer and water bills sometimes reached $300 dollars per month this in a county whose citizens average income was $19,724 dollars per year according to the most recent census figures.

As most of the citizens of Jefferson County live off of meager Social Security income in this predominately poor community it is abundantly clear they cannot afford to pay these rate increases brought upon them by greed and corruption.

As the current Republican mindset in Washington is to gut most if not all of our governments regulation or oversight of the financial sector or corporations. This current situation in Alabama is the poster child for why we Do Need Regulation of banks and corporations that cannot be trusted to conduct themselves in a responsible honest fashion.

The meteoric rise of the debt from $300 million to $3.1 billion has been tied to construction issues and a series of bad bond and derivative deals that went sour during the 2008 financial debacle which has landed us in our current economic recession.

While for now as Jefferson county may be filing the largest Municipal bankruptcy in the history of our country. How many other cities and counties across the country are also reaching the breaking point remains to be seen.

Again Wall Street is being implicated in more financial crimes with few if any of the perpetrators being brought to justice. However as is usually the case the poorest citizens of the U.S. are being asked to suffer the brunt of the damage.

When will the poor citizens of the United States catch a break or at least be treated in a fair and equitable fashion and when if ever will the financial sector be held accountable?

Advertisements

Tea Party Success; Mother Shoots Children Commits Suicide After Food Stamp Denial

While the Tea-Party, Fox News, Grover Norquist, Republican legislators and the Republican presidential candidates among many will not lose any sleep over it, a 38yr old female shot her two children and then committed suicide herself in a Texas food stamp office on Tuesday.

As our Bought & Paid For Republican congressional leaders continue to crawl on their knees’ to Wall-Street and the Tea-Party the life and death of ordinary citizens is of little or no consequence.

The two children a 10-year old boy and 12-year old sister both still in critical condition in a Texas hospital are just insignificant collateral damage. Rachelle Grimmer 38-years is dead from a self-inflicted gunshot wound her former children will be orphans, that is if they live to see any more of this life.

Rachelle first applied for food stamps in July but was denied as she did not supply enough information. She apparently had applied after relocating to Texas from Ohio the Department of Health and Human Services stated the last previous contact with her had occurred during mid November.

That was until she walked into the building housing HHS in Laredo, Texas on Tuesday. The once living family walked in at 5pm, Grimmer asked to speak with a new case worker and specifically not the one she had worked with in the past. She and her children were taken to a private room and shortly afterwards revealed she had gun and the situation escalated, yet no one knew how badly this would end after the seven-hour standoff.

The police were called and their negotiators were on the phone with Rachelle throughout the evening, however her frustration was self-evident. A supervisor at the Texas Department of Health and Human Services offered himself as a hostage if Rachelle would let the other 25 employees in the building go free, which she did. She also finally let the supervisor leave at 7:45pm while she and her two children remained. Imagine the feeling alone in that room in the building where you had come for help yet no one cared, in such desperation living a life so far off the page past the margins into nowhere. No one will ever know what drove Rachelle to do what she did however I can imagine many of her once fellow Americans feel the same desperation in this day and age.

After the last phone call with authorities at 11:45pm there were 3 shots heard by police and a swat team entered the building finding Grimmer and her two wounded children. At that time the children were in Very Critical condition and unconscious at this time there is no further word on their outcome.

Yet the Tea-Party can check off their box on another win column entry this poor woman is just now another statistic. In the Tea-Party world of social Darwinism just another weak human being has lost the race while the strong have survived, but at what price?

How dispassionate a society we have become as these types of events happen more and more often than not in this country.

Congress is still fighting to cut programs to the poor while giving or extending tax cuts to the rich. The top 1% have seen their income grow 270% while the poor only realized around 18% from 1970-2007. Even though the rich possibly moved by Warren Buffet who asked to be taxed more along with other millionaires and billionaires while their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.

There isn’t a Republican presently serving in congress with the backbone to stand up to the Tea-Party, Grover Norquist, Fox News and the rest of the, “I’ve got mine, get your own, oh and by the way I’m not going to give you a chance to get anything”, Neo-Conservatives.

President Obama said today that we are at a defining moment in our time and this country cannot turn its backs on the people of these lands we call America. Let anyone with a conscience hope and pray his words have not fallen upon deaf ears. Pray that this country still has a beating caring heart left for the sake of the people be they rich or poor.

For Rachelle Grimmer 38 and quite possibly her children who may also just become another statistic whether or not this country starts to turn back around will no longer be a possibility.

Wars are fought for no reason, banks are loaned billions of dollars for operating illegally with impunity and in truth Lobbyists are running this country.

What will it take for the United States of America to grow a conscience once again and realize we are all Human Beings worthy of the same opportunities and to begin to show some compassion for the less fortunate once more?

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Marijuana Legalization It’s the Only Smart Move

With the FBI reporting 829,627 arrests for marijuana in the calendar year 2006 and local government’s spending $10.7 billion a year policing, arresting, prosecuting and imprisoning our citizens it might be time to review America’s priorities.

Citizens in the U.S. are using 31,000,000 (31 Million) pounds of marijuana a year which supports a $113 billion dollar a year industry with no end in sight what are we thinking. There is also the loss of $31 Billion dollars per year in lost tax revenue add that to the cost of enforcement the figure goes to almost $42 Billion dollars a year.

There is also the recent phenomenon of nationwide law enforcement agencies not investigating more serious crimes, one to cut their overall crime statistics and two it means they qualify for more government funding for the war on drugs. This is used in concert with drug forfeiture laws which with or without a conviction deprive countless Innocent U.S. citizens of their property, it’s just a win win for law enforcement agencies across the USA and they are cashing in on it.

However this equates to a substandard enforcement of our laws as criminals who commit serious crimes are quite often overlooked. It’s easier to take down a street level marijuana dealer, take their house, car and possessions and sell them at an auction at a profit then to investigate more serious crimes.

 

If legalization were properly implemented tax revenues would increase. Law enforcement could direct their priorities to fighting real crime and their wasted time could be recaptured. The control of the drug trade by powerful Mexican drug cartels could be greatly extinguished and our government could control the importation and added tax revenue that legalized marijuana would bring to our country.

Just as the U.S. enforces pedophile laws and other offenses against children legislation could be written that would in Fact deter citizens from selling marijuana to those not able to legally have it.

By taking control of the marijuana trade with regulation, import quotas and sales mechanisms our country and its citizens would be better served. This would also in essence put almost $42 billion dollars a year into our nations bank account or $420 billion or almost half a Trillion dollars in a decade.

 

Prison overcrowding with its associated costs is a problem that states across the nation are grappling with every year. California may have to release 20% of its prison inmates to comply with judicial rulings which address the overcrowding issue.  In 2009 the FBI reported 858,408 prosecutions for marijuana or 97.5 arrests per hour. In 1992 the figure was 33 per hour and in 1965 it was 2 per hour but that was before forfeiture laws became such a cash cow.

80% of the property confiscated using this law is from persons never charged with a crime no wonder police departments have changed their priorities. Rather than investigate serious crimes why not go on a shopping spree on the street where you don’t have to pay for anything and even if the property owner gets a lawyer their chance is nil of getting back their property. Even reports of serious crimes are not even being written or never entered into official records to keep crime statistics artificially low, while citizens are being arrested at alarming rates for a spoonful of marijuana, some departments even have marijuana arrest quotas.

When will American citizens see the light and legalize tax and introduce legislation to decriminalize this drug. Yes $7 billion dollars have been generated since 1985 using forfeiture laws but that does not offset all the associated annual costs we are incurring now.

By legalizing marijuana our DEA agents and local law enforcement agencies could redirect their resources to investigating more serious crimes including our Prescription Drug Abuse epidemic. This epidemic is entirely centered in the U.S. as they are legal drugs that are being diverted for illegal sale and destroying lives in the aftermath including many children and teenagers.

I for one would rather have my tax dollars not wasted enforcing marijuana laws and imprisoning those who use it. In my lifetime I have seen that alcohol is a much more destructive drug with devastating consequences attached to its use.

Reading publications across this country there are numerous stories every day on death, assaults and robberies along with other crimes tied to alcohol abuse. In my over than fifty years living in this country I just cannot remember a marijuana user committing these or any other types of crimes because of its use.

Already across the country local governmental agencies are decriminalizing small amounts of marijuana as a cost cutting measures as well as then allowing the local police department to concentrate on more serious crimes. In California along with 15 other states marijuana use is being allowed for certain medical conditions where this use is being taxed and law enforcement time is not being wasted on these marijuana users.

Especially in our current economic state the USA could put our tax dollars to better use. Not spending over $10 billion dollars a year on prosecuting these people would make good economic sense. Realizing $31 billion dollars in tax revenue per year while at the same time taking control over the importation of this drug from Mexican drug cartels, this would also be an excellent road to travel for our country.

Let’s consider readjusting our priorities by legalizing marijuana along with controlling importation and realizing an economic benefit from the tax revenue it would produce. Incorporated into the legalization I cannot imagine anyone who could argue against harsh laws with accompanying imprisonment of anyone who would attempt to sell marijuana to those not of legal age.

Our youth can be protected by strict comprehensive laws while our law enforcement agencies could go back to investigating and prosecuting serious crimes. The national deficit which is at an all time high thanks to the Bush administration could breathe a little easier. American citizens who were really never big time criminals could be released from incarceration which would reduce prison overcrowding. Then those existing prisons could house serious criminals and our courts would also get relief not having to take the time to prosecute those who use marijuana.

Allowing police to investigate serious crime, not imprisoning non-criminals, reducing the federal deficit and giving overall economic relief to all the states in this country, now that is a smart policy move that Americans could get behind.

Sounds like legalizing marijuana is the smartest move the United States could take and all of us would better served both economically, legally and we could also protect our children.

U.S. Obesity and the Destruction of the Family Unit or a Different Ending

Recent data from the CDC 1985-2010 on obesity is a cause for concern by all Americans. As of 2010 there were approximately 33.8% adults classified as obese and 17% or 12.5 million of our youth ages 2-19 that fell into this classification. In showing that this is a national issue no state in the union had an obesity rate below 20% and 36 states had obesity rates higher than 25% also 12 states had a rate of 30% or more.

In 1990 the statistics were quite different when 10 states who participated in the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System reported obesity prevalence at <10%. Also no state reported a rate higher than or equal to 15%.

Jump to the year 2000 where no state had an obesity prevalence lower than 10%. While 23 states reported 20-24% and no state reported a rate over 25%.

By 2010 there were no states who reported an obesity prevalence below 20%. Thirty-six states were now reporting rates of 25% (equal to or greater).

The statistics were only reporting what society was already witnessing in their everyday lives. As these statistics grow so does our concern for our children, society and the economic impacts being found in hospitals and clinics nationwide.

In the U.S. Obesity is now estimated to cost $147 bill per year. Approximately 9% medical spending can be tied to this phenomenon. It is also estimated that the obese American spends $1500 more than the average or 41% more than what is considered the average medical cost of everyday U.S. citizens (Note approximately 2009 data).

Future Dire Consequences for the Human Race

In a study done by the Endocrine Society published March 23, 2011 it was found that the hormone Ghrelin is found to be low in obese females. The study while done on mice found that lower levels of this hormone reduced the fertility of the test subjects. While Ghrelin’s specifically cannot be tied to fertility of humans it does fall into the family of hormones involved in regulating reproductive functions in humans and animals.

The lead author of the report Hugh Taylor MD. of the Yale University School of Medicine stated, “While our study involved mice we believe our findings have significant implications for women. Our results suggest that low ghrelin levels could program the development of the uterus in the female children of obese women. These women may then be less fertile as adults”.

A recent study performed by the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development (NICHD) recommends that young people should participate in physical activity of at least moderate intensity for 30 to 60 minutes each day. It is estimated that 300,000 Americans die annually as a result of a sedentary lifestyle and poor eating habits. This is more deaths than that from the result from infectious disease, firearms, motor vehicles, and illicit drug use combined

In some regions school age children receive gym classes only once every two weeks or once a month, when a holiday or a school assembly interferes. Prior to cost cutting measures being instituted only around 33% of students were considered obese this has now climbed to over 50% as standardized educational testing has taken on as the program of more importance versus physical education.

While the lack of physical activity is now being classified as a Major Health Risk little if anything is being done to address the issue. Yes bills are being brought forth across the country however they are gaining no traction and never reach fruition.

Sedentary lifestyles are predisposing Americans for diseases such as stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, osteoporosis, various cancers, diabetes, depression, obesity, and much more.

American males watch on average 2 hours of television per day versus 2.4 hours for females. On top of this there is an average of 2 hours per day using computers, gaming and other social media.

Children and teenagers report on average spends 2.2 hr each day watching television, 1.9 hr each day reading or doing homework, 1.4 hr daily on the computer/Internet, 1.2 hr playing video games, and 1.1 hr daily talking on the telephone.

However the above stated data is self-reported and as with other studies of this type the figures are extremely questionable and have a higher propensity for underreporting by the study participants.

For instance another study reported found that time spent watching television, videos, DVDs, and movies averaged slightly over three hours per day among children 8 to 18 years old.

As our recent history shows we are an overly materialistic nation with to much emphasis being placed upon social status and conspicuous consumption. With two working parent households and also a 50% divorce rate all of this must be factored into the matter, however it does not point to a strong and engaged family household. Each and every day this is placing more and more responsibility on America’s children to raise themselves.

Our government via subsides and the like, reduces the overall costs for what are unhealthy foods while fruits and vegetables see none of these government incentives. We as a people want instant gratification and fast food with super-size proportions having their establishments on every street corner are not helping matters.

Can parents be expected to become more engaged in their children’s lives including proper diet and exercise, it doesn’t look promising.

How can parents restrict or control their child’s dietary intake, television viewing habits, computer, video games etc, when they are almost never around the children. Can they become involved in their children’s PTA or other school activities when their jobs will not allow for such involvement as they consume more and more of their time?

Is there any way to improve our lives and those of our children

Maybe American society can consider modifying their lifestyles from todays present mindset. If our children are one of the most important facets in parents lives as is so often spoken of possibly if this is in fact true there may be a sliver of hope.

Is it possible a more expensive or larger home, car, electronic gadget, clothing and high paying or all-time consuming jobs could be of less importance in our lives in the future. Could the family unit again become just that, where parents are actually engaged in all facets of their child’s life. If a little less income where brought into the family household could the parents then lead by example on diet and exercise among many activities, as they might then have the time.

Americans are given one shot on this planet will wealth and materialism be their legacy. Or maybe the legacy could be that of an engaged human being living life to the fullest even though one’s bank account or house might not be as large or they drive a cheaper car? Could two or even (Gasp) only 1 child that could receive more of a parent’s time and love than 2 or more be a consideration?

One can only hope and I only hope the best for all Americans and God bless all of the parents ( of which I am one) on this planet your job is more difficult than any CEO. Sometimes ideas may be unrealistic however in this case can we afford not to take some chances?

Nursing’s Great Peril Which the U.S. will now face with Disastrous Effects for All!

The United States is now reaching a breaking point in regards to the practice of Nursing in medicine.

At a time when the baby boom generation -an estimated 78 million- is entering retirement who will care for them in their so-called golden years.

Hospitals driven by profit margins and not quality care have cut nursing staff and reduced Nurse to Patient ratios to Dangerously low levels. By 2005, roughly half a million U.S. registered nurses (about one fifth of the national total) had chosen not to work in nursing. It is projected that if current trends continue by 2010 that the U.S. will need to train 1.1 million new nurses by the year 2012, which is estimated to be half of our current nursing level.

So who will care for the onslaught of this countries aging population of 78 million coupled with the fact that the U.S. population overall has risen above the 300 million mark.

Hospitals have addressed the pressing needs of their Shareholders by pushing the equation down the line to the nursing staff. Or even further by passing down tasks formerly performed by professionally educated and clinically trained nurses to less educated staff members.

They are now Giving nurses Dangerously high patient counts to care for it is not their concern that the patient receives quality care.

Nurses without the needed resources, horrid working conditions coupled with the nurses well founded fear they cannot adequately care for their patients are all leading to a profoundly troubling conclusion. This should be disturbing for us all as countless nurses have come to realize they can no longer adequately perform their duties and leave the profession altogether.

When patient ratios rise nurses cannot properly monitor their patients they just don’t have the time. Drugs along with their importance of timely delivery which are extremely important if not imperative to treatment are quite often given at a later time all to the patients detriment and this is just one aspect.

There was a time when nurses could properly monitor their patients not only checking their vitals but also observing the overall organism which is the patient. The fingernails, skin color the presentation of the eyes changes in respiration and more. Patients on ventilators require even more time to be clinically observed for signs of distress or deterioration.

Case in point fifty year old patient whom staff denotes is agitated and has to be restrained. Shift after shift given their precious few moments to see the patient all verbally note this as does a respiratory specialist and a speech pathologist. This occurs over a 3 day period when finally a more well rounded RN checks on the patient at the beginning of her shift. Within 5-10 minutes a syringe with a semi-neon substance is brought in the unit and is injected into the patient. The agitation ceases the restraints are no longer needed the patient is still semi-lucid as they were before only now more relaxed.

This nurse for whatever reason read the patients chart and took the time to observe and even though she fell a little behind in her duties, she treated the patient. Here this poor man unable to communicate as he had a trach tube, was in rather excruciating pain. Luckily for him a skilled, caring and comprehensive nurse who had not yet suffered burn-out was handed his chart for the day along with many others. If it were not for this lucky occurrence of events who knows how long this man would have suffered needlessly.

Doctors see patients however Nurses carry out and truly care for the patient in a day to day setting.

As long as hospitals only address the issues of their Shareholders (stock holders) and keep inventing methods to improve Profits without a care in the world to Patient care we will all suffer. Until nursing staffing levels and working conditions are addressed this extremely troubling trend will continue in medicine as hospitals further deteriorate.

For the 78 million baby boomer’s who will require extensive, complicated and more demanding procedures and care the outlook is Bleak.

Needed now more than ever and in Greater Numbers with better working conditions. If this issue is not addressed many will Suffer and Die Needlessly.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Substance abuse a Lifestyle choice or an Unwanted Addiction

Back in the last century up until the latter 1990 period illicit drug use could quite often be classified as a lifestyle choice. Many factors could have lead a person down the road from peer pressure, depression, tragic life changing events and the list would go on and on.

Note: Approx 70% related to drugs

Then in the USA we became a society and a people of the pill popping nation. For whatever ailed us a quick doctor’s appointment 10 minutes of our precious time and we were out the door with a prescription for our drug of choice to make all of our worries go away.

This also was a time when the practice of medicine was undergoing a profound change. Physicians were being taught to more aggressively treat their patients pain (this is thought to have started in regards to aggressive handling of a patients pain during various stages of cancer). So the physicians began to follow what they had been taught prescribe, treat acute and chronic pain, prescribe. Also during this time the pharmaceutical industry began to make drugs that were a godsend to those suffering from legitimate chronic pain issues. Autoimmune disorders became more prevalent and stronger drug treatment protocols were sorely needed for these.

Another issue prevalent today in medicine is that doctors believe they went to medical school to practice medicine. Monitoring patients prior to treatment, verifying that drugs were properly being taken and post treatment testing all fell to the wayside. Even though there are urine & blood tests which will give the medical practitioner a valuable insight into their patients use of a medication along with any illicit drug use these tests are rarely if ever performed.

To physicians this felt to them as though they were being asked to perform law enforcement duties which they still feel to this day. This is another component that has lead to a proliferation in prescription abuse within various drug classes. Newly created addicts, long-term addicts being able to continually get medications with ease has all lead and complimented the exponential growth and scope of this present day issue with alarming affects and growing post-mortems.

Having trouble sleeping there’s a pill, sore back here is another one and if your back still hurts here are some more pills, maybe take something stronger that might help.

Above some of the issues and thought processes of doctors are discussed, however there are also financial incentives as well. If the doctor fails to provide the drugs the patient will just go to another doctor who will, by doing the right thing the physician who refuses, tests or offers alternative therapies loses a paying patient, damned if they do damned if they don’t.

You go see the doctor for a few months during treatment they feel you are doing better and their prescription pad goes back inside their lab coat. However you still crave or feel you have a need for the drug so possibly you turn to other avenues to get what you feel you need or deserve. However your need keeps growing and now you need either stronger pills or more of them or both (rationality has left the equation by this time).

Then your home & professional life start to suffer as you spend more time and money seeking out your drug of choice and less time with your family, lies and dwindling bank accounts don’t help this situation they only make it worse. Friends begin to notice your erratic behavior and how you have become more unreliable as time passed, that is if you have already not cut-off communications already.

Possibly you sought help from a rehabilitation center only to have them give you another drug to help you, yet you only become addicted to that drug as well, rather then helping it was only stringing you along, quite often for years.

Rehabilitation centers do have their place and if you need help seek them out. Just do your research for your first attempt unless you are an IV (intravenous user, Injecting) ask about less addictive therapies. If you are only Orally (by mouth) abusing drugs there are other drugs besides Methadone or Suboxone. Ask about all the available drug therapies and their average duration, just don’t go blindly into a program and take whatever They decide not You. For many a less addictive alternative is Clonidine while it will not take away all of your withdrawal symptoms it will make them tolerable, the suggested treatment protocols are shorter and the addictive qualities Greatly reduced.

Picture this, you are a young professional with a family, children, house, great friends, nice car and all the trappings of a successful life. Then when driving home one day you are involved in a car accident and sustain a back injury. Seeing your personal physician the next day you were prescribed an Opioid drug for Acute pain, say Oxycontin.

Note: Oxycontin was only introduced in the United States during mid-1995 as of 2006 over 85% of the worldwide consumption of the drug occurred within this country, during 2006 sales totaled $2.5 billion dollars.

After seeing your doctor you began taking the pills to deal with your acute pain related to your accident. However during your doctor’s appointment the physician Never told you of the addictive qualities of this drug. You also did not notice the chemical changes that were occurring inside your brain, liver or circulatory system among others. Your heart/cardiac arrhythmias were unusual however they were infrequent so you were not that concerned with them at the time, maybe you become a little more irritable.

Because you were not made aware of the dangers of these drugs you felt no need to be overly concerned with your children gaining access to the drug they had always been trustworthy before and had always been exceptional children and now young teenagers. So into the medicine cabinet they went along with the aspirin and other over the counter medications found in every household.

As your life was getting somewhat back to normal things were looking up, soon you would be able to stop taking the medication as your symptoms of discomfort were apparently getting better. After around 4 months of being treated via a prescription medication, your family practitioner felt as though the medication was no longer needed and you felt better knowing that now you could get your life fully back on track. There had been a few bouts of diarrhea, your heart had maybe raced a few times and maybe you had on occasion been a little irritable with some sporadic insomnia.

During your entire treatment regimen with your physician no lab work was requested or taken for drugs. These could have been important diagnostic tools yet even certified pain management physicians often neglect to comprehensively treat their patients. The 10 minute doctor visits of today do not provide patients with good quality care, however this is how most medical practices operate.

Then the day after your last doctor appointment some problems began to come to the surface after you stopped taking the drug. For some reason your heart was racing a little more than you had previously experienced. You were feeling more agitated and a restless anxious feeling was coming over you. Something was telling you that you needed the drug again even though your back had healed up just fine. However as your doctor had not felt the need to educate you before prescribing the Powerful Opiate based drug Oxycontin you had no idea what was coming.

The withdrawal period for most people is around 3-5 days the problem is the overwhelming compounding symptoms make this feel as though it is much longer coupled with the psychological issues/cravings. After the initial withdrawals the psychological need can stay present for weeks or months.

The human brain is a wonderful organ and is still quite a mystery to mankind. Prior to your accident your brain had been producing and self-regulating the release of Endorphins within your body along with all it’s other duties. Endorphins have many automatic actions or jobs to do within the body and when in balance they are regulated by the brain which releases the needed quantities to the self regulating organism (you). However drugs can interfere with these processes in this case we are talking about Opioids or Opiates. They cause an excessive release of the pleasure hormone Dopamine in simplistic terms the drug takes over for the brain in this regard. One of your bodies important regulating systems has now been thrown out of whack or become imbalanced via addiction and you never saw it coming, nor were you warned. The drug has taken over this process or need your brain has one less duty to perform and you never saw it coming.

You now became more restless, your heart arrhythmias/racing became more frequent. As you try to sleep along with the insomnia being ever-present your legs have become restless, your mind is anxious and your having irrational thoughts coupled with possibly abnormal troubling dreams. Somehow your life has taken on a disturbing trend of some sort, adding to your growing list of problems is the nagging depression that is creeping into your psyche.

Not quite knowing what is going on your not feeling well, you didn’t take all of the medication the doctor gave you for your previous pain prescription. So you take one figuring what the hell it might help. While all of the feelings don’t go away they are substantially better now.

Perhaps you return to your doctor and tell them what has been going on upon hearing your plight they might recommend a Methadone treatment program to get you off of the drug in a rehabilitation setting, unless of course they are Certified in this medical specialty. At this point you may be extremely confused your doctor is telling you to take a drug to get off of another drug? Or maybe you might be told to Tuff-it-out the symptoms of withdrawal will only last a few days. These are our doctors we trust them wholeheartedly even though sometimes this is a misplaced trust.

Then you might be thinking Withdrawals, Nobody said anything about all this before they gave me this drug? You just feel the need to get things back to normal all of these undesirable symptoms are causing problems at home and work and you just wanted it to stop.

So the doctor may say tuff it out, oh and let me give you a tranquilizer to get you through the rough spots. Maybe a nice Benzodiazapine ( Clonzepam, Xanax, Valium) of course they may fail to tell you of the addictive & additive qualities of these drugs. This as well the issues that can occur with concomitant (multi-drug use) which can prove to be hazardous or even deadly.

Opioid & Benzodiazapine drugs are CNS depressants (Central Nervous System) as with opioids; tranquillizers, sleep-aids, anti-anxiety medications can slow down your respiratory system (breathing) for one thing. Put the two together and they may be more of a problem such as going to sleep after taking both medicines, your body stops breathing for you and you die. Note; this would most likely only occur with an Abusive patient who was abusing/over-taking the needed medications and possibly supplementing with alcohol or illicit drug medications, not a very good mixture.

It is Very Important to Note; that when drugs prescribed by a doctor are taken properly following the doctor’s direction you should not have any Issues. This piece deals with addiction, abuse problems & misuse, not those under a doctors care for short or long-term pain management.

So you tuff it out take your Xanax however you feel worse, your at work, nauseous, agitated, restless and you feel your heart racing inside your body. So living in the society we do with Instant Gratification ever-present in our minds you take another one of the left over pills you have with you, at work no less. Again your symptoms subside somewhat and you at least feel as though you can cope with the rest of the day.

However day turns to night you are at home and the feeling of withdrawals are coming on again. You didn’t feel like eating, your favorite television program is on and you do not even want to watch it, although you used to just love watching each and every episode.

So again you take some of your leftover prescription and your night becomes tolerable. Still the leftover pills that you have are becoming less and less you start to count them figuring how much longer will they last.

You remember a friend of yours who was prescribed the medication however they didn’t take it because they didn’t like the way it made them feel. Maybe tomorrow you will go visit them even if you had never done so before, they have what you want and until you get it they will become your best friend. Or even worse depending on the length of the addiction you might turn to the street and find yourself a drug dealer to fulfill your growing need.

Well you have now crossed the threshold from a patient needing a drug for pain into an addict needing the pain medication just to function. How could this have happened to you, your educated had never previously abused alcohol, drugs or anything else for that matter during your entire life. Just a few months ago everything was so great, now you were plotting how to get more of a drug for which you no longer had a medical need, only a psychological dependence.

Here you are 40 years of age with two teenage children and a loving spouse, both of you have excellent jobs, your children are fantastic, what else could someone ask for in life. How could this have gone so badly, you did everything you thought was right. You went to your trusted doctor they said you would heal up just fine and then gave you a prescription, how could this have gone so dreadfully wrong.

Monday comes along as you awake in the morning you feel horrible there is no way you could go to work feeling this way, so you called in sick.

However you weren’t so sick you couldn’t go visit your friend (instead of your doctor) who you knew had the drug you thought you needed. The two of you had never been close, there was the age difference and you really had never spent much time together.

Yet still you visited and made as much small talk as you possibly could that morning. You knew that if you asked her outright for drugs she would have refused and seen right through your plan. So after 20 minutes you asked to use the restroom where the medicine cabinet was located. Sure enough on the back of the middle shelf was a full bottle of the drug you were after. She wouldn’t miss it, so you took the entire bottle that should last you 3 weeks or so you though giving you enough time to slowly withdraw from the drug. So this is what you attempted to rationalize in your mind for your actions that fateful day.

After a little more small talk and a promise to get together more often you made your excuses to leave and were on your way out the door. After getting in the car you carefully removed your friends name from the prescription bottle and took two pills (previously you had only ever taken one at a time). Before making the ten minute drive home you would have to stop to pick up your daughter from school.

As you were driving home you didn’t even feel impaired, yet at an intersection an elderly gentleman for some reason felt the need to pull his car directly in front of your car. There was little you could do barely having time to hit the brakes before the collision. The accident while jarring could have been much worse you just received a few small cuts and some bruises, luckily your daughter secured in the back seat received no injuries whatsoever.

The ambulances arrived along with the police as the paramedics looked you over the officer looked around as well and noticed the pill bottle without the required identification attached. The police officer asked if the pills were yours to which you replied they were not and that you didn’t even know how they got there. As you needed stitches to close some wounds you had sustained the officer also asked the hospital to test you for the presence of drugs, he had in fact found drugs in your car so this was a reasonable request.

After waiting in the emergency room and finally getting treated while upset, things were looking better. The accident had not been your fault and you were trying to look on the bright side of this whole ordeal.

A few days later while you were still trying to figure out how to tackle your recently acquired addiction issue someone was knocking on your door.

As you opened the door there stood the police officer from a few days before. The blood test that was requested at the hospital had come back and you had tested positive for the presence of drugs. Also as the pill bottle had been found in your possession you were presumed to be in possession of a controlled substance (illegal narcotics).

The police officer also notified you that the elderly gentleman involved in the accident had died just that morning from injuries sustained in the accident. This had now grown from just an unpleasant experience into a nightmare with no escape.

The officer began to read you your Miranda rights as you were now being charged with Vehicular Manslaughter, DUI, Felony Possession of illegal Narcotics as well as Child Endangerment. Then you were placed in handcuffs as you began your entry into the judicial system. The charges were Very Serious and the reality of a lengthy prison sentence had become a real possibility.

While the story of our young mother is fictional it is not beyond belief that this could occur, it does. A woman in her early forties living the American dream, great husband, children, a fantastic job and a nice home in suburbia. Yet it could all be swept away, first drugs were prescribed for acute back pain as they probably should have, then addiction set-in and for brevity I sped up the time line. Does this happen in real life, many of the addicts of this country will tell you, yes it really does happen. Was she totally at fault, was she just a defective human being, NO. Opioids can and do Adversely Affect Brain Chemistry taking an innocent (never abused drugs in their life) person and for all intents and purposes take over their lives.

I have heard so many people say that drug addicts are just defective people, they brought their addiction upon themselves and they alone should suffer the consequences.

If it were this cut and dry it would be simple I believe that we should pay for our lifestyle choices, just like a convicted bank robber should pay for theirs.

However when the medical community fails the patient by not adequately monitoring their patients and doctors fail to educate their patients as well this becomes a very murky convoluted road indeed and simplistic snap-judgments just do not fall evenly into place. Also after the physician becomes aware of an addicted patient rapid concrete steps need to be taken to assist the patient in the withdrawal process. However this is quite often not the case and the patient spirals down the addiction rabbit-hole unsure of how they will land. This occurs with or without the all needed medical insurance coverage.

In the mind of a teenager Prescription medications are much safer than Illicit Street Drugs.

For teenagers these drugs of abuse are usually readily available in either their parents or a friends parents medicine cabinet. Some of these drugs are designed to be long acting, so a prescription drug when taken properly has a longer duration of action. However street-lore educates the young drug abuser rapidly they learn to crush and snort or inject the drug for a more potent effect. Unbelievable but true the manufacturers of these drugs even stated this on packaging materials (in regards to the crushing), so let the experimenting begin.

However again these drugs are CNS depressants and can slow respiration (breathing) along with other affects. A teenager abusing this type of drug with little or no tolerance can crush, then snort these drugs go to sleep and never awaken again. The brain normally would be able to successfully address this issue, noting that the oxygen concentration was getting low the brain would then fire the needed synapse (trigger) and the body would respond by increasing breathing activity or the body would begin to take deeper breaths. However the drug has the Nasty little affect of shutting down this autonomic (automatic) response and the patient can expire.

It is Imperative that parents keep these types of drugs or all drugs locked away or secured to keep their children or their visiting friends from finding them and possibly using them.

A teenager who experiments with prescription drugs has an exponentially higher probability of becoming an addict versus someone 21yrs of age or older does after they are prescribed one of these medications.

Some people have abusive tendencies built into their genetic make-up for self-medicating (drug or alcohol abuse). Teenagers are especially in danger because of the fact that their brains are not fully developed until around the age of 25 years when the area of the brain specifically the Pre-frontal Cortex has reached maturity. This area of the brain controls impulse-control, judgment, decision-making, planning, organization and is also involved in other functions like emotion yet until approximately 25 years of age the Pre-frontal Cortex is not fully developed/matured.

In our present age of single parent households teenagers have quite a bit of unsupervised time on their hands (latch-key-kids). They are known to be inquisitive some are rather adventurous and the teenage-invincibility argument is sometimes put forth. Their lives are going through profound changes during these early years and experimentation is around every corner. Street lore or somewhat knowledgeable yet dangerous friends can take a well balanced teenager and turn them down the wrong path which may lead to drug or alcohol abuse.

Parents, Grandparents, older Nieces, Nephews, Aunts & Uncles unguarded medicine cabinets can turn into drug wonderland.

Even the best and brightest of our children can become friends with troubled teens. Even as we trust our children (in regards to drugs this should not be the case) their troubled friend may ask to use the restroom with their only intent being finding the drugs that can be found within. Also after these troubled teens abuse the family medical cabinet they can then try to get your child to experiment with the very same drugs they did.

So this is a Cautionary tale not some wild fiction from a novel. Be open and honest with your physician if you are prescribed a medication take it properly and Destroy what you do not use (not by flushing it down the toilet). Keep your medications hidden or locked away so that only you or your caretaker knows where they are stored.

Remember Teenagers View Prescription Drugs as being Safer than Illicit Street Drugs

If after taking a prescription medication you fall into the Addiction Pool first ask the doctor who prescribed you the drugs for help. If that fails then Do Not Hesitate to get help from a doctor who will treat you. Drug addiction is nothing new to the medical profession and you should not have any trouble finding a doctor willing to treat you who will give you caring comprehensive medical treatment to return you to your pre-addiction status.

Even though your child is an angel what would be the harm in having a drug screen done on them with their yearly physical. It’s also a consideration to only give your child or teenager 24hrs notice if that much, of their impending physical so they cannot attempt to take counter-measures to produce negative results when they are in fact self-medicating.

From 6 to 60 drug addiction is a real possibility, getting a drug prescription under false pretenses and then selling (redirecting) the drugs might bring you some cash. However it might also get you placed in one of America’s prisons. Teenagers your young lives are difficult enough as is, adolescence comes with it’s own sets of problems. Try not to add drug abuse to your list of challenges.

For adults think about following or at least considering some of the ideas I’ve written about and to also consider being more compassionate to those who are suffering, remember not all of these people just woke up one day and said, “hey today I’m going to become an addict and throw my life away”.

Also remember that should you confront or a friend confides in you their problem.  You are way in over your head, get them some help from a medical professional. That is If and Only If they admit they have a problem and that they alone have decided they want to stop. No amount of money or well intentioned acts will work unless the patient decides they need Help.

Drugs prone to abuse; Cocaine, Heroin, Hydrocodone, Vicodin, Oxycodone, Oxycontin, Percoset, Percodan, Roxycotin, Soma, Benzodiazapines; Klonopin, Xanax, Valium,Tricyclic & MAO anti-depressants and the list goes on and on

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

The Opiate Epedemic & the Dangers for Teenagers

In the USA today it’s hard to watch a television news report or read a publication which does not cite the every growing abuse of Opiates. Roxycotin, Oxycodone, Vicodin, Percoset etc. Everyday new stories of abuse, rising criminal rates, incarceration and death related to this epidemic are printed or reported on.

This prescription drug abuse epidemic is found throughout all age groups. However the highest concentration can be found in those in their forties along with young adults and teenagers.

Between 1992 & 2002 there was a 236% percent increase of abuse cited in two studies conducted in these time frames. In the rural areas of Virginia death rates increased 300% from drug abuse between 1997 & 2003 while 74% of those deaths were attributed to Opiate use via prescription drug abuse.

The death rates from prescription drug abuse have now overtaken the use of illicit narcotics a profoundly disturbing trend which only grows stronger everyday in America.

While cities with their concentrated populace would be thought to have the highest rates suburban and rural areas are bucking the conventional wisdom via high rates of abuse and deaths related to prescription drug abuse. Studies have shown that hydrocodone and oxycodone have a higher potential for abuse and use by these newer drug addicts.

During 2006 there were approximately 740,000+ visits to the emergency room in regards to abuse of drugs across the US. Of these visits a full 33% percent fall squarely on the back of the Opiate family of drugs being used in a recreational or addictive setting by the patient. There is also the differences in gender to consider where one study points to female abuse at 29.8% versus male 21.1%.

For adolescents who begin prescription drug abuse before or at age 13 there is an increased likelihood of addiction versus abuse at age 21 or above. A 2008 Partnership for a Drug-Free America survey of 6,518 youth produced a rate of 19% reporting abuse of prescription drugs, a very troubling statistic. A staggering 41% of these youths believed that prescription drugs were less dangerous than illegal drugs.

So they raid their parents or other siblings drug medications to get what they believe is a safer way to get high and escape via self-medication. As far as younger youth are concerned a recent study relayed that for 8th 10th & 12th grade students the rates of prescription drug abuse ranged from 1.8-2.7%, 3.9-7.2% and 5.2-9.6%. In the study 2.1% represents 5.2 million teenagers the different rates above for example 1.8% of 8th graders abuse Oxycontin & 2.7% abuse Vicodin either stolen from their parents medicine chest or a friends parents medicine cabinet.

The fearless nature of teenagers only heightens the danger as mixing drugs and alcohol will only make matters worse and could quite possibly lead to a drug overdose. This coupled with the higher propensity of a teenage abuser having a higher likelihood of becoming an addict exhibits a pressing need for parents to keep all medications out of the reach of anyone who might enter their home.

For 2006 the costs to society are an eye opening experience where abuse costs $53.4 billion with $8.2bil going towards judicial costs and $2.2bil for treatment as well as $945million to treat medical complications arising from drug abuse.

As of 2009 drug related deaths took over and surpassed motor vehicle accidents as the leading cause of death. From 1999 to 2007 a four fold increase in drug related deaths were reported. The rate of death in the state of Florida for Oxycodone increased 263% from 2003 to 2009. In the years from 2004 to 2009 emergency room visits from the same drug increased 265% nationwide.

While there is no magic bullet I believe there are steps that can be taken to avoid a patient from becoming an addict.

Physicians in the USA are rarely called to task on this subject in regards to monitoring their patients. This is not to say that all physicians conduct themselves this way. However having been prescribed these types of drugs during my lifetime I have never had a doctor attempt to educate me on the dangers of these drugs. Nor have I ever been tested prior, during or post treatment and I’ve never heard of anyone else who had a different experience, although I am sure there are exceptions.

There are almost no doctors practicing medicine today that will get a urine sample for drug testing prior to writing a prescription for these powerful drugs. Yet these tests are widely available and can be performed at an office visit Before a patient is prescribed any narcotics. The diagnostic test only costs $7 USD and gives results in approximately 5-8minutes.

Why would a doctor give a prescription to a patient already abusing opiates? Post treatment an office visit would be performed 1-2 weeks after the patient had supposedly ceased taking the medication. If this urine test again performed at the physician’s practice during a routine follow-up visit were performed the doctor would possibly then find out that their patient had a high probability of being an addict.

In the two examples above either before or after treatment the doctor could get a clearer picture of what kind of patient they were treating.

The treating physician would then be able to discuss and educate the patient on the effects, costs and treatments available to assist the patient in withdrawing from a drug before they became a full blown addict.

Of course this would be tactfully done by the doctor who would not come in and condemn anyone as an addict. However they could preemptively step up to the plate and educate the patient.

However very few doctors perform these tests to the detriment of their patients. They also fail to educate their patients prior to writing a prescription for these powerful opiates.

It’s much easier to attempt to control addictive behavior prior to a patient becoming an addict than after the fact when the drug has taken hold and changed the brain chemistry of a patient. Yet again this is almost Never done by the prescribing doctor.

If parents were better educated on the prevalence of teenage drug abuse. They would in turn have a better chance of hiding away these drugs so that their children or one of their children’s friends could not innocently ask to use the restroom only to steal a parents medication.

So many look at the costs after the fact rather then attacking the source. Testing new patients for drug use and educating them on the dangers of addiction would be time well spent.

If a patient prior to being prescribed a powerful opiate drug were found to already be using an opiate they might be given the choice of a smaller dose and quantities of drugs or none at all. The doctor would then know that they needed to monitor their patients drug use more closely. They would also be armed and ready to prescribe drugs such as Clonidine to assist the addict during the withdrawal process a more effective yet less prone to abuse withdrawal drug versus Methadone. After the withdrawal period has passed another urine test could be performed to verify success in treating the addicted patient. Also at this time the physician could reinforce the patients education point out support groups as well as relay to the patient that their physician was there to help them to stay clean via treatment and counseling.

For parents there are quick easy to use urine test kits available for around $7 USD to test their children. These tests are accurate, available to order online and produce results in minutes. Upon a positive test of a child the parent could begin to take the required steps to get their children the help they needed. Again it’s easier to treat an addict of only say a month or so versus the later before a visit to the emergency room or even sadly the death of their child.

Would it be considered invasive to monitor and ask your child for a urine sample, yes. If the parent were overly concerned they could set up a doctor’s appointment and give the child no notice until they picked them up at school to go to the doctor for a needed physical, (deceitful yes less prone to a confrontation somewhat, decisions have to be made).

However testing and starting treatment as soon as possible rather then losing your child to drug abuse I’m certain would be much harder.

For those who are addicted there are treatments available however you yourself need to have to have the want to QUIT. There are drugs that will help clonidine is a very good choice I would not recommend Methadone. There are also therapy programs available where you can discuss your issues with people who have already gone through what you are going through right now.

Don’t be concerned about anyone looking down upon you groups created for addicts do not operate that way.

Or you can continue to abuse as you watch your life disintegrate before your very eyes. Possibly losing your family, home, job as well as slowly destroy your body as you will slide further into depression. I beg of you people do care they want to help you,,,Just Take the First Step.

For those with Chronic pain from various elements unfortunately you will probably be on these types of drugs for a lifetime. If you have a medical need and countless patients do then continue your treatment get quarterly liver toxicity tests from your doctor and do the best you can. If you begin taking more and more drugs because of pain coupled with depression consider joining an online forum or group in your area.

It is truly unfortunate that those that abuse these drugs are endangering the lives and mental states of those who Truly Honestly need these drugs to live their daily lives. One minute your fine the next following an accident and your whole life is turned upside down. While it may not matter to you I Do Truly Feel for You and only hope that you can live the best life you can, may God Bless you and help through these times.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

THE IMPORTANCE OF BOARD CERTIFICATION! A Beginning Series of Posts in regards to Medicine today!

Is your doctor Board-Certified?

Are you aware you can check this as every state in the USA has a government website available for you to check.

From this you can research the doctor’s educational background along with their academic achievements, hospital privileges, Board-Certifications as well as any disciplinary actions within the last ten years.

All state governments have a website to check on your prospective doctor. In Florida just type; fla state medical license check. From there enter the doctors name it’s always a good idea to do a five minute check ahead of time to get good quality care.

If a medical doctor graduates from medical school with No Fellowships (specialties) there medical education stopped the day they left medical school and after their residencies.

To make sure you are getting good quality care five minutes of your time will be more than worth it.

I would strongly advise that you Never see a specialist who is not Board-Certified in their chosen specialty. This certification shows that the physician has had continuing education and is up on the latest treatment protocols. What works and what isn’t so rather then spending months and getting no good results or becoming sicker and possible progressing to a terminal state or worse. It’s always better to check out & verify you have chosen the best you can find in your area who will also accept your insurance.

You can also find out if your prospective physicians is what is called in the trade a “Procedural Doctor” not a good sign. If you are admitted hospitals will and do refer their inpatients to Non-Board Certified doctors. Some Gastroenterologists are known for this, your doctors history might show that they have hospital privileges at 3 or more hospitals. Many are not Board-Certified, their income is made by performing procedures not seeing patients at their practice. Many who have outdated medial education more bad signs.

Procedural Doctors take a little more research however this can be easily done. You can check on their practice and how many patients they see annually, low numbers are a cause for concern.

If you find a Procedural Doctor, promptly turn around and head the other way.

This is also why I strongly Advise that if possible have a Patient Advocate if you spend anytime even just hours at a facility. If educated just minimally they can remember to ask questions and watch out for you during your stay. Everyone is thrown a little off guard by hospital and medical settings so an Advocate is worth their weight in gold.

How many malpractice claims has the physician had more than 2 or 3 in ten years is a cause for concern. Where did they go to medical school, where did they do their Fellowship (specialty training) or residency. How many Academic appointments have they received? Are they affiliated with a teaching hospital or university (A Very Big Plus!).

During most occurrences you will be able to ask the hospital what specialist they are referring you to and whether they are Board-Certified? If they are not you have the right to ask the question, refuse that doctor and ask for only a Board-Certified doctor. This will not create a delay in your care however it will provide for a more thorough productive procedure with better treatment protocols and in the end a healthier patient. You are paying for this adventure Please be prepared have a friend act as your advocate if needed.

Your advocate should have the time available to spend 8-10hrs a day with you. Having an advocate involved will Greatly Benefit and Enhance your stay which should produce a more promising outcome to a stressful experience. If your dressings are not being changed, your medications are not being distributed in a timely manner, etc. All of these situations can be tactfully handled by your Patient Advocate. Believe it or not I was hospitalized with a condition that affects over 5 million American citizens per year. Yet I had to call and instruct their dietetic staff on what foods I should not be given among other aspects. Even after speaking with their dietetic staff they still immediately sent me food that would only have made my condition deteriorate and potentially worsen via additional infections (Bezoars). Again this occurred after they were instructed on the proper diet for the condition. This was a large urban hospital in one of the largest metropolitan areas of the USA. It took them a full 3 days to finally get my diet correctly addressed and this was No Exotic condition 5 million US citizens suffer from this annually yet it took a Major metropolitan hospital 3 days to feed a patient the proper food, Unbelievable but True.

Trust me from real life experiences a Board-Certified physician and a Patient Advocate can prove to be a real life saver if you are hospitalized.

Learn to research via easily accessible Internet resources take notes before your doctor’s visit. In today’s world of medicine 5-10 minute doctor visits Do Not Provide comprehensive medical treatment. Just because someone has graduated medical school does not make them GOD, so don’t expect them to be, ask questions, get a second opinion.

Educate yourself and those that you might call upon during a medical emergency.

While medicine has found outstanding cures and treatments for various diseases in recent history. Medicine along with the patient care on the whole in the last 15-20 years has fallen dangerously low on the tree for which patients suffer the consequences. There are now many doctor’s practicing who are in fact Dangerous. However as many of you possibly have experienced physicians will not speak the truth about their colleagues (they never do). It is Your job to educate yourself and those that you love, if you fail to do so it will be at your own peril or possibly a loved one or child.

Be assertive ask questions and be ready to say NO or to point out poor medical care. While even at the hospital you have the right to call for the Attending Physician (doctor on duty) to voice your concerns. You the patient have Rights, exercise them believe it or not many hospitals will respond appropriately to an assertive patient or Patient Advocate. More often than not you will receive better care then the patient who allows themselves to be treated like livestock at a farm.

Also be aware that numerous tests are performed only to protect the doctor and have nothing to do with your medical condition, treatment or outcome. If you are being scheduled for a test ask what it has to do with you care. On the other hand are you aware of the thousands of Perfectly Good Gall Bladders that are removed daily because physician fail to perform a simple HIDA exam to confirm their diagnosis. Often many doctors do not perform this non-invasive procedure. Patients then endure an invasive surgical procedure as well as having the possibility of a Post-Op infection kill them or contribute to the deterioration of their condition, all because a licensed medical professional failed to do their job. Ask questions, during a recent stay myself over two days I requested over ten times to be weighed. This was because of the fact that I was to be anesthetized and the anesthesiologist needs this important information as it is Crucial. Even though I continually tried to get my weight charted this never occurred, why, well I truly have no answer. Someone however entered false data on a medical chart and even after notifying the hospital of this no action whatsoever was taken. Because of this failure to get my proper weight charted I was Over-Anesthetized with propofol an Excellent medication, the patient goes under quite easily and comes out very cleanly. After this procedure this was not the case it took the staff over 20-25 minutes to bring me back around. This after only 2 months earlier the same procedures were done with the same medication from which I awoke Extremely lucid with little or no adverse reactions. It’s also of note that the Non-Board-Certified physician had performed 2 procedures of which only 1 was actually needed. However the doctor was a Procedural Doctor, more procedures equal more money in his pocket. This was verified by a practicing specialist of over 25 years with impeccable credentials who was utterly amazed at what had occurred.

Also remember the saying, ” If there isn’t a picture it didn’t happen”. In medicine, ” If it isn’t Charted it didn’t happen” if there is a problem with your care make sure it is CHARTED. Otherwise it did not happen.

I will be writing more postings on the state of medicine in the coming days that hopefully someone will find useful.

Do your research, Ask questions prepare for the worst that hopefully will never occur. I am not advocating for anyone to become paranoid or obsessive only to use a few minutes on the Internet to become a better educated patient who will receive excellent care during a trying, stressful experience. In the end you or a loved one will be better served for just a few minutes of research.

I only hope for the best outcome for you or a loved during your medical care and experiences.

FAIR USE NOTICE: This blog may contain copyrighted material. Such material is made available for educational purposes, to advance understanding of human rights, democracy, scientific, moral, ethical, and social justice issues, etc. This constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in Title 17 U.S.C. section 107 of the US Copyright Law. This material is distributed without profit.

Barren Oceans Predicted by 2050 if Over Fishing is not Contained

Species of Cod and Tuna which were once plentiful in the world’s oceans are being brought to near extinction. As one-quarter of all the fish species are being pushed over the edge towards extinction there is another full 50% which are being completely exploited worldwide. As the oceans are being raped to feed our growing population there is no one who can predict the upcoming dire consequences for the citizens of the world so dependent on the once bountiful harvests brought from the ocean depths.

A German environmental Minister Sigmar Gabriel that by the middle of the century the world’s oceans will become barren of the lifeblood of billions of inhabitants who receive their nutritional sustenance from the sea.

If some action is not taken worldwide to stem the ever decreasing tide of disappearing fish species the consequences will be catastrophic. The United States just last week for the first time in history has imposed a ban on salmon fishing for the entire Pacific coastline. This coupled with the European Union placing a ban on tuna fishing in the Mediterranean small steps are being taken.

Experts in the field are calling for further actions to be taken such as banning cod fishing in the North Sea.

The Institute of the German Economy viewed as a conservative right wing organization and not an environmentally friendly association at that has taken to issuing urgent warnings. The consequences are in their view dire and their belief is that the fishing industry is nearing the brink of being threatened with Extinction.

As our society has grown so has the appetite to feed the masses across the globe and technology in the fishing industry has become more efficient at harvesting the coveted species needed to feed the ever growing world’s populations with devastating effects.

While certain species have been endangered for about fifty years in certain over-fished regions primarily the Baltic and North Sea areas where even during the 1960 period herring populations were in a steep decline now the reality is beginning to emerge.

Even during these chaotic times various countries are still on the hunt as they compete for the largest quotas issued by the European Union as one region dries up and maybe another is found the competition rages on with little regard to the future of our planet.

Scientists and Environmentalists are doing their part by attempting to implement restrictions and educate the public at large as well as foreign countries and the fishing industry to try to stem the growing tide of dwindling fish species.

Yet the beat goes on as growing wealthy countries buy up the catch of the week to feed the growing mass of human beings inhabiting the planet which is rapidly approaching the 7 billion population mark.

As health experts applaud the nutritional accolades of a diet rich in fish the populace has listened in Germany there has been a twenty percent increase in just ten years.

The technological advances of today have allowed fishing fleets to keep up with the world’s thirst for fish by delving to depths unheard of until now, almost one mile deep into the ocean bottom.

There has also been a consolidation of the fishing fleets and with that consolidation the remaining conglomerates have become more powerful as well as more global. Today only 1% of the world’s fishing fleet is responsible for 50% of the fish caught worldwide endangering the smaller less powerful fishing operations.

Even now the drive to fill these ever larger vessels with the catch of the day are turning violent with rudimentary Molotov cocktails being thrown into the mix.

Pirate fishermen are also plying across the ocean and they answer to no one and are responsible for a full one-third of the annual catch. These Pirate fishermen have no restraints or cares and are not willing to abide by any environmental preservation policies that might be in place to lessen man’s impact on dwindling ocean species of fish.

While some maritime organizations are attempting to regulate the industry there are many more that deliberately enforce no rules whatsoever, the pirates fly no flag other than the thirst for monetary gain with no thought to the consequences.

Political concerns are also in play from historically strong fishing regions of France and Spain where the government is fearful of a political backlash if they implement any type of fishing regulations on the countries maritime industries.

While some in the game have inspection programs in place there are too few inspectors and the world’s oceans are to massive police properly without a worldwide concerted effort which has yet to materialize.

Germany does have programs in place however Greenpeace states that the programs and inspections are inadequate. The environmentally conscious organization believes that the worldwide fishing catches should be reduced by 50%. They are also calling for conservation zones to be created were fishing would be banned allowing species time to regenerate rather than face extinction.

Greenpeace has its presence felt in the Mediterranean where it sails the fishing vessel the Rainbow Warrior II where Bluefin Tuna in now nearing extinction thanks to the appetite for Sushi.

Even organized criminal syndicates are in the act with the Italian and Japanese mafia battling it out on the high seas as they destroy what Tuna are left in the region. There are stories circulating where European Union Fishing Inspectors have arrived in Sicily and upon checking into their rooms they find a Return ticket to be used the same day. World Wildlife Fund WWF activists have found a White Lily on their beds in their hotel rooms as well, the White Lily is considered to be a mafia death threat.

Unregulated fish farms have begun to sprout across the region where young specimens are fattened up for the slaughter and later sale on the market. However mystery surrounds many of these farms as no clear line of ownership can ever be found.

Nevertheless the term Aquaculture or artificial fish farms where species are raised for the seafood industry may be the savior for the rapidly dwindling worldwide fish population. These fish farms have grown 10% annually since the early part of 1990.

There are those that are hopeful that what was done in the field of agriculture can be replicated with the advent of Aquaculture. It has been shown food production quadrupled when advances in agriculture came into play during the 1950’s era.

One can only hope that the fishing industries across the globe along with their governments can come up with a viable relationship that will benefit everyone including the endangered fish species of our planet.

So before you throw away those leftovers or clear your plate by throwing the excess into the garbage can think twice about what you are about to waste.

Up till now you have blessed with being brought into existence and have had the joy of experiencing life as we know it.

Please think of future generations and your children and loved ones as well. Remember that meal that you are about to take part in is because another living entity gave its life so that you could continue to exist.

Please don’t take that sacrifice lightly, cook less food so you don’t have to throw away unwanted surplus food. Maybe on occasion you might think how that chicken, cow or fish whose life was taken so that you could live on and be thankful for their sacrifice.

Human beings consider themselves to be on the top of the food chain however if we eat all of the food whatever shall we do then?

Bailout Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, thanks George

It is looking more and more like the Chicago school free market economic policies of Milton Friedman are once again costing the Unites States it’s once cherished market dominance. The policies of the Republican Neo-Con administrations are on a one way ticket to destroy the American dream and the poor people who are not politically connected.

Unless you were born into or inherited enough money to weather the current economic storm you have been feeling the effects of Mr. Friedman and his cronies in the last few months. Billy Kristol of course could care less Friedman is still his idol as well as with the other moneyed and politically connected of his sect.

Friedman believed in almost no government intervention or regulation and that if left to it’s own means the market would correct for any irregularities. As it was posited by Friedman the market had it’s own equilibrium and would adjust and self correct as needed. As history has now shown again this is a severely myopic view with devastating consequences for the public at large.

While the government is only looking at a $300 billion dollar bailout or excuse me extension of credit which the American taxpayer is on the hook for a realistic loss of $30 billion with Fannie and Freddie, the free market does not seem to be correcting itself.

Lax banking standards coupled with lax investment house oversight are digging a hole deeper and deeper for the American taxpayer while the wealthy of this country are still making a killing. Even today with the financial mess that has been created the wealthy investment and banking houses are fighting any government oversight changes to protect the American populace.

The aggressive derivatives and mortgage markets coupled with the greed of banking executives hell bent on destroying the financial lives of it’s customers has brought us to this economic realization. The mortgage brokerages knew that the financial history of their client did not bode well yet they sold them into ARM hell and are now asking for bailouts from the government. Maybe now someone might think that the government should be a little more involved in regulating various industries.

Banks, investment houses and our rapidly deteriorating airline industry, wow this deregulation thing doesn’t seem to have worked out like we were told it would. But not to worry the after all the money has been bleed dry the government will bailout the banks after they destroyed hundreds of thousands of Americans of whatever dreams they may have had.

Yes it does cost money for the government to operate and sometimes they are not the most efficient entity to be found. But at least they will be consistent with their oversight and that is sorely needed right now and into the future. Deregulation was not the best of ideas and re-regulation is the pill we must take to correct for the wild west attitude now in place in the American economic system. The far right will cry no more taxes and Rush Limbaugh will crumble up his papers and yell into his microphone with his daily diatribe.

Well just remember that while we are in a war estimated to cost into the Trillion’s of dollars our President gave tax breaks to the ultra rich even as the dollar declined in value which has contributed to our current state of affairs.

There is little if any regulation in investment houses and mortgage companies with their get rich quick schemes that have sold us down the river for the foreseeable future.

I for one do not enjoy paying taxes either and would prefer the government wasn’t on my back however I will take the financial hit now rather than pay the price we are going to be paying even after I am gone. Rather than just thinking about yourself and screw the rest like the Neo-Con Republican mindset, why not look just a little further ahead and realize the government has to be engaged so that all Americans have a shot at the American Dream.

No you can’t put all of the blame on our current inept disengaged President it took some time to straighten out the lack of policy of the Reagan administration remember the S&L crisis when the leveraged buyouts and hostile takeovers were occuring right under his nose and he did nothing.

Well we finally got on the right track with Clinton in office who besides having some sexual endeavors in office was a great President.

Then came George who didn’t really get the government thing and he just did what his advisers told him to, well those advisers were from the Chicago school and look where we are now. Not to mention we did add fuel to the fire with a trumped up war and our illegal occupation of a couple of foreign nations.

So now the time has come for a change and hopefully we will not re-elect another Bush term under the guise of John McCain I for one don’t think this country can take four more years of failed policies.

So cry over your spilt milk eat some crow and digest some taxes so the dreaded government can step in and try to straighten out this mess again thanks to the Chicago school principles which have failed us again. It might not be what you wanted but at least the American public will get a fair shake even those without moneyed pasts and politically connected pasts.

So ask yourself do you care about your children and their future or do you only care about what is best for you and the rest of the nation be damned.

$300 Billion for Water in the USA have we reached the tipping point!

As we shower, shave, bathe, cook and drink the ubiquitous resource the inhabitants of the world are rapidly approaching an era of water shortages never before seen by modern man. It is estimated that it will cost over $300 billion dollars just to upgrade the piping systems that handle this most precious resource over the next 30 years. Read more of this post

Well it has happened Turkey has entered into the Iraq War, thanks George!

It is now being reported that Turkish F-16 planes loaded with bombs have taken action against the Kurdish PKK fighters in the northern Iraqi territories along with Cobra helicopter gun ships. Of course we can thank the world’s largest arms dealer for supplying them with their weaponry; this of course is the United States of America.

This apparently began on Sunday as the Turkish military has taken it upon themselves to attack the Kurdish rebel positions as the Iraqi government and the hegemonic overlord the USA have failed or not wished to be bothered by the complaints by Turkey. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: