Healthcare Update — 12-24-2012


Didn’t take long for that “harmless” drug to kill someone after being legalized in Washington. Vancouver, WA man charged with driving under the influence of marijuana after running down a pedestrian.
Just like guns, we should ban it before more people are killed. If it saves one life, it is worth it.

It has affected almost 15% of adults in this country, has allegedly been the cause of multiple mass shootings, and yet the government keeps cutting funding for evaluation and treatment.
Is lack of mental health care killing America?

Wonder if this works for other parts of the body, too. Squeezing breasts decreases the rate of cancer.

Singing Christmas carols in an Alvin and the Chipmunks voice at parties may not be so harmless. Coroner rules that missing Pennsylvania woman died from asphyxiation by helium inhalation.

Woman develops bone growth in her eyelids after getting $20,000 stem cell procedure to enhance her beauty. The thing about stem cells is that they have the potential to turn into just about any bodily tissue. The trick is figuring out how to turn stem cells into what you want them to turn into. Don’t know that I’d want lungs growing in my eyelids.
How the Affordable Care Act will limit medical care and decrease treatment options.
I’ve been thinking … for truth in advertising purposes, shouldn’t this be called the “Affordable Insurance Act”? Then again, my insurance premiums are going way up, not down.

It may make people want to kiss you this holiday season … and it may help treat colon cancer as well. There’s also a CME article about it at EP Monthly.

Psychiatrists approve final diagnostic categories for the new DSM-5. Pedophilia, substance abuse, and internet gaming are all classified as “disorders” while parental alienation is classified as a “syndrome.”
Will be interesting to see the recommended treatment for these disorders and how disability and other aspects of medical care are affected by the determinations.

Now it isn’t just the physicians prescribing medications but also the pharmacists dispensing the medications who are being blamed for addiction and deaths from narcotics. One pharmacy and pharmacist were accused by the California Board of Pharmacy of failing to “ensure that the drugs they dispensed were for patients with legitimate need.” Now there were other red flags that this particular pharmacy may have been catering to narcotic diversion. On one day it dispensed medications for 85 patients – none of which were from doctors in the area or for patients in the area. So in this specific case, I agree that there were likely shenanigans going on.
But how are pharmacists supposed to comply with a general rule to “ensure” that medications are given for a legitimate need? Examine all the patients in a back room and say “I disagree with your specialist. You do NOT need antibiotics for your cough and I will not give them to you. Your blood pressure is under control without your medications and I will NOT give it to you.”
The rule becomes ridiculous when applied.
I’m sure if someone asked the Board to explain its principle, that person would be dismissed as being a “troublemaker.”
Things like this are one reason that we need to thoroughly question the decisions of all licensing boards and that the specific reasoning for such decisions needs to be made public.

Reminds me of the FDA. After pressuring passengers to go through x-ray body scanners for years, the TSA is now commissioning an independent study to gauge the safety of these machines. Ever wonder why these x-ray scanners are banned in Europe?
I “opt out” every time I fly. Here are some other reasons why.

Ingenuity. University of Pennsylvania doctors infect 7 year old leukemia victim’s white blood cells with disabled AIDS virus then transfuse the cells back into her body. Now her leukemia is in remission. The treatment doesn’t always work, but in this child’s case, so far so good.

Some commenters to the article ask if this is the rollout of the Affordable Care Act. Dental assistant and dental receptionist arrested for performing low-cost root canals, installed braces, and pulled teeth for uninsured patients. According to the article, the duo got all of their business by word of … mouth.

Interesting question. Does a patient have a right to refuse being turned in a hospital bed, knowing that the refusal will lead to bed sores and will likely result in his death?

As a follow up the the whole dysbiosis post from previous Healthcare Update … scientists link obesity to gut bacteriumenterobacter cloacae.
No causation proven, obviously, but is the obesity due to a diet in which the bacteria thrives or is obesity due to the bacteria itself?
Interesting questions.

This is tangentially medically-related, but still fascinating to me. A photographer who has studied the human face for 45 years picks out unrelated look-alikes and photographs them together. The similarities between the subjects are remarkable. Makes me wonder how this photographer goes about finding the matches.
Imagine trying to pick one versus the other out of a police line-up.


  1. in the case above i agree something shady was probably going on in that pharmacy. ensuring a legitimate need was, in this case, something to hang their hat on, as it were.

    that aside, pharmacy boards are all about protecting the interests of corporate pharmacy and sometimes, the public. they don’t care about this issue in the context you posed. any pharmacist asking the question you pose would get, at most, a shrug of the shoulders.

    • I guess that explains why a pharmacy actually searched my med board listing, copied it, and questioned why I didn’t have Pain Management as my specialty for my Fibromyalgia patient receiving a stable dose of Norco, Valium over the past 15 years.

      Pain Management specialists in my area are few, are most likely Boarded in Anesthesia, and won’t follow such patients (If they can’t stick a needle in it, then they have no treatment for them!) True Pain Management specialists would be totally overwhelmed if this was a requirement for prescribing narcotics.

      That would also mean those Boarded by ER Medicine weren’t qualified to treat closed fractures because they weren’t Orthopaedic Surgery certified, couldn’t prescribe antibiotics because they were not Board Certified in Infectious Disease, couldn’t treat children because they were not Board Certified in Pediatrics, etc., etc.

      Such is the stupidity of mandating board certification when the Boards themselves make no statement guaranteeing competence of the individual practitioner! They know that one can be Board Certified and incompetent, and competent but not Board Certified.

  2. Wait, you’re joking about banning pot… right?? Because we tried that with alcohol, which kills a hell of a lot of people, and it didn’t work.

  3. Milton Friedman on the drug war
    11/09/12 – The Agitator

    The late Milton Friedman was a Nobel Prize economist who supported personal and economic freedom.
    === ===
    Friedman: [edited]   You are not mistaken in believing that drugs are a scourge that is devastating our society and tearing asunder our social fabric, ruining the lives of many young people, and imposing heavy costs on some of the most disadvantaged among us. The majority of the public shares your concerns. The end you seek to achieve is good.

    Your mistake is failing to recognize that the very measures you favor are a major source of the evils you deplore. Of course the problem is demand, but not only demand. It is demand that must operate through repressed and illegal channels.

    Illegality creates obscene profits that finance the murderous tactics of the drug lords; illegality leads to the corruption of law enforcement officials; illegality monopolizes the efforts of honest law forces so that they are starved for resources to fight the simpler crimes of robbery, theft and assault.
    === ===

    Drug use causes destruction and death. But, attempting to stop drug use causes even more. Millions are in prison for dealing drugs, drug dealers kill each other for the territory to sell drugs, innocents are killed as collateral damage, and drug users die from bad doses and contaminants. These deaths and imprisonments are mostly an effect of the drug war. Mexico is ruled by drug cartels with about 30,000 drug-related murders per year.

    The decision is not life vs drugs, it is unfortunately and realistically life vs life. This can’t be a feel-good decision. Fighting the evil is causing more death and destruction than tolerating the evil. The experiment with alcohol Prohibition demonstrated this.

  4. Medical marijuana has been legal for YEARS is WA state. Some days I go to work an EVERY patient has their marijuana card. It’s not that hard to get, because all you have to do is get a Dr to say you have anxiety or chronic pain or fibromyalgia, and you can get your card.

    The only thing the new law does is let people smoke legally who were too honest to get their card with a faked condition.

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