Posts Tagged ‘medical treatment’

H1N1 Response

October 21, 2009

The H1N1 virus is sweeping through the country.  There are lots of people who are getting sick, some are dying.  It is serious.  There is significant disruption that is being caused to schools, businesses, and lives.

There are two things that concern me about this situation.  The first is how many people will go to the doctor or even the hospital ER, at the onset of flu symptoms.  When I was growing up, the first response to flu symptoms, was to stay home from school on the couch, with the tv on, and 7up at hand.  It was only if we were sick for more than two or three days, or if our temperature went very high, that a visit to the doctor was in order.  If you do go to the doctor at the onset of flu symptoms, they will simply tell you to stay home, rest and keep hydrated.  This is a concern because of the strain that is being placed on the medical system from cases that do not yet warrant a visit to the doctor. 

The second concern is a little more serious.  The vaccine for H1N1 was rushed through research and production.  When something is produced quickly, under pressure, the chances of unforeseen consequences are increased.  There is a reason why drug research normally takes a long time before a new drug is introduced to the market.  I am sure that the medical professionals who are in charge, are acting in accordance with their best judgement.  They are certainly more informed about these matters than I am, but it still concerns me.   

I wonder what the final evaluation of our countries’ response to this illness will show us.   Did we respond correctly?  Only time will tell.

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Misdirection?

August 12, 2009

Opponents of Obamacare are focusing on the wrong thing.  There is a lot of noise, literally, being made in opposition to the willingness of congress to include payment for end of life counseling.  What people fail to realize is that this counseling already takes place on a regular basis.  When people are in critical, end of life situations, the doctors go over the various treatment options.  These options are carefully laid out and the patient and family are allowed to choose their course of treatment in an informed manner.  That is a very good thing.  The bill simply allows doctors to be paid for their time when giving these sessions,  especially when they are being performed in non-emergency settings, helping people set up advance directives.

I suspect that the focus needs to be placed elsewhere.  I read the paper regularly and would like to see more debate over the cost and manner of payment.  Also, the need for companies to come into compliance within five years.  The impact on medical treatment and the insurance companies.  This preoccupation with end of life counseling is causing more critical components of the bill to go unchallenged.   

Is it a clever tactic being employed to misdirect attention to something that can be readily explained?  Let’s see some commentary and debate on other aspects of the bill!

Religion, Medicine and Children

May 26, 2009

Currently in the news is the case of the Minnesota teenager, Daniel Hauser.  Daniel has Hodgkin’s lymphoma.  He received one treatment of chemotherapy before deciding to try treatment by alternative means, claiming religious belief inspired the change of treatment.  The court has become involved in the case. 

Historically, our country has been divided over how far we are willing to allow religion to dictate treatment of children with curable conditions.  Jehovah Witnesses have often made the news with their refusal of receiving blood transfusions.  Recently, in the courts there have been cases where parents felt that prayer and faith were all that were needed for their children to be healed. 

At the core of this problem is that we are struggling over freedoms, rights and responsibility.  How far do we allow religious freedom to dictate action?  Does a child have a right to the statistically most successful treatment?  Do parents have final responsibility for the welfare of a child, or does the State?   To what extent are we willing to allow religious freedom to dictate the medical treatment of children?  Are we willing to undermine personal freedom, parental authority, and entire religious communities ways of life?  Does society have the right to demand compliance?  These are questions that are not easily answered.  We should think carefully before we take action as the decisions may have far reaching implications.