• Football,  Health Care

    Worst. Stretcher bearers. Ever.

    I hate to indulge in national stereotypes, but does this tell us anything larger about Greek society? ICYMI: Worst medical staff featured in a Greek soccer game pic.twitter.com/8rdLUVLKOG (via @BreatheSport) — Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) October 19, 2015 Or perhaps these klutzes were passionate fans of the other team.

  • Health Care,  Stateside

    Martin Shkreli: scumbag or not?

    You be the judge. The New York Times reports: Specialists in infectious disease are protesting a gigantic overnight increase in the price of a 62-year-old drug that is the standard of care for treating a life-threatening parasitic infection. The drug, called Daraprim, was acquired in August by Turing Pharmaceuticals, a start-up run by a former hedge fund manager [Martin Shkreli]. Turing immediately raised the price to $750 a tablet from $13.50, bringing the annual cost of treatment for some patients to hundreds of thousands of dollars. “What is it that they are doing differently that has led to this dramatic increase?” said Dr. Judith Aberg, the chief of the division…

  • Environment,  Health Care,  Science

    Scientifically-ignorant legislators on parade

    To conclusively disprove the existence of climate change, Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma picked up some snow outside the US Capitol building and threw it on the Senator floor. Seriously. Inhofe is the chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee. Seriously. He is one of the growing number of Republicans who deny being scientists. “I’m not a scientist, and don’t claim to be,” Inhofe said on Thursday. He then cited, among other things, a Newsweek article from 1975 (whose author recently lamented the way climate change deniers use his work), archaeological evidence, and Scriptures, in addition to the snowball, as evidence that refutes the claim that “somehow…

  • Health Care,  Stateside,  Wingnuttery

    Shepard Smith: again the Voice of Sanity at Fox News

    No, Republican Senator Ron Johnson of Wisconsin: The possibility of Islamic State agents infecting themselves with the Ebola virus and traveling to the US is not a “real and present danger.” No, Republican Senator John McCain of Arizona: We were not told there would never be a case of Ebola in the United States. No, Republican Congressman Louie Gohmert of Texas (him again): The Obama administration is not conducting a war against “women nurses” (or male nurses, for that matter). And yes, I am sure neither you nor I have Ebola. Once again, all praise to Shepard Smith of Fox News for keeping his head when all around him are…

  • Health Care,  Israel

    Lancet editor apologizes in Israel

    During a three-day visit to Israel, where he toured medical facilities and met researchers and doctors, Lancet editor Richard Horton seems to have undergone a change of heart about the country, which has been frequently vilified in the pages of the medical journal. Last month The Telegraph reported: In August, [The Lancet] published a controversial “open letter for the people of Gaza” that condemned Israel in the strongest possible terms, but strikingly made no mention of Hamas’ atrocities. The five principal authors of the letter made it clear that they had “no competing interests”. However, all of them have campaigned vociferously for the Palestinian cause over many years. In addition,…

  • Gaza,  Health Care,  Israel

    The Lancet strikes again

    Do any physicians still take the British medical journal the Lancet seriously as a source of reliable and unbiased information? In 1998 the Lancet published the infamous paper by Dr. Andrew Wakefield linking autism to the childhood vaccine for measles, mumps and rubella. Twelve years later the journal finally got around to retracting it. [Wakefield’s] assertion, now widely discredited, caused one of the biggest medical rows in a generation and led to a steep drop in vaccinations in the United States, Britain and other parts of Europe, prompting a rise in measles cases. In 2006 a Lancet report extrapolated 650,000 deaths as a result of the US invasion of Iraq…

  • Health Care,  Stateside

    A Republican I could vote for

    It’s been several decades since I voted for a Republican (a circuit court judge in the 1970s), but if I lived in the small town of Belhaven, North Carolina, I’d have no problem voting to reelect the Republican mayor. The Republican mayor of the small town of Belhaven, NC began a 273-mile walk to Washington, DC today to draw attention to the health care crisis threatening his rural coastal community following the closure of the area’s only hospital. Vidant Pungo Hospital served over 20,000 people in Beaufort and Hyde counties — a area of North Carolina with higher-than-average poverty rates and where many residents are uninsured. After a prayer of…

  • Health Care,  Stateside

    Obamacare Kentucky watch

    The last time I posted about the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare)– in November, when things weren’t looking good and Republicans were gleeful– I advised a laser-like focus on the State of Kentucky. I chose Kentucky for two reasons: 1. Kentucky is a Republican-leaning “red state” which sent anti-“big government” Rand Paul to the US Senate in 2010 and voted for Mitt Romney over Barack Obama by 22 percentage points in 2012. 2. Unlike virtually ever other red state, Kentucky has fully implemented the ACA, setting up its own health insurance exchange and agreeing to expansion of Medicaid for low-income residents. To bring you up to date: As of March…

  • Health Care,  Women's Rights

    Texas abortion update

    Last year, when the Texas legislature was passing a radical anti-abortion law that included stringent new standards for abortion clinics, I observed: [T]he purpose of these restrictions is not to make abortions safer but to make it as difficult as possible for women to obtain legal abortions– especially low-income women outside of a few urban areas. And as State Sen. Wendy Davis– who filibustered against the law and is now running for governor– pointed out, the law may reduce the number of safe and legal abortions in Texas, but it is unlikely to reduce the total number of abortions. I hope nobody will be surprised to learn that these apprehensions…

  • Health Care,  Stateside

    Creigh Deeds speaks

    Gus and Creigh Deeds Last November I posted about Creigh Deeds, who represents my part of southwest Virginia in the State Senate, being stabbed multiple times by his mentally-disturbed son Gus, who then shot himself to death after a failure of the mental health system. Deeds, who bears the physical and emotional scars of that tragic encounter, was featured on Sunday in a moving segment on the CBS News program “60 Minutes.”