The College of Emergency Medicine claimed that unless something changes, A&E departments will soon be overrun by morons suffering with entirely preventable injuries.
A spokesperson explained, “We can handle broken limbs, falls, heart attacks and even the odd elderly tumble.”
“What we can’t handle is your pissed mate thinking he can jump over a moving car, or wondering whether the shampoo bottle would fit up his arse.”
“Some sort of IQ test before we let them in would be ideal, but possibly a bit impractical.”
“Maybe it would just be easier to hide the A&E department where stupid people would never go, like the library?”
A&E departments under pressure
Medical experts have said moving the A&E department where stupid people can’t find it would have a number of other benefits, beyond relieving pressure on overworked doctors and nurses.
Consultant Simon Williams told us, “This has the added benefit of weeding out the mentally weak, who might not survive whatever ridiculous self-inflicted injury they’ve suffered – and therefore help the rest of society indirectly.”
“Imagine a world where people who would put a light bulb up their arse don’t exist – this move could make that world a reality.”
When a new drug gets tested, the results of the trials should be published for the rest of the medical world – except much of the time, negative or inconclusive findings go unreported, leaving doctors and researchers in the dark.
In this impassioned talk, Ben Goldacre explains why these unreported instances of negative data are especially misleading and dangerous.
Ben is a best-selling author, broadcaster, medical doctor and academic who specialises in unpicking dodgy scientific claims from drug companies, newspapers, government reports, PR people and quacks. Unpicking bad science is the best way to explain good science.
He is known for his “Bad Science” column in The Guardian, and is the author of two books, Bad Science (2008), a critique of certain forms of alternative medicine, and Bad Pharma (2012), an examination of the pharmaceutical industry, its publishing and marketing practices, and its relationship with the medical profession.
The benefits of grape seed extract in cancer are well documented, but modern medicine won’t do anything with it until the mechanism of action has been found, so that it can be isolated, purified, made poisonous and owned by a single company for enormous profits.
The more advanced cancer is, the less effective chemotherapy is. However, a new study has shown that grape seed extract has exactly the opposite quality: The more advanced the cancer, the less extract that’s needed to kill it. On top of that, the study also shows that grape seed extract targets the cancer cells that become most resistant to chemotherapy.
In the face of this remarkable new development, it’s likely that grape seed extract is more effective in treating late-stage cancer than modern medicine’s chemotherapy. Not only does it take less and less of the substance to kill cancer cells, it’s able to target the cells that have become drug resistant, thus making chemo useless!
Yet again, the common misperception that modern medicine’s treatments are stronger or more potent or better in any way is shown to be mistaken. Sadly, it’s a mistake that can kill.
The study in question was produced in the University of Colorado Cancer Center and published in the journal Cancer Letters. It was an in vitro study, not in vivo. That is, no living creatures were involved. The study was performed on cell cultures. That might make it seem relatively insignificant. However, much prior research has already documented grape seed extract’s ability to control and kill cancer, so that’s not in much doubt. What this study discovered is a plausible means by which it happens. This is the kind of information that modern medicine craves.
Have you ever noticed how there’s so much focus on the idea that cholesterol causes heart disease? It doesn’t, but that doesn’t deter the ongoing research that assumes it to be true. That’s because modern medicine demands to know how something works—or at least to be given an explanation, whether true or not. There’s an assumption that, if you know that A is associated with B, then controlling A will prevent or cure B. It doesn’t seem to matter if it’s true, only that it sounds plausible.
The “Plausible” Mode of Action
Rather than focusing on what really counts—survival and return to health—medicine focuses on markers that are based on plausible modes of action.
Once a “plausible” mode of action idea has caught on, research funds get directed towards it. A search goes on to find ways to control that presumed connection. That’s why we have statins. They’re associated with heart disease. They don’t cause it, but a seemingly plausible theory was produced saying that cholesterol causes heart disease. Therefore, since statins can reduce cholesterol, they’re the first thing a doctor prescribes when someone has any sort of heart disease sign—even just being past the age of 40 or 50.
Statins don’t produce health. In fact, they destroy it, causing memory loss, muscle damage, and death. But they’re a perfect example of a plausible idea getting research funding, drugs being developed to cause a change in a marker, doctors prescribing it, and enormous profits getting funneled to Big Pharma.
Ultimately, does it matter whether a treatment can meet some arbitrary marker, or is it more important that it heals you? The answer should be obvious—and it is to everyone but a medical system that’s gone awry. Modern medicine wants a product that’s owned by Big Pharma because that apparently means it’s science-based. That it invariably costs an exorbitant amount and doesn’t cure isn’t of concern. All that matters is that arbitrary markers be met.
Therefore, while it’s interesting to learn something about how a treatment works, let’s get on with it. Let’s focus on the fact that grape seed extract does work and inform people so they can take advantage of it.
Could the chemicals found in marijuana prevent and even heal several deadly cancers?
Could the tumor-regulating properties of “cannabinoids” someday replace the debilitating drugs, chemotherapy, and radiation that harms as often as it heals?
Discover the truth about this ancient medicine as world-renowned scientists in the field of cannabinoid research illustrate their truly mind-blowing discoveries in this feature-length documentary.
Using original and archival footage, the film presents controversial but highly convincing evidence that this forbidden herb has healing properties beyond any other plant on the planet— interacting as it does with the body’s own “endocannabinoid system” to keep us fit and disease-free.
“What if Cannabis Cured Cancer” explains how we are all born with a form of marijuana already in our bodies, and when pot is consumed, the “endocannabinoids” inside us—along with any cannabinoids we ingest—fit together like a key in a lock. Thereby promoting the death of cancer cells without harming the body’s healthy cells.
Like the old parable of the beggar who was sitting on a treasure chest but never bothered to look inside, governments and the medical establishment have been slow to realize the miraculous anti-cancer properties of marijuana. Finally, in this extraordinary documentary, the truth comes out.
A powerful and eye-opening film about the future of cannabis—and perhaps even the future of medicine. Written and directed by BBC filmmaker Len Richmond. Narrated by Emmy-winning actor Peter Coyote. Featuring interviews with…
* Dr. Robert Melamede, Associate Professor and Biology Chairman, University
* Dr. Sean D. McAllister, PhD, researcher at the California Pacific Medical
Center, San Francisco.
* Dr. Jeffrey Hergenrather, M.D.
* Dr. David Bearman M.D.
* Dr. Manuel Guzman, Ph.D. Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, School of Biology Complutense University Madrid, Spain
* Dr. Raphael Mechoulam, Professor of Medical Chemistry at the University of Jerusalem
A study just recently published has shown that low-dose, vaporized cannabis products, are effective in treating neuropathic pain. This is significant for a large number of people who suffer this condition. I suppose I should start with, what is neuropathic pain?
Some conditions, diabetes and HIV amongst them, cause a kind of phantom pain in the body because of specific damage being done to the nervous system. To break it down to layman terms without spewing a whole lot of Latin phrases used in medicine, your nerves are like wires in an electrical circuit. There are signals travelling along those wires that tell our muscles what to do, how our organs function, all those important things. When the nerves get damaged by disease, they act like frayed wires, sending false signals. A very severe form of this is Multiple Sclerosis where the patient slowly loses control of muscle function and experiences pain and spasms all over their body.
Traditionally the treatment for neuropathic pain was opioid drugs. As one would expect, the dose required with a drug like Demerol to control the pain is often well into the psychoactive dose and the patient is rendered more or less inert. Take enough opiates and you’ll know what I mean, you get numb, slow and kind of spacey. If you wanted to say, do a job or bathe every day, this isn’t good. Long-term exposure to this kind of therapy eventually leads to apathy and emotional depression. I’ve been there; it isn’t a good place to be.
A recent study, a synopsis of which is linked at the bottom of this article, shows that vaporized cannabis can control neuropathic pain in doses low enough that the psychoactive element of cannabis use is minimized. This means no pain, and no stoned either. For people who want a medication that controls their pain, but doesn’t rule their life, this is a veritable miracle.
It’s easy for cannabis smokers who use recreationally to miss the importance of this. Cannabis can get you really high, but it can also make you feel better without getting you high. From a medical perspective this is unheard of. Neuropathic pain is notoriously stubborn pain to treat, and often requires disabling doses of opioid drugs to control. For those living in the prison of Morphine treatment and constant pain, this is a jailbreak of kinds and is well worth celebration.
When allowed the opportunity to do so, medical science proves again and again that cannabis is one of the most versatile and useful plants we have ever discovered. While there are groups trying to make new types of painkillers out of spider poison and other strange sources, cannabis waits in the wings to replace many needlessly contrived treatments and drugs which are notoriously expensive and complicated to produce.
Part of the conflict here is going to be with drug makers. They make a fortune using patented processes and exclusive equipment and facilities to make drugs. When you can just grow what you need in a planter box on the balcony, it could put a lot of people out of work and disappoint a whole bunch of investors. I for one say too bad for all of them. There used to be a lot of people employed building railroad tracks, but that business is waning these days. Those people found other jobs, and all the people making codeine pills and morphine patches may just have to do the same someday in the future.
As always around this time of year, the nation suffers an acute shortage of hospital beds.
Minister Reilly, who loves pulling, stokes, and hates being accused of dodgy deals, has for once come up with a jaw dropping solution, which will insure hospital beds are readily available.
A program of replacing hospital beds with hammocks will begin early next year and will more than double their capacity for patients despite the crippling effects this will have on overstretched staff.
Reilly was disappointed that the HSE were themselves unable to come up with this simple initiative. He did thank the consultancy firm known as the friends of Reilly for their work in this area.
The first thousand hammocks are to be installed in January.
Reilly does not expect fallout from the scheme.
ANALYSIS: The pharmaceutical industry’s lobbying of the Government demonstrates how multinationals play governments off each other and limit political choices
The nature of the lobbying of Taoiseach Enda Kenny by the pharmaceutical industry, as disclosed in this newspaper during the week, illustrates the power of the industry, and of the multinational sector generally.
The series of letters from senior figures in the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies appeared co-ordinated and included references to meetings the writers had had with the Taoiseach to discuss their concerns.
They also referred to Ireland’s upcoming presidency of the European Union and topics of interest in that regard, including the pricing of drugs in countries that are the subject of troika programmes.
The conflation in the letters of the sector’s commercial objectives with its importance to the Irish economy illustrated how Ireland’s success in attracting multinational investment can affect the role it plays in the globalised world.
Because globalisation has raced ahead of political control, multinationals play countries off each other, seeking concessions everywhere they go. Governments, unless they can agree regional or global measures that reassert their power, are hugely exposed.
In his letter of February 23rd, 2012, to the Taoiseach, Miles D White, chairman and chief executive of Abbott Laboratories in Illinois, directly linked inward investment and the price his company gets paid by the State for the drugs it supplies.
“In common with other pharmaceutical multinational organisations, we find it difficult to reconcile a policy of pursuing inward manufacturing investment with an attempt to drive medicine prices to among the lowest in the European Union,” he wrote.
The price paid by a government for pharmaceuticals is referenced according to the prices paid by other governments, with the system being organised into “baskets” of countries whose prices are linked.
White’s concern was not so much with his company’s profits from sales here as with the effect any drop in Irish prices would have in other, larger markets.
“International price-referencing results in pricing in Ireland having a knock-on effect on the pricing of medicines in 11 other European countries and up to an additional 37 countries worldwide,” he wrote.
“Driving down the price of medicines across such a large number of export markets for the Irish-based pharmaceutical industry could directly jeopardise jobs in Ireland as it will create substantial pressure to cut manufacturing jobs.”
The Irish pharmaceutical sector employs up to 25,000 people directly, and the same number indirectly, and is a major contributor to Irish exports. The pharmaceutical firms that wrote to Enda Kenny warned that Government decisions aimed at reducing its drugs bill could have “unintended consequences”.
It is a strange thing to have a sector lobbying the Taoiseach to help it combat reductions in the price of its products, not just in this country but in 11 others in Europe, and up to 37 worldwide, and while doing so to suggest that a failure to deliver might affect inward investment into Ireland.
Ireland’s drug prices are among the highest in the world, with a recent survey finding that costs here are up to 45 per cent higher than they are in Sweden.
As this newspaper’s health correspondent, Paul Cullen, has observed, it is hard to avoid the conclusion that the high cost of drugs in Ireland is part of the price we pay for having a large pharmaceutical sector.
In fact, given the basket arrangement, citizens in 11 other European countries, and 37 worldwide, may be paying the price. It is important to remember that what is at issue is the price paid by governments for pharmaceutical products.
Yet, despite the importance to them of sales funded by government revenues, pharmaceutical companies, as with almost all multinationals, organise their affairs so they direct profits to low-tax jurisdictions.
White’s company, Abbott, is in the process of creating a sister group, Abbvie, which will focus on research-based pharmaceuticals. This year two Irish Abbvie subsidiaries were established, with registered addresses at the offices of Matheson solicitors in Dublin. Also established was Abbvie Ireland NL BV, a Dutch company with an address in Sligo.
The structure looks like one designed to reduce Abbvie’s future tax bills in much the same way that Google, Microsoft, and other multinationals have used Ireland to save themselves fortunes in global corporation tax. A request for a comment from Abbvie on this point yesterday met with no response.
Just this week Bloomberg reported that Google avoided $2 billion in corporation tax in 2011 by way of its international tax structure. That tax structure is centred in Dublin, where two of Google’s key companies are based at the Matheson offices, and use a Dutch company as part of their tax avoidance policies (the so-called Dutch sandwich scheme).
Earlier this year a report for the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations in Washington disclosed that Microsoft reduced its US corporation tax bill by €1.87 billion in 2011. The saving was achieved mostly through the avoidance of tax on royalty payments between three companies with their registered addresses at the Matheson offices. One of them, Round Island One, is a Bermuda company, despite having its registered office here.
The structure channels non-US profits from around the globe (including Africa) to Bermuda, which does not charge corporation tax.
About 60 per cent of world trade occurs within multinational companies. An enormous amount of the profit from that trade is ending up in low-tax and offshore jurisdictions. The revenues lost to governments as a result has to be replaced by targeting other sources, including individuals and businesses that do not trade internationally.
In an environment where so many western countries are raising extra taxes and cutting services in an effort to narrow government deficits, the aggressive avoidance measures operated by multinationals are becoming a political issue.
This month the head of the UK’s public accounts committee, Margaret Hodge, described the tax policies of Google, Amazon and Starbucks as “outrageous and an insult to British businesses and individuals who pay their fair share”. Starbucks, stung by reputational damage, offered to voluntarily pay £20 million to the British exchequer.
On the other hand, Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt responded by saying he was “proud” of his company’s tax structures.
Calls for reform of how multinationals are taxed are entering mainstream debate. The issue featured at last month’s meeting of G20 finance ministers in Mexico.
But Ireland, because of its dependence on foreign direct investment, finds itself on the side of the status quo. Likewise, in relation to financial services, the Irish Financial Services Centre complicates Irish policy on banking regulation and the implementation of a financial transaction tax.
A number of the letters sent to Enda Kenny by the pharmaceutical companies quoted his stated ambition to “make Ireland the best small country in the world in which to do business in 2016”.
That ambition is all very well, but having a disposition towards siding with multinational companies as they play countries off one another carries with it the probability of ongoing erosion of the scope to make political decisions.
It is not true that everything comes with a price. But a lot does.
The hospital has introduced a number of cost-saving measures and is in talks with the Health Service Executive (HSE) about reimbursements which, if obtained, could see the overrun reduced to €8 million or €9 million, according to informed sources.
A confidential briefing note given to consultants in recent weeks said the Mater was facing a “serious deficit” for 2012. It said about half of the deficit “pertains to items which should be addressed through HSE reimbursements”.
It is understood that the largest element of the “reimbursements” referred to in the note relate to reductions made to the hospital’s budget earlier this year on the basis that the Government would introduce legislation to allow it charge for all private patients treated in public beds. This legislation was not put in place.
The note pointed out that the hospital’s annual allocation from the HSE had been cut by nearly €50 million over the past four years – down from about €250 million to €197 million.
Sources said that at the same time the number of patients increased by about 10 per cent.
The note said that as part of the cuts to be introduced, unrostered overtime for nonconsultant doctors would be restricted to one hour per day or five hours per week.
The note said it was agreed that such cutbacks in unrostered overtime would have an implication for service.
“It was agreed that the first area of cutbacks should be the number of patients attending outpatient clinics,” it said.
It also said a reduction in drug spending was required.
The latest performance report from the HSE revealed that the budget for the hospital for the first seven months of the year was €46,072,000, but the actual spend at the hospital until the end of July was €49,374,000, a budget overspend of €3,302,000 or 7.2%.
Cllr Tommy McKeigue, who is a member of the HSE regional forum, said while there is generally an overspend in the first half of the year, it will be very hard to claw back €3m by the end of the year.
He said he hopes there won’t be any cuts in orthopedics as people waiting on hip replacements can be in a lot of pain.
He added that there are already long waiting lists for the removal of tonsils and he would like to see resources invested in these areas. Cllr McKeigue said some elective surgery could be curtailed but next year they would need to be selective in where money is going to.
“Under the new scheme the more operations they’re doing, the more they’ll be paid,” he said.
New €24m hospital extension to open in Letterkenny today under cloud of controversy – National News – Independent.ie
HOSPITAL managers showed off the country’s only newest medical facility, and defended the closure of a gynaecology ward to free up nurses to staff it.
The new medical block and emergency department at Letterkenny General Hospital cost more than €24M to complete.
When it is finally opened to patients today it will end a nine-year saga, having first been announced by then Health Minister Micheal Martin in July 2003. Work stopped on the project two years ago when builders McNamaras went into liquidation.
Now the celebrations surrounding the state-of-the-art facility have been overshadowed by a local campaign against the closure of the hospital’s gynae ward. Eleven staff there are being redeployed to facilitate the new emergency department and additional 72-bed unit.
IT’S AN absolute outrage. It’s wrong and there’s no medical reason for it,’ said Cllr. Tómas Sharkey of the HSE cuts announced this week which will see 24 beds close at the Louth County Hospital along with a reduction in agency staff working there.
The Sinn Fein councillor, who is a member of the Save Our Services campaign, said the committee will support whatever action the unions in the hospital take. ‘If the unions in the hospital are going out on the streets, the people of Dundalk will be out with them.’
He feared that the cuts, which will leave just 18 beds in the hospital, spells the end of in-patient services in the Dundalk hospital.