Monthly Archives: December 2012

Posting while sniffly

So I read this post by Rationalist Conspiracy (“Why Most Online Medical Information Sucks“) and felt the need to add my own item to the list: because it’s contradictory.  Now, my  latest foray into online medical information is in regards to herbal remedies, not things like appendicitis, but here’s the rant.

I’m sniffly. Sore throat. Stuffy nose.  I purchased a big bag of Hall’s Defense Drops and had been downing them by the handful when I started to feel woozy.  Looked at the bag and saw that I was the victim of the “let’s put herbs in every damn product that can have herbs” movement – the drops are full of echinacea.

So I googled the side effects of echinacea and found this:

“Auto-immune disorders” such as such as multiple sclerosis (MS), lupus (systemic lupus erythematosus, SLE), rheumatoid arthritis (RA), a skin disorder called pemphigus vulgaris, or others: Echinacea might have an effect on the immune system that could make these conditions worse. Don’t take echinacea if you have an auto-immune disorder.

I do not have MS, lupus, or RA, but I have Raynaud’s, which is often the first symptom of those diseases: Raynaud’s is either its own autoimmune disease (primary Raynaud’s), or, with secondary Raynaud’s, comes along with or prior to other, related autoimmune diseases (e.g. the three mentioned). So no echinacea for white-fingered moi.

If you google Raynaud’s and echinacea, however, you’ll find articles suggesting the herb as a remedy for the auto-immune disease.

Yes, it could be possible that primary Raynaud’s is treatable with (or not exacerbated by) an herb that is a problem for those with secondary Raynaud’s.  Problematically, however, you think you have primary Raynaud’s right up until you develop MS, at which point you realise that the white fingers were the first warning of a bigger, scarier disease.  Beyond that, those diseases are so related that it’s hard to imagine how the precursor condition would be helped by the same drug that exacerbates related conditions.  It’s possible, but it’s also possible that every molecule in my body could turn into a wave at the exact same moment – and no one plans her life around such probabilities.


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They see you when you’re sleeping, they see you when you’re awake

they are your crazy stalker parents, so get a restraining order against them, for goodness’ sake.  Aubrey Ireland, a senior at the University of Cincinnati, received a restraining order against her parents.  (She is also getting a merit scholarship to finish her education.)  Miss Ireland claims that her parents drove to her school (from Kansas) to check up on her; demanded that she leave Skype on while she was asleep so that they could see that she was, indeed, in her bed; and installed a keystroke logger onto her computer to monitor her work.   According to Miss Ireland, her parents accused her of promiscuity, drug use, and mental illness.

Do these parents have lives of their own?  Do they really wake up at 3 am to check Skype to see if their daughter is asleep?  Aren’t they asleep , too?

Snark aside, assuming that Ireland is accurately reporting her parents’ demands, there is no reason for Ireland’s parents to behave this way.  If she’s mentally ill, using drugs, or promiscuous to the point of hurting herself, then the correct solution is not to stalk her, but to pull her butt out of college and back to Kansas.  I’m hard-pressed to imagine a situation in which an adult would need constant monitoring (including a keystroke logger…?!) of her activities without the intervention of specialists, mental health professionals, or the court system.  If things are that bad, then bring in professionals; if they aren’t, then don’t demand to watch your adult daughter sleep via Skype.

Anyone can sue for anything, and any person can allege misdeeds, but a judge found this young woman sufficiently credible to issue a restraining order.  An impartial third party found her cogent, rational, and mentally aware enough to side with her in this situation, which does little to bolster the allegation that Ireland is abusing drugs or is suffering from severe mental illness.  Likewise, her university awarded her a merit scholarship, which would indicate that her academic performance isn’t suffering for her alleged drug use and promiscuity.

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The ugliness of ‘not for profit’ government health care

One of the reasons that I love Ayn Rand’s work is that she shows us, in all the gory detail, of how ‘compassionate’ policies hurt people in a way that a well-functioning free market does not.  (It’s not that capitalism is perfect; it’s just far better than any other system ever devised.)   Government-run health care is not the efficiency of the private sector combined with the lovingkindness of the local nun’s soup kitchen; it’s inefficient, disgusting, and appeals to the worst of human nature.

Michael Graham details how Britain’s health care system routinely starves people to death.  A boy died of thirst, with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth.  Disabled babies are left to die, showing us that we’ve come straight back to the ancient tradition of exposing newborns who were unwanted or unfit.

Sally Pipes of Forbes describes how ObamaCare makes patient-centered and doctor-centered medical care illegal.  If you thought that getting your insurance company to pay for your MRI was a bureaucratic maze, you’ve yet to see the Cretan Labyrinth, complete with rapacious Minotaur, that ObamaCare will be.

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Filed under Economics, ObamaCare

The Latest ObamaCare cost: $63 per person to cover preexisting conditions

Well, that’s $63 right now, before everyone with expensive preexisting conditions decides that getting insurance is for sissies, and they can always not insure themselves, then go on insurance when medical bills hit.   The Christian Science Monitor reports,

The charge, buried in a recent regulation, works out to tens of millions of dollars for the largest companies, employers say. Most of that is likely to be passed on to workers.

Employee benefits lawyer Chantel Sheaks calls it a “sleeper issue” with significant financial consequences, particularly for large employers. [….]

Most of the money will go into a fund administered by the Health and Human Services Department. It will be used to cushion health insurance companies from the initial hard-to-predict costs of covering uninsured people with medical problems. Under the law, insurers will be forbidden from turning away the sick as of Jan. 1, 2014.

Whoa, covering people with preexisting conditions costs lots of money, that the continuously insured have to pay for?  It’s almost, almost like insurance companies weren’t being mean, but were trying to keep costs down for the responsible people.

Also, costs of uninsured people are unpredictable? You don’t say.


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Filed under Economics, ObamaCare

A Smorgasbord of Health Care News

Okay, I’ve been busy and neglecting things at The Fog of Law.  Here’s what I’ve been reading but haven’t had time to blog about:

From The Pioneer Institute: A New Agenda for Cost Control in Massachusetts by Amy Lischko, Ph.D.

The Galen Institute: States rebel against ObamaCare.

STD rates are soaring in New York City.

The Sebelius cover-up: how ObamaCare exchanges need scrutiny. (Hat tip.)

A small, insect-eating dinosaur has been named after Obama.  Discuss.

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Filed under Bioethics, Economics, MA Health Care, Medicare/Medicaid, ObamaCare

Your Cute for the Day

A woman brought a very limp duck into a veterinary surgeon. As she laid her pet on the table, the vet pulled out his stethoscope and listened to the bird’s chest.

After a moment or two, the vet shook his head and sadly said, “I’m sorry, your duck, Cuddles, has passed away.”

The distressed woman wailed, “Are you sure?” “Yes, I am sure. Your duck is dead,” replied the vet.

“How can you be so sure?” she protested. “I mean you haven’t done any testing on him or anything. He might just be in a coma or something.”

The vet rolled his eyes, turned around and left the room. He returned a few minutes later with a black Labrador Retriever.

As the duck’s owner looked on in amazement, the dog stood on his hind legs, put his front paws on the examination table and sniffed the duck from top to bottom. He then looked up at the vet with sad eyes and shook his head.

The vet patted the dog on the head and took it out of the room. A few minutes later he returned with a cat. The cat jumped on the table and also delicately
sniffed the bird from head to foot. The cat sat back on its haunches, shook its head, meowed softly and  strolled out of the room.

The vet looked at the woman and said, “I’m sorry, but as I said, this is most definitely, 100% certifiably, a dead duck.”

The vet turned to his computer terminal, hit a few keys and produced a bill, which he handed to the woman. The duck’s owner, still in shock, took the bill. “$150!” she cried, “$150 just to tell me my duck is dead!”

The vet shrugged, “I’m sorry. If you had just taken my word for it, the bill would have been $20, but with the Lab Report and the Cat Scan, it’s now $150.”


Somewhere in there is a lesson on medical spending. 🙂

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