Tag: Health

Burying the Lede

So, Gabriel Debenedetti of the New York Times has reviewed Michael Schmidt’s book, DONALD TRUMP V. THE UNITED STATES (Inside the Struggle to Stop a President).

What is interesting how this very chatty review completely buries the lede.

11 paragraphs, and this waits until the penultimate paragraph before this reveal:

More interesting, however, is the constant flow of shocking anecdotes: Schmidt writes that Mitch McConnell fell asleep during a classified briefing on Russia, for example, and he details the F.B.I.’s shambolic reaction to evidence of the hacking in 2016, including an unresolved disagreement over how to handle the material. Describing Trump’s unexpected November 2019 visit to Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, he reports the White House wanted Mike Pence “on standby to take over the powers of the presidency temporarily if Trump had to undergo a procedure that would have required him to be anesthetized.” (The vice president never had to take this step.)

(Emphasis mine)

How is an allegation that Trump had a medical emergency that sent him to Walter Reed, and then covered it up not the lede?

H/t Southpaw for tweeting this.

Aggressive Enforcement of Metrics Lead to Cheating

Ayn Rand style completion works about as well in the healthcare industry as it did at Sears:

On a Thursday morning this past April, 61-year-old Darryl Young was lying unconscious in the eighth-floor intensive care unit of Newark Beth Israel Medical Center. After suffering from congestive heart failure for years, Young, a Navy veteran and former truck driver with three children, had received a heart transplant on Sept. 21, 2018. He didn’t wake up after the operation and had been in a vegetative state ever since.

Machines whirred in his room, pumping air into his lungs. Nutrients and fluids dripped from a tube into his stomach. Young had always been fastidious, but now his hair and toenails had grown long. A nurse suctioned mucus from his throat several times a day to keep him from choking, according to employees familiar with his care. His medical record would note: “He follows no commands. He looks very encephalopathic” — brain damaged.

That day, in another wing of the hospital, where a group of surgeons, cardiologists, transplant coordinators, nurses and social workers gathered for their weekly meeting in a second-floor conference room, his name came up.

“Anything on Darryl Young?” asked cardiologist Dr. Darko Vucicevic, according to a recording of the meeting obtained by ProPublica.


The recordings show that the transplant team was fixated on keeping him alive, rather than his quality of life or his family’s wishes, because of worries about the transplant program’s survival rate, the proportion of people undergoing transplants who are still alive a year after their operations. Federal regulators rely on this statistic to evaluate — and sometimes penalize — transplant programs, giving hospitals across the country a reputational and financial incentive to game it. Newark Beth Israel’s one-year survival rate for heart transplants had dipped, and if Young were to die too soon, the program’s standing and even its own survival might be in jeopardy.

June 30, Zucker explained at the meeting, was the date of the next report by a federally funded organization that tracks transplant survival rates. “If he’s not dead in this report, even if he’s dead in the next report, it becomes an issue that moves out six more months,” he said in the recording.


In the ensuing months, the doctors continued to leave Young’s family in the dark, according to his sister Andrea and employees familiar with Young’s care. They didn’t want to run any risk that the people who loved him would interfere with their agenda: boosting the program’s numbers. “I’m not sure that this is ethical, moral or right,” Zucker told the team at the April meeting, but it’s “for the global good of the future transplant recipients.”


Arthur Caplan, head of the Division of Medical Ethics at NYU School of Medicine, reviewed transcripts of the recordings, including discussions about Young. “The management of this patient is egregiously unethical,” he said. “Prolonging ‘dying’ to preserve a flawed transplant program makes a mockery of transplant medicine and is an assault on both ethics and compassion.”

This is unalloyed evil, and everyone who knew of it, and refused to report it, should be banned from the practice of medicine forever.

Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap, Crap

Bernie Sanders was just admitted to hospital after experiencing chest pains, and he got a stent:

Democratic presidential contender Bernie Sanders was treated for an artery blockage this week, sidelining him for at least a few days from a race in which the candidates’ age and physical health have been significant factors.

The senator from Vermont was hospitalized after experiencing chest pains at a Tuesday campaign event, according to Jeff Weaver, a senior Sanders adviser. Doctors found a blockage in one artery and inserted two stents, Weaver said in a Wednesday statement. Sanders was “in good spirits” but canceled campaign events “until further notice” so he can rest in the coming days, Weaver said.

Sanders thanked well-wishers Wednesday and used the moment to draw attention to his signature universal-health-care proposal. “None of us know when a medical emergency might affect us. And no one should fear going bankrupt if it occurs. Medicare-for-all!” he tweeted.

My dad, a life long runner, lived about 15 years after getting his stent (lousy genetics), so I’m inclined to believe that Sanders should be fine in a few days, but this is not good for his campaign.

Tweet of the Day

Also, pretty sure one Dante’s Circles of Hell includes scrolling through a mirror-hall of agonizingly similar healthcare plans like “UHG Choice Master HMO 1800” vs “RedGo Option Plus EPO 2000.”

I don’t know one normal person in this country that actually enjoys open enrollment.

— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@Ocasio2018) December 2, 2018

Yeah, pretty much.

The biggest problem with Obamacare is that selecting a plan is about as pleasant as Home Proctology Kit, the game.

Protecting Our Purity of Essence

The latest health fad for people is untreated and untested drinking water:

Welcome to 2018, where some things never change. Selling snake oil to those with more money than sense is still a thing, and the newest “health” trend is already upon us.

According to the New York Times, a new “raw water” movement is springing up in the West Coast of America, particularly in affluent areas like Silicon Valley and San Francisco, in an attempt to “get off the water grid”.

We’re sure many of you are scratching your heads and wondering what on Earth “raw” water means, and, taking its literal meaning, why on Earth that would be a good thing. So, let us explain.

“Raw” water (yep, sticking to air quotes) is, according to Live Water – who sell 11-liter (2.5-gallon) bottles for a hefty $37 – unfiltered, unsterilized, untreated spring water, and this is a good thing because unfiltered water has some kind of loosely defined probiotic quality, filtering water removes beneficial minerals and tap water is poisoned by those in charge.

They are literally spending 7 times as much for water as I do for regular unleaded gasoline.

To quote a character from a comic book, “I firmly believe that if you can’t fool all of the people all of the time you should start breeding them for stupidity.”

Here is some musical accompaniment to this story:

This Story Is Not What You Think It Is

For the past few days, there has been a story making the rounds about how a mother has been sent to jail for refusing to vaccinate her child.

You could think of this as a story of overreach by public health authorities, but it’s not.

You could also think of it as long overdue action by public health authorities against the clear and present dangers of the loss of herd immunity, but it’s not that either.

It’s a child custody dispute.

Both parents have joint custody, and they ended up in court to adjudicate their disagreement over whether or not their child should be immunized.

They judge ruled, the wife disobeyed, and he sent her to jail for contempt of court.

This is a remarkably ordinary dispute between two divorced parents over a medical decision, and that is all.

Hoo Boy!

After experiencing significant distress at a 9/11 memorial service, her doctor is saying that she was suffering from both the heat and pneumonia.

Given the regular rumors about her health, we know what the coverage is going to be for the next week:

Hillary Clinton is being treated for pneumonia and dehydration, her doctor said on Sunday, hours after she abruptly left a ceremony in New York honoring the 15th anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks and had to be helped into a van by Secret Service agents.

The incident, which occurred after months of questions about her health from her Republican opponent, Donald J. Trump, and his campaign, is likely to increase pressure on Mrs. Clinton to address the issue and release detailed medical records, which she has so far declined to do.

Mrs. Clinton was taken from the morning event at ground zero to the Manhattan apartment of her daughter, Chelsea. About 90 minutes after arriving there, Mrs. Clinton emerged from the apartment in New York’s Flatiron district. She waved to onlookers and posed for pictures with a little girl on the sidewalk.

“I’m feeling great,” Mrs. Clinton said. “It’s a beautiful day in New York.”

Mrs. Clinton left in her motorcade without the group of reporters that is designated to travel with her in public. A campaign spokesman, Nick Merrill, indicated that she had returned to her Chappaqua, N.Y., residence sometime after 1 p.m., and Mrs. Clinton was not seen publicly the rest of the day.

Mr. Merrill initially described Mrs. Clinton, the Democratic presidential nominee, as feeling “overheated” at the commemoration ceremony.

But just after 5 p.m., a campaign official said Mrs. Clinton’s physician, Dr. Lisa R. Bardack, had examined the candidate at her home in Chappaqua, and Dr. Bardack said in a statement that Mrs. Clinton was “rehydrated and recovering nicely.”

“Secretary Clinton has been experiencing a cough related to allergies,” Dr. Bardack’s statement said, adding that on Friday morning, after a prolonged cough, Mrs. Clinton was given a diagnosis of pneumonia.

Cue the wanktastic explosion of hysterical punditry.