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“EFFICIENCY”, OR “UNDERSTAFFING”?
When fat cats talk about “efficiency” it usually means they have figured out a way to maximize profits by reducing overhead.
A favorite technique involves arbitrarily increasing workloads or reducing staff. Unfortunately, without skilled, focused, and rested personnel on the spot with the patient, hospitals and clinics become very dangerous places.
Nurses especially have seen their workloads mushroom with “efficiency” programs that increase the number of tasks and patients that a nurse has to care for on a shift, and a sicker patient population faces more aggressive and dangerous treatments than at any time in the history of medicine.
Investigators at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital and Massachusetts General Hospital have documented how workload increases and lower nurse-to-patient ratios are associated with more adverse events.
Published in the May 2007 issue of the journal Medical Care, the unsurprising finding that the drive for “efficiency” created 1530 additional “injuries” in 4 hospitals over a 12 month period. “Our study suggests that pushing efficiency efforts to their limits could be a double edged sword that may jeopardize patient safety” said study lead author Dr. Joel Weissman of the MGH Institute of Public Policy.
Reducing staff costs is a primary goal for fat cats, so the big money is betting against patient safety and for worsening conditions for physicians and nurses. The Hellish examples of Walter Reed Army Hospital and “Killer” King Hospital in Los Angeles demonstrate how medicine has been transformed into poison by expediency, greed, and politics.
Both represent the “single payer” utopia that media and political “experts” propose applying to the entire country.
ACUPUNCTURE EFFECTIVE FOR SHOULDER PAIN
One hundred and thirty patients with shoulder pain (cuff tendonitis, bicipital tendonitis, capsulitis etc.) were randomly assigned to receive either eight weekly true acupuncture treatments (local and distal points plus electro-acupuncture) or the same number of non-penetrating sham treatments (using a ‘stage dagger-type retracting placebo needle) plus sham electro-acupuncture.
Blinded assessment by an independent assessor was made at seven weeks, three months and six months from the start of treatment. The pain visual analogue scale (VAS) score fell by 43% in the acupuncture group compared to 20% in the controls by the seventh week, an effect which was maintained at both subsequent assessments. Similar improvements were recorded in the Lattinen Index, pain and disability, range of movement, analgesic consumption and quality of life scores. (Pain 2004; 112: 289-98).
ACUPUNCTURE RELIEVES CHRONIC BACK PAIN
A meta-analysis of 33 randomized controlled trials of acupuncture has concluded that it can effectively relieve chronic lower back pain. Specifically it was found to be more effective than sham acupuncture and no additional treatment.
There was insufficient data to form conclusions about its effect on acute lower back pain. (Annals of Internal Medicine, Vol. 142, Issue 8, pages 651-663).
ACUPUNCTURE FOR TENNIS ELBOW PAIN
A systematic review of published studies on the effect of acupuncture on lateral elbow (tennis elbow) pain has concluded that “there is strong evidence suggesting that acupuncture is effective in short-term pain relief for patients with lateral epicondyle pain”.
The studies reviewed were all randomized or quasi-randomized and acupuncture was the only intervention used in the treatment group. In five of the six trials that met the criteria, acupuncture was shown to be superior to the control intervention, and four of the trials showed true acupuncture to be superior to sham or placebo interventions.
In the one study which included a one-year follow-up, the benefits of acupuncture were maintained for the duration of the follow-up period. (Rheumatology 2004; 43: 1085–90).
ACUPUNCTURE IN EMERGENCY CARE
Melbourne's Northern Hospital Emergency Department, the busiest in Victoria State with 59,000 patients a year, is to incorporate acupuncture into its emergency treatments. On arrival at casualty, patients will be treated by acupuncture for symptoms such as nausea, migraine and lower back and pelvic pain. Patients will be treated under supervision by final year acupuncture and Chinese medicine students from RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia.
ACUPUNCTURE HELPS FACIAL PAIN
Twenty-five patients suffering from orofacial pain (myofascial pain 15, temperomandibular joint synovitis 5, fibromyalgia 2, neuropathic pain 2, trigeminal neuralgia 1) were assessed for pain before and after treatment by acupuncture).
All patients were treated at Hegu L.I.-4, with further points needled according to individual presentation. Patients received a mean of 3.8 treatments each. All experience a reduction in pain after treatment, with mean value pain scores dropping from 5.28 to 2.26 over the study period, a significant reduction. (Med Sci Monit, 2005; 11(2): CR71-74).
ACUPUNCTURE FOR DEPRESSION IN PREGNANCY
Pharmaceutical medication is largely unsuitable for depression during pregnancy and therefore any non-pharmaceutical alternative is potentially of great value.
In a study carried out at Stanford University, 61 women with major depressive disorder were randomly assigned to receive one of three treatments: i. Individually tailored true acupuncture designed to treat their depression, ii. True acupuncture but with points not chosen to treat the depression, and iii. Massage treatment (included to provide a control for attention, physical contact, relaxation and respite from daily stress).
Acute phase treatment was given for twelve sessions over eight weeks, with continued treatment throughout pregnancy for those who responded. As far as possible the acupuncture treatment was double-blinded, with the treatment to be given by a treating acupuncturist determined by a different (assessing) acupuncturist.
The assessment, treatment design, needle insertion, and needle stimulation were all standardized. Response rates at the end of the acute phase were 68.8% in the depression specific acupuncture, 47.4% in the non depression-specific acupuncture, and 31.6% in the massage group.
The study also showed that successful treatment of depression during pregnancy offers protection from postpartum depression. (Journal of Affective Disorders, Volume 83, Issue 1, 15 November 2004, Pages 89-95).
TONGUE ACUPUNCTURE & CEREBRAL PALSY
In a randomized controlled trial, 33 children with cerebral palsy were assigned to receive either tongue acupuncture (acupuncture applied to the tongue) or no acupuncture (control).
Clinical outcome was evaluated using the gross motor function measure (GMFM) and the pediatric evaluation of disability inventory. The increase in mean GMFM score was significantly greater in the treatment than in the control group. (J Neurol Neurosurg Psychiatry 2004; 75: 1054-7).
EAR ACUPUNCTURE FOR BACK PAIN
A randomized controlled trial compared manual and electrical stimulation of the same auricular points (lumbar spine, shenmen and cushion).
61 adults with chronic back pain (more than 6 months) that did not respond to non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs were randomly assigned to a manual or an electrical stimulation group (treatment given for 6 weeks with a 3-month follow-up).
Criteria assessed included pain intensity, psychological well-being, physical activity level and quality of sleep, analgesic consumption and ability to return to work.
The study found that patients in the electro-acupuncture group showed significant improvements in all outcome measures compared to simple manual stimulation. (Focus Altern Complement Ther 2005; 10: 37-8).
Testosterone levels in men (45 to 79 years old) in Massachusetts have shown a steady decline of around 1.2% a year between 1987 and 2004, declining by 17% overall with similar declines across all ages.
This finding matches observed international decreases in sperm quality and increases in cryptorchidism, testicular cancer and hypospadias. Low testosterone increases the risk of age-related diseases and depression and may impact on fertility.
In an accompanying commentary on the published study, D r. Shalender Bhasin wrote “it would be unwise to dismiss these reports as mere statistical aberrations because of the potential threat these trends - if confirmed - pose to the survival of the human race and other living residents of our planet. " (A population-level decline in serum testosterone levels in American men. (Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism 92:196-202).
COULD IT BE THE FLUORIDE?
In addition to ignorant behavior in reference to pharmaceutical disposal, there is also the issue of deliberate manipulation of drinking water. Individuals in the USA consume an average of over 5 mg of fluoride daily compared to a little over 1 mg 50 years ago.
Research in animals and people suggest that exposure to fluorides is in part responsible for decreasing testosterone and fertility levels in men as detailed in the previous item. (J. Toxic Clin Toxic 34(2):183-189)
Fluoride is more toxic than lead and accumulates in the body over time. It damages the developing nervous system in children, and increases the bioavailability of aluminum. Combining fluoride and aluminum has been shown to cause the same changes to brain tissue as found in Alzheimer’s patients, perhaps accounting for the alarming increase in this disorder.
Fluoride interferes with iodine and thyroid function, is carcinogenic, and studies have found an association between increased hip fractures and consumption of fluoridated water.
In November 2006, the American Dental Association issued a warning not to use fluoridated water to prepare infant formulas, but the medical establishment has remained silent about the poisoning of our public water supplies with this substance. (Dr. David Williams, Alternatives newsletter, June 2007)
ANGINA PECTORIS: INTEGRATED REHABILITATION
This study was designed to compare the outcomes and treatment costs of patients with advanced angina pectoris who were treated with integrated rehabilitation compared to known statistics for similar patients treated by surgery or other care.
168 patients took part in the study, 103 of whom were candidates for invasive treatment and 63 of whom had been rejected for such treatment due to the risk of complications. Integrative rehabilitation consisted of acupuncture treatment and a self-care programmed including acupressure, Chinese health philosophy, stress management techniques, and lifestyle adjustments.
Over a 3-year period, the risk of death among the 103 patients was 2.0%, compared to 6.4% for the general Danish population, and 5.4% and 8.4% for patients who underwent percutaneous transluminal balloon angioplasty and coronary artery bypass grafting, respectively (in New York).
For the 65 inoperable patients the risk of death due to heart disease was 7.7%, compared to 16% and 25% for American patients who were treated with laser revascularization or medication respectively. Of the 103 candidates for invasive treatment, only 19 (18%) still required surgery.
Cost savings over 3 years were US $36,000 and US $22,000 for surgicaland nonsurgical patients, respectively, mainly achieved by the reduction in the use of invasive treatment and a 95% reduction in in-hospital days. (Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine. Oct 2004, Vol. 10, No. 5: 777-783).
"What Were They Thinking?" Department
WILL GENERATION "Z" BE THE LAST OF THE HUMAN RACE?
Was Jane Deverson prophetic by naming the generation after the Baby Boomers as generation “X”? Will war, environmental deterioration, and “universal drug care” spell the extinction of the human race after generation “Z”?
Psychiatry’s tradition of physical restraints to treat mental illness is now considered to be cruel and archaic, and these implements have been banished to prisons and third rate magic acts.
Modern and sophisticated behavior control is achieved with expensive and much more convenient pharmaceutical restraints in pills or syrups.
Drugs, aside from their vast profit potential and easy to advertise attributes, have the advantage of requiring periodic blood testing and ongoing visits with the prescribers, generating cash flow for the medical industrial complex.
And, the more drugs, the more adverse effects, which will also require even more drug therapies or expensive hospitalizations to detoxify the patient and start them on the "next generation" of pharmaceuticals.
Hooray! Another boost to the bottom line, courtesy of the “business model” of medical care.
About the only thing that can make this picture sweeter for the fat cats is to start people on a lifetime of drug therapy at earlier and earlier ages.
THE RISE OF CHILDHOOD MENTAL ILLNESS
Behavioral diagnoses such as attention deficit disorder are diagnosed by vague and unscientific criteria, often by teachers or parents.
Instead of focusing on cultural or environmental causes, such as inadequate parenting or an educational system which values control and repression over creativity and learning, immature and power hungry adults would prefer to drug children into conformity rather than take responsibility for their own shortcomings and the society they have created.
Physicians who have degenerated into “providers” in a consumer driven society have been complacently altering children’s brain chemistry with little evidence of long term safety or efficacy.
Insteading of standing up for the rights of children and common sense, the industry-driven process of “peer review” has resulted in unthinking acceptance of a dangerous trend.
The latest twist in this tale involves the fivefold increase in the diagnosis of “bipolar disease” in children over the past 8 years. Criteria for diagnosis are just as vague as those of ADHD. Yet, a lifetime of antipsychotics and anticonvulsants seems to be these children’s sad destiny.
As acceptance of these diagnoses increases, increasing numbers of our most vulnerable citizens will be subject to major alterations in their brain chemistry at a time when their body systems are forming. At these times, complex and delicate balances can easily be twisted by poorly understood and powerful drugs.
And, as in the case of Rebecca Riley of Hull, Massachusetts, who was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 2 and who died from the combined effects of her prescribed Depakote® (anti-convulsant), Clonidine® (sedative), and Seroquel® (antipsychotic) at the age of 4, we can also expect increased rates of death and serious drug induced illness.
Drugs to treat ADHD are also suspected of creating, or making "bipolar" symptoms worse, as found in an Italian study where children given antidepressants develop bipolar disease at an earlier age. (Bipolar Disorders, Vol. 7, p. 497)
With never a chance to have a thought or emotion that is not drug addled, how these drug cocktails will distort childhood, puberty, childbearing, and old age for this last generation of human beings is completely unknown. (New Scientist, May 19th, 2007: page 6)
Hyperactivity, Irritability, Grandiosity (how can a 2 year old be diagnosed as "grandiose"?), Rapid Speech, Sleep Disturbance.
ATTENTION DEFICIT DISORDER:
Hyperactivity, Impulsiveness, Distractability, Irritability.