Wednesday, March 30, 2005

 

The Schiavo Case – A Wake-up Call

There has been so much written and spoken about this case. It seems there is nothing left to say, or anything you might want to read. My thoughts now seem to be going beyond the specifics of who is to blame – there is plenty to go around. All the arguments about legal issues surrounding Terri’s condition and right to die, sterile ethics, political hand-wringing and judicial agendas seem rather moot at this point. This is not only about Terri Schiavo.

Just what is this really about?

I asked myself this question one recent morning during my quiet time. “Look in the mirror!” was what came back. “It is about you – all of you. You have the world of your collective choice. If you want to change it, you have to change the way you think and act.”

Terri Schiavo, her family, the judges, doctors, lawyers and politicians are all players in a drama reflecting back to us our own society and its values. This is what is meant by reaping what one sows. They are showing us where we are and what we have made of ourselves and our society.

Should we expect anything different?

Can we blame the doctors, judges or anyone else? They are only playing the roles we have allowed them to set up and play. Our years of non-involvement, of sitting back and allowing our medical and legal systems to run amok have brought us to this time a - time for serious reflection. The chickens have come home to roost. We have been coddled, and lulled into a trance by a system that manages our lives from birth to death. It is time to wake up!

We allow judges to tell us what we can believe, say and do. We elect weak-kneed politicians who serve only themselves and refuse to take a stand because they might offend their constituency. We give over to doctors the responsibility for our own health and well-being. We give veto power to insurance companies, drug companies and lawyers to drain our lifeblood. We have given up control of our very existence and possibly our right to live. We must take back our lives, our communities and our society. It is time to wake up!

Where is the outrage! What is happening to Terri is a travesty for all of us. Why do we passively allow a helpless, semi-conscious person to be forced to die of dehydration? Can this be justified in the name of “right-to-die”, “family rights” or “medical opinion”?
We must work to change a system that so blatantly distorts with such platitudes what is so obviously wrong.

Where is our compassion? Something is dreadfully wrong in our society if we can sit back and let this happen without much more than a whimper of protest. Praise those few who keep a vigil outside the “care” facility where Terri is kept. Honor the man who with his two children decided to make a long trip to this place so they could do something to help. All were promptly arrested and hand cuffed when they wanted to go inside to give Terri a drink of water. It is time to wake up!

Where is our respect for the holiness of life? A cheapening of life has been under way for a long time in our society, and we have let it happen. It feels as though we are in the grip of a death cult. The legal sanctioning of the killing of babies and helpless adults is supported by doctors that willingly carry out or otherwise make possible death by decree. It is time to wake up!

These activities cannot stand. We must take a long, hard, sobering look in the mirror. We must ask ourselves the tough questions and listen to the answers. As we are witnessing, if we continue to be weak and mute, there will be a heavy price to pay. Terri and others like her are now paying for our long negligence and silence. It brings to mind the quote by Edmund Burke, "The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing."

"We have met the enemy and it is us." Walt Kelly

Tuesday, March 15, 2005

 

Prescription Drug Safety Issues

The following report appeared on news-medical.net:

"The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) received a record number of complaints regarding drug side effects and other related health problems in 2004, according to a published report.

There were 422,500 adverse-event reports from pharmaceutical companies, health professionals and patients, almost 14 percent more than the 370,887 reports filed in 2003; the 2004 total, expected later this year, is not predicted to vary significantly from this estimate.

The year 2004 saw increased demands and questions about prescription drug safety. A senior FDA official Paul Seligman, director of the FDA's Office of Pharmacoepidemiology and Statistical Sciences, says the rise reflects a surge in prescription drug use, not an increase in health risk; there are more drugs on the market and more use of pharmaceuticals in general, and clearly, when you have more products on the market, you're likely to have more side effects.

Prescription drug sales reached a historic high totaling $235 billion nationally in 2004, up 8.3 percent from 2003 and more than triple the 1995 volume, according to IMS Health, a pharmaceutical market research firm.

Most of the reports to the FDA come from drug manufacturers, which are required by the FDA to file details of all known adverse events involving their products. Doctors, nurses and patients also file, but on a voluntary basis. Consequently the annual totals are believed to reflect only a percentage of the actual number of serious drug reactions and problems."

It is really hard to imagine that over 422,000 complaints were filed. Imagine how many did not file complaints. This is a huge problem for the medical system.

The other eye-popping statistic in this report is that drug sales for 2004 were $235 billion!! With sales like that, is there any wonder that the drug companies will do whatever is necessary to keep the good times rolling?

Thursday, March 03, 2005

 

Meet One Special Man

Bill Thomson has cancer and it's no secret. He is not a "survivor" although he has had it for years. It's getting better. He is a protagonist in the true sense. He is the main character in a drama only it is his drama.

Bill has not bought into the poison-cut-burn battle that engulfs most people with cancer. He decided to accept the challenge that cancer presented to him. In addition to working with various alternative therapies, Bill is introspectively reviewing his lifestyle.
Also, he is using the experience for spiritual growth.

The best part for us is that he is writing a book about his experiences. You can read the Introduction on his blog:

http://www.7lessons.typepad.com/

Here is a quote from an email I received from him:

Thanks for your comments, Frank, and directing me to the letter you wrote on your website. I had read this before but hadn't seen it recently. It's excellent and emphasizes a theme of my book: self-responsibility. I know that many people, especially when talking about cancer, are reluctant to consider self-responsibility. They fear that it will be taken as a judgment, and they'll be accused of blaming the person with the cancer. But I strongly believe that cancer is a map back to the source of God within us. If we follow the guideposts and listen to what our heart is telling us, we'll return home again. This is what I am discovering (and yes, it is a process, not an event), and whether I live another 50 years, or one year, I will have either come home again, or be headed in that direction. And however we slice this cake, heading home is good.

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