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Monthly Archives: July 2008

What happened to Heath Ledger was not a fluke. Research done over ten years showed that fatal medication errors have increased almost 4 fold since the early 1980s. The release of this information is merely coincidental, but if the death of a celebrity can’t get people to educate themselves about medications, then this research certainly won’t. Ledger did not die of some strange circumstance, and people need to be aware of the reactions they might have to their medications, changing their medications, or consuming street drugs or alcohol in addition to medicine. Just as importantly, doctors, nurses, other hospital staff, and pharmacists need to help inform patients about how to properly deal with using medication and the seriousness of the possible consequence from deviation (citation: medline plus).

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The United Nations has reported that the number of people killed by AIDS has gone down for the second striaght year. This is, itself, incorrect since AIDS is an “immune deficiency” and other health issues actually cause death. Nonetheless, it shows that the lives of people living with AIDS has been extended, or rather their deaths have been postponed. While this is happening, the total number of infections is still rising. It is good that we are improving medications and treatments, but we are losing the battle that is most important; prevention (citation: reuters). Even in the United States, there are some areas that have been reported to be as bad as some places in Africa. With all the money going towards the AIDS fight, it seems our approach is not working.

Leaving the library today I saw a bumper sticker saying “create the world you want to see.” Those words reverberate in my head, and will do so each time I make a post, and every time I create a video for youtube. Molding the world is possible if you have the full intention to do so. I wonder what the driver of the car does to change the the world.

Language is very intriguing. This is a picture of the cover on one of my notebooks. Unfortunately, this is mostly filled with boring notes from lectures, although I do have a couple of writings in it. I actually find covers like this to be inspiring for writing poems and stories.

The words of Michael Savage led me to creating another sonic sez (says) video. This time I wanted to contribute to the awareness of Autism. Certainly difficult to understand, a lot of people have misconceptions about what autism is. There is no excuse for what Savage said and my video will hopefully inspire some people to learn about autism. It doesn’t have in-depth information, but I think it suffices for a video done on a whim. The definition I use in the video is from http://www.assew.org/what_is_autism.htm. I think i have a little more humor in this one simply because Savage set himself up to be cracked on.

Citing fiction is merely a round-a-bout process of citing non-fiction. That is, the reference to another person’s thoughts, which are real whether fact or opinion. It is certainly a mistake to believe fiction can give us statistics, but to assume information based on the fictional works of a number of authors is not really different from assuming something based on a yes/no poll. In fact, the former may be more useful in a number of situations since yes/no polls offer no explanations, no additional input, and no interpretation on part of the sample. Reality is much more complex than a simple yes or no, and fiction is deeply embedded in reality.

The idea of citing fiction often can easily be criticized as too abstract. One can only try to understand what an author was truly thinking or what a passage  truly meant. Yet, one reason for citing a literary work of fiction or non-fiction is to back up a statment or presented argument. Words and numbers have a strong history of being pulled out of context or twisted. Other proof, aside from the hard facts, other proof must be coupled to make the strongest argument possible. in this way, fiction can be just as effective. And depending on the audience maybe more so, considering the impact of the fictional styles on human emotion as compared to the raw language often used with words of fact.

This is the transcript from a presentation I gave about the connection between Homeland Security and the field:

            Good Afternoon, I’m speaking about a connection between Homeland Security and the field of medicine that is generally ignored. The two fields are often thought of as completely separate, although cooperative. My presentation is a basic overview on the subject.

 

The field of Homeland Security conjures thoughts about counter-terrorism, infrastructure protection, and intelligence analysis. The field of medicine brings about images of treating patients; surgery, diagnostics, cardiology, neurology and so on. But, the two are linked by a large number of factors that need to be acknowledged.

 

            The National Strategy for Homeland Security lists six critical mission areas, in this order. Health Care mostly fits under the Emergency Preparedness and Response category. However, it can be shown that, pending the circumstances, it can fit under the other categories as well.

 

            Emergency Preparedness & Response is most often associated with first responders. By the nature of their title, they are usually the first to arrive at an emergency situation. EMTs, and if the circumstances warrant it, hazmat units, are the first to provide medical care. Planning is a basic foundation of preparedness. In 2005, the Homeland Security Council published the National Strategy for Pandemic Influenza. The plan sets aside the department of health and Human Services as one of the lead agencies to implement the strategy. Also, in 2007, President Bush issued Homeland Security Presidential Directive 21 to establish a national strategy for Public Health and Medical Preparedness. A few weeks ago, it was discovered that the water supply of Alamosa, Colorado was contaminated with Salmonella. The cause remains unknown. It is unlikely that it is an act of terrorism, but in an area with a population of about 10,000 almost 400 people have been treated for Salmonella. Jim Martin, director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment and Hans Kallam director of the Colorado Division of Emergency Management worked together closely to solve the problem. The water system has been thoroughly cleaned, water bottles have been brought in with the aid of helpful companies, and an investigation as to the cause of the situation has begun.

 

The Medical field holds high stakes in the planning for Chemical, Biological, Radiological, and Nuclear incidents. After an incident of this kind, health care would be a high priority and capability would be stretched to its limit. Bioterrorism does have a small history in the United States including an incident of salmonella poisoning intended to affect an election and the Anthrax attacks. In the case of an attack today, the Department of Health and Human Services is charged with deploying medical personnel and equipment to aid other agencies. The Department of Homeland Security works with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with the Department of Veterans Affairs to detect biological and chemical attacks.

 

The relationship between Homeland Security and Health Care is a two-way street. Healthcare serves the purpose of Homeland Security and Homeland Security also serves the purpose of Healthcare. As a critical infrastructure sector, public health is important to the daily functions of the U.S. Public health services need security and an insurance of continuity of operations.

 

The area of intelligence and warning is important for taking preemptive, preventive, and protective measures. The field of medicine can be involved here through medical surveillance. David Siegrist from the Potomac Institute for Policy Studies describes medical surveillance as the prospective statistical analysis of health-related data for rapid detection of anomalies that indicate the outbreak of disease in a population. This information can be used to detect a natural epidemic or act of terrorism. It can be useful for medical response and for the capture of a perpetrator. The shooting last year at Virginia Tech has highlighted a need to work more closely with the mental health system and to improve mental illness interventions. It is always helpful to know who is a threat to the security of the nation or the safety of citizens. Any actions in this area must maintain patient confidentiality. This is not necessarily an important term in Homeland Security but it is very important to the area of health care. Trust between a health care provider and a patient has become one of the bases of the U.S. health system, and patient confidentiality should be respected by Homeland Security and other fields that begin to work with mental health organizations.

 

May 24, 2007 a potential threat to the health and safety of United States citizens crossed the border from Canada to the U.S. Andrew Speaker, diagnosed with multi-drug resistant Tuberculosis was allowed freely into the U.S. despite an alert that he should be restrained and health officials should be notified. In this situation, border security had direct involvement with public health; failing in their responsibility to contact health officials could have put numerous people in danger of contracting TB. Fortunately no one is known to have contracted TB from Speaker and his diagnosis has been downgraded to a less resistant form.

 

            Domestic Counterterrorism is essentially a law enforcement field. However healthcare professionals can provide helpful skills and resources. The Department of Health and Human Services, for example, offers training to protect workers from infection or contamination. Psychologists and Psychiatrists can be called on to help with interrogation. A new, controversial tool for interrogation and lie detection involves Neuroimaging. A medical technique that, in this case, uses Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging. Extensive research and testing has been, and continues to be done on effective countermeasures to biological, chemical, and radiological agents. The Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, a sub Health and Human Services agency, has computer simulation models for response planning and training modules on bioterrorism.

            The connection between Homeland Security and the field of Medicine is expansive and essential. For the field of Homeland Security, securing the nation requires a partnership with the medical community; and for the field of medicine maintaining the health of citizens requires a partnership with Homeland Security.

 

          

While I attended the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program at UVA I wanted to do something to give the program more publicity. It is an excellent program for anyone hoping to enter med or dental school, but very few people know about it. Many of the applicants, including myself, only found out about it by searching the net. The program has more than high enough quality to be recommended by advisors and publicized through schools. I tried to get the local news channel to do a short piece about the program, but that fell through. I should have also tried the newspaper, but I didn’t get around to it. However, I recently realized that a blog entry might possibly reach as many people as any other method I had considered:

There is a committment to the medical field and a service to the health of people, in the present and in the future that constitutes duty beyond expectation. The Directors of the Summer Medical & Dental Education Program (SMDEP) at the University of Virginia have devoted many years, in some cases 2 decades, to the education of future doctors.  The attending undergraduate students have sacrificed six-weeks of the summer to gain knowledge for the benefit of others. They come from all around the country and all over the world to join for a shared cause. Every weekday a minimum of nine hours, and often more, are devoted for learning different subjects, preparing for medical school, experiencing different career opportunities, and focusing on serving people. But the story does not end there. Even though the students originate from aound the world, they were prepared to dedicate their time and energy to Charlottesville and the surrounding community. The feat performed by the students, the directors, the speakers, and other particpants deserve recognition.

The Language of the whispering wind lends me a handful of beautiful words;

borrowed and borrowed, I am indebted to the air that has sewn together my poetry.

But is it just to rely on the coming storm to make my emotions flow onto paper?

Without the hurricane my thoughts are limited,

and the stanzas from my mind are dull.

The eye of my poems do not lie within the eye of the hurricane.

I find my perfect outlet in the calamitous wall,

where the wind whispers louder than the shouts of my strongest thoughts.

-By Benjamin Collins

My Favorite All-Time Lineup (not necessarily the best)

 

1B- Jeff Bagwell

2B- Chase Utley

3B- Chipper Jones

SS- Nomar Garciaparra

C- Jason Varitek

LF- Craig Biggio

CF- Ken Griffey Jr.

RF- J.D. Drew

DH- Joe DiMaggio

 
SP- Roger Clemens

 

SP- Justin Verlander

SP- Cole Hamels

SP- Bob Feller

SP- Tom Glavine

SP- Daisuke Matsuzaka

RP- Dennis Eckersley

CP- Trevor Hoffman

 

I have six starting pitchers, but one could be another reliever. Joe DiMaggio is at DH since Griffey is at the CF position.