Monthly Archives: August 2014

Back to war in Iraq

Let me start out by saying ISIS sucks. They are brutal, sadistic, and flat out evil. They have done terrible things to minorities, to children, and to anyone who disagrees with them. That said, we need to stay out of Iraq. We have a long history of meddling in the Middle East, and never for their betterment. We invaded Iraq in 2003 because Saddam was horrible, but I don’t think anyone could seriously claim Iraq is better off now. Now we’ve armed the rebels in Syria to overthrow Assad, because he’s evil.

Of course, those rebels we armed – are ISIS. Now people are saying we should fight for the Shia again to help overthrow evil ISIS. Well, I’ve heard this before, and I’m not buying it. The Middle East has been a sectarian, violent, atrocity-ridden hellhole for millennia. Read the Old Testament, and it’s the same thing as is going on now. One group or another has been invading, slaughtering, raping, and brutalizing another group in the region for as long as there has been history. The only way we’re going to bring peace to the region is by killing everyone there. I have no stomach for genocide. So maybe we should try a new approach. Leave them alone. Let them kill each other, massacre each other. Not because it is good, but because it isn’t our war to fight.

It will be horrible, but we can’t fix that by adding our own soldiers and bombs to the mix. Hopefully at some point the majority in each sect will get sick of the neverending fight, and start putting down their own rabid dogs. If we would stop getting so caught up in their fight, we could have a normalized relationship with Iran – imagine what that would do for oil prices! And we wouldn’t be pouring billions of dollars into backing one regime or another, when the “freedom fighters” we’re backing in Syria are the “terrorists” we want to fight in Iraq.

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Chart Check: I do not think that word means what you think it means

“Patient has benign personality disorder.” What, they’re excessively pleasant? Oh, wait, that should read BORDERLINE personality disorder. You know that one person you dated who was super clingy, then you had one fight and the next thing you know your stuff is on fire in your front yard? Yeah, that would be borderline personality disorder. Barely saw my other patients, because any time I went in there, the patient had something she needed, which I’d go get. Then another thing. Then another! But of course, she couldn’t tell me everything at once, so I could just make one trip. Oh, and you want to take a shower at midnight? Sure, why not? Any disagreement or saying the patient couldn’t have something led to either tears or yelling.

Patients who moan drive me insane too. Moan, Moan, “How bad is your pain?” “A two.” moan, moan.

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Patient quote: Snakes!

I hear a patient set of a bed alarm, and sprint into the room. A little old lady looks up as I come in, and says, “Why are there all these snakes on the floor?!”

I look around, and there is nothing that could even conceivably be mistaken for a snake. “What snakes?”

“Those snakes!” The little old lady points at the bare floor. “There aren’t any snakes here.” “Yes, right there!” Again waving at the empty floor.

“I think you’re hallucinating, there aren’t any snakes.” “Oh, that’s a relief!” And the little old lady relaxes back in her bed and closes her eyes. “Ok, good night. I’ll check on you in a bit. Hit your call light if you need anything.”

“Good night!”

We had a similar conversation about every hour throughout the night – whether it was snakes, bats, bugs, or rats. She also had a great conversation with her mother (my patient was in her 90’s). UTIs are no good in the elderly! At least she was pleasantly confused.

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Elder abuse?

What unethical doctor inflicted a pacemaker on this poor 95 year old man? He has severe dementia, is bedbound, incontinent, and the only word he has left is “No.” “No No No NO NO NONO!” I felt awful every time we had to do anything with him. And yet, his family and a complicit doctor acted to prolong his suffering. Prolonging life is not always a good thing. If someone did that to me, I’d come back to haunt them whenever I finally managed to die. I don’t believe in ghosts, but I’d still find a way to do it!

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Israel and Gaza, again

Israel has had three civilian deaths from Hamas rocket fire this year. How many civilian deaths can Israel now justifiably inflict in retaliation? Well, so far their count is up to 1400. If someone shoots at me from a school bus full of kids, should I return fire with a fully automatic weapon? Yeah, some kids might die, but that bastard shot at me! I’m pretty sure any jury in the world would convict me of homicide at the least for any kid killed.

Aside from that issue, there is the practical issue. Israel’s actions have not made Israel any safer. One of the more disturbing videos I’ve seen is this: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/gaza-fighting-fuels-hatred-for-future-violence/

Israel continues to act in such a way as to recruit more and more Palestinians in the fight against it. Hamas did not recruit that 15 year old to be a suicide bomber. Israel recruited him and thousands like him through their continued bombardment of civilian populations. Each of those recruits carries a fiery hatred for Israel. But wouldn’t you, if a brutal regime had just blown up your house, or killed your family, and shrugged it off as “collateral damage”?

Most of the right-wing blogs I read are happy to place themselves in Israel’s shoes, and say they should be able to defend themselves against attack. How about placing yourself in a Palestinian’s shoes, and see how those fit. You have been denied your right to bear arms. Your land has been confiscated. You have family members who have been abducted off the streets by the police, and are held without charges, and you haven’t heard from them for weeks – but you do know they were likely tortured. Food is strictly rationed, and you never seem to have enough. Now you have been forced out of your house, which was then bombed to rubble by this regime. I think most of the right-wingers would say it’s time to kick off a revolution.

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Any time you pass a law, people will die over it

Taxes are generally viewed as one of the more benign laws to be passed. Yeah, they take your money. But it isn’t like anyone dies over it, right?

Except that a man was choked to death by police just a couple weeks ago. What was his crime? Selling untaxed cigarettes. Any time someone says “There should be a law,” think, is this an issue that is worth killing people over? That’s what happens when something is illegal. Some cops will use whatever force is necessary to enforce that law, and that means people will be murdered. Their job is not to protect you, it is to protect government authority. There are decent people amongst police officers, except even the best frequently cave to the corrosive environment that is modern law enforcement.

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Oh no, Ebola is coming!

I’ve seen several articles discussing the current outbreak of Ebola virus, and apparently widespread concern about it spreading to the USA. This is nonsense. Spread of Ebola is an issue in third world countries. It is transmitted by exposure to blood and body fluids. When was the last time you touched someone else’s diarrhea? Had someone bleed on you? Hopefully these are not everyday occurrences in your life! With modern plumbing, even an undiagnosed victim is likely to infect zero people.

The one exception to this would be in medical care. However, we have the technology! In the emergency department, we did all sorts of fun training in biohazard suits. Do they suck to work in? Yep! But you aren’t getting exposed to squat in one of them. Even if someone comes in with “flu-like symptoms”, our standard protective equipment for any contagious disease will also protect against Ebola transmission. The disease kills people quickly enough that any epidemic will be sharply limited, especially since transmission is only through blood and body fluids. My concern for an outbreak in the USA is zero.

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