Dr. Walter Palmer…

Dr. Palmer 5Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire stated, “I am not a hunter; I have never intentionally killed anything bigger than a hornet, though I have been absolutely ruthless with houseflies.”  Dr. O’Connell commented that this Dr. Walter Palmer brouhaha is getting out of hand.  The crowds outside his private dental practice in Milwaukee were calling him a ‘murderer’ for killing a popularized lion on a recent safari to Zimbabwe, Africa.  One of his guides had apparently lured the lion out of a protected park so the killing could occur.  Given that lions are a protected species due to dwindling numbers, and the notion that he should have checked things out much more carefully before he pulled his bowstring, I think he should have been heavily fined, and he probably will be.  But jeez, extradition, a murderer?

Do these protesters understand the realities of the life and death struggle playing itself out every second, in every corner of our world?  Have these naive people ever seen videos of lions making a kill on a zebra or gazelle?  Ripping the flesh of a still alive and trembling prey?  It’s ugly stuff to watch.  But it’s life.  Have these folks watched that now infamous Planet Earth video in which a killer whale leaps out of the water to grasp a frantically fleeing seal in its huge razor-tooth maw?  THAT is murderous stuff.  Do these same folks concern themselves with the millions of slimy but unidentified bugs that smear their windshields on a warm summer night?  Do they rue the ants they themselves put to death with the malathion powder they sprinkle along their home foundations?  Or the benign appearing ant “cups” that invite the insect to carry poison back to their colonies?

I want to be very clear.  I am much in favor of outlawing hunting everywhere in the world, except in those regions where wild game is plentiful and proteinaceous calories are needed.  But, my rationale does not include that it is cruel and unusual punishment for a lion to accept an arrow to the heart for its demise.  How could it get crueler than what nature stages?  To have your neck crushed in the jaws of a lion.  Give me a break.

Diet soda and obesity…

Diet sodaDr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire commented that there is another study apparently showing that heavy diet soda consumers suffer more from obesity.  And of course the media interprets this as cause and effect.  It ain’t.

Diet soda no more causes obesity than drinking H20.  Morbidly obese folks are grabbing at whatever they can to shed pounds, and avoiding the empty calories of a regular soda is an obvious target.  So naturally, many obese subjects drink large amounts of diet soda.  Don’t think for one millisecond that diet soda CAUSES obesity.  If you are of ideal body weight and enjoy diet soda, there is no scientific evidence whatsoever that you are at risk of becoming obese by continuing to imbibe.

The media fosters, embraces and rewards irresponsible reporting.  Facts are simply not allowed to discourage a good story.  Why?  Because bland facts do not sell anywhere near as effectively as a good story.

2015 Academy Award nominations…

Academy Awards 2015 4

Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that many late night TV show hosts are apparently outraged at the ‘whiteness’ of this year’s academy award nominations; in a tizzy that the Oscars are not going to reflect ‘racial diversity’.  I entirely agree with the last part, blacks constitute 12% of the US population, but will definitely be vastly under represented, in every category, come Oscar night.  To which my response is…so what?

  • First, these are MOVIES folks! MOVIES!!!  Who cares about the Oscars except a few million folks who have nothing better to do than idolize celebrities?
  • Second, the Oscar selections are votes by individuals. A group did not get together and conspire to exclude an entire race of filmmakers.  Could it be that the individual academy members voted their conscience, how they really feel?
  • Third, will anyone squawk when next year (or the year after) two of the five nominations include leading black actors or directors?  Academy Awards 2015 5But wouldn’t such a result just as readily reflect a lack of racial diversity?  An under representation of whites?
  • Fourth, politico-racial correctness has no role in Oscar nominations, just as it has no role in the color of our president or the race of our police officers. Winners should be chosen, freely based on merit.

Rather than being criticized, the Oscar nominations should be lauded for reflecting what they are supposed to…honest opinions of the best the industry could produce during the previous year.  To do otherwise is to delve into the nether world of racial absurdity.  How tiring that persistent drumbeat…

 

Cuba…

Cuba 3Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, New Hampshire, commented that the recent diplomatic overtures to Cuba, with the probability of normalization of relations soon, makes me think back to Michael Moore’s very snarky documentary re healthcare, “Sicko”.  Moore’s point was that healthcare in the US is undependable, unequal and unaffordable.  But despite being a third world country, in Cuba healthcare was ‘free’, fair and accessible for all.  For these reasons opined Moore, healthcare there was far superior to the US.

Nearly all of network TV brought their evening news from Havana last week, highlighting the shift in policy, potential lifting of the embargo, and also to reveal the current economic status of the country.  Third world it barely is.  The buildings are decaying, infrastructure absent, internet servicing less than 5% of its population.  Cuba

Cuba 11Whatever charms the Cuban healthcare industry held for Michael Moore, it’s hard to believe he actually gave it a whirl himself.  Medicines, needles, scalpels, sterile supplies, sterilizers, all cost a lot of money.  Would the Cuban government have somehow found the means to fund healthcare yet neglected everything else in their totalitarian economy?  And, why is it that Cubans with money procure their surgeries and cancer care outside of Cuba?

Dementias as a cause of death???

Dementia 11Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, PainCare, New Hampshire noted that something he has found increasingly irksome is the claim that Alzheimer’s and other dementias are the “sixth leading cause of death in the US.”  This is so wrong.  It is a huge and, in my opinion, intentional lie.  I understand why the dementia societies’ would be keenly interested in promoting the concept that dementia is a killer, because it would draw yet more funding of research.  A dreaded disease?  Yes.  A disease likely to become much more prevalent over the next couple of decades?  Yes!!  A killer?  No.

I would venture to say that no one has EVER died of Alzheimer’s.  As human bodies, we do not rely on our cerebrums for remaining alive; conscious and/or lucid, yes.  All our intrinsic mechanisms for staying alive, reside elsewhere in our pons, medulla, diencephalon, and other areas of the brain essentially unaffected by dementia.  Sure, dementia victims are more prone to urinary tract infections, horrible skin ulcerations and infections, major fractures from falls, and deep venous thrombosis with pulmonary emboli due to immobility.  But these problems ARE the CAUSE OF DEATH, not the dementia.

I am a huge supporter of dementia research and have donated extensively to many entities dedicated to finding a cure.  But, let them not falsely portray Alzheimer’s as a cause of death, when it ISN’T.

Death certificates are often filled out by physicians who are hardly familiar with the patient.  The certificate lists:

  • The immediate cause of death, such as the heart stopping
  • The intermediate causes, which triggered the immediate cause, such as a myocardial infarction
  • The underlying causes, which triggered the chain of events leading to death, such as atherosclerotic vascular disease, and
  • Any other diseases and disorders the person had at the time of death, even though they did not directly cause the death.

It is upon the fourth item that dementia fundraisers focus.  While commendable for reasons stated above, this practice is deceitful at best.  Death certificates should be filled out by professionals who:

  1. Know the difference between the cause of a patient’s death, and an underlying disorder, and
  2. Who care to get it right

Automatons…

Automoton

The recent 350,000 subject study in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition demonstrating consumption of saturated fats to be no more the cause of cardiovascular disease than consumption of polyunsaturated fats, is another blockbuster example of the rise and fall of yet another conventional wisdom.  For decades we have been fed garbage (pun intended) by media and by medical literature that the hydrogenation (saturation) of fatty acids (converts liquid fat to solid, as in margarine) is tantamount to chemical ‘perversion,’ and ingestion of such products is certain to result in premature death.  The recycling of age old ‘rock solid’ advice from physicians is in my opinion analogous to the frequent ‘turning’ of my backyard compost pile.  Depending on how deeply I drive my pitchfork, the more likely I am to find intact wine corks, jar labels, oak leaves and other paraphernalia from years ago.  Scientific literature, the term itself meant to be synonymous to ‘truth,’ is hardly that.  Facts are destroyed then reinvented in a truly bewildering and dangerous process.  When is the public going to raise its intelligence quotient to the level at which it realizes that scientific literature is often no better than my compost pile, occasionally far worse?

Now, this is not to criticize the mountains of ‘applied research’ that has led to astounding technological advances.  Information retrieval, data storage, communications, robotics…all have been made possible through science, and many if not most, make our lives much easier and productive.  However, when science is applied to the human body, not a machine, not a flask of chemicals in the lab, science does not exactly shine.  Medical science more often than not fails us.  It usually does not get it right the first time, or even the second, third or umpteenth time.  This does not reflect an evil underpinning to medical research, but rather the infinite complexity of humans, both the researcher and the researched.  The list of barely effective medications, medications that years later cause catastrophic health problems, or surgeries that do not cure but rather maim if not immediately after, but years down the road, is staggering.

Which brings me to my favorite subject, Obamacare.  One of the primary tap roots of ACA (Affordable Care Act) is EBM (evidence based medicine).  The presumption is that the medical literature will guide doctors and other worthy practitioners in their treatment of various human pathologies, for the noble purpose of applying the’ treatment at the right time’ (whatever that means).  This purpose has the effect of reducing providers of healthcare to automatons, who merely plug in patients’ complaints, physical findings and results of lab and radiological procedures and voila, up pops the right and timely treatment on the computer screen.

If only it all worked so smoothly.

Trash talking NFL…

Sherman 4Sherman, the gifted and talented cornerback for the Seattle Seahawks, “lost it” when being interviewed post NFC championship game by reporter Erin Andrews.  She appeared half disgusted and half frightened for her life as this ‘man’ exploded on camera, sputtering a barrage of largely unintelligible rhetoric apparently in response to….winning??? or by other reports to some on the field trash talk by black wide receiver Crabtree, or to some Facebook comments?  Does it matter?  Has the NFL degenerated to the point that such explosions are deemed OK?

Black CNN anchor Don Lemon, said after the interview “hey, the guy was doing  his job.”  Are you kidding me?  I admit football and all sports are just trifling games that don’t deserve the attention they draw; I understand that people get very attached to “their” team; I understand that emotions run high with the media hype.  But… “doing his job”?

This all leads me to ask what has changed in football, indeed all sports, over the past thirty years, that has transformed the good losers and winners, with names like Y. A. Tittle, Walter Peyton, Bill Russell,  Magic Johnson, Bob Gibson, men who said very little to reporters, but when they did the conversation was polite, humble, team oriented, and giving credit to the opposing players.  This has been replaced by the idiotic dances in the end zones and boisterous ill humored aggressive venom such as what we heard from the lunkhead Sherman.

I suspect the difference is black and white.  Sports used to be dominated by (less talented) whites, for better or worse, but now by (more talented) blacks, blacks that often come from a vast history of racial oppression and low income fatherless households.  I guess now it is the black man’s time – the time to put on shows to demonstrate just how far they’ve come despite the adversities.  Have they?  Is this the way for an otherwise intelligent football player to act?  Is it coincidental that a transformation in crude ostentatious celebrations on and off the field has accompanied the entrance of non whites to the stadium?  Do you think this is what JD Ellison had in mind for the black race in his book, The Invisible Man?  While being compliant, meek and subservient is not the way for blacks to gain a foothold in a white man’s world, why can the Shermans not be satisfied with being great athletes?  Stanford graduates?

Lemon had the audacity to compare Sherman’s trash talk to that of Larry Bird.   Again Lemon, who are you kidding?  What planet is you from?

Settlement Agreement – NH.gov…

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Dr. Michael J. O’Connell, Barrington, New Hampshire, noted that most residents of the Lakes Region of NH know, the town of Wolfeboro entered into a Settlement Agreement with the Justice Department over non compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) in 2010.  Many changes to the structure of sidewalks, wheelchair ramps, uneven pedestrian surfaces, parking spots, etc. had to be made within a specified period of time and at considerable taxpayer expense.

On first read, it sounds as though the way things ought to be, right?  Americans with disabilities should have wheelchair access to all public facilities, and so called “handicap (HC) parking spots” associated with both public and private commercial buildings and enterprises.  On second view however, the ADA legislation and this particular settlement agreement sickens me and should you too.  It represents a blatant overreach of the federal government in yet another area of our lives.  A federal government that should be serving us by providing defense of the public and collecting taxes to pay for it, is now reaching ever more deeply into our pockets to fund yet more costly endeavors.

Trust me, I have plenty of compassion for the truly disabled, note the emphasis on the word ‘truly.’  Having had a very long career in medicine, it amazes me how frequently patients who do not even come close to the definition of ‘disabled,’ are granted all the perks of disability, from steady monthly income to Medicare health insurance.  Then to add insult to our injury, these same frauds are afforded all the same benefits of the broad and invasive ADA.  If most of the frauds could be weeded out of the system, the need for HC parking spots could reduced by 75%, or more.  Fact is, most HC spots are taken by “disabled” who are not wheelchair bound, and do not even require canes.  They are capable of walking unassisted, but no, the federal government dictates they should have prime access to stores, city hall, DMV, golf courses, zip lines, ski lodges, national hiking parks, and the list goes on.  When evidence based medicine (yes that concept embraced by our beloved President) would support that the best thing patients with chronic health problems can do is exercise and stay otherwise fit, we provide them the shortest possible distance from car to building.

The justice department needs to stop with these abominable settlement agreements, and start rendering……justice!  Investigate the disability system and stop investigating our towns and villages that are struggling under the burden of runaway federal bureaucracy!  For more information see:  http://www.ada.gov/wolfeboro_NH.htm