My adventures in behavioral health began in very humble surroundings. My first real job in the field consisted of degrading duties and even more degrading compensation. The bowels of healthcare so to speak, these kinds of positions were usually disguised by lofty job titles such as “Residential Mental Health Technician” or “Day Habilitation Specialist”. The fact that the educational requirements for such a position consist of a high school diploma (or equivalent) probably should have been a dead giveaway that this was not necessarily the gateway to a lavish career in medicine. If that was not enough, perhaps the fact that several of my coworkers were either recent parolees, or so disheveled in appearance that if they lost their nametag they may not be allowed to leave, for fear that we may accidently release a newly admitted psych patient.
The facility its self was like something out of a low budget horror movie from the 1960s. That also being the time period when any equipment upgrades or significant maintenance probably took place. The term “low budget” also seemed key on many levels. In the defense of those who run facilities such as this, it’s not their fault, it’s ours. The average United States citizen still cringes at mental illness, most are ashamed, embarrassed or even frightened at the very thought of it affecting someone in their lives. This primitive attitude toward mental illness of course carries over into our political system, and therefore our budgets. Mental health agencies largely depend on state and federal funding. It is by far the lowest priority on the political totem pole, and is funded accordingly. These agencies have to fight for every dime they ever see. Unfortunately money it seems is always the bottom line.
The truly ironic part of all of this is that psychiatry has by a large margin the most successful “cure rate” of any medical field. Unlike an oncology unit, or ICU, mental health patients are much more likely to report relief from debilitating symptoms, and go home after a hospital stay. In reality, what that means for a hospital, believe it or not, is less money. Under our current system, hospitals don’t make a profit if you are home and well. The biggest, most profitable disease currently known to man, is cancer. Cancer keeps hospitals in business. So when a budget committee meets to decide where to invest in its facilities, where do you think the money goes? We have all seen, or at least heard of the grand opening of a new hospital wing or public health clinic with all the new bells and whistles. What we don’t see are these kinds of improvements, or even upkeep at a mental health facility. These places remain hidden, in the closet, every hospitals dirty little secret.
This environment is where we attempt to heal the mentally ill in this country. I always thought it was the very definition of tragic irony. Sometimes, it seems the patient doesn’t get better because of our best efforts, but despite them.
The first hurdle of medical school is the attainment of occupational health clearance. You are interrogated under the fluorescent lights of a small sterile room, and then they begin prodding you with needles to test and vaccinate you for everything under the sun. After several appointments you will hopefully get the all clear. Once that happens you are officially released from quarantine and can then be allowed to interact with real humans.
So I thought that challenge was over and done with, but now I am facing yet another set of hardcore tests. In order to be cleared to work in a laboratory I have to show proof of all of my immunisations to date, and then have my lungs assessed. Yes, I’m going to need a lung function test.
Am I nervous?
Why should I be nervous?
Maybe the fact that I have mild asthma is…
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My Mismanaged Mind….
Fixin' To Be Texan
Everything is bigger in Texas, including the stupidity….
Texas governor Rick Perry went out of his way this week to remind us all that not only is he is a complete jackass, but has the maturity level of sleep deprived toddler.
The proud leader of a state that loves nothing more than to tout its “patriotism” should add the disclaimer: “We love America, but only when a republican is president”.
The actual elected leader of one of our states flat out refused to greet, or even meet the President of the United States on his arrival in Austin to discuss US/Mexico border concerns. He went on to say later, “Im not Chris Christie”, implying that he had no intention of even attempting to partake in any sort of collaborative effort between parties….even in a time of crisis. In other words, he is dangerously ignorant, and shouldn’t…
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5 Terrible Secrets Big Drug Companies Don’t Want You to Know
By Andrew Munro June 23, 2014
f you go by their portrayal in movies and TV shows, you’d think that huge pharmaceutical corporations make all their money by turning children into zombies and having them steal grandma’s heart medication, or whatever the plot of Resident Evil was. But the truth is that Big Pharma (as hippies and crackpots call it) isn’t a modern-day Legion of Doom. They’re businesses focused on making money, just like every other company out there … which isn’t to say they aren’t capable of evil. They totally are. It’s just that their evil usually involves less illegal genetic experiments and more down-to-earth dick moves like …
#5. Repackaging Medication to Trick You into Taking It
The name of a drug is a crucial part of its marketing. The antidepressant Prozac, for example, is meant to sound sciency, while the drug Sarafem, which is targeted at women, sounds distinctly feminine. (It’s also pink, because … vaginas, we suppose?) However, the only differences between these supposedly very different drugs are their names and colors: Sarafem is actually just Prozac, because Eli Lilly, the drug company behind both medications, wanted women to take the drug without telling them what it was.
Sarafem was marketed as the cure for an ailment called premenstrual dysphoric disorder — essentially, all the unpleasantness that goes along with menstruation, plus horrible panic attacks, anxiety, and souped-up mood swings. And we’re not saying that Prozac doesn’t treat those symptoms; it might (we’re not doctors). We just think that tricking people into taking drugs they wouldn’t otherwise take is a moral gray area, although it could be forgiven if it was done for noble intentions. Like, say, if women suffering from PMDD really needed to take Prozac but were avoiding it due to its negative association with depression. That, however, is not what happened here.
Prozac was a huge money maker for Eli Lilly, and Sarafem was released only a few months before their patent on Prozac was set to expire. When a drug patent expires, its price drops sharply, as competitors start releasing their own generic versions. But by releasing a new drug identical to Prozac, Eli Lilly managed to extend their patent by a few years, allowing the price of Prozac to remain nice and high.
n 1997, GlaxoSmithKline did something similar when they released the well-known antidepressant Wellbutrin as a pill that helps you quit smoking, but only after rebranding it as Zyban. Again, the science behind the drug might have actually been sound, but it doesn’t change the fact that deceiving people into taking mind-altering drugs is something you usually expect to end with James Bond blowing up a skull-shaped island fortress in the middle of the Pacific.
#4. Flooding the World With Bad Research
All right, so how exactly do doctors know what medication to give you, when new stuff is coming out all the time?
Well, they read medical journals, which are full of studies telling them what’s working these days. Unfortunately, pharmaceutical companies know that, so when they roll out a new product that they know occasionally gives patients uncontrollable diarrhea, they first release an overwhelming number of falsified studies that replace the word “diarrhea” with “kittens.”
OK, the actual practice is a little more subtle than the kitten thing. In one real case, drug company Medtronic paid $210 million to dozens of surgeons to sign their names to medical articles that were drafted and edited with the help of Medtronic marketers to advertise the company’s bone-growth product Infuse … the same Infuse that was later linked to cancer and infertility in men, which might have affected any of the million people who were prescribed it. The warnings were always there in the fine print, but the marketers were able to tweak the wording to play up the benefits and brush off the horrifying risks and side effects. The authors who went along with it could later be seen wearing lab coats made of solid gold.
But even when drug companies go to the effort of conducting genuine scientific studies, oftentimes they simply don’t publish the unfavorable results. In one experiment, a number of studies of an antidepressant medication were submitted to a drug regulatory authority, and in the end, only the studies that yielded favorable results were released to the public. Oh, did we forget to mention that the studies were funded by huge pharmaceutical conglomerates? This is why some researchers believe that the vast majority of studies on antidepressants are unreliable at best and complete horseshit at worst.
ut what about independent studies that aren’t paid for by big businesses? Sure, they exist, but many of the researchers end up getting sued, and the studies are kept from publication by the drug company lawyers. Remember, the companies don’t even need to win their suits — all they need to do is keep bringing the scientists back to court until they run out of money and resort to burning their research notes for warmth.
#3. Deploying an Army of Lying Sales Representatives
Other than medical journals, the other way for doctors to stay informed about drugs is through sales reps, who visit medical professionals and tell them about the newest pill-magic their company has come up with. Sales representative visits are basically the medical education equivalent of a pizza delivery in a porno, by which we mean that they are quick and convenient and usually end with someone getting fucked. The bad news? That someone is usually us.
n most countries, drug sales reps are legally required to disclose all relevant information about a drug they are promoting to the doctor, not just the fun stuff. But in the U.S., Canada, and France, it’s been found that they only mention serious drug risks 6 percent of the time. Because, you know, they’re in sales. Their goal isn’t to inform; their goal is to get the doctors to sign on the dotted line — and your doctor is just as susceptible to slick sales techniques as anybody else.
So what’s the risk here? Well, more than half of the drugs whose downsides aren’t mentioned carry the most severe warning that can be issued — we’re talking “may cause death” territory here. And that’s just for the risks — things that might go horribly wrong when someone takes the drug. This is not to be confused with side effects, which are things that will almost definitely go horribly right if you take the drug. But again, sales reps won’t even mention side effects in 59 percent of the cases.
Part of the problem is that some hospitals might be greeting over a dozen sales reps a day. The doctors want to listen just long enough to get the merchandise and free samples, but not a moment longer than they have to. This leads to super condensed sales pitches, and if something’s going to get cut, it’ll be the downsides. A far larger part of the problem, however, is that despite the law being pretty clear on these points, there’s practically no oversight or enforcement of it whatsoever.
Meanwhile, the drug companies are spending billions on TV ads telling patients to demand these drugs from their physician. So, the doctors are getting pressured from all sides. But really, why should they worry about it when they just read that informative journal article talking about how safe the drug is?
And if we’re making it sound like there are paid shills everywhere, well, that’s because drug companies are
5 Shockingly Childish Abuses of Power by Hospital Employees
By Simon Bower , A.C. Grimes June 26, 2014
If sitcoms have taught us anything, hospitals are populated by man-children, witty megalomaniacs, and lovable perverts. Fortunately, when we actually have to go to a real hospital, we find out otherwise — hospitals kind of need to keep things professional, since a tiny mistake can mean death and a massive malpractice suit.
Of course, not everyone got the memo …
#5. Multiple Surgeons Dabble in Organ Graffiti
Surgeons go through years of higher education before they’re trusted with the most intimate task of cutting someone’s chest open and messing around in there, so you can be sure that they’re pretty proud of their work. Sometimes a little too proud, as with the case of Simon Bramhall, a respected surgeon at Queen Elizabeth Hospital in England, who was suspended in December last year when co-workers noticed him burning his initials into a patient’s liver. The hospital is now concerned that he may have done this to hundreds of patients’ organs over the course of his 10-plus years working there, though maybe they should be more worried that Bramhall will someday decide to reclaim the organs, since he clearly called dibs.
“Oh yeah?! Well, I don’t see your name on … oh.”
But somehow this is only one of the most recent incidents of this kind of behavior. In 2010, a California gynecologist named Red Alinsod was sued for using an electrocautery device to carve the name “Ingrid” into patient Ingrid Paulicivic’s uterus. Alinsod claims he did this so that he wouldn’t confuse her uterus with the others, because as we all know, hospitals don’t label vital organs or put them in containers, but simply toss them onto an ever-growing pile on the floor.
And the uterine graffiti trend goes even further back: In 2003, a Dr. James Guiler from Lexington, Kentucky, was sued by 10 of his patients for branding “UK” on their uteri. It wasn’t some monarchist declaration of loyalty to the British Isles, but a tribute to his education at the University of Kentucky. We’re assuming it was due to school spirit and not a horribly ill-conceived viral marketing campaign.
#4. Hospital Staff Finds a Patient’s Rectal Eel Problem Hilarious
We imagine that treating hospital patients can get pretty boring. The same old symptoms, day after day — heart palpitations, shortness of breath, bloody stools — how passe. So on the occasion that someone checks in with a truly unique situation, like if an eel climbed up someone’s ass or something, you can imagine that hospital staff would get a little excited about the break in routine. Such was the case in 2013, when a man checked into a New Zealand hospital complaining that, yeah, an eel had in fact climbed up his ass.
“IS IT REALLY IMPORTANT HOW IT GOT UP THERE?!”
Now, it hasn’t been revealed how exactly this set of circumstances came about, but it has been revealed that the wayward fish, who very much took a wrong turn at Albuquerque, was about the size of a sprig of asparagus. Upon learning about his situation, a bunch of hospital employees broke regulations to snoop on the victim’s X-rays and medical records. And by that we mean as many as 82 employees.
Unfortunately, there’s always one asshole who will take things too far, and somebody leaked the X-rays to the media. Surprisingly, the outlet declined to publish the story, instead notifying the hospital that their staff thought their patients’ confidentiality rights were trumped by their noble desire to bring hilarity to the public. At least one employee was dismissed, dozens of others subjected to disciplinary action, and even more investigated, including nurses, midwives, junior doctors, and senior officials. We don’t have any information about the status of the eel in question, but we hope Pixar does a Finding Nemo-style feature about the incident, told from the eel’s point of view.
#3. Hospital Staff Makes Internet Memes on the Job
Hey, remember planking? That fad a few years ago when the Internet collectively went insane and decided that taking pictures of oneself lying down on various surfaces was clever and hilarious? Not everybody thought so, least of all the authorities and employers who had to deal with people climbing street signs and emergency service vehicles for that perfect plank shot.
In 2009, the trend arrived at Great Western Hospital in Stuffy-Sounding-Location, U.K., and resulted in the hospital cleaning house by suspending seven emergency room doctors and nurses for getting plank-happy on the job and uploading the photos to Facebook. If that sounds harsh, keep in mind that this is a hospital — in the course of planking on resuscitation trolleys, ward floors, and even a helipad, they broke several health and safety and infection control regulations (but at least they got valuable Internet points for totally planking on that coma patient in Ward 4). Hell, we’re pretty sure planking on company equipment will get you fired from Taco Bell.
And that’s not the only case of hospital staff throwing professional conduct out the window for Internet kudos. Nurses in New South Wales in Australia have been reprimanded for taking time out of their day-to-day routines to take selfies and post them on Twitter and Instagram when they really should have been focusing on things like driving ambulances and restarting arrested hearts. In addition to posting “naughty selfies” dripping with sexual frustration, the NSW Health crew took the most heat from superiors for posting photos of an anaesthetized patient, using hashtags like #postop and #nomorewilly, suggesting he’d just undergone a sex change operation, when in reality he was recovering from shoulder surgery (we’re not sure if the inaccuracy of the tags makes it better or worse).
Or, you have this classy gentleman, who professes to the world that he “pulls in all the bitches at work.”
“My gross ethical breaches of patient confidentiality bring all the girls to the yard.”
#2. Nurse Writes a Prank Letter to a Patien
We acknowledge that the job of a hospital nurse can be one of the toughest in the world, what with irate patients, long hours, and contact with bodily fluids that nobody should have to contend with in their everyday life. Maybe that’s why nurses at Carstairs Hospital in Scotland had a habit of turning up to work drunk and making asses of themselves.
“‘My arm hurts, my vision is blurry, I think I’m having a heart attack, meh meh meh!’ That’s what you sound like.”
Inevitably, a patient lodged a complaint with the hospital about the conduct of its staff, and that’s when things got really stupid. Nurse David Best took it upon himself to respond to the complaint in the most mature and thoughtful way he knew how: the written equivalent of a Bart Simpson prank call. Best mocked up a fake response letter pretending to be a lawyer from a major law firm, reprimanding the patient for his defamatory remarks and threatening legal action. The name he signed at the bottom? “Hugh Jarse” (get it?). Yeah, the guy probably doesn’t have a Nobel Prize in his future.
When the patient didn’t appreciate the joke, he brought his own lawyer in, and that’s when things got bad for Nurse Best, whose name now carried overtones of irony. The prank quickly landed Best in the unemployment line. His defense was that the drunken behavior of his colleagues — which included charges of assault — was much worse than his own, and they kept their jobs. That’s probably a valid point, but the courts rejected the appeal, since the solution to that problem would actually be to fire all of those other jerkoffs before they kill somebody.
#1. An Orthopedic Surgeon Shows a Penchant for Pranks
So it’s fairly clear from the list so far that, contrary to what Scrubs taught us, nobody actually appreciates wacky shenanigans when they’re occurring in a hospital. And, as we’ve seen, it’s apparently really hard to convince medical professionals of this. Take orthopedic surgeon Dr. Benjamin Allen, for whom the surgery theater was just another uptight office environment begging for his ill-advised brand of levity. We can imagine the hospital staff was already wary the first time they saw a guy come to work looking like this:
“Be careful, his bow tie is really a camera!”
What Allen considered to be a series of light-hearted jokes to put patients and colleagues at ease, the Virginia Board of Medicine regarded instead to be an “egregious pattern of disruptive behavior.” In one of his noteworthy transgressions, Allen decided it would be a hilarious idea to schedule a knee replacement surgery for one of his patients, only to cancel it as a joke whose punchline failed to impress the nurses who prepped the patient for a phantom procedure. As a result, another surgeon was unable to get time in the operating room for a real surgery, while Allen’s patient was left wondering what rogue circus clown had put on doctor makeup and gained permission to cut people open.
Obviously never one to pass on an opportunity for slapstick, Allen also found himself on the hot seat for having a little too much fun during surgery with the help of a nearby nurse and a surgical staple gun. While attempting to staple the nurse’s sleeve (after having used the staple gun on a patient), Allen accidentally punctured the nurse’s arm, potentially exposing her to whatever blood-soaked foot fungus he was operating on at the time.
It’s all fun and games until someone contracts an infectious disease from a freak staple gun fight accident.
These ridiculous antics, along with an unhealthy habit of arguing with other doctors (how could he ever not get along with someone?), got the jocular doctor a fine of … $1,500. So, just a few cents shy of the cost of hospital-administered aspirin.
Root Grounding Meditation
Today we are going to do a root grounding exercise. Let’s begin in a standing position. You may find that you prefer to be barefoot for this meditation, allowing for the full experience of connecting with the earth. If you find that wearing socks or standing on a mat is more preferable, please feel free to do so. Now, place your feet flat on the ground. Notice your soles and the sensations you feel. Notice how your feet feel with the connection they have made. Rest your arms gently by your side. Scan your body slowly for areas of tension- areas of unrest or stress. Maybe your head or neck is tight. Maybe you notice your shoulders are held high. Let go of any knots in your stomach or your heart. Relax your arms, your hands. Relax your gluts and legs. Wiggle your fingers, wiggle your toes…
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