NHS: Let Them Eat Cake! [Latest Health News in Brief]

NHS Reform. The NHS has its flaws but if you privatise it you are essentially minimising patient care but maximising corporate competition. This belittles the principles of Medicine and healthcare, making it all about profit, money and marketing, rather than caring for people. The only people who win in a Privatised and essentially fragmented NHS are the companies that compete for a stand in Healthcare, whose products and service are not the best but cost the private sector less.

Privatising the NHS is essentially saying “Let them eat cake!” In Marie Antoinette’s world, sure, let the patients eat cake when what they really need is quality healthcare.

I agree with assisted suicide; euthanasia is the kindest gift to offer someone who is in the most extreme circumstance, without any quality of life, and with great suffering. Zürich has voted similarly: click to see news story.

Social networking has become more than just social, it is used in Medical schools, some of which in the UK give out smart-phones to students so that they can carry digital textbooks. There are many pros, but I wonder about the cons; for example, will it deter students from being intuitive or self-sufficient if they rely upon a mobile device for the answers to a correct dosage, will it bias the diagnostic process?

Twitter ‘vital’ link to patients, say doctors in Japan: Click   

Lines between plastic surgery and beauty treatments are diminished, but what by? I believe it is the easier access to cosmetic surgeries and procedures which make them less taboo, more easily attainable and therefore more likely that someone will be inclined towards them (the sheep effect; everyone else is doing it so why not you?). Click here for details.

Obese pregnant women are being given Metformin, usually for diabetics, to reduce the risk of obesity in their babies.

Casualty fan saves baby’s life with skills learned from show:http://tinyurl.com/5ux23q4

Monkey HIV vaccine ‘effective’ I really hope this can give us some insight into a way to cure human HIV victims, and yes I say victims because no one chooses to have HIV/AIDs, however they contract it. I remain dubious, because many ‘cures’, or proposed ones, have been and gone. I’m just glad the research continues, and we’ve gotten so far with extending the lives of HIV victims, delaying full AIDs.

Doctors want a decision on the NHS, but the wrong choice could cause further disarray. Personally I am opposed to the NHS reform, but I wanted to hear the other side of the argument so I went to the Royal Society of Medicine debate; arguments for the reform revolved around increased efficiency, quality of products and care, as well as time management. However, I’m doubtful of that, increased corporate competition will commodify health, and prioritise profit over care.

How Superbugs attack; The research carried out at BMC Systems Biology discovered genes responsible for MRSA‘s grown resistance to the Methicillin antibiotic. As a type of Staphylococcus aureus, it is of interest to my upcoming lab project, where I will measure the rate of growth in bacterial resistance. A toxin taken from the skin of a bullfrog has proven effective in destroying MRSA.

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Call an ambulance

Apologies to people I am subscribed to, and those in my blogroll, I simply haven’t had any time to read as much or comment lately, let alone write any lengthy posts for my own blog.

What’s my excuse? As well as the huge dissertation article, separate project, double modules at university, commuting to London, and continuous research in my “spare time”, I also work as a carer. The timetable has filled up this week, I’m no longer under mentoring.

Ms Anonymous, a new care receiver I met today, seemed well and able, apart from having a poor memory (I had to remind her each time she asked what time lunch was, and that she had already had breakfast). But, as I and another girl (who does not work for the same care branch as I) were preparing lunch, we heard an almighty crash. We ran to Ms Anonymous’ bedroom to find her crumpled on the floor. She had tried getting out of bed unassisted, and tripped on her Zimmer frame.

We had to call an ambulance fast, because she said she thinks she had broken her leg. We couldn’t take risks, especially seeing as she had a hip replacement recently, and was hospitalized a long time with an infection also. I made sure we kept her still, but comfortable with pillows, and called her son as well.

The ambulance arrived to pick her up, and I hope she will be alright once out of hospital. That’s all I will write for now, it’s important to keep track of these things. Am heading out later for an evening appointment with a different care receiver, hopefully they are faring well, it’s a shame when bad things happen.

A young male cat

Image via Wikipedia

On a brighter note, I saw a very cute cat today who kept me company when I was waiting out in the cold.

Bruising, Forensics

Severe bruises caused by car accident

Image via Wikipedia

Last night I was wondering about bruises. You know sometimes you bash yourself but the bruise doesn’t show up until the next day? Well, with post-mortem examinations, is it possible that there are some cases whereby the person has been bruised but it just didn’t show up before their death?

And if so, would a bruise still be able to show up after death? The problem is, there would be no blood flow to raise to the bruise to the surface of the skin. Maybe bruises show up on people more quickly as they die, because there are usually lots of ways to tell if the bruise is post-mortem or before death. I would have to ask a forensic pathologist.

Here are some interesting little articles:

http://www.legalserviceindia.com/medicolegal/bruise.htm < Medico-Legal Significance of Bruising

http://netk.net.au/Articles/Bruising.asp < Medical reports, bruising caused post-mortem

Life as a Care Giver

Auguste Deter. Alois Alzheimer's patient in No...

Image via Wikipedia

Firstly, I haven’t been doing this long. But I spent the past few months completing my training, with certificates in First Aid, Health & Safety, Movement & Handling etc. Then I began my mentoring, so I am still not “flying solo”, but I learn from watching/helping the people whom have been carers for much longer.

Today I felt choked up, it was my first time at Mrs Anonymous’s house (Patient confidentiality of course). She has Multiple Sclerosis, and paralysis on one side, meaning she is wheelchair bound and can only use one arm. Not to mention the fact she is 90-something years old, with severe arthritis that curls her toes and fingers into gnarled roots. The discomfort she is constantly in is little eased by medications and prescription creams.

She lives completely alone, with no pets. Pays for her own care, rather than accepting benefits, so perhaps she had a wealthy past. The radio is her friend once we serve her meal and say goodbye, leaving a cup of Earl Grey in the microwave for her like she instructs. She is meticulous, extremely specific in what she wants, even where you place her hairbrush, because this is the only control or power she has left. It’s heartbreaking. Reminds me of my grandmother somewhat, which was the main reason I wanted to do senior care, except my grandmother has Alzheimer’s, and this lady, Mrs Anonymous, seems mentally sharp despite the M.S. But isn’t that the worst part? To be mentally alert but trapped in a crippled body, like a butterfly with broken wings.

Why am I writing this post? I guess I just wanted to give you a glimpse into what caring is really about, and would ask anyone whose grandparents are still alive, to please visit them, take care of them. No one should have to be alone like Mrs Anonymous.

Aloe can help survival during severe blood loss?

Heart diagram with labels in English. Blue com...

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Just found one of my older LiveJournal posts, it was just a DRAFT of thoughts:

Jan. 16th, 2010 at 6:41 PM

Aloe can help survival during severe blood loss?
www.nationalreviewofmedicine.com/issue/2004_09_15/clinical11_16.html

I initially searched into this mainly because I was wondering whether panic/increased heart rate sped up blood flow (and therefore blood loss), (and therefore one’s demise), OR, does the quickened blood flow aid the situation, seeing as the heart’s natural response to blood loss is to speed up and release adrenaline as a reaction to lower available oxygen and/or volume of blood itself. Does speeding up of heart rate and blood flow enable the remaining oxygen to be distributed in a way that attempts to simulate the regular amounts.

It is mentioned that aloe increases circulation, and the rats that were injected with it during severe blood loss lived longer than rats that were injected with regular saline. However, the improved circulatory function does pose the risk of obstructing coagulation. Therefore aloe could be useful to prolong a patient’s life, whilst further treatment/aid/procedures are taken to stem the blood flow, or a transfusion is made.

So, is the natural rush of adrenaline, which is automatic in the situation of severe blood loss, helpful? Or is it an inevitable symptom, induced by hemorrhagic shock, which essentially speeds up one’s demise?

Heightened heart rate and blood flow BUT lower blood pressure.

Heightened
blood flow but lower oxygen and blood volume.

If the heart slowed dramatically rather than speeding dramatically once heavy blood loss is induced, the lowered blood pressure would have an intensified impact…therefore it could be theorised that the over-compensation the heart makes in speeding faster is an attempt to normalise the body and pump oxygen to the parts that need it most.

HOWEVER, with wounds, such as those on major arteries, like the jugular, the heavier blood flow would result in a quicker death.

(Original post can be seen here: LiveJournal)

£92.40 for charity in just one day

This baby is one month old.

Image via Wikipedia

Well, I counted up all the coins and notes I collected on Monday, plus some of my own donation fund, and it adds up to £92.40. Which is absolutely amazing for one day of fundraising on my own. There was another £25 people already donated online, which means I’ve exceeded the £100 target.

Here is why I’m doing it:

Harlequin-type ichthyosis is the most severe form of congenital ichthyosis. Swelling to the eyes, ears, and other appendages, mean that the babies born with this skin disease have difficulty seeing, breathing, or even moving.

The texture of the skin means it cannot bend where soft skin usually can, it’s cracked texture is agonising and means the babies are prone not only to infection from the bleeding exposed cracks, but from hypothermia also.

Medication such as Isotrex, which improves their quality of life, are essential. But with your help, further treatments can be found, and you will be contributing to the life-time care that Harlequin sufferers require.

Please click here for more info: http://www.justgiving.com/RNoakes

I can’t update, fear of failure :(

The All-Nighter

Image by Spitefully via Flickr

Not properly anyway. Until Monday’s disastrous clinical aptitude exam is over. I’m not expecting to pass because it was years ago that I had to do any maths, and even with these past couple of months revision, the time limits in the exam are the real problem.

I can do the calculations, I’m not thick, but with 1 minute per 4 questions, I need more time to prepare.

Really nervous about Monday, but all I can do is keep studying like I have been. UKCAT just isn’t my thing, give me a proper medical exam and I would do better, or a complex analytical essay. I’ve done more challenging things than this before, but it’s sometimes the “simple” but very time-limited things like this that get to me.

The thing that lets me down is the panic when it comes to time limits and maths. I came out of school years ago with a very good grade, but even so, I still feel hopeless.

Are you sick?

Music at Camden Market [I love London]

Image by sara.musico via Flickr

Well, so are the rest of us. Everyone seems to be ill at the moment. My cure this weekend has been lots of alcohol, going to Camden with my boyfriend, and sleazy rock’n’roll. I’m exhausted, moderately down, and dreading my upcoming clinical aptitude exam. This week is going to be one tough week of study study study. But nothing I can do will take away the feeling of uselessness and nerves wracked up like badly mixed drugs in my veins. I’ll most likely delete this post before the day is done.

Eat shit? The Human Centipede

Promotional poster for The Human Centipede (Fi...

Image via Wikipedia

One of my best friends, Marie, stayed over this week and watched The Human Centipede (directed by
Tom Six) with me.

The worst (best) part was Dr Heiter, played by Dieter Laser. He was truly creepy looking, and his acting made you feel like perhaps he was this scary in reality too. The film was about his being a surgeon; he used to separate conjoined twins, but then becomes fixated with joining living things.

Naturally, this leads to his ideal of a human centipede, connected by sewing their mouths to each others butts, so that they share one digestive track. Implausible in the long-term, and hilarious, so I was glad when one of the three victims died from infection. That was the most medically accurate part.

The film was not scary, but hilarious. I just couldn’t stop laughing at what idiots the characters are. One of the two female leads had the chance to escape, but hides instead of smashing the window to escape straight away. And the Japanese guy, played by Akihiro Kitamura, who is also a captive, actually stabs Dr Heiter with a scalpel, but only in the foot and leg. He goes crazy and bites him, but instead of using his chance to kill the crazy Doctor, or knock him unconscious at least, he chooses to just attempt to run away (difficult with two girls surgically attached).

I had no real sympathy for the characters because their survival instincts were poor, I like it when characters truly try their best and are beaten down, but these three were mainly moronic and therefore deserved it. The very few chances they had to escape they wasted completely.

As ridiculous as this film was, it’s worth watching because it’s one of the funniest films I’ve seen in a long time, and wasn’t too badly shot.

Doctors and dentists with HIV/AIDs

Abacavir - a nucleoside analog reverse transcr...

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It’s something I’ve looked into before, but I found an interesting article tonight:

Click here to see

I have deep sympathy for anyone that contracts the disease, but particularly those who simply could not prevent it; rape victims, babies born with it, etc. What makes matters more complex is when someone within Healthcare has this disease. As stated in the article I linked, there are regulations on declaring positive test results, and prohibitions when it comes to surgeries, sutures, and any situation that may pose a risk of transmission.

In short, it is not legal to fire a doctor or dentist for having HIV or AIDs, but their career is effectively over nonetheless. What a terrible thing for them, to have gone through so much schooling and hardship only to be brought down by a disease. In any other walk of life they may continue relatively as normal; because improved medication generally means a higher quality of life, and the delay of full-blown AIDs stemming from testing HIV positive.

But it is necessary, for others safety, that transmission risks are minimised. I must admit I would prefer to be treated by a doctor or dentist whom was not HIV positive, and it would be nothing against the person. A disease shouldn’t dehumanise anyone. I just know that if I were HIV positive I would never want to risk infecting others, and would certainly never want anyone to infect me either.

The best thing anyone can do is protect others, ourselves, and encourage the progression of medical research.

End of my boring rant.