Thursday, November 14, 2013

Frightening Episode In Medical Mismanagement

It's been quite the fortnight of medical adventures for me and my family.  The latest was a terrifying episode of our mother going from a fully conscious, rational person who could discuss her replacing the front door of her house sixty years ago, to being admitted to a local hospital for overnight observation due to severe sciatic pain, to having her sent home, against the advice of her doctor, quite literally delirious, irrational and in a state of severe dehydration.  We found out that the "Hospitalist" had given her Xanax for anxiety, on top of morphine for the pain.  Her medical records say, distinctly, that she should never be given Xanax, due to a problem with it when she was mis-prescribed the medication before.   She was in her mid-90s at the time and, as the doctor who got her off of it said, no one in her age group should be given Xanax.  

We've been sitting up with her round the clock, dealing with the delirious episodes, learning too-late that someone her age has to be constantly checked for urinary tract infections, dehydration and that you should always question when a doctor prescribes mind altering drugs.  She's made some improvement though she is far from lucid.  One of the definite statements she has made is that she doesn't want to ever go back to that hospital.  It is the first time in her life that I have ever heard her make a negative comment about the medical profession in any way.   

Needless to say, it has taken up most of my attention for the past week and put me on guard concerning my own condition.   I had never heard of a "hospitalist" before but, in her case, it is a doctor who looks out for the health of the hospital's bottom line instead of patient care.   

The next person I hear talk about tort "reform" might have to go to the hospital.  

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

That's It, No More Downloading Software or Updates

I just spent several hours trying to get rid of the putrid Sweet Packs zombie software that I got from a well known source that bills itself as "virus free".  I was trying to find a simple foreign language word processing program and that was the result.

I'm keeping a list of software that has given people these kinds of hidden add-ons. From my search of the problem I've seen some people advise against the quick "recommended" express type of installation but to laboriously go through the features you are downloading to see if you can avoid this kind of trash but I'm guessing even that is no guarantee.  I guess you get what you don't pay for.  I'd hate to have to give up open source software but I'm not interested in getting infected again.

For The Day After Veterans Day

Now that the wreaths are laid and the easy, inexpensive "honoring" of those the country uses in wars is done until the end of May, here is an outrageous story about how the military has been dumping the soldiers it disables with repeated deployments such as the ones that have become common since the invasion of Iraq and the war in Afghanistan.

Dave Philipps is a reporter at the Colorado Springs Gazette, located in Fort Carson’s hometown. He began to hear stories about soldiers like Jensen, and has spent months writing a series documenting numerous battle-damaged soldiers forced out of the military without benefits.

"If they kick out these soldiers in a way that they get anything other than honorable discharge, then they don’t automatically qualify for the VA [federal benefits for veterans]," Philipps said. "They get their education benefits taken away. They can’t even apply for unemployment. And so, they’re really left with nothing."

It’s called being "chaptered out." Soldiers may be discharged for reasons ranging anywhere from tardiness to substance abuse, and more serious crimes like assault. Many have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and some also have traumatic brain injuries (TBI), both of which can influence behavior and judgment.

Philipps said the number of soldiers getting kicked out for misconduct has gone up every year since the war in Iraq began. Since 2006, 76,000 soldiers have been chaptered out, Philipps calculates.

"If you just look at the army combat post where the most soldiers are, the post that might be most affected by PTSD, [there is a] 67-percent increase," he told America Tonight. "So it seems to suggest that a lot of the misconduct is being driven by these constant deployments."

Read the story of Jerrald Jensen who enlisted at the age of 34 after September 11th, was sent to Iraq in 2006 and in 2007

his patrol was attacked, and an explosive blew off part of his face and pierced his body with shrapnel. Jensen still managed to drive away from the attack, saving his commander, before being shot in the arm and the back. That incident resulted in a Purple Heart.

Doctors had to rebuild his jaw with titanium. After two years and 16 surgeries, Jensen volunteered for a second combat tour, this time in Afghanistan. He was assigned to Bari Alai, a remote U.S. outpost that faced nearly daily attacks from the Taliban. Six months into his tour, he fell while running to a gun post and again broke his jaw.

Doctors did their best to patch him up, but half of Jensen's face was permanently numb, and he lost his remaining teeth. He felt he'd had enough. Soon, he was transferred to the Warrior Transition Unit, a special unit in Fort Carson, Colo., set up to help wounded active-duty soldiers heal and transition into civilian life.

Once there, Jensen told America Tonight that WTU commanders seemed bent on getting rid of him. He said they wrote him up for minor infractions, like showing up late to a medical appointment, or making an incomplete stop at a stop sign.

Then, on a routine urine test, Jensen came up positive for amphetamines. He had been prescribed the decongestant pseudoephedrine and narcotics for his injuries, which can cause a false positive, so he asked to be re-tested. Instead, WTU commanders told him they were kicking him out of the Army for what they called a pattern of misconduct.

Not only did the Army want to discharge him without benefits like unemployment or access to GI Bill money, said Jensen, they also wanted to give him a discharge that was other than "honorable." That would likely keep him from getting any benefits for the rest of his life.

Apparently the bean counters in uniform are looking for every excuse to dump the soldiers it uses up  just like those who work for insurance companies and the corporations who want to dump employees who they've injured or killed.  It is estimated that there here have been about 76,000 of these used up soldiers dumped this way since 2006.

This is a real cost of war, America, the war that so many of you support as long as it's not your sons and daughters, your sons and daughters-in-law, your loved ones aren't the ones doing the fighting.  

It should be a law that any congressional representative, any president and vice-president who votes to send Americans to war have immediately entered their children and eligible family members in a draft.  Any media figures and pundits who promote wars should be hounded out of the public if their families don't already have family members in the military, and I don't mean in state-side offices but in combat ready units.  Those who are of at least the age and fitness level of Jerrald Jensen should also be entered into this draft of the war mongers.   That's when we might avoid wars no one should believe in, when we can have even the slightest confidence that we aren't being led into another of the quagmires that the corporate media have gotten us into on behalf of the decadent corporate oligarchs, leaving the fighting to working class and poor people who they have such an easy time of dumping onto the garbage tip when they've used them up.