November 7, 2011
By Ng Jng Ying
A Danish national has filed a writ against Alexandra Hospital (AH) for allegedly planting a microchip in him during a 1988 operation, which he claimed later caused him mental distress due to being constantly monitored.
According to court papers filed in the High Court on June 21 against AH, which has been managed by Jurong Health Services since August last year, Mr Mogens Tindhof Honore said he first found a metal instrument akin to a microchip in his left lung after an X-ray scan in 1997.
Mr Honore, 54, added the metal piece was implanted in him during an operation at AH more than two decades ago – the last time he had undergone surgery in his chest and lung.
Represented by lawyer Oliver Quek, the former seaman said that he was stabbed in the lung in May 1988. After his discharge, he kept hearing voices in his head and could not lead a normal life. He would also feel generally unwell and would even cough out blood.
“(Mr Honore) also discovered and experienced that strange people on the streets would approach and speak to (him) about strange subject matters or pass strange irrelevant comments,” according to the papers filed.
Mr Honore said that his subsequent discovery of being constantly tracked left him in a “perpetual state of apprehension and fear for the safety of his life”. It also prevented him from holding on to a job.
When he returned to Singapore in December last year to investigate his condition, he claimed that he was turned away by AH which said it had no records of his stay.
He claimed that two X-ray scans later on May 9 this year at AH and Mount Elizabeth Hospital found the metal fragment (microchip) in his left chest wall instead of his left lung.
He also claimed that, earlier this month, he underwent an operation at Mount Elizabeth Hospital to remove the fragment.
In his lawsuit, Mr Honore is now alleging that employees of AH who had then operated on him implanted the microchip in him intentionally, causing “exceptional harm and lifelong suffering”. He also said that the alleged act constitutes a trespass on his body.
September 23, 2011
The privacy curtains that separate care spaces in hospitals and clinics are frequently contaminated with potentially dangerous bacteria, researchers said in Chicago this week.
To avoid spreading those bugs, health care providers should make sure to wash their hands after routine contact with the curtains and before interacting with patients, Dr. Michael Ohl, from the University of Iowa, Iowa City, said at the 51st Interscience Conference on Antimicrobial Agents and Chemotherapy.
“There is growing recognition that the hospital environment plays an important role in the transmission of infections in the health care setting and it’s clear that these (privacy curtains) are potentially important sites of contamination because they are frequently touched by patients and providers,” Dr. Ohl told Reuters Health.
Health care providers often touch these curtains after they have washed their hands and then proceed to touch the patient. Further, these curtains often hang for a long time and are difficult to disinfect.
In their study, Dr. Ohl and his team took 180 swab cultures from 43 privacy curtains twice a week for three weeks. The curtains were located in the medical and surgical intensive care units and on a medical ward of the University of Iowa Hospitals.
The researchers also marked the curtains to keep track of when they were changed.
Tests detected Staphylococcus aureus bacteria, including the especially dangerous methicillin-resistant S. aureus (MRSA), as well as various species of Enterococci — gut bacteria — some resistant to the newer antibiotic vancomycin.
The researchers used additional tests to identify specific vancomycin and methicillin-resistant strains to see whether the same strains were circulating and contaminating the curtains over and over.
The study found significant contamination that occurred very rapidly after new curtains were placed. Of the 13 privacy curtains placed during the study, 12 showed contamination within a week.
Virtually all privacy curtains tested (41 of 43) were contaminated on at least one occasion.
MRSA was isolated from one in five curtains, and vancomycin-resistant Enterococci (VRE) from four in 10. Eight curtains were contaminated with VRE more than once. Three of these were of a single type, but the other five showed contamination with different VRE strains, which suggested recontamination was happening with bacteria from new sources.
Overall, two thirds of the swab cultures were positive for either S. aureus (26 percent), Enterococcus species (44 percent) or various bacterial species from a group known as gram-negative rods (22 percent).
“The vast majority of curtains showed contamination with potentially significant bacteria within a week of first being hung, and many were hanging for longer than three or four weeks,” Dr. Ohl noted.
“We need to think about strategies to reduce the potential transfer of bacteria from curtains to patients,” he added. “The most intuitive, common sense strategy is (for health care workers) to wash hands after pulling the curtain and before seeing the patient. There are other strategies, such as more frequent disinfecting, but this would involve more use of disinfectant chemicals, and then there is the possibility of using microbial resistant fabrics. But handwashing is by far the most practical, and the cheapest intervention.”
August 26th, 2011
By: Christina Luisa
Being microchipped is now being spun as a method of protecting the health of hospital patients. To help mask the practice of this bodily invasion with a trendy, high-tech appearance, microchipping sensors are being referred to as “electronic tattoos” that can attach to human skin and stretch and move without breaking.
Supposedly the comparisons of this hair-thin electronic patch-like chip to an electronic tattoo are being made because of how it adheres to the skin like a temporary tattoo using only water.
The small chip is less than 50 micrometers thick, which is thinner in diameter than a human hair. It is being marketed as a “safe” and easy way to temporarily monitor the heart and brain in patients while replacing bulky medical equipment currently being used in hospitals.
This device uses micro-electronics technology called an epidermal electronic system (EES) and is said to be a development that will “transform” medical sensing technology, computer gaming and even spy operations, according to a study published last week.
The hair-thin chip was developed by an international team of researchers from the United States, China and Singapore and is described in the Journal of Science.
The proven link between animal microchipping and cancer
Pet microchips have become increasingly common over the past few years. These chips are marked with a small barcode that can be scanned just like the tags on grocery items.
This seems to suggest that microchips are meant to turn the wearer into an object that can be tracked and catalogued. Once inserted in an animal, the chip stays there for the entirety of its lifetime and can be used to identify the pet if it should be found on the street or turned into a shelter. The subdermal chips are often recommended by vets and animal care experts as a way to ensure lost pets find their way home again.
But research suggests that despite their proclaimed usefulness, pet microchips may cause cancer. Multiple studies have clearly linked pet microchips with increased incidence of cancer and tumors in mice and rats.
In the past, public disclosure of these suggested links between microchipping and cancer in animals stirred widespread concern over the safety of implantable microchips in living beings. The animal microchip study findings that created such an uproar were so persuasive that Dr. Robert Benezra, head of the Cancer Biology Genetics Program at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York, was quoted in an article about microchipping as saying, “There’s no way in the world, having read this information, that I would have one of those chips implanted in my skin, or in one of my family members.”
A 2001 study found that 1% of rats with implanted microchips developed cancerous tumors near the chip location. At least a dozen animal studies have been done between 1990 and 2007 and most concluded that microchips significantly increased the risk of cancer at the microchip site.
Soon we’ll all have “cool electronic tattoos!”
All the electronic parts of the new EES chip are built out of wavy, snake-like components which allow them to be stretched and squeezed. They also contain tiny solar cells which can generate power or get energy from electromagnetic radiation. The sensor is mounted on to a water-soluble sheet of plastic and attached to the body by brushing the surface with water – hence the comparison to a temporary tattoo.
This new device being implanted in hospital patients certainly looks and acts like a microchip – yet it is persistently being referred to as an “electronic tattoo” in order to make the concept appear harmless, friendly – even trendy!
Invasive microchips – is the cost worth the convenience?
Scientists claim the supposed advantage of the EES chips is their ability to cut back on the bevy of wires, gel-coated sticky pads and monitors that are currently relied on to keep track of the vital signs of hospital patients. Apparently these traditional forms of bulky equipment and monitors are overly “distressing” to patients.
It appears scientists believe these new microchips are convenient enough that they outweigh the potential risks.
In test trials, the microchip was purposefully attached to the throat of a human and used to detect differences in words such as up, down, left, right, go and stop. Researchers used these functions to control a simple computer game.
Is the convenience of not having to manually operate equipment great enough to justify the implantation of an electronic sensor beneath the skin of humans? Would you trust a microchip to monitor your bodily functions without causing health hazards in the process?
The future of America: microchipped zombies
Researchers believe the technology could be used to replace traditional wires and cables, but this sounds remarkably like an excuse used to cover up the real truth: that this new microchipping method is a way to ensure all of us are eventually microchipped and able to be tracked and monitored. Soon, everyone will be required to wear chips or “tattoos” that prove they got their vaccinations, to link to health records, credit history and social security records.
If the government can require Americans to carry microchipped documents including your work, financial and health records, it seems it is only a matter of time before these chips will be implanted for the sake of “convenience” or “security.” According to them, all of this is being done “for our own good.”
August 16th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
A group of Canadian researchers has found a link between taking antibiotics and a higher likelihood of harboring deadly “superbugs” like methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), which kills tens of thousands of people every year. Published in the journal Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine, the breakthrough study found that children who take at least one antibiotic are three times as likely to develop MRSA than children who take no antibiotics, while children who take four or more antibiotics are 18 times more likely to develop MRSA.
It is commonly believed that superbugs are found only in dirty, drug-ridden hospitals, where patients end up contracting it from contaminated surfaces and surgical instruments. But according to the study, community-acquired MRSA, which means it is contracted outside the hospital setting in the general public, is becoming a major health problem, and one that appears clearly linked to overuse of antibiotics.
For their study, a research team from McGill University in Montreal examined antibiotic prescription data from over 400 doctors’ offices across the UK. Since studies had previously observed in adults a link between antibiotics and superbugs, the team this time focused primarily on children who were diagnosed with MRSA between 1994 and 1997.
Among 297 children who tested positive for MRSA, 53 percent of them had been prescribed an antibiotic between 30 and 180 days prior to their diagnosis. Only 14 percent of children who visited the same doctors, but that did not have MRSA, had taken any antibiotics at all. After adjusting for various outside factors, the team determined a three-fold and eighteen-fold increased risk of contracting a superbug when taking either one, or four or more, antibiotics, respectively.
“This is an intriguing observation that we expect will generate some research into the mechanism of MRSA development,” said Samy Suissa, lead author of the study. “Parents should freely discuss with their physician if they feel that antibiotics may be overprescribed.”
August 5th, 2011
The Huffington Post
Here’s another thing to tell people afraid of flying — airplanes could actually be safer than going to the hospital.
That’s the message from the World Health Organization, which announced this week that the risk of dying from medical errors and infections is greater than the risk of dying from a plane crash, Reuters reported.
The chance of a hospital error is about 1 in 10 in most hospitals around the world, and the chance of dying from that error is about 1 in 300, according to Reuters. But the risk of dying from a plane crash is 1 in 10 million passengers.
“It shows that health care generally worldwide still has a long way to go,” Liam Donaldson, the WHO’s envoy for patient safety, said in a news briefing that Reuters reported on.
The chance of hospital errors and infections is different from country to country, Postmedia News reported. For example, in Canada, the hospital-associated infection rate is 11.6 percent, while in the United States, it’s as low as 4.5 percent. But worldwide, the infection rates could be as high as 16 percent, according to Postmedia News.
Aside from death, hospital-acquired infections and medical errors can cause major health problems for people. Hospital-acquired bloodstream infections in the United States make up 10 percent of all hospital-acquired infections, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And bloodstream infections are considered the eighth leading cause of death in the U.S.
While we’re looking at the odds, here are your chances of some other unfortunate events.
The odds of getting struck by lightning in any one year is 1 in 1 million, while the chance of getting struck in your entire lifetime is 1 in 10,000, according to the National Weather Service. And according to 2000 U.S. data from the University of Florida, the chance of getting bitten by a shark is 1 in 11.5 million.
July 6th, 2011
By: Jonathan Benson
The accidental mixing of two unidentified chemicals at a Tyson chicken processing plant in Springdale, Ark., has landed 173 of its roughly 300 workers in the hospital, according to reports. The two chemicals, which Tyson refused to identify, somehow got mixed together to produce deadly chlorine gas, which sent five of the workers to intensive care, with another 50 remaining hospitalized days after it occurred.
Donnie King, senior vice president of poultry and prepared foods at Tyson, said that human error was partially responsible for the mixing of the chemicals, but did not provide further details. Gary Mickelson, a company spokesman, added that the plant does not actually use chlorine gas as part of its processing regimen, despite the fact that chlorine itself is commonly used as an antimicrobial treatment for factory chicken.
The whole incident is the type of scenario you might expect to occur at some kind of chemical or other industrial factory, not a food processing plant. And yet millions of people consume Tyson chicken, which apparently is processed with the help of some sort of chemical concoction that, when mixed, creates a gas that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says can cause respiratory illness and sudden death.
Last year, the country of Russia actually banned poultry product imports from the US because many chicken processors use chlorine to sanitize their chicken. Russian safety standards are apparently much higher than they are in the US, and the country basically announced to the world that it does not approve of chicken that is dunked in chlorine baths prior to being consumed by humans.
The New York Times also reported last year that much of the factory beef consumed in the US is injected with ammonia during processing, a chemical that is also used in most glass cleaners. By treating the meat this way, officials claim deadly bacteria like E. coli will be killed, and the meat rendered safe to eat .
The Tyson chicken plant incident serves as a wake-up call about what is lurking in the industrial food supply that millions of people consume every single day. If food is being subjected to chemicals during processing that, when mixed, are deadly, what does this say about the safety of the final end product?
For meat eaters, the only truly safe meat comes from animals raised humanely on organic, pasture-based farms, and that is processed without the use of chemicals like chlorine and ammonia. When it comes to food of any kind these days, knowing its source and how it was grown and processed is crucial to ensuring its safety.
June 14, 2011
By Daniel Nasaw
More than 60,000 Americans were sterilised, many against their will, as part of a eugenics movement that finished in 1979, aimed at keeping the poor and mentally ill from having children. Now, decades on, one state is considering compensation.
In 1968, Elaine Riddick was raped by a neighbour who threatened to kill her if she told what happened.
She was 13, the daughter of violent and abusive parents in the desperately poor country town of Winfall, in the US state of North Carolina.
While she was in hospital giving birth, the state violated her a second time, she says.
A social worker who had deemed her “feeble-minded” petitioned the state Eugenics Board to have her sterilised.
Officials coerced her illiterate grandmother into signing an “x” on an authorisation form. After performing a Caesarean section, doctors sterilised her “just like cutting a hog”, she says.
“They killed my kids,” Ms Riddick says. “They killed mine before they got to me. They stopped it.”
Sterilisation in the UK and Europe
While eugenics is now recognised as a pseudoscience – and after the Nazis, one with murderous consequences – it was once a respectable branch of the social sciences.
The term ‘eugenics’, meaning “good birth”, was coined in 1883 by Sir Francis Galton, an English scientist who pushed the University College London to found a department to study the field.
Sir Winston Churchill once called for forced sterilisation of “the feeble-minded and insane classes”.
While eugenic sterilisation never became official policy in the UK – in part due to opposition from the Catholic church – Finland, Norway, and Sweden adopted the sterilisation laws in the 1930s.
Between 1933 and 1945, more than 400,000 Germans were sterilised under Nazi “racial hygiene” laws, according to the US Holocaust Memorial Museum.
Nearly four decades after the last person was sterilised under North Carolina’s eugenics programme, a state task force is seeking the 2,900 victims of sterilisation officials estimate are still alive.
The group hopes to gather their stories and ultimately to recommend the state award them restitution. But with public coffers under severe pressure amid a flagging recovery, it is not clear the legislature will agree.
“I know I can’t make it right but at least I can address it,” said North Carolina state legislator Larry Womble. He hopes “to let the world know what a horrendous thing the government has perpetrated on these young boys and girls”.
America’s sterilisation movement was part of a broad effort to cleanse the country’s population of characteristics and social groups deemed unwanted, an effort that included anti-race mixing and strict immigration quotas aimed at Eastern Europeans, Jews and Italians.
Beginning with Indiana in 1907, 32 states eventually passed laws allowing authorities to order the sterilisation of people deemed unfit to breed. The last programme ended in 1979.
The victims were criminals and juvenile delinquents, women deemed sexual deviants, homosexual men, poor people on welfare, people who were mentally ill or suffered from epilepsy. African Americans and Hispanic Americans were disproportionately targeted in some states.
Today, Kevin risks his own freedom to give YOU the truth! Find out why the FTC is going after him and not McDonald’s or Big Pharma and why the first amendment apparently doesn’t apply to him.
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March 24th, 2011
By: Ethan A. Huff
Besides motor vehicle accidents, the second leading cause of injury death in the US is drug-related poisoning, according to a new study published in The American Journal of Emergency Medicine. The study indicates that nearly 700,000 people end up in emergency rooms (ER) every year from pharmaceutical drug poisoning — and most of these visits involve young children.
Roughly 28,000 people die every year due to drug-related poisoning, and the highest poisoning rates are among children under five years of age. Forty-three percent of all these poisonings are caused by antidepressant drugs and common painkillers, many of which are available without a prescription. And all this death occurs under the watch of the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
The American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and the American Association of Poison Control Centers (AAPCC) are together participating in Poison Prevention Week, an awareness campaign designed to warn the public about the poisons that lurk in their homes — which apparently is dominated primarily by pharmaceutical drugs.
According to a recent press release, the groups are asking the US Congress to continue funding the 57 poison control centers across the US that assist the public with poison emergencies. The cost of funding these centers is more then $29 million a year, which of course comes from taxpayers.
“People are abusing prescription drugs and over-the-counter drugs, and it’s a serious and growing problem,” said Dr. Sandra Schneider, president of ACEP. “Very young children had the highest rate of unintentional drug poisoning, which is a wake-up call for parents to make sure their medicines are out of reach.”
Besides the millions spent every year operating the poison control centers, the costs associated with the hundreds of thousands of drug-related ER visits is even more astronomical, topping $1.4 billion in 2007. Such a figure makes sense to anyone who has ever been to the ER and actually seen the final bill — a single visit can literally cost thousands of dollars.
To sum things up, the actually yearly cost of FDA-approved drugs to society is almost 700,000 ER visits, 28,000 deaths, and roughly $1.5 billion. And the FDA really could not care less, as the agency seems to spend most of its time censoring the truth about medicinal foods and herbs, raiding family farms, and targeting dietary supplements for elimination.
March 18th, 2011
By: Barbara Burk and Reem Khalifa
Soldiers and riot police in Bahrain overran a protesters’ camp, imposed a 12-hour curfew and choked off movement nationwide Wednesday. Witnesses described helicopters firing on homes in a hunt for Shiites and attacking doctors treating the wounded, while the government called the demonstrators “outlaws” for demanding an end to the monarchy.
The nation that once led the Middle East in entrepreneurial openness went into lockdown, its government propped by troops from Sunni Gulf neighbors fearful for their own rule and the spread of Shiite Iran’s influence.
The unrest that began last month increasingly looks like a sectarian showdown: The country’s Sunni leaders are desperate to hold power, and majority Shiites want more rights and an end to their dynasty.
Wednesday’s assault began in Pearl Square, the center of the uprising inspired by Arab revolts in Egypt and Tunisia. But the violence that left at least five people dead on Wednesday did not stop in the capital.
Doctors at the country’s main hospital said their facility was taken over by security forces, effectively blocking physicians from either leaving or treating the wounded on-site.
“There are many people injured, but we can’t bring them to the hospital because of the travel restrictions and doctors can’t come to us,” said Ali Marsouk, a resident of the Shiite village of Sitra, who said helicopters fired on homes in a three-hour attack.
Rania Ali, another resident, said police were charging after Shiites as they sought shelter.
“I saw them chasing Shiites like they were hunting,” said Ali, a Sunni whose husband is Shiite.
The Salmaniya hospital complex has become a political hotspot – with the mostly Shiite personnel seen by authorities as possible protest sympathizers. The staff claim they must treat all who need care.
But there have been moments of open anger. As overwhelmed teams treated the injured from Tuesday’s clashes, many broke out in calls to topple the monarchy.
“We are under siege,” said Nihad el-Shirawi, an intensive care doctor who said she had been working for 48 hours. “We cannot leave and those on-call cannot come in.”
The king’s announcement of a three-month emergency rule and the crackdown on Pearl Square sent a message that authorities will strike back in the strategic island nation, which hosts the U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet.