August 20, 2012
In a television interview with KTVI-TV in Missouri, Representative Atkins allegedly said:
‘It seems to me, from what I understand from doctors, that’s really rare,” Mr. Akin said of pregnancies from rape. ”If it’s a legitimate rape, the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down. But let’s assume that maybe that didn’t work or something: I think there should be some punishment, but the punishment ought to be of the rapist, and not attacking the child.”
What an outrage! Someone really has to draw the line. First, you mandate a diagnostic test such as ultrasonography prior to pregnancy terminations and demand that the woman view the fetus. Then you tell women they can’t have birth control on one hand and then condemn them if they have an abortion on the other. And now you have the temerity to suggest that the human body can categorize the atrocity of rape into a “true-false” mode. Are you kidding me?
So what are you saying, Representative Atkins? Do you think a rapist’s sperm is color-coded so that the ovary will put up a barrier to prevent its penetration to a woman’s egg? Will the fallopian tube sound an alarm when the process of fertilization comes from a rapist’s sperm? How will the human body be able to differentiate the sperm of a rapist from the sperm of a consenting adult? Will a woman’s body produce shock waves to the rapist upon his unlawful entry? How will a woman’s body be able to “shut that whole thing down?”
Do these candidates get screened for intelligence? Atkin’s statements are both reckless and unequivocally false.
“A lie unchallenged becomes the truth.” Please do not allow this lie to prevail.
February 23, 2012
A lie unchallenged becomes the truth. While I admire GOP candidate Rick Santorum’s decision to raise a special needs child, I certainly wish he would keep his political agendas out of my exam room. Yes, it takes love and courage to raise a child with Trisomy 18, a genetic disorder that’s associated with severe physical and mental challenges. However, this does not make Santorum an expert on prenatal tests and to say anything to the contrary, is both reckless and immoral.
Prenatal tests, especially those that tests for chromosomal abnormalities, are optional. A woman can decline the tests if she chooses to do so and I’ve had patients who have exercised that perogative in the past. But first, let me tell you why these genetic tests are so important. If a woman discovers that she has a baby with Trisomy 21, commonly known as Down’s syndrome, both she and her pediatrician will have time to prepare for possible complications. Many genetic disorders are associated with heart conditions and require immediate surgery after birth. There are instances where the baby is born with a pediatric cardiologist in the delivery room who then whisks the baby away to have a life-saving cardiac procedure. This cannot happen if you don’t have the prenatal test.
In my 25-year career as a physician, I’ve only had 2 confirmed cases of Trisomy 21 and both mothers decided to keep their pregnancies. However, please be aware that there are some genetic disorders that are incompatible with life and the baby expires shortly birth. Most mothers do not want to experience that type of emotional trauma.
Mr. Santorum, please stop using Women’s Health as a stepping stone to gain entrance into the White House. If you can’t campaign for President based on truth and merit, then perhaps you’re not cut out for the job.
March 9, 2011
Did you ever love something or someone so much that you had to walk away because it hurt too much to stay? That’s how I feel about medicine. From the moment I saw my first delivery, I was hooked and there was no turning back. Perhaps I’m highly offended at our present state of affairs because I had to work so hard to gain acceptance into med school. I spent countless nights in the library at Columbia School of Physicians and Surgeons studying for the MCATs. Endured physiology, histology, biochemistry, gross anatomy (included the dreaded head and neck) and microbiology so that I could eventually diagnose clinical problems. I walked through the fire of residency training and came out whole on the other side. Yet, despite all of these humble achievements, I couldn’t see the destruction of healthcare coming. And neither did many of my colleagues. However, instead of banning together to save our profession, some of us allowed ourselves to be fiscally co-opted giving rise to the birth of “volume oriented medicine.”
Healthcare is now a business and quality of patient care has flown out the window. Billable procedures with diagnostic codes are the order of the day. “Productivity” is a buzz word, a euphemism for volume. The insurance companies are paying less, yet the healthcare providers are expected to do more. The number of patients on schedules increases and it has become “normal” for some of my colleagues to see 48 pregnant women in a day. A former medical director decided that he wanted to increase “productivity” even more so he paid physicians on a per-patient-basis and of course, his theory worked. When one of his cronies had 80 pregnant women scheduled in 5 minute intervals for one day, I had seen enough. I wrote a letter of complaint to the Florida Board of Medicine and was informed that there was no law that prohibited the number of patients a healthcare provider could see in a day. I then contacted the American College of Obstetrician-Gynecologists (ACOG) and they too, had no protocol or rule about volume. So, it was the wild, wild, west regarding patient care. No rules. No boundaries. And certainly no patient protection. Regime changes occurred, but the “numbers” game continued. I had had enough. So after 15 years of attempting to administer quality care in the midst of chaos and strife, I have tendered my resignation. There is nothing more that I can do except put it in the hands of God.
April 5, 2010
What short memories Dr. Jack L. Cassell has regarding his humble beginnings. An urologist by training, he now basks in 15 minutes of fame because of an infamous sign that he plastered on the door of his medical practice: “If you voted for Obama seek urologic care elsewhere.” Florida is such a magnet for drama.
I assumed Cassell was a Florida native until I heard him speak during an interview. His distinct Northeast accent grabbed my attention and I quickly reviewed his credentials on the Florida Board of Medicine website. He is now hailed as a great “American patriot” but wasn’t smart enough to attend an American medical school. He subsequently graduated from St. George’s University School of Medicine on the island of Grenada where people look like President Obama. Oh, would I love to review his medical school application to determine the reasons for his rejection.
After leaving Grenada, he began both an internship and surgical residency with the UMDNJ Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, again, training on indigent people. From the inner city of Newark, he found his way to Gainesville, Florida to begin a urologic oncology (cancer) fellowship. The greatest numbers of prostate cancer patients are African American men.
Cassell now has a private practice and does not accept Medicaid. He is well ensconced in the American Dream. He has no further need to interact with the indigent and uninsured. He has become the poster boy for Fox News and Rush Limbaugh. Blonde coquettes show up at his office bearing gifts. He has violated the AMA’s Code of Ethics #9.012 that states “under no circumstances should physicians allow their differences with patients or their families about political matter s to interfere with the delivery of high-quality professional care” but his inflammatory sign regarding President Obama will remain.
Perhaps it’s time for Dr. Cassell to stop practicing medicine. When political views obscure common sense; the Board of Medicine needs to step in.
January 25, 2010
Former U.S. Senator John Edwards’ admission of paternity regarding a child not conceived by his wife brings to mind Ruth Padawer’s New York Times Magazine article, Who Knew I was NOT the Father, published a few months back. Padawer described the dilemma of Mike L. whose DNA proved he was not the biological father of a girl that he had raised from birth. Mike was extremely conflicted because he still loved his daughter deeply. However, upon learning that his former wife was about to marry the alleged biological father of their child, he asked the courts to relinquish his child support payments. Surprisingly, they refused. Mike continues to pay child support to his former wife and his daughter’s biological dad and he is not happy.
DNA tests have proven that 40% of children are born outside of marriage and the number of paternity tests has increased by 60% in the past decade. With a swab from the cheek, life can change dramatically. Most states require an unmarried couple to complete an Acknowledgement of Paternity (AOP) before the baby’s birth certificate is signed. However, there is a growing movement to have mandatory paternity tests done, even for married couples.
Life is indeed, messy. Most state-appointed judges will NOT let non-biological fathers to stop paying child support in the “best interest of the child.” According to the courts, if a man acknowledges paternity and a bond has been established with the child, it would be disruptive for that relationship to disappear. It is now recommended that a presumed father, biological mother or biological father challenge paternity before the child turns 2. This would allow for any discrepancies to be resolved before deep parental bonds have formed. However, there are men who dispute this proposal stating a man may not discover he is not the child’s biological father until years later.
As an obstetrician, I have witnessed the heart break on both sides of the fence. Sex is not a benign act. It can and DOES bring forth creation. It is therefore prudent that everyone act responsibly and HONESTLY. Children shouldn’t suffer because of misguided adults.
January 20, 2010
I hope someone out there is just as outraged as I am. Sixty U.S. Senators cut deals instead of doing the will of the American people and now we’ve lost Ted Kennedy’s seat. This is what happens when politicians don’t stand on their principles and our President wavers like the wind. We never wanted healthcare exchanges and piecemeal healthcare run by a conglomerate of self-interests. The people wanted universal healthcare coverage for all.
Well, now that the Democratic Party has received a smack down in Massachusetts, maybe someone will FINALLY listen to the people. Our window of opportunity for change is now apparently closed and my patients and profession will continue to suffer.
MLK said it best: “All that good men need to do for evil to flourish is nothing.”
September 30, 2009
I politely ask my readers to please indulge me while I have this private rant. You see, every day I go to work within a challenging healthcare system while my congressional representative plays games on Capitol Hill.
The good congresswoman to whom I elected appears to be sitting on the fence. Yes ma’am, I’m talking about you. I warned you that if you did not answer my e-mail then you WOULD read about it in my blog. Yes, I saw you in the TV commercial espousing “working to make a better healthcare system” and noted the sponsor: a pharmaceutical “foundation.” Pulleease. You were the first elected Democrat within my district since Noah launched his Ark and you have yet to commit to an opinion regarding the public health option. Obviously you had an agenda when you entered public office and it did not include the constituents of your district.
What is it with Florida politicians that make you so ethically-challenged? The debacle of the 2000 election. Instant replay in 2004. Representative Mark Foley and his predilection for White House pages. Tom Feeney and the Abramoff scandal. And on and on and on. Is it something in the water?
They say the worst thing that anyone could ever witness is the making of political decisions and the way that sausages are made.
Well, please pass the sausage. I’ll take them over politics any day.
P.S. A picture’s worth a thousand words. Here’s what Will Ferrell and friends have to say about insurance companies: http://bit.ly/4k5QU
September 8, 2009
“It’s flat-out stupid” said renowned author Thomas Friedman on last Sunday’s Meet the Press and I couldn’t agree with him more.
The firestorm regarding President Obama’s speech to school children is tragic. I guess some people would rather see their children dig ditches or flip hamburgers than pursue an education that would unshackle chains of generational ignorance.
Those of us who have traveled globally know how much our president is well loved and respected. It would be nice to see citizens of his own country respect him in that manner as well. I saw “Obama” bumper stickers half way around the world in Ethiopia during the adoption process of our sons and it gave me great hope. The world wanted to breathe again, and the election of Obama allowed that to happen.
One of my proudest moments as an American occurred on election night of 2008. I thought the pettiness was finally over. I guess I’ll continue to dream. Meanwhile for the agitators and conservative pundits who are stuck on stupid, here’s a rude awakening:
- The United States is no longer the world leader in secondary education. http://www.upi.com/Top_News/2008/11/19/US-slipping-in-education-rankings/UPI-90221227104776/
- 93 percent of high school students in South Korea graduate on time compared to only 75 percent of American high school students
- The United States has failed to raise student achievement in science over the past decade while Singapore and other Asian countries continue to score higher in both subjects
- Students in Singapore and Taiwan scored 40 points higher than American eight graders
- U.S. teens in math and science trailed their international peers on a math and science exam http://www.usnews.com/blogs/on-education/2008/12/09/study-us-trails-asian-countries-in-math-and-science.html
It’s obvious that our children’s future bosses are going to come from Asia.
“A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” Need I say more?
August 31, 2009
I was glued to the TV this weekend, saying farewell to an American patriot. I know the end of human life is inevitable but oh how I wished Senator Ted Kennedy could have remained just a little bit longer.
Like most Americans, I admired the Kennedy family from afar and their compassion had far-reaching effects. President John Kennedy sent troops to the Deep South and protected the civil rights of my relatives. Senator Robert Kennedy transformed my beloved Bedford Stuyvesant Brooklyn community into a successful economic empowerment zone that created jobs and stability. We always looked forward to the annual ice skating party that was organized by Mrs. Ethel Kennedy even after that horrendous assassination. Because of Kennedy’s vision, the price of a Bed Stuy brownstone in today’s market begins at one-half-million dollars.
My introduction to the magic of Senator Edward Kennedy began in medical school during the early eighties when my former Assistant Dean, Dr. Van Dunn, resigned from BU to become the senator’s Senior Policy Advisor. Senator Kennedy was full engaged and committed to healthcare reform and Dr. Dunn had the privilege of helping him. Kennedy’s name re-emerged during the early nineties when I was working in a small southwest Louisiana community. Towns were buzzing for miles around about the marriage of Kennedy and a Cajun woman named Victoria Reggie.
I love walking through the congested WIC (Women, Infant and Children) department at work and beam with pride at the sight of beautiful, healthy babies and children. They are truly Kennedy’s legacy. If you’ve ever received a Medicare benefit, a WIC check, SHIP benefits, a Family Medical Leave, the right to vote or a COBRA benefit, you can thank Senator Ted Kennedy. He served “the least among us” nobly.
I hope more legislators and physicians will do the same.