Saturday, December 29, 2012

Hobby Lobby breaks the law

One of the first companies that was on my list of companies that mix religion and business, Hobby Lobby, and its sister company, Mardel, has decided to break the law for Jesus by refusing to cover birth control pills for their employees as required by the new healthcare law. The owner sued to government to be exempt from covering it because it violates the owners religious freedom. To which, luckily, the US district judge said, "Hobby Lobby and Mardel are not religious organizations."

That's right. By their logic, a company ran by a Jehova's witness should be exempt from covering blood transfusions and one run by a Christian Scientist should be exempt from providing any healthcare at all. The government has threatened to fine them $1.3 million a day if they refuse to comply with the law. The owner thinks he's being a hero and plans on not covering contraception. I really hope that the government follows through with their threat, because otherwise, thousands of other companies with religious nuts as owners will follow suit. Given the Obama administration's habit of giving into religious nuts, I'm afraid they'll let Hobby Lobby get away with it.

(Yes, it's been a while since my last post, but radiology is not as light as I expected it to be. More on that soon.)

Quick update: A federal district court allows another company ran by a religious nut to be exempt from covering birth control for their employees. The flood gates have opened. Expect hundreds of more challenges.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Don't trust a doctor who believes in an afterlife

I keep on telling people that just because you have an MD, doesn't mean that your smart. I'm starting to think that any MD who went to Harvard is especially stupid. Here's an idiot neurosurgeon who I wouldn't want getting close to my brain. He was unconscious for a while, then months later made up a silly story about white clouds and magical people (that somehow seemed to exactly fit the fairy tale stories of Heaven you hear as a child). He’s a neurosurgeon, not a neuroscientist. He’s good at memorizing things to pass a test and maybe how to use a scalpel. He knows very little about brain networks, cellular and molecular neuroscience of hypoxic injury, etc. and he doesn't know that the brain does all types of crazy things when it is injured, and it can easily make people think they are in a magical place or "heaven".  I despise doctors who think that an MD automatically makes them a scientist. He says, "I'm still a doctor, and still a man of science every bit as much as I was before I had my experience." No, sir. You are completely abandoning science. You aren't even attempting to approach your experience (if you ever did have it) from a scientific point of view.

Actually, I take it back. This guy is smart. He's making it all up and pimping his neurosurgeon and Harvard Med credentials to sell a book. There's more money in fleecing the idiots than being honest or scientific.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Wow. Already 6 weeks into being a radiology resident and my head is still spinning. I knew I'd have to start over again, but when you suddenly realize how much you don't know, it's incredibly humbling (and frustrating when you are actually suppose to be a productive physician and other physicians ask for your advice). Learning pretty much every medical and surgical condition about every part of the body is suppose to be hard. That's why radiology takes 4 years. I was prepared for that. What didn't hit me until now was how hard it is to know where to begin when you don't know anything. It translates to stumbling through studies with the attending correcting essentially everything you say, then going home and highlighting everything you reading. The first few weeks were actually pretty terrible. But, like everything, you start to pick things up without even knowing it. I've already had one rotation and by the end of it, it seemed much more manageable (I still don't know much, though).

Am I glad I chose it? Yes, but I could see how lots of people would hate being a radiologist. Unlike internal medicine, you really don't have much of a downtime. I thought I'd be taking coffee breaks all the time, but the studies don't stop coming. You sit (or have the option to stand) in one place for a long time looking at the same few computer screens. You rarely actually see or talk to patients. I'm fine with all those (though I would appreciate more breaks). What makes up for it, though, is that it you really become an expert. Even after 6 weeks, I have physicians with years of experience calling me for advice, which, incredibly, I can actually provide for them. Learning to pick up pathology (and normal variants) on imaging is actually fun (even though it is incredibly overwhelming). Once you see something, it sticks (way easier than memorizing books).

I've heard it gets less overwhelming after the first year. That means 10 1/2 more months of feeling lost (but I have a feeling it might be longer).

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Social Science Research: Not very scientific

To add to the list of journals that overlook the scientific process is Social Science Research, in which both science and research can be in quotes. The published a politically motivated anti-gay parenting "paper" which conveniently bypassed the full peer review process.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Lighting up for God

Time to add another company to the list. This time, Voss Lighting Company of Lincoln, NE for denying someone a position because of not being Christian enough (and employment interview includes questions about church attendance, when the applicant was "saved" and job requires unpaid attendance to Bible study). More details here.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Danger of medical imaging

  There is an article on MSNBC about the increase in imaging in the last 15 years. The general idea of the article is great, though not very surprising or novel. A basic summary is that the number of imaging studies have increased, they cost a lot, there is a risk of incidental findings and CT's have a risk of radiation. Unfortunately, as with most pieces of medical journalism, there's a lot that is left out, it's filled with errors and the word choice tries to get the most shock value.
  Here's the title: "MRI, CT scan use spikes, study finds. Should we be worried?" It is true that there are more scans being performed today than ever before, but it has been a gradual increase with the spread of imaging technology throughout the country over the last few decades. That's hardly a "spike." Then, of course, there's the meaningless "Should we be worried?" The proper place for "Should we be worried?" in a title is for a threat that you can't do much about (i.e. "Rat shit found in drinking water. Should we be worried?"). No one is forced to get scans and, although there are a lot of unnecessary scans performed, it is not something that the public needs to start stocking up food rations for. A proper question would be "Should doctors change?"
  The article goes on to talk about magnetic "resource" imaging and PET scans that use MRIs. Both incorrect and a sign of how sloppy this article is. Then, he talks about cost, false positives and this:
The biggest danger of all with scanning comes from CT, or computed tomography. A CT scan exposes the patient to huge amounts of X-rays. One CT scan of the chest, for example, zaps a patient with the same amount of radiation as 150 old-fashioned X-rays. In their survey of medical records, the authors of the latest study found that 3.9 percent of patients were receiving an exposure or more than 50 millisieverts every year. In comparison, that is about the equivalent of the one-time amount that the Japanese government estimates that the nearby residents of the Fukushima power plant got in the hours before they evacuated.
 Yes, CT scans have a large amount of radiation. But, it's disingenuous to pick one of the higher radiation forms CT. High-resolution CT scans looking for specific types of lung disease have the same radiation of "150 old-fashioned X-rays," but most common chest CT's have less than half of that. There are new low-dose CT scans that have less than a tenth of that. I'm not saying that even those low levels are completely safe, but it's not right to make something seem worse than in actually is. What's worse is comparing the amount of radiation exposed to patients over the span of a year, to the high-dose, one-time exposure that the Japanese living near Fukushima got. It makes no sense. Over our lifetimes, cumulatively, we get exposed to an enormous amount of radiation from just normal background sources. That doesn't mean that our daily exposure to cosmic rays is the same as being in an nuclear war zone.
  Overall, MSNBC and Dr. Robert Bazell wasted an opportunity to present the problem of overuse of medical imaging to a biased, mistake-filled useless article that tries to scare people away from all types of imaging.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Reflections on intern year

... or was it worth it?

When it comes to intern years, I had a pretty benign one. Nonetheless, I learned a lot. The difference between a year ago and now is mostly a great build-up of confidence. Rather than freaking out with every small aspect of caring for a patient, I feel pretty comfortable with most cases, even some very serious ones. Yes, there is a lot of book knowledge and practical knowledge that I've built over the years and I certainly do feel more like a doctor. I've also had a lot of fun and made some good friends. However, was it worth it for me? Will I be a better radiologist after having gone through intern year. It's hard to tell now. Most radiologists I've asked remember almost nothing from their intern year and say that it is a waste of a year. Most internists I talk to say that the experience I've had in various fields on inpatient (and outpatient) medicine will make me a more effective radiologist. They say that I'll remember the patient's I've seen and those experiences will help me come up with a better diagnosis. I think that they're both wrong. I'm sure I'll remember some of what I've experienced this year and it will likely affect how I interpret images. However, rather than being better at making the right diagnosis, what I likely gained from this year is being able to communicate with various physicians of other specialties. It's definitely useful to know what others are interested in (or worried about) when your opinion is asked. In reality, I won't be able to tell whether this year was helpful to my career until I'm well into my career. Even then, I won't know whether what I did this year is better than having a 5-year, all radiology residency. All I can say is that it was (mostly) fun and I've had amazing experiences that I will carry with me for the rest of my life. I can also say that, for at least one year, I felt like a real doctor.

 The only use for my stethoscope from now on (image source)

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Guide to medical students

OK, now that I'm nearly a year out from becoming a doctor, I've gotten a chance to be on the other end of medical school for long enough to try to give some advice to those going through medical school now. I've worked with several medical students and have picked up a few things about what makes a medical student a successful member of the team.

1. Get to know your patients. You have more time than everyone else on the team. So, get to know your few patients as well as you can. First, it's an interesting experience and you'll build a great relationship with the patient. You'll gain the patient's trust and may be able to get more information from the patient than any resident or attending will. With this, you'll add to the patient's care more than any resident will. I've seen patients specifically asking to see the med student rather than the resident or attending because of the close relationship they've built.

2. Think for yourself. Come up with a plan of what you want to do right after you see the patient and before you talk it over with a resident or attending. Don't worry about being wrong. It will quickly help you figure out how different conditions are tested and treated.

3. Do your work. Don't copy the work of others. I know that med student notes are usually ignored by everyone, but it's something you need to learn to do on your own since you'll be using it for the rest of your life. I've seen several med students directly copy notes from residents... not cool and not unnoticed.

4. Don't make your teammates look bad. This includes pimping your residents, showing off about what you know or have learned or volunteering for more than what is expected of you. A medical student I worked with volunteered to give a presentation during our medicine rotation. No one asked anyone to give a presentation, but he thought he'd look eager and interested if he volunteered out of his own initiative. It backfired terribly. Even if the talk had gone well, it upset the residents because it took time out of the day and it made the other medical students look bad and feel that they need to do the same thing. Kissing ass can get you far in med school, but it can also terribly backfire, so better to not do it.

5. Ask questions. There are no stupid questions. Lots of what you have questions about, other, more senior team members probably also have questions about.

6. Don't pretend you're going into the field of whoever you're talking to. They'll see right through you.

7. There are some things you should not emulate. Interns will complain. They will bitch. They will make fun of attendings, patients, each other. They will slack off. You cannot do that. Despite all the complaining and slacking, they will get their work done. You just started, you have a lot of studying to do and can't afford to waste time like they do.

8. Don't lie. If you forgot to look something up or didn't get a chance to see a patient, don't make up numbers or a physical exam. There was a medical student who forgot to pre-round on one of his patients and just made of the physical exam (it was a surgery rotation, so he was actually pretty close to being right). He got caught when he went to the patients room and didn't realize that the patient had moved to a different part of the hospital the night before.

9. Don't be scared, upset or angry about criticisms you hear from others. Think about it. If it's justified, learn from it. Don't take it personally. Don't think it'll ruin your grade.

I'm sure there is more, but these are the ones that jumped at me with the med students I worked with in the last year.

Sunday, May 27, 2012

God's medicine

  I had a patient recently who suddenly developed an irregular heart beat. There are lots of things that could cause this, including many medications. I asked the patient what medications she was taking and she said none. A few minutes later, looking around her room, I saw a large tub filled with pill bottles. I pointed to them and asked her what they were. She said, "Oh, just my herbals." I told her that herbs are made of chemicals and some of them can interfere with her heart rate (or with the blood thinners and heart rhythm medications we were giving her). She said, "No, they aren't chemicals. They are natural." I explained how many of our modern medicines comes from plants. She smiled, agreed wholeheartedly and said, "Yes, plants are natural medicines." I said that she was right and she should realize that medicines, even natural medicines, can have side effects. She replied, "No, medicines you give me have side effects because they are man made. Natural medicines are made by God and He has made sure that they don't have side effects." I knew I had no chance to convince her why what she was doing was dangerous. I looked through her box of supplements and didn't recognize most of them, but there were some known to be stimulants and others known to interact with blood thinners. I told her not to take those few (5 of the more than 30). She declined saying she trust's God's medicines more than mine. I spent a few minutes explaining why we were so worried, but got no where. When I left she said "God bless you." Mixing quackery with religion makes a dangerous thing deadly.
  I'm not too surprised that quackery and religion go hand in hand. With both you are convinced that you know the truth, that whatever else is out there is a lie and if there is a conflict between the two, you are always right. With both, there is no critical thinking. With both, rather than reasoning with someone trying to convince you otherwise, you get offended. With both, you bend over backwards trying to ignore the obvious deficiencies with what you believe in.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

The danger of quacks

  A major argument that supporters of alternative medicine use is that it causes no harm, so they might as well try it. Of course, that's pure crap. Alternative treatments cause harm in numerous ways: Untested drugs and techniques have side effects and interactions, they're a huge waste of money, and, most importantly, they keep patients from receiving actual treatment that works.
  Case in point is a former patient that I recently ran into in the emergency department. Nine months ago, she was a perfectly healthy mother of two that was successful in her career. One of the sweetest patients I've had all year. At that time, she was admitted for new muscle pains. We ran many tests, figured out it was an autoimmune condition, gave her steroids and connected her with a rheumatologist to make the final diagnosis and for long-term management. She improved a little and went home with a plan in hand.
  Nine months later, I find her disheveled in the emergency room's psychiatric evaluation room (where you can't hurt yourself) screaming at no one in particular. It turns out that she was eventually found to have polymyositis, an autoimmune condition that affects the muscles and can be hard to treat. She had improved with steroids when I saw her 9 months ago, but a few months afterwards had another flare and went to a holistic "doctor" instead. The quack told her that she has "chronic Lyme disease" and that the her rheumatologist was wrong. He then tricked her into trying various herbs, potions, "magnetized water treatments" and none of it worked (somehow, antibiotics never came to his mind). She went had her primary care physician test her for Lyme disease and it kept on coming back negative. But, she insisted that she had Lyme disease. She became obsessed with having Lyme disease and spent more and more money on hyperbaric oxygen chambers, toxin removers, colon cleansing, etc. She lost tens of thousands of dollars and kept on getting fleeced by the holistic "doctor". Her relationship with her family became strained and she eventually attempted to commit suicide. Hence, her arrival to the emergency room.
  I won't blame the quack for causing her to become psychotically obsessed with her medical condition. Despite having no previous psychiatric illnesses, she must have had some underlying condition. What I do blame him for is playing on these beliefs to make money off of her. I blame him for convincing her that her doctors are wrong, that the tests were wrong and that they are trying to keep the truth of his fake medicine from her. Not all quacks are out to fleece people (some of them actually believe what they're selling), but all of them, whether intentionally or not, keep people from getting the treatments that they need. Luckily, she survived her suicide attempt, but this quack nearly had blood on his hands.

St. Jacobs Oil or Prednisone? (image from here)

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Delta Airlines doesn't want my business

A few days ago, John Stewart had a piece on the "War on Women" and showed a graphic of a nativity scene in between a woman's legs (the "vagina manger"). Bill Donohue, the head of the Catholic League, nearly had a heart attack and demanded from the sponsors of The Daily Show to pull their ads. Delta Airlines decided that one religious person's point of view is more important than that of others and pulled their ads. I, a Delta frequent flyer (even had status with them last year), didn't like the company giving into one religious person's point of view and let them know my feelings. What I got back was less than satisfying:

We’re always reevaluating our advertising opportunities and updating our strategy in an effort to reach our desired audience.  Most importantly I want you to know, Delta culture is one of inclusiveness and we do not discriminate nor do we condone discrimination in regard to age, race, nationality, sexual orientation, religion or gender.  As a global airline, Delta has historically been very committed to diversity and we are proud to embrace diverse people, thinking, and styles. Our commitment to diversity is highlighted on

 Looks like Delta's policies don't exactly match Delta's actions. They just chose to side with a religious nut rather than embrace the inclusiveness that they strive for. They decided that the religion, thinking and style of Bill Donohue is more important than that of John Stewart, The Daily Show and their audience. Sorry, Delta... you've lost my business (and got added to the list).

Monday, May 14, 2012


  This month I'm working on a cardiology consulting team and with it, I've gotten a lot of exposure to the hospitalist side of internal medicine. Hospitalists are internal medicine physicians who only take care of patients in the hospital. They have no clinics and only deal with the short-term problems that the patient is hospitalized for. In effect, they do my internal medicine rotation all the time (except they are the entire team). It sounds terrible. One colleague called it "residency for life." However, it has it's benefits. It is essentially shift-work, so it has a pretty nice schedule. Most people go into it straight out of residency (so only 3 years after finishing medical school). Most hospitalists work a week on followed by a week off. So, a vacation every other week. They also get paid pretty well. 200000+ for working a total of 6 months each year. Because of these benefits, it's quickly becoming a popular choice.
  The problem comes with not having ownership of the patients. Without any continuity of care, hospitalists don't know their patients as well as internists who also have a primary care clinic. With the shift-work schedule, their is a lot of passing patients between hospitalists and resulting poor communication. Also, with 20+ patients a day, there isn't much time spent with each individual patient. Putting all this together, hospitalists tend to not think about each individual case as much. At least that's the trend I've seen when consulting for a hospitalist versus consulting for a resident-run team or a team run by a regular internist. This doesn't mean that patients under the care of a hospitalist are at risk. The more common result is that they are overtested and specialists are overconsulted. If you don't have time to think about why someone is having chest pain, you get a chest X-ray, CT-scan, EKG, an echocardiogram, stress test and lots of blood tests and you consult a pulmonologist and a cardiologist. One of these will figure out what the problem is and your specialists will tell you what to do about it. I've seen this pattern quite a bit recently, including one case in which the hospitalist ordered these tests and consults prior to seeing the patients or even reading their previous notes (the patient was transferred from another hospital and through testing had already shown that his heart was fine).
  Of course, there are great hospitalists who know their patients well, think hard about each of the cases and use hospital resources efficiently. However, there is a disturbing number who are wasting resources and their consultants time as well as running up the cost of healthcare.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

A dangerous doctor

 C = M.D.

  I am doing my internship at a community hospital that mixes graduates from US allopathic schools (MD), US osteopathic schools (DO), American graduates from Caribbean medical schools and international graduates. Having worked with graduates from each of various programs, I knew, going in that a resident's background does not necessarily translate to their performance in the hospital. However, taking all the interns together, there definitely are some that are better than others, and there are a few that really should not be a doctor. For example, I worked with an intern who would like to become a cardiologist. He was asked to draw a heart and he simply did not know how the heart was organized. Not even close. When asked how he would treat someone with a complete heart block, he answered beta-blocker (which would kill the patient). If it was the beginning of the year, I could forgive him. If it was a one-time mistake, I could forgive him. But, this is someone who repeatedly shows that he has no clue how to treat patients. What's worse is that he actually thinks he knows it all. He manages patients without informing anyone of his actions (interns typically have senior residents or attending physicians to report to), because "it's an easy case" (Thank you, nurses, for catching his mistakes over and over again). He has been repeatedly corrected, but continues to make the same mistakes and even once uttering that the person correcting him "has no clue." He plagiarizes notes or writes notes and comes up with treatments without actually seeing the patient. This is a dangerous person. He has been caught and given chance after chance, but continues to make the same mistakes. Unfortunately, there is nothing stopping him and he will be a senior resident in a few short weeks.

  Medicine, though always seen as a rigorous field that only the smartest and strongest make it through, is actually a very formulaic process of which the hardest part is probably getting into medical school. A few often repeated axioms in medical school are: "What do you call someone who graduated last in their med school? Answer: A doctor" and "C = MD". Of all entering US medical students, 96% eventually graduate with a medical degree (in comparison, the same measure for graduate students in 62%). Most who fail to graduate, drop out of medical school for personal reasons, not because they were not qualified. Of those that graduate who want to practice medicine, all eventually find a residency program. With residency, it's a similar pattern. It is rare, but residents can be kicked out of their program. However, most find another residency program that is willing to take them. There are boards exams, but in many fields you don't need to be board certified to take care of patients, the pass rates are high and you can take them repeatedly until you pass. Of course, once you complete residency, even outright fraud or criminal negligence doesn't necessarily get your medical license taken away from you (I'm looking at you doctors who only serve as a prescription mill for narcotics).

  The point here is that once you get into medical school, there is very little stopping you from eventually being a practicing physician. There are several problems. One is that there is a shortage of physicians out there and in many fields, such as family practice and internal medicine, there is a large number of open spots that need to be filled. A second problem is that medical schools and residencies thrive on their reputations. If their graduation rates decrease due to failure of a student or resident, it affects their statistics and makes the program less appealing to future applicants. Finally, there is a culture of avoiding confrontation in medicine. It's easier to pass someone than to deal with the trouble of remediation or removing the person from the program.
Please don't get me wrong. A vast majority of my coworkers and, likely, residents in other hospitals, are fine physicians who will serve their patient's well. However, the culture of passing everyone through the system, even if they are unqualified, has got to go. Patient's lives should be of primary concern.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Dental X-rays: Not without risk

  Last year, I was at a routine dental visit when my dentist said that it's time to get an X-ray. Remembering that I had an X-ray in my last visit 6 months ago, I asked why? He said that my insurance allows a panorex scan every few years and that I am now eligible for one again. Upset that the insurance company gets to decide when I need an X-ray. I asked why I need a panorex when I just had regular X-rays last time. He said that it helps diagnosed other abnormalities not picked up on regular X-rays. When I asked what other abnormalities, he said, "Oh, lots. For example, we could find a bone tumor. We don't want to miss that." Knowing that bone tumors are pretty rare, especially in the face, I declined.
  I am glad I did. This study finds a link between dental X-rays and meningiomas (a benign, but sometime hard to treat type of brain tumor). It's a case-control study, so not the strongest type of study, but it's not surprising. X-rays are radiation. Radiation damages DNA, which can lead to cancer. X-rays as a screening test carry a risk. A pretty small risk, but a risk nonetheless. So, if X-rays are being used as a screening test in asymptomatic individuals, the disease they detect should be 1) common and 2) easier to treat if caught earlier. Breast cancer is an example of a disease that fits this descriptions, and breast X-rays (mammograms) are worth using as a screening tool. Maxillary or mandibular bone cancers are rare. Very rare. The cost and risks of X-rays do not justify their use as a screening tool. Just because the insurance company allows something, it doesn't mean that it should be used.
  Dentists are well aware of the fact that their frequent X-rays are unnecessary in the vast majority of their patients. Their patients don't know that. It's an easy way to make money and it's criminal that it is common practice. So, unless you've got symptoms, it's not worth getting frequent dental X-rays.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Drug Shortages

  These drug shortages are seriously affecting patient care for me. It's criminal. There's a good summary of why it's going on here. In 2005 there were 61 drug shortages, in 2011 there were 267 and the list is growing. These aren't obscure drugs that rarely get used. They are common drugs that we use all the time. That we need to use all the time. dilaudid, fentanyl, morphine, midazolam, diazepam, lorazepam, propofol (really?), ondansetron, promethazine, succinylcholine, rocuronium, heparin (!), lidocaine, labetalol, hydralazine, norepinepherine (there are only a few pressors and this is the one we most commonly use!), to name a few. The hospital keeps on telling us to use less of them, but for many, there just isn't a good alternative.

There are a lot of possible reasons why this is happening. With few or, often, one company manufacturing many of these drugs, any production delay, violation of regulations, shipping problems, etc. can lead to a shortage. Being more cynical, I would say a major factor is that these generic medications have no money in them. However, with drug shortages, semi-legal middle-men hoard them, then sell them to hospitals at outrageous costs (up to 800-1000% mark up in price). For example, here's what happened with erythromycin ointment (used in babies!): "All of a sudden, it went short with no notice," Culligan said. "We were able to scramble and secure our supply." Not all hospitals were so lucky; the drug was off the market for a few months. "When it came [back to market], it went from 50 cents to $8 a tube."

 It hurts patient care tremendously and hospitals are forced to buy these drugs from (essentially) the black market. Especially because "manufacturers either routinely don't provide any notice of an impending drug shortage or provide little advance notice and no estimate of the projected duration." (because I'm sure they want it to last forever).

It is inhumane and it is criminal. The FDA is trying to go after them, but they have limited authority and I'm sure they'll get nowhere. They are merely "asking them to increase production, if possible [pretty please], in order to prevent or reduce the impact of a shortage." Our healthcare system is broken in many ways, but this is something that the government needs to take care of quickly. There's are many reasons why we lag behind the rest of the world in health care measures despite having access to the most advanced care in the world and greed from pharmaceutical manufacturers should not be one of them.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Unnecessary medical procedures

There are international laws against unnecessary medical procedures, but the nuts who run this country are trying to push for exactly that in many states to try to punish women who get abortions. The latest is Virginia who is about to pass a law requiring women to get pre-abortion ultrasounds. It's all to provide just another hurdle for women to go through to have a legal medical procedure. It makes it more difficult and more expensive for women. The heartless idiots who propose such bills, like State Sen. Jill Vogel, lie through their teeth and say things like:

"I view this as a serious women's health issue," Vogel said on her website. "At a minimum, ultrasound is necessary to determine gestational age and that there is no anomaly that could affect the health of the mother or outcome of the procedure."

First of all, State Sen. Jill Vogel... you're not a doctor, so you have no qualifications to make such a statement. Can you tell me what possible anomalies you're looking for? Second, you're lying, plain and simple. You want women to go through this unnecessary medical procedure because you want to make it difficult for women to get abortions, or at best you think that seeing their baby on ultrasound will get women to change their minds.

A second bill that will sail through Virginia's mentally challenged legislation is even more heartless. State Del. Mark Cole "would eliminate that financial support even when a doctor believes an unborn child would be born with a gross and totally incapacitating physical deformity or mental deficiency." This goes beyond just pro-life and pro-choice. People supporting this bill, which constitute a majority of Virginia's house and senate, are just plain psychopaths. I just don't see it any other way. The only thing such a bill results in is to force the mother to go through hell and force the baby to live a few miserable hours to weeks in excruciating pain or discomfort.

Just when I don't think the right can stoop any lower, they keep on proving me wrong.

The only thing Virginia has going for it is State Sen. Janel Howell who "tried to amend it so men seeking prescriptions for erectile dysfunction medication such as Viagra would be required to undergo a rectal exam and cardiac stress test."

She said that's "only fair, that if we're going to subject women to unnecessary procedures, and we're going to subject doctors to having to do things that they don't think is medically advisory."
 (might I suggest transrectal ultrasounds before prescribing ED drugs?)

Of course, as expected, right-winged psychopaths voted it down.

As someone who will have to read ultrasounds in the near future, I would rather give up my career than be forced to interpret the results of an unnecessary medical procedure that the government forces onto it's citizens.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

This is why I don't like religion and everyday business mixing

Jessica Ahlquist is a teenager who fought against blatant display of religion in her public school. She won, with the court finding those displays unconstitutional (it's sad that you even have to take someone to court about something as clear cut as that). Now, her community is treating her like a second class citizen. Freedom From Religion Foundation wanted to send her flowers and not one of the four florists in Cranston, RI wanted to deliver to her. Somehow your religious views make it ok for you to not do your job (and discriminate against others). These 4 florists have been added to the list: Twins Florist, Floral Express, Flowers by Santilli and Greenwood Flower.