Michael Jackson and Iatrogenesis (Updated)–Updated (August 24)



Music icon Michael Jackson died after he was given an injection of Propofol.  Thus, the singer joins Heath Ledger and Anna Nicole Smith in a list of celebrities recently killed by the medical profession (called “Iatrogenesis“).

Update:  It was thought at first that Demerol was the killer, but Edward Chernhoff, the lawyer for the Jackson’s cardiac physician, Conrad Murray, says that Jackson had not prescribed or given Jackson the drugs Demerol or Oxycontin (source AP):

Chernoff says Murray suggested to Jackson’s family that an autopsy be performed. He adds that the doctor did not prescribe or give Jackson the drugs Demerol or Oxycontin. The lawyer says any drugs Murray prescribed were given in response to a specific complaint from the 50-year-old entertainer.

This is not a denial that Demerol had been taken or that it was the cause of cardiac arrest.  This says specifically that Dr. Murray himself did not prescribe or administer the drug.  This is a very carefully worded statement.  Dr. Murray, however, admits prescribing more than one than drug in response to Jackson’s complaint.

Iatrogenic death from prescription drugs is not necessarily the fault of only one physician’s prescriptions but can be a negligant cocktail provided by more than single doctor.  That’s why it is standard procedure when a patient visits a physician for him or her to declare what other prescriptions are being taken.

[MSNBC confirms that Dr. Murray administered several medications of valium, larazepam, midazolam, “several other drugs”, and finally 25 mg of propofol over a 9 hour period.]

African scams

I received the following e-mail this morning from an African friend (name withheld); I believe his yahoo.fr address has been hacked:


How are you,I am in hurry writing this mail to you, I traveled to Nigeria yesterday to visit the new researcher’s complex in lagos, Unfortunately for me all my money,diaries and my return ticket was stolen at the hotel where i lodged, I am so confused right now,I don’t know what to do or where to go,I didn’t bring my phone here and the hotel telephone line’s was burnt during the robbery incident,so i have access to only emails, Please can you send me $1,650 usd today so i can return home, As soon as i get home i would refund it immediately.I want you to send it through western union outlet.Write me so i can let you know how to send it.


Now there are at least seven problems with this message: (1) Nothing in the e-mail indicates his relationship to me, e.g., when or where he met me; (2) This correspondant has always written to me in French; (3) It doesn’t cost $1650 US to return from Lagos to his home country (perhaps $200 by bus); (4) If he could pay me back when he got home, why not have someone from home wire him the money instead? (5) No African I know would leave his cash in his hotel room for the staff to steal. (6) He used his full name to sign off instead of only his first name which has been his custom in the past; also he has always addressed me in his e-mails with my first name, never just “hello”; (7) The story about the telephone lines at the hotel being burnt is highly implausible.

Here are my recommendations:

(1) I suggest that correspondents stop using yahoo for e-mail. Ever since Governor Sarah Palin had her e-mail hacked I’ve stopped using yahoo, and this is third African friend who has had his yahoo account infiltrated. Gmail is a good substitute.

(2) When at a cyber cafe never leave your terminal without logging off of your e-mail account. Take security measures like erasing browsing history when leaving the terminal.

(3) Use a sophisticated alphanumeric password.

Global food crisis

I commend Christopher Booker for suggesting there may be a global food crisis coming because of insufficient sunspots. My friend Michael said that his Mulberry bush was several weeks late in bearing ripe berries. Also, I won’t need to replace the air conditioner that we removed last summer. It is June 16, and there is no hot weather yet here in Ontario. Here is the money quote from Booker’s article:

It is now more than 200 years since the great astronomer William Herschel observed a correlation between wheat prices and sunspots. When the latter were few in number, he noted, the climate turned colder and drier, crop yields fell and wheat prices rose. In the past two years, sunspot activity has dropped to its lowest point for a century. One of our biggest worries is that our politicians are so fixated on the idea that CO2 is causing global warming that most of them haven’t noticed that the problem may be that the world is not warming but cooling, with all the implications that has for whether we get enough to eat.

It is appropriate that another contributory factor to the world’s food shortage should be the millions of acres of farmland now being switched from food crops to biofuels, to stop the world warming, Last year even the experts of the European Commission admitted that, to meet the EU’s biofuel targets, we will eventually need almost all the food-growing land in Europe. But that didn’t persuade them to change their policy. They would rather we starved than did that. And the EU, we must always remember, is now our government – the one most of us didn’t vote for last week.

I would go further. The insistence on the use of biofuels is utter folly and presumption. God is the one who provides the abundant harvest; rather than give back to him the tithe owing to him, we have instead burnt it frivolously in our vehicles even though He has provided us abundant sources of high-efficiency energy: nuclear, coal, shale, tar sands, petroleum, and natural gas. We should have stored the food for leaner times instead of using them in our cars. I can easily foresee serious problems because of the lack of wisdom that our political leadership has shown. Famine, pestilence, and war may result from starving populations. Where is Joseph when you need him?

Sickcare not healthcare

I went into renew my “healthcare” card with our socialized card here in Ontario called “OHIP”.  Healthcare is the wrong name.  It should be called “sickcare” because unless you have specific illnesses which are treatable in the system, you get nothing from it.  Since living in Ontario, I have paid out of pocket or through private insurance for the following:

Dental care:  Teeth are not a part of “healthcare”, so OHIP does not cover any dental care.

Travel Clinic:  If you go overseas and get sick from malaria, hepatitis or yellow fever, you can come home to Ontario and be treated for free, that is if you don’t die first.  But if you want to have vaccinations, other kinds of preventative care, or even a travel consultation with a knowledgeable physician, you have to pay for it yourself.  Since I travel overseas frequently, I’ve paid hundreds of dollars in preventative travel care out of pocket.

Optometrist:  A few years ago Liberal Dalton McGuinty took over Ontario, and the province added a levy to everyone’s payroll taxes and eliminated services including a biannual optometrist check-up.  Less for more.

ChiropracticDr. Aubrey Green of Proformance Health & Wellness Inc. has “cured” me of a painful rotator cuff injury.  None of his treatments were covered by OHIP.  I probably could have gone to a GP (did I mention I don’t have a family doctor, and it is difficult to obtain one in Ontario?), but what would he or she have done except prescribe a painkiller?  Dr. Green used drug-free treatments of acupuncture (with an electric pulse), hands on soft-tissue massage, and a regime of rotator-cuff exercises.  After four weeks I feel very little discomfort and I am back on the basketball court shooting jumpers as Dr. Green promised.

Prescriptions:  All my prescriptions are covered by private insurance.

What has been covered by OHIP?  Last year playing basketball, a teammate elbowed me and I need stitches.  OHIP covered the emergency room costs.  I’ve seen my former family physician for scalp acne twice during the last six years and received an antibiotic prescription.  Because I’ve enjoyed basic good health I’ve had about four medical visits which were covered by OHIP in the last 15 years since living in Ontario.  Meanwhile I’ve made many visits to the travel clinic, the dentist, the chiropractor and the optometrist, and all of this is paid for through private means.  Healthcare is the wrong name. It should be called “sickcare” because unless you have specific illnesses which are treatable in the system, you get nothing.