Sunday, May 24, 2009

first death under Washington state PAS law

Since 1997, Oregon has been the only state in which Physician Assisted Suicide (PAS), a process in which a terminally ill patient can be prescribed a lethal dose of medication by a physician to commit suicide, has been legal. However, in November with a 60% majority, nearby Washington State has made PAS legal, following Oregon's example with their very own "Death with Dignity" act.
Thursday night, Linda Fleming, 66, died after taking a lethal amount of medication prescribed by her physician after being diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer.
This controversial issue may be seen as cruel, unethical, or any of a great host of other views, but the reality is that it is here, and an is an issue to be dealt with.

Does the people of Washingtons' acceptance of this practice indicate a soon to be mass "Death with Dignity" bill? Only time will tell.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bearded Lady!!!

Chromosome 17, few of you know what that is, and less of you care, but however, you will find the following tid-bit amusing.
The bearded lady of the circus; surprisingly can actually be real. A defect in chromosome 17, can cause a disease known as congenital generalized hypertrichosis terminalis or CGHT.
CGHT causes the growth of thick, coarse black hair all over the body, distorted facial features, and enlarged gums.
Little is known about this disease as it is so rare, and only recently has a Chinese family been identified as so have a recessive form of the disease. In all cases, they each had a framshift mutation known as a deletion on their chromosome 17.
More information to come.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Is Chemo Optional : Follow Up

The boy I spoke about yesterday may have been seen in LA with his mother who hasn't been seen since Monday evening, not even by her husband. It is believed that they may be headed to Mexico to avoid prosecution for refusing life saving treatments in exchange for a more natural, religious approach.
Once again, I pose the question, is chemo optional? Should you be allowed to refuse life saving therapy or radiation?
Apparently the government doesn't think so.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Is Chemo Optional?

Daniel Hauser, a thirteen year old boy with an undisclosed type of cancer that is considered highly curable with proper chemotherapy and radiation treatments, but likely fatal without them. His mother however, after seeing what chemo does to the body, refused further treatment after the first session.
His parents haven't completely neglected treatment though, mentioning "alternative medicine" with some hinting about religious healing. When last spoken too, Colleen Hauser said she has been treating his cancer with herbal supplements, vitamins, ionized water and other natural alternatives.
Recently the warrant has gone out for her arrest, allowing them to give Daniel his medication. They were schedualed in court Tuesday but only the father showed up, saying that he hasn't seen his wife since the previous evening.

So, my question is: Is chemo optional? Can a minor refuse treatment?

What do you think?

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Cure for AIDS?

As many of you already know, AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome), currently has no cure. This however, may soon change.
For many years there have been drugs to keep HIV, the retrovirus that eventually develops into AIDS, in it's dormant stage greatly increasing the life expectancy of those infected (see any articles on Magic Johnson).
A cure may be on the horizon. Scientists led by Dr. Philip R. Johnson of the Children's Hospital in Philadelphia have engineered a gene that causes muscle tissue to secret an antibody that has so far been successful in combating the AIDS virus in mice and monkeys.
This doesn't mean that a miracle drug is right around the corner though, although monkeys are closely related to humans genetically speaking, there are still thousands of hours of testing and red tape to get through, as Dr. Beatrice Hahn put it " It basically shows that there's a light at the end of the tunnel."

Friday, May 15, 2009

Swine Flu Death #4

The worldwide death toll for the "Swine Flu" has now reached 70 with the 4th recorded death in the United States. A forty year old Arizona woman with a preexisting lung condition recently contracted and died from Swine flu. The other three US deaths include a Mexican toddler and a pregnant woman from Texas, and a thirty year old man from Washington, all with preexisting medical conditions.

My notes on the subject: First and foremost, MASKS DON'T HELP. Virus particles are tiny and can easily fit through the holes in a surgical mask. The only thing you're doing is making yourself look foolish. Secondly, it is not any more dangerous than the regular seasonal flu. Thousands of people die every year from the flu, and it's overlooked simply because the virus didn't mutate. Uniformed people heard of a virus mutation and began to spread false information because they didn't understand how viruses work. It is only life threatening IF you have a preexisting condition that would somehow compromise your immune system.