Science Guardian

Truth, beauty and paradigm power in science and society

I am Nicolaus Copernicus, and I approve of this blog

News, views and reviews measured against professional literature in peer reviewed journals (adjusted for design flaws and bias), well researched books, authoritative encyclopedias (not the bowdlerized Wiki entries on controversial topics) and the investigative reporting and skeptical studies of courageous original thinkers among academics, philosophers, researchers, scholars, authors, filmmakers and journalists.

Supporting the right of exceptional minds to free speech, publication, media coverage and funding against the crowd prejudice, leadership resistance, monetary influences and internal professional politics of the paradigm wars of cancer, HIV(not)AIDS, evolution, global warming, cosmology, particle physics, macroeconomics, information technology, religions and cults, health, medicine, diet and nutrition.

***************************************************

HONOR ROLL OF SCIENTIFIC TRUTHSEEKERS

Halton C. Arp wki/obit/txt/vds/txt/txt/bk/bk, Henry Bauer txt/blg/ blg/bks/bk/txt/bk/vd, John Beard bk, Harvey Bialy bk/bk/txt/txt/rdo/vd, John Bockris bio/txt/ltr/bk, Donald W. Braben, Peter Breggin ste/fb/col/bks, Darin Brown txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/vd, Giordano Bruno bk/bio/bio, Frank R. Buianouckas, Stanislav Burzynski mov, Erwin Chargaff bio/bk/bio/prs, James Chin bk/vd, Nicolaus Copernicus bk, Mark Craddock, Francis Crick vd, Paul Crutzen, Marie Curie, Rebecca Culshaw txt/bk, Roger Cunningham, Charles Darwin txts/bk, Erasmus Darwin txt//bk/txt/hse/bks, Peter Duesberg ste/ste/bk/txt/vd/vd, Freeman Dyson, Albert Einstein, Richard Feynman bio, John Fewster, Rosalind Franklin, Bernard Forscher tx, Galileo Galilei, Walter Gilbert vd, Goethe bio/bk/bio, Nicolas Gonzalez tlk/rec/stetxt/txt, Patricia Goodson txt/bk/bk, Alec Gordon, James Hansen, Etienne de Harven bk/txt/vd, Alfred Hassig intw/txt, Robert G. Houston txt, Steven Jonas vd, Edward Jenner txt, Benjamin Jesty, Adrian Kent vd, Thomas Kuhn, Fred Kummerow, Stefan Lanka txt/txt/vd, Serge Lang, John Lauritsen vd, Paul Lauterbur vd, Mark Leggett, Richard Lindzen, James Lovelock, Andrew Maniotis, Lynn Margulis, Barbara McClintock, Christi Meyer vd, George Miklos, Marco Mamone Capria, Peter Medawar, Luc Montagnier txt/txt/vd, Kary Mullis, Linus Pauling prs/vd/vd, Eric Penrose, Roger Penrose vd, Max Planck, Rainer Plaga, David Rasnick bio/vd/bk, Robert Root-Bernstein vd, Sherwood Rowland, Otto Rossler, Harry Rubin, Marco Ruggiero txt/txt/intw/vd, Bertrand Russell Carl Sagan vd, Erwin Schrodinger, Fred Singer, Barbara Starfield txt, Gordon Stewart txt/txt, Richard Strohman, Thomas Szasz, Nicola Tesla bio/bio, Charles Thomas intw/vd, Frank Tipler, James Watson vd/vd, Alfred Wegener vd, Edward O. Wilson vd.

ACADEMICS, DOCTORS, AUTHORS, FILMMAKERS, REPORTERS AND COMMENTATORS WHO HAVE NOBLY AIDED REVIEW OF THE STATUS QUO

Jad Adams bk, Marci Angell bk/txt/txt/txt, Clark Baker ste/txt/rdo/vd, James Blodgett, Tony Brown vd, Hiram Caton txt/txt/txt/bk/ste, Jonathan Collin ste , Marcus Cohen, David Crowe vd, Margaret Cuomo, Stephen Davis BK/BK,/rdo, Michael Ellner vd, Elizabeth Ely txt/txt/ste, Epicurus, Dean Esmay, Celia Farber bio/txt/txt/txt/vd, Jonathan Fishbein txt/txt/wk, T.C.Fry, Michael Fumento, Max Gerson txt, Charles Geshekter vd, Michael Geiger, Roberto Giraldo, David Healy txt, Bob Herbert, Mike Hersee ste/rdo, Neville Hodgkinson txt /vd, James P. Hogan, Richard Horton bio/vd/vd, Christopher Hitchens, Eric Johnson, Claus Jensen vd, Phillip Johnson, Coleman Jones vds, William Donald Kelley, Ernst T. Krebs Sr txt, Ernst T. Krebs Jr. txt,/bio/txt/txt/ltr, Paul Krugman, Brett Leung MOV/ste/txt/txt/tx+vd/txt, Katie Leishman, Anthony Liversidge blg/intv/intv/txt/txts/txt/intv/txt/vd/vd, Bruce Livesey txt, James W. Loewen, Frank Lusardi, Nathaniel Lehrman vd, Christine Maggiore bk/ste/rec/rdo/vd, Rouben Mamoulian txt/txt/txt/txt/txt/doc/flm/flm, Noreen Martin vd, Robert Maver txt/itw, Eric Merola MOV, Lady Mary Wortley Montagu, Michael Moore bio/MOV/MOV/MOV, Gordon Moran, Ralph Nader bk, Ralph Moss txt/blg/ste/bks, Gary Null /txt/rdo/vd, Dan Olmsted wki, Toby Ord vd, Charles Ortleb bk/txt/bk/intw/flm, Neenyah Ostrom bk, Dennis Overbye, Mehmet Dr Oz vd, Eleni Papadopulos-Eleopulos ste/vd, Maria Papagiannidou bk, Thomas Piketty bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk/bk, Robert Pollin txt/vd/bk, Jon Rappoport bio/bk/bk/ste/bk/bk/vd, Janine Roberts bk/bk, Luis Sancho vd, Liam Scheff ste/txt/bk/bk/rdio/vd, John Scythes, Casper Schmidt txt/txt, Joan Shenton vd/vd, Joseph Sonnabend vd, John Stauber, David Steele, Joseph Stiglitz bk/txt, Will Storr rdo Wolfgang Streeck, James P. Tankersley ste, Gary Taubes vd, Mwizenge S. Tembo, John Tierney vd, Michael Tracey, Valendar Turner rec, Jesse Ventura bk, Michael Verney-Elliott bio/vds/vd, Voltaire, Walter Wagner, Andrew Weil vd, David Weinberger bio/bk/blg/blg/BK/bk/pds, Robert Willner bk/txt/txt/vd, Howard Zinn.

*****************************************************
I am Albert Einstein, and I heartily approve of this blog, insofar as it seems to believe both in science and the importance of intellectual imagination, uncompromised by out of date emotions such as the impulse toward conventional religious beliefs, national aggression as a part of patriotism, and so on.   As I once remarked, the further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.   Certainly the application of the impulse toward blind faith in science whereby authority is treated as some kind of church is to be deplored.  As I have also said, the only thing that ever interfered with my learning was my education. I am Freeman Dyson, and I approve of this blog, but would warn the author that life as a heretic is a hard one, since the ignorant and the half informed, let alone those who should know better, will automatically trash their betters who try to enlighten them with independent thinking, as I have found to my sorrow in commenting on "global warming" and its cures.
Many people would die rather than think – in fact, they do so. – Bertrand Russell.

The progress of science is strewn, like an ancient desert trail, with the bleached skeletons of discarded theories which once seemed to possess eternal life. - Arthur Koestler

One should as a rule respect public opinion in so far as is necessary to avoid starvation and to keep out of prison. – Bertrand Russell

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. - Samuel Johnson

A sudden bold and unexpected question doth many times surprise a man and lay him open. – Sir Francis Bacon (1561 – 1626)

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

Whenever you find that you are on the side of the majority, it is time to reform. – Mark Twain

Although science has led to the generally high living standards that most of the industrialized world enjoys today, the astounding discoveries underpinning them were made by a tiny number of courageous, out-of-step, visionary, determined, and passionate scientists working to their own agenda and radically challenging the status quo. – Donald W. Braben

An old error is always more popular than a new truth. — German Proverb

I am Richard Feynman and I approve of this blog

When even the brightest mind in our world has been trained up from childhood in a superstition of any kind, it will never be possible for that mind, in its maturity, to examine sincerely, dispassionately, and conscientiously any evidence or any circumstance which shall seem to cast a doubt upon the validity of that superstition. I doubt if I could do it myself. – Mark Twain

It is difficult to get a man to understand something when his income depends on his not understanding it. – Upton Sinclair

A clash of doctrines is not a disaster, but an opportunity. - Alfred North Whitehead

Fraud and falsehood only dread examination. Truth invites it. – Samuel Johnson

Man’s mind cannot grasp the causes of events in their completeness, but the desire to find those causes is implanted in man’s soul. And without considering the multiplicity and complexity of the conditions any one of which taken separately may seem to be the cause, he snatches at the first approximation to a cause that seems to him intelligible and says: “This is the cause!” – Leo Tolstoy

The evolution of the world tends to show the absolute importance of the category of the individual apart from the crowd. - Soren Kierkegaard

Who does not know the truth is simply a fool, yet who knows the truth and calls it a lie is a criminal. – Bertold Brecht

How easily the learned give up the evidence of their senses to preserve the coherence of ideas in their imagination. – Adam Smith

Education consists mainly in what we have unlearned. – Mark Twain

The mind likes a strange idea as little as the body likes a strange protein and resists it with similar energy. If we watch ourselves honestly, we shall often find that we have begun to argue against a new idea even before it has been completely stated. – Arthur Koestler

Whenever the human race assembles to a number exceeding four, it cannot stand free speech. – Mark Twain

People of the same trade seldom meet together, even for merriment and diversion, but the conversation ends in a conspiracy against the public, or in some contrivance to raise prices. - Adam Smith

There isn’t anything so grotesque or so incredible that the average human being can’t believe it. – Mark Twain

He who knows only his own side of the case, knows little of that. – John Stuart Mill

It is difficult to free fools from the chains they revere. – Voltaire

People are generally better persuaded by the reasons which they have themselves discovered than by those which have come into the mind of others.- Blaise Pascal.

Illusion is the first of all pleasures. – Voltaire

The applause of a single human being is of great consequence. – Samuel Johnson

(Click for more Unusual Quotations on Science and Human Nature)

Important: This site is best viewed in LARGE FONT, and in Firefox for image title visibility (place cursor on pics to reveal comments) and layout display. Click the title of any post to get only that post and its Comments for printing. All posts guaranteed fact checked according to reference level cited, typically the original journal studies. Full guide to site purpose, layout and how to print posts out is in the lower blue section at the bottom of the home page.
---Admin AL/E/ILMK---

Medical error of an unfortunate kind

Sad cases of mixups in the OR

Lapses of system could be easily cured, if fallibility recognized

But why weren’t 23 years of error in HIV/AIDS prevented by peer review?

kidneywinelarger.jpgMeanwhile, back at Fox News…. a shocking piece of information we don’t necessarily need on the human fallibility of the doctor/surgeon system into which we get delivered as hapless patients: Woman Goes for Leg Operation, Gets New Anus Instead and Hospital Admits Surgeon Removed Wrong Kidney

A Minnesota surgeon has agreed to stop seeing patients after he made an “unthinkable” mistake — he removed a healthy kidney, leaving the cancerous one inside a patient, KARE 11 TV reports.

“This has been a tragic event and Park Nicollet has accepted full responsibility,” said Dr. Samuel Carlson, chief medical officer for Park Nicollet Health Services.

Carlson declined to name the surgeon who performed the procedure.

Although the surgery was performed last Tuesday, it wasn’t until the next day that pathology reports confirmed the wrong kidney had been taken from the patient, whose identity is not being revealed due to patient confidentiality…..

Bavaria – A German retiree is taking a hospital to court after she went in for a leg operation and got a new anus instead, the Daily Telegraph is reporting.

The woman woke up to find she had been mixed up with another patient suffering from incontinence who was to have surgery on her sphincter.

The clinic in Hochfranken, Bavaria, has since suspended the surgical team.

Now the woman is planning to sue the hospital. She still needs the leg operation and is searching for another hospital to do it.

(The above items are, obviously, not for sensitive souls. For those who stumbled into this story unawares and wish to recoup their good mood, here is a happier view of the doctor-patient relationship: The consulting room as it should be)

Of course, commentator Dr Manny Alvarez is correct (click Hey Doc, Watch Where You’re Cutting! A Lesson in Medical Mishaps for video) – the teams simply have to take a time out to double check they are on the right path before proceeding, every time.

Status fallibility

Then the deeper question becomes, however, why didn’t/don’t the surgeons pause to double check? After all, all present probably look back into a taxi or train to see if they left anything behind inadvertently, after a trip. Presumably they check every instrument they need is handy before proceeding. Why not check the difference between left and right, kidney wise?

The obvious (to us) answer is human grandiosity. Humans once elevated forget to check themselves for error. Given great responsibility, and the respect and obeisance that comes with it, they tend to assume they are infallible. Or at least, unconsciously act like it so that they won’t risk exposure.

Many may detect this hubris in our current President, and wish to label it the George W. Bush syndrome. But this is to assume that George was ever capable of meeting the demands and requirements of the 21st Century presidency, which is doubtful, given his record to date. Perhaps the phenomenon is more a variation on “pride cometh before a fall”, a la Eliot Spitzer, whence it becomes easier to detect and punish missteps in others than in oneself.

Probably this self protective concealment of fallibility is common to all members of a system where promotion elevates authority. We were amused by a recent example where someone we know presented a bureaucrat a masters degree certificate from a Scottish university written in Latin when she requested his high school certificate, and after a moment of uncomprehending examination, was handed it back with thanks for meeting the request.

Another possible explanation going the rounds just now is that there is a risk gene which makes leaders charge up the hill and risk failure at their dangerous profession, whether political bids for high office or practicing surgical removal of organs from patients who might well die if a mistake is made, and the same gene drives a Spitzer or a Clinton to take risks in sexual adventure. Perhaps surgeons are cavalier in the same unconsciously self destructive way about checking which kidney to remove.

Whatever the motivation for this kind of dereliction of responsibility, there is a lesson in all this for those who contemplate the topic of this blog, which are paradigms maintained beyond their shelf life.

So, calling all science believers…. please check whether the leaders of your field have recently practiced what Dr.Manny advises, and doublechecked their paradigm.

Institutional error on international scale

hanniballector1.jpgWait. Whom exactly, you might reasonably ask, do we have in mind?

Why, leaders who don’t allow double checking, but ban it, as in HIV/AIDS, where Dr Anthony Fauci et al at the NIAID, CDC and elsewhere positively refuse to allow reporting of this topic, and have evaded professional review in the literature by ignoring it, pretending it doesn’t exist, or is no longer relevant, and by banning its coverage, as we have described in this blog.

In that sorely vexed case, the build up of error to grotesque levels over 23 years will inevitably result in exactly the debacle they must have feared since 1986, when the first authoritative rejection of the storied paradigm took place, that is, the exposure of high officials and scientists in the health field as fallible human beings, or worse, and a public distrust of their authority which will severely impact health government for years, if not permanently.

After all, why, for example, would frantic parents who are convinced that vaccinations caused autism in their children despite all the scientific evidence to date to the contrary, believe them then?

Why indeed.

They certainly won’t after it has had to be publicly acknowledged that the highest institutions of the land have been led up the garden path by Robert Gallo, Anthony Fauci, David Baltimore and John P. Moore of Weill-Cornell, the latter now notorious for opining in the Op Ed pages of the New York Times last year that any review of HIV/AIDS is “Deadly Quackery”.

The narcissist’s dilemma

hanniballecterx10.jpg “Deadly Quackery”….The title of that particular piece of antiscience is striking, both in its vulgarity in the context of scientific dispute, but also in another way. It is a brilliant example of the peculiar habit of narcissists, and other individuals whose heads are inflated way past the size of the neck that supports them, to accuse others of the precise sin they are perpetrating themselves. ((Large pic – metaphorically representing the leading HIV/AIDS paradigm promoters – double click for full size only if you have broadband. – Ed.))

For there is no better phrase than that title to describe what is actually going on in that field, once the appalling lack of evidence for HIV as the cause of AIDS is recognized, and notice taken of the mountain of evidence in the scientific and medical literature that all of HIV/AIDS is merely AIDS from other causes, relabeled with the all purpose, money raising label “HIV/AIDS”.

We are addressing newcomers to that arena here, of course, who don’t know yet that this blog is devoted to telling them about this particular outrage to decency and common sense, and similar examples of other questionable superstitions in science and medicine, past and present, though HIV/AIDS is undoubtedly the grandest and most astonishng contemporary example we know of.

For what is “Deadly Quackery”, if not claiming that AIDS everywhere is caused by and only by HIV, and denying that the thousands of articles on HIV in journals now raise a huge number of unanswerable questions, and refusing to allow reporters to pursue the many critiques rejecting HIV as the cause of AIDS in journals of the highest order, not to mention more than thirty books, and refusing to respond to reporters asking for comment on those articles and books, and determinedly blocking demands for a national review of the paradigm as “dangerous”, and refusing to support funding for experiments and studies to double check the basic assumption, while adding another $50 billion to the vast public expenditures on AIDS so far, which now amount to more than one per cent of the national budget, and supporting and encouraging the delivery of plane loads of very detrimental drugs to millions of Africans either healthy or suffering from some other cause, having decimated the ranks of some of the most talented Americans with those very same drugs, on the same specious basis, a rationalization of contrary evidence and a belief system immune to reason?

We suggest that it may be perfectly reasonably and aptly said that the behavior of these men, and all their fellow travelers in science and the media who are in a position to know better, is …..Deadly Quackery.

The solution to the AIDS dispute

hanniballecterfullsizestanding.jpgAnd what, you may wonder, would Dr Manning advise to cure science of such monumental errors in the future?

Why, surely the same thing as he advises to avoid patients waking up to find that the surgeon took out the wrong kidney, and similar avoidable mishaps:

In one word: Review.

Precisely what this blog has been urging for three years now, a national review by an independent committee, perhaps in Congress, of the true political and scientific reality of HIV/AIDS research.

Perhaps someone should call the professionally cheerful Doctor Manning and ask him what he thinks of a group of scientists and bureaucrats that have resisted review for twenty three years of a mistake that has cost the public purse billions of dollars by imposing sanctions on inquiring reporters, fund starvation on distinguished researchers, attacked university critics behind their back with phone calls and letters suggesting tenure be withheld, and offered only insults and smears to critics in the media, not least in the New York Times, supposedly the paper of record but assiduously avoiding ?

All this despite copious amounts of unanswered critical review rejecting the HIV paradigm in the highest journals.

Millions of wrong kidneys

In other words, in this case we need not so much scientific review, which has already been undertaken in science journals and which has repeatedly rejected the paradigm without effective and valid counterargument of equal standing and with no evidence at all offered to the contrary, but which has been assiduously overlooked and ignored.

What is needed is political review.

After all, what we are talking about here is not the wrong kidney taken out here, or the wrong sphincter replaced there.

We are talking about the equivalent of millions upon millions of kidneys removed with no medical justification, some of them from the finest representatives of US culture, especially in the creative arts.

In a way, one might view the entire leadership of the HIV/AIDS scientific and bureaucratic community as so many Hannibal Lecters, eating the kidneys of millions of Americans and Africans and washing them down with expensive Chianti.

At some point, we confidently expect, they will have to apologize for leading the world over a cliff: Methodist Hospital apologizes for “tragic event”

The surgery was performed last Tuesday, but it wasn’t until the next day that a pathologist noticed the kidney taken from the patient was healthy.

The doctor who removed the kidney – a veteran surgeon – has voluntary stopped seeing patients. Carlson says the mistake may have originated at a Park Nicollet clinic. “It does appear that it was during that paperwork process of office documentation that this mistake, this error, occurred in what location the lesion was.”

So called wrong-site surgeries do happen – 24 were reported to the Minnesota Department of Health last year – but removal of the wrong organ is rare.

In the four-and-a-half years that state as been assembling data, “I don’t know if we’ve ever had a wrong organ removal,” said Diane Rydrych, assistant director of the state’s division of health policy.

Ryrdrych says most hospitals have safety measures in place to prevent wrong-site surgery, including marking body parts to be operated on in advance of surgery and requiring a “time out” in the operating room to give surgical staff a chance to double check documentation and voice any concerns.

“I would say that these events are always preventable or almost always preventable” said Rydrych.

But in the case of a top level national science policy mistake in which NIAID and the CDC and Nature and Science and the National Academy and the New York Times have all joined in to prevent adequate news coverage and truly independent scientific review of a scientific boondoggle which at some point has undoubtedly become clear to all informed participants who still bother to think for themselves, who will arrest the Lecters?

Or as Juvenal asks Socrates, Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?

Who arrests the guards?

generaljack1.jpg

Socrates’ answer was that “the guardians will guard themselves, for we will tell them the honorable lie, that they are superior to those they serve and it is their responsibility to protect their inferiors. We will teach them that power is distasteful and they should rule according to what is right, and not because they like its privileges.” ((Pic of General Jack is fairly large.- Ed.))

Possibly someone should send a copy of The Republic to Anthony Fauci with the appropriate page marked. Or to John P. Moore, who after all has written several papers agreeing with the key points made by the critics of his favorite paradigm.

Perhaps then one of these fine gentlemen will break ranks and finally confess all, turning snitch on the others in the cause of public decency, personal honor and saving lives, not to mention truth itself.

—–PostScript: Reviewing this post we feel we have to apologize again to all those who are aware of the situation and find it depressing to review again in these rather lurid terms even for the benefit of others who are unaware of it.

Here for them to recover their usual optimism (an optimistic outlook saves 30 to 50% of heart attacks, science has now established) is a remarkable video of how uniquely resilient the poorest residents of Bangkok are to the disruptions perpetrated upon them by government officials remote from their daily lives.

In this case, it involves a train, but in the case of the massive export of the HIV/AIDS meme to that innocent country, we trust this little vignette is symbolic of an equally skillful evasion of that inappropriate disruption of their daily lives:

Bangkok train

8 Responses to “Medical error of an unfortunate kind”

  1. MacDonald Says:

    One wonders at two things:

    1. Why did it take a pathologist to inform the kidney patient as well as the doctors that she had been operated on the wrong side? If the error occurred in the operating room, one would have thought the patient would have noticed it immediately upon waking up.

    2. How hard is it to discover if one is operating on a healthy organ? Did the pathologist notice at a glance that the kidney was healthy, or was it during closer examination – perhaps during the preparations for a Chianti and candelight dinner? If, and I suppose it is often the case, it is possible to distinguish a diseased organ from a healthy one on sight, is there nobody on the standard surgical team who routinely performs this simple double checking function?

    Your Plato quote once again leads one to ponder the strange paradox that one should be able to produce conscientious rulers with a distaste for ruling by telling them the lie that they are superior to those they rule. One would think that if the lie that they are superior truly is a lie, distaste for power and privilege would be hard to teach.

  2. Truthseeker Says:

    Wouldn’t it work even if they were not superior because they would then be dumb enough to accept the lie, and their hubris would motivate them to behave well? It wouldn’t be genuine distaste for power and privilege, just pride in their undeserved aristocratic status and recognition.

    The other possibility would be that if they really were modest in quality and not superior then they might have an aversion to power and privilege out of genuine modesty, ie recognizing their unworthiness.

    Dumb and proud if they are lied to and believe it, and dumb and modest if they don’t believe the lie, would both work. As long as they were dumb it wouldn’t matter whether they believed the lie or not.

    If they are smart then they recognize the lie or they believe it, but either way are smart enough to detest power and privilege as morally distasteful.

    By the way, Denis Quaid and his wife were on 60 Minutes last Sunday telling the story of how their twin babes were fed 1000 times the adult dose of Heparin a blood thinner not only once but twice by mistake in the first days of their lives, and nearly died. Quaid has been up in arms ever since fighting to ban a drug which is quite often misdosed, in one case possibly by the Methodist hospital concerned in the story above (it was a Methodist hospital).

    Dennis Quaid Recounts Twins’ Drug Ordeal

    (CBS) Chances are you probably know someone who has died, or nearly died, because of medical mistakes in a hospital. It’s much more common than most people realize, and if it can happen to the children of movie star, at one of the finest hospitals in the country, it can happen to anyone.

    Dennis Quaid has starred in more than 50 films, but nothing prepared him for the drama and the near tragedy that unfolded last November at Cedars-Sinai hospital in Los Angeles, when his infant twins were given massive overdoses of a blood thinner that nearly killed them….

    But within a few days of coming home, the twins showed signs of a having a staph infection and doctors recommended they be admitted to Cedars-Sinai hospital for routine treatment with intravenous antibiotics.

    On their second day there, the Quaids were told that the babies were doing fine, so they went home to get a few hours of rest, leaving instructions to be called if there were any problems. But around 9 p.m. that night, Kimberly Quaid had a mother’s premonition that something had gone wrong.

    “I just had this horrible feeling come over me and I felt like that the babies were passing. And I just had this feeling of dread,” she recalls.

    “Kimberly even made a note at the time that she had the feeling, for some reason,” Dennis Quaid adds. “And I called the room. And I was put through to the nurse who was in our room with the kids. And I said, ‘How are the kids?’ And she said, ‘They’re fine. They’re just fine.'”

    But Quaid says they weren’t fine.

    In fact, around the time of the call, the nurses had discovered that both twins were in serious danger. They were supposed to have been given a pediatric blood thinner called Hep-lock to flush out their IV lines and prevent blood clots. But instead, they had been given two doses of Heparin, the adult version of the drug, which is 1,000 times stronger.

    “We all have this inherent thing that we trust doctors and nurses, that they know what they’re doing. But this mistake occurred right under our noses, that the nurse didn’t bother to look at the dosage on the bottle,” Dennis Quaid tells Kroft. “It was ten units that our kids are supposed to get. They got 10,000. And what it did is, it basically turned their blood to the consistency of water, where they had a complete inability to clot. And they were basically bleeding out at that point.”

    “There was blood oozing out of little blood draws on their feet, and things like that, you know, through band-aids,” he adds.

    Quaid says that’s what first alerted the nurse that there was a problem……

    And to make matters worse the same avoidable mistake had occurred a year earlier at Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. Six infants were given multiple adult doses of Heparin instead of the pediatric version; three of the infants survived, three did not.

    Asked when he found out about the Indianapolis incident, Quaid says, “In the morning when I had gone in, a pediatrician told me about it.”

    “He said, ‘This has happened before’?” Kroft asks.

    “Yeah. He had told me about that three babies died. And it sent a chill down my spine,” Quaid remembers….

    But the experiences changed Dennis Quaid. He’s spent much of the past four months trying to dissect what happened and figuring out ways to draw attention to what is one of the leading causes of death in America – preventable human, medical error.

    “These mistakes that occurred to us are not unique. And they’re not unique even to Cedars. They happen in every hospital, in every state in this country. And 100,000 people, that I’ve come to find out, there’s 100,000 people a year are killed every year in hospitals by a medical mistakes,” he says….

    Because the deaths occur one at a time, all over the country over an extended time period, Quaid says the issue has slipped under the public’s radar. “It’s bigger than AIDS. It’s bigger than breast cancer. It’s bigger than automobile accidents. And, yet, no one seems to be really be aware of the problem,” he says.

    The causes range from misdiagnosis to surgical errors to medication mistakes like the accidental Heparin overdose that that nearly killed the Quaid twins, an occurrence that’s not all that unusual, according to Diane Cousins. She’s the vice president of U.S. Pharmacopeia, a non-profit public health group that maintains one of the largest databases on medication errors.

    “What we see with Heparin is that it is almost always in the list of top ten drugs that are reported for medication errors, and almost always in the top ten that are harmful,” Cousins tells Kroft.

    “What is it about Heparin that there’s so many mistakes?” Kroft asks.

    “Well, Heparin is very commonly used in the hospital. And the number of opportunities for error are very high,” she explains.

    But Cousins says another contributing factor with Heparin is labeling that can easily lead to mistakes. The 10-unit pediatric dose and the 10,000-unit adult dose come in vials of identical size and shape and in different shades of blue that can easily be confused, if not seen in reference to each other. And they are not the only drugs with that problem.

    Asked to give some examples, Cousins, showing two medications, tells Kroft, “In this case, we have a solution of Lidocaine, which is an anesthetic often used to swab a child’s throat or mouth for mouth pain. Here, you have lithium oral solution used for manic depression.”

    “Lithium is not something you’d wanna give a child. Absolutely not,” she says.

    The two small vials Cousins used as an example both have blue caps and cluttered labels, but one contains a hormone and the other a children’s antibiotic.

    “If you’re at arms’ length, it’s hard enough to read these labels because of their type size,” Cousins says.

    “And I’d need my reading glasses,” Kroft remarks.

    Baxter International, which manufactures the Heparin given to the Quaid twins, was fully aware that there had been fatal mistakes that may have been caused by confusion over its labeling.

    When the three infants in Indianapolis died after receiving an adult dose, Baxter issued a nationwide safety alert and last October, began shipping Heparin with a redesigned, peel-off label to end the confusion. What it didn’t do was recall the old stock that was sitting in hospitals all over the country, including Cedars-Sinai in Los Angeles.

    “And as a result, our kids were given an old stock which was basically the same packaging and form that the kids in Indiana had gotten. Now, they recall toasters. They recall trucks. They recall dog food that came from China last year. But they don’t recall medicine that kills people if you give it in the wrong dosage,” Dennis Quaid tells Kroft.

    The Quaids believe that Baxter was the first link in a series of events that led to the overdosing of their infants and they’re suing the company for negligence on behalf of their children.

    Debra Bello, a senior director at Baxter, says there was nothing wrong with their product, and it wasn’t their fault. “One of the most important components of medication administration is to read the label, and not rely on color, shape or size,” she says.

    “You sent out this warning which mentions not to rely on the color but to read the label…and you redesigned it,” Kroft remarks. “When you designed this new vial, why didn’t you recall the old ones?”

    “The, these vials are given over 100,000 times each day, safely, effectively. But nothing replaces reading that drug before you administer it,” Bello says.

    Asked if the company didn’t think it was necessary to recall those drugs, Bello says, “No, because the product was safe and effective and the errors, as the hospital was acknowledged, were preventable and due to failures in their system.”

    That’s not in dispute. A California Department of Health Services investigation found that there had been at least three critical systems failures at Cedars-Sinai hospital, in which pharmacy technicians and nurses neglected to check the drugs they were distributing and administering. Thomas Priselac, the president and CEO of Cedars-Sinai, didn’t dispute the findings.

    “This was a preventable error. It was the result of human error,” Priselac says.

    “You’re talking about a situation here where you had three different people make a mistake,” Kroft points out.

    “Yes,” Priselac acknowledges.

    “What coulda been a fatal mistake. You got the people who put the wrong drug in the drawer. You got the people who picked it up and brought it to the floor. And you got the nurses that looked at it – or didn’t look at it – and put it in the IV line. Three people,” Kroft says.

    “Any time an error occurs, almost by definition, the unusual or the unexpected is what’s occurred. And certainly in this particular case, that’s what occurred,” Priselac says. “We have to make sure we have backup systems that pick up things when human error may occur to prevent that error from manifesting itself.”

    “But you had backup systems. You had three people,” Kroft remarks.

    “Right,” Priselac replies.

    “You haven’t sued the hospital even though they’re – all sorts of reports have been done and the hospital has acknowledged serious mistakes,” Kroft asks Dennis Quaid.

    “I’d like to see Cedar Sinai take the lead in doing something to change what’s going on in what I consider to, in the end, a broken healthcare system in patient medical care,” the actor says.

    Quaid calls it a conspiracy of silence, where doctors protect nurses, nurses protect hospitals, insurance companies protect drug manufacturers. Almost no one, he says, is aggressively trying to find ways to eliminate medical mistakes. So the Quaids are in the final stages of launching a foundation they hope will help remedy a situation that almost destroyed their lives.

    “You’re lucky,” Kroft remarks.

    “Yeah. Extremely lucky. And not a day goes by since then that I don’t think a day this ones changed for me, is that I don’t take a day for granted anymore ’cause if they hadn’t made it, there never woulda been another happy day, really,” he says.

    Since the Quaid incident, Baxter International has voluntarily recalled all supplies of Heparin from the market. It had nothing to do with the Quaids, but with possible contamination at a Chinese manufacturing facility that may have contributed to at least 19 deaths.

    MacDonald, by the way you live in Bangkok. Are you so used to the train going through the market that you didn’t enjoy the video? To us it seems not only incredible but a testament to the resilience of the Thais.

  3. MacDonald Says:

    TS.

    You can test your dumb-in-any-combination theories on the present White House occupants.

    The US should be eternally grateful to the Thai people; were it not for the Thai, Americans would no longer be able to boast of being the second-dumbest people on the planet, ceteris paribus.

  4. Truthseeker Says:

    MacDonald, are you reading our inquiry correctly? We very much admire the Thais for being so adaptable in this instance and we are asking you in all seriousness if you know about the background to this film clip. Why has the market spread across the tracks and how come they need to use space so frugally in Bangkok?

    On theories about dumbness and the Thais we know nothing and ventured none of any kind – we admire the Thais after this clip even more than previously, since we already recognized that Thai cuisine is one of the world’s very best. Why would you, living there, think the Thais dumb?

  5. MacDonald Says:

    Why would you, living there, think the Thais dumb?

    That’s why (-: The Thais will also endlessly re-elect whoever screws them hard enough, while feeling might clever about it.

    The story of the train is in all likelihood that in a crowded city like Bangkok it’s the only available space not owned by anybody. So the low-income Thais, always looking for a cheap or
    free-of-charge solution, put up their sheds and markets around the railway. Since nature abhors a vacuum and poor people are much more sociable than wealthy people – in fact wealth can be measured by the distance one keeps to one’s fellow human beings (and trains) – it’s only natural for them to crowd.

  6. MartinDKessler Says:

    Hi, I saw the front page article on Friday’s The Washington Post: “Vaccine Failure Is Setback in AIDS Fight”. Below is the address to find the article”
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2008/03/21/ST2008032101286.html

    The only thing I could tell from the article about how the “scientists” determined “infectiion” was using a Viral Load Test. They’ve been chasing a vaccine for 20 years and not surprisingly to me have come up with bupkis. The question I have is don’t you have to have a virus to have a vaccine? A letter to the Post would probably never be printed from a dissident point of view much less paid attention to.

  7. Truthseeker Says:

    Yes, it is hard to recall exactly why a vaccine will never be discovered… since the virus vaccinates against itself. For some reason they are apparently ignoring Anthony Fauci’s confirmation of this phenomenon, even though we have noted it on this blog. The Virus excites the production of antibodies against… the Virus, which then is reduced to vanishingly low levels. Why is not Fauci awarded the Nobel for this finding? Could it be that Robert Gallo discovered it first?

    Indeed, it is rather hard to understand why almost anything is not a vaccine, since anything+Virus = antibodies = reducti/on of Virus to vanishingly low levels.

    Perhaps one should get funding from the NIAID to develop beer as a vaccine, since beer+Virus=antibodies=reduction of Virus to vanishing point. Perhaps that would be considered too facetious, so one could suggest MSG, perhaps? This would presumably be welcome to Chinese restaurants in the forthcoming recessionary economy.

    Thai curry might be a good alternative, since the Thais not only know how to cook delightfully as noted above but curry is particularly good for the synapses in the brain, which is why India has a population of well over one billion but not one of them, we understand, has Alzheimers.

  8. MacDonald Says:

    They vaccinate against the virus using certain (snippets of) genes, but people still get “infected”. They can distinguish a false-positive from a true positive by testing for the parts of the “virus” they didn’t use in the vaccine.

    It’s one of the strongest indications that Perth is right in suspecting “HIV” is a composite, a lab artifact, rather than a single self-identical entity.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.


Bad Behavior has blocked 1245 access attempts in the last 7 days.