Vignettes in Medical History (Winter 2002)



Author: Lawrence A. Dunegan, MD
Article Type: Editorial
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


When my high school chemistry teacher wanted us to remember an especially important point he used to say: "Print this across the horizon of your mind in letters of fire six feet high." Now I ask you to print across the horizon of your mind this observation by Rev. Keith A. Fournier who, among other distinctions, was the first executive director of the American Center for Law and Justice: "Verbal engineering precedes legal, political, cultural and social engineering."(1) Additionally he said, "As a lawyer I have fought for years for human and civil rights. I know the power of words." [Emphasis added.] Lawyers generally do understand the power of words better than we physicians do; it is time for us to work at catching up. I felt compelled to write on the role of propaganda in changing...




Author: Edward R. Annis, MD
Article Type: Feature Article
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


We are at war --- an unconventional war. I am not referring to our nation's war against the terrorists --- no. I am referring to war as described by Webster as being in a state of forceful opposition. It has been carried on for a number of years, slowly, craftily and by surreptitious incrementalism with such success that most doctors fail to realize its true origins or the sources of its present strength. In the 1920s, England had a group of primarily wealthy heirs, writers and self-styled intellectuals who founded the Fabian Society, its aim to transform Britain into a socialist society. They were the authors of permeation which purpose was to infiltrate major political parties so that socialistic programs could be implemented no matter which party was in power. Shortly thereafter the...




Author: Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: Feature Article
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Since the fall of the Western Roman Empire, there have been three major bubonic plague epidemics, which afflicted large segments of the population in the continuous Eurasian landmass and North Africa. Death quickly followed the trade routes of the times. The death toll is almost incomprehensible. The Plague of Justinian (6th Century A.D.), the Black Death (14th Century A.D.), and the Bubonic Plague (1665-1666, which coincided with the Great Fire of London) caused an estimated 137 million dead in a world much more sparsely populated than it is today. To make matters even worse, one must also remember that these pestilences assailed and ravaged mankind at a time when the average life span was short --- less than two decades during the Middle Ages. Survival to age five was a miracle not only...




Author: Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: Feature Article
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


The word hygiene comes from Hygeia, the Greek goddess of health (photo, below), who was the daughter of Aesculapius, the god of medicine. Since the advent of the Industrial Revolution (c.1750-1850) and the discovery of the germ theory of disease in the second half of the nineteenth century, hygiene and sanitation have been at the forefront of the struggle against illness and disease.(1) Together with the great strides made in improvements in the standards of living provided by free market capitalism, economic freedom, and the advances in scientific medicine --- hygiene and sanitation have resulted in unprecedented longevity, concomitant with markedly improved quality of life in the last century and a half of medical history. Thanks to these advances, senior citizens, particularly...




Author: Edward J. Harshman, MD, MBA
Article Type: Commentary
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Autism, the cognitive disorder of extreme social withdrawal, living in one's own world, has no proven etiology. Current theories include neurotransmitter imbalance, improper nutrition, and genetic predisposition. While these theories do partially explain autism, parental behavior has been generally overlooked. Autism is associated with firstborn children, with boys, and with unusually good looks. It is also becoming more common in our society. Autistic people often seem preoccupied with spinning objects or with making themselves spin. No known genetic or infectious process preferentially affects firstborn children. But firstborns often receive different treatment from their parents than do their younger siblings. Inexperienced parents, specifically parents of one young child, are more...




Author: Jaroslav J. Marik, MD
Article Type: Correspondence
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Dear Editors, Medical malpractice has reached the crisis stage in many parts of the country. It is not the first time. I remember when California physicians organized in 1975 because of the tremendous increase in medical liability premiums. That action was a radical step and had a significant impact. The insurance premiums, which were supposed to go sky high and as a matter of fact were for a number of years the highest in the country, stabilized somewhere in the middle. Physicians should have learned that the only way we are going to be heard is to stop being passive victims and start defending ourselves. The current reasons cited for the medical liability crisis are runaway jury awards and the filing of frivolous, non-meritorious lawsuits. Discussions with involved parties, politicians...




Author: Compiled by Medical Sentinel Editors
Article Type: News Capsules
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Academic Fraud Examples of academic fraud continue to emanate from the ivory towers of academia attempting to subvert government policy against the public interest and potentially harming the unwary public. The damming case of Michael Bellesiles, who attempted to prove that hunting with guns and gun ownership were rare in America before 1830, perpetrated academic fraud of gigantic proportions on both the annals of sociology and history. Now we read in the Los Angeles Times that a prominent Bell Labs physicist was fired for faking data on microprocessors. Jan Hendrik Schon's work was said to be poised "to revolutionize his field" in the area of superconductivity and molecular-scale electronics. Instead, a panel of scientists found that the scientist had falsified experiments and...




Author: Robert R. Urban, MD
Article Type: President's Page
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Recently, I attended the 59th annual meeting of the AAPS in Tucson, Arizona. As always, it gave me a surge of energy, like a shot of adrenaline, as it has done on every such occasion. But this time, it was even more evident, and I was not the only one so affected. At first, I thought it was because of the increased attendance over that of recent years, but by the second day, I sensed a renewed spirit in the attendees --- one that I had not felt before. This new perception prevailed in spite of the increasing harassment and abuse of physicians by our government and the insurance industry. Indeed, the developing police state mentality, including the current threat to our long cherished belief in patient/physician confidentiality, should have sent a dismal cloud of depression over the...




Author: Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: Editor's Corner
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


          The role of gun violence and street crime in the United States and the world is currently a subject of great debate among national and international organizations, including the United Nations. Because the Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the individual right of American citizens to own private firearms, availability of firearms is greater in the U.S. than the rest of the world, except perhaps in Israel and Switzerland. The Bogeyman --- 'Easy' Gun Availability Nevertheless, many individuals and organizations, particularly the American Medical Association (AMA) and the American public health establishment are concerned about the number of gun deaths in the U.S. --- 30,000 average deaths annually in the past decade,...




Author: Curtis W. Caine, MD
Article Type: The Constitution - Plain and Simple
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


As you know, the Preamble to the Constitution of these United States reads: We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America. To make plain our understanding, allow me to rearrange the phrases thus: We....ordain(1) and establish THIS Constitution in 1787 because a change is necessary to: (1) form a more perfect Union of American States (the Union was so far from perfect under the Articles of Confederation and Perpetual Union from 1776 to 1787 that a convention was called to amend them)(2,3); (2) establish Justice in...




Author: Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: Report from the States
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


The State of Oregon has an initiative on the ballot, "Health Care for All Oregonians," that is causing proponents and opponents to line up. The measure, if it passes, would establish a taxpayer-subsidized single payer system of medical care --- fully socialized medicine in Oregon. Writing in WorldNetDaily.com, Jon Dougherty (September 29, 2002) reports: "The Oregon initiative, called 'Health Care for All Oregonians' and embodied in a ballot proposition called Measure 23, promises 'access to affordable quality health care for all Oregon residents through a comprehensive plan providing payment for medically necessary health services,' according to a summary of information posted online by ballot organizers. "But critics are warning state residents not to be fooled by ambiguous language and...




Author: Doug Fiedor
Article Type: Report from the States
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


Vermont Governor Howard Dean says that he asked Hillary if she planned to run for president in 2004. "Senator Clinton is not going to be running, and she told me so," Dean said. Howard Dean is term limited as Governor of Vermont. This is his last term and he has his eye on the presidency. Then we learn that Dean just barely squeaked by in the last election, winning just fifty percent of the vote. No matter, he'll need a new job and, unless Hillary runs, the Democrats need a liberal to run for president. Washington will not run out of liberals anytime soon... So, it stands to reason they will have to find another relatively unknown candidate, like Clinton was the first time. And Howard Dean, M.D. fills that prescription perfectly. He's young enough to survive a campaign, far left enough...




Author: Kristopher McGee, MS-3
Article Type: Student Reflection
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


A natural right to health care does not and cannot exist. A bogus legal "right" to health care, which can only be established under threat of force, would ultimately mean the destruction of the objective science of medicine. Rights, as most thoroughly illuminated by the seventeenth century English philosopher John Locke, are moral principles defining and sanctioning a man's freedom of action in a social context. Lockean rights are natural and negative. Man has rights as he has reason, free will, and an opposable thumb --- by his very nature as a human being. Rights are attributes of man. In Thomas Jefferson's formulation, men are endowed with certain inalienable rights. Rights are negative in that they impose no positive obligation on the part of anyone else. They are rights to act --- to...




Author: Miguel A. Faria, Jr., MD
Article Type: Debunking Pseudoscience
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


"There is a worrying trend in academic medicine which equatesstatistics with science, and sophistication in quantitative procedurewith research excellence. The corollary of this trend is a tendency to look for answers to medical problems from people with expertise in mathematical manipulation and information technology, rather than from people with an understanding of disease and its causes. "Epidemiology [is a] main culprit, because statistical malpractice typically occurs when complex analytical techniques are combined with large data sets. The mystique of mathematics blended with the bewildering intricacies of big numbers makes a potent cocktail...." - Bruce G. Charlton, M.D. University of Newcastle upon Tyne, 1996 In February 2002, a Harvard School of Public Health study was published...




Author: Reviewed by Jerome C. Arnett, Jr., MD
Article Type: Book Review
Issue: Winter 2002
Volume Number: 7
Issue Number: 4


There are three kinds of lies - lies, damned lies, and statistics. Mark Twain Junk science is the abuse of science by health scare con artists. It is fraud perpetrated to advance a special interest, or more likely, a political agenda. Junk science hurts us all, causing a significant negative impact on the quality of our life. For example, during the early 1990s a massive cholera outbreak in Latin America caused 10,000 deaths as a result of countries refusing to use chlorine to disinfect water supplies because of the labeling of chlorine as a carcinogen by the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).(1) Likewise, millions of people die every year because DDT cannot be used against the mosquitos that cause malaria. Steven J. Milloy, a scholar at the Cato Institute, in his...



It is now legend the AAPS legally lanced the secret task force and pulled its secrets...into the sunshine. It destoyed the Health Security Act.


The Oath of Hippocrates
and the Transformation of Medical Ethics Through Time


Patients within a managed care system have the illusion there exists a doctor-patient relationship...But in reality, it is the managers who decide how medical care will be given.


Judicial activism...the capricious rule of man rather than the just rule of law.


The largest single problem facing American medicine today is the actions of government...


The lessons of history sagaciously reveal wherever governments have sought to control medical care and medical practice...the results have been as perverse as they have been disastrous.


Children are the centerpiece of the family, the treasure (and renewal) of countless civilizations, but they should not be used flagrantly to advance political agendas...


Prejudice against gun ownership by ordinary citizens is pervasive in the public health community, even when they profess objectivity and integrity in their scientific research.


The infusion of tax free money into the MSA of the working poor give this population tax equity with wealthier persons...


It was when Congress started dabbling in constitutionally forbidden activities that deficit spending produced a national debt!


Does the AMA have a secret pact with HCFA?


The lure of socialism is that it tells the people there is nothing they cannot have and that all social evils will be redressed by the state.


Canada's fatal error — Health Care as a Right!


The Cancer Risk from Low Level Radiation: A Review of Recent Evidence...


...Moreover, the gun control researchers failed to consider and underestimated the protective benefits of firearms.


Vandals at the Gates of Medicine — Have They Been Repulsed or Are They Over the Top?