When Who Attacks?!

My sister and I were terribly bored yesterday, and wanted to find something to watch while bujoing. Because I can’t remember my Amazon password, finishing our The Americans binge was not an option. We were left with Netflix, and ultimately decided on A & E: When Patients Attack. The single episode of the show is billed as a documentary showcasing the tough work of private security at Queen Elizabeth Hospital.

In short, my sister and I were horrified. The first patient Security is called upon to deal with is an ambulatory patient who needs to go to the restroom, but refuses to use the bedpan provided by the hospital. In what appears to be a matter of minutes (although one can never really tell, given editing), the man is on the floor, pinned down by guards until police come. Seriously?! Why wouldn’t anyone permit this poor man to piss in a manner he found more conducive to the need – let alone give him any options? And why did hospital staff call on Security, who immediately escalated the situation?

Then we see a series of individuals seeking entrance to the hospital, but whose prior complaints and frequent-flyer status lead Security to believe no treatment is needed. Instead, these individuals are hanging out at the hospital because they are homeless and have nothing better to do. I could not understand why the first individual, Dean, was never offered some kind of volunteer position at the hospital. He clearly enjoyed being there and had no intention of leaving; why not give him a purpose and a sense of productivity while he is there? Queen Elizabeth Hospital went so far as to forbid one frequent-flyer, Frank, from returning for one year. In the updates at the end of the documentary, a caption revealed Frank died months after being banned. Do hospital staff still claim that he was not in need of treatment?

The final case that bugged my sister and I was a drunk woman with foot pain. Based on interviews from involved parties, it was easy to deduce that a nurse had done a brief interview with the patient. Because the patient was noisy and began to complain about wait times, Security was called to kick the patient out. The patient complained that no one had actually examined her foot, but staff claimed the examination was completed during the course of the interview. Really? No need for x-rays? No need to even take off the patient’s shoe and look at her foot? This vignette really illustrated the “merits” of socialized medicine!

If I were the attorney for Queen Elizabeth Hospital, I would never agree to the release of this documentary! And if I were a member of the staff, I would be absolutely mortified and ashamed!

Review: A Really Good Day

Yesterday I finished Ayelet Waldman’s A Really Good Day: How Microdosing Made a Mega Difference in My Mood, My Marriage, and My Life. Waldman, a former public defender, acquires a bottle of diluted LSD and studies its effect on her life. More rigorously, she provides daily updates in regard to influences – or a suspected influences – upon her mood, relationships, irritability, sleeplessness, productivity, and pain.


Waldman’s research is brave, in that LSD was categorized as a Schedule I drug by Congress and President Nixon in 1970. The Controlled Substances Act clamped down on legal access to the drug. It wasn’t until 1994 that the FDA gave approval for human testing regarding psychedelic drugs again. Yet, many are still reluctant to experiment with LSD, even if authorized to do so by the federal government and internal review boards.

The War on Drugs’ propaganda regarding LSD and other psychedelics is noted throughout the book, as is unfortunate consequences. Waldman considers, for example, that MDMA was regularly used by psychiatrists in the 1990s with very positive results. In one experiment, 83% of research subjects that obtained MDMA and talk therapy to resolve PTSD were cured after two sessions. The cure rate for those receiving a placebo? Only 25%. Importantly, the effects lasted long after MDMA was flushed from the subjects’ systems. Presumably, MDMA could be helpful to other PTSD sufferers, including veterans.

Certainly, Waldman notes that drugs are not without negatives. Although LSD has a remarkably low toxicity level, it occasionally led to sleeplessness and agitation. MDMA can indirectly lead to death, if people fail to take proper precautions. Nevertheless, Waldman astutely recognizes that even SSRIs (prescribed to approximately 10% of those in the United States) are not without risks. But not for the law, why not experiment in order to learn more about whether certain Schedule I drugs may offer benefits that outweigh the risks – and the alternatives?

Aside from being uncomfortable about appearing to endorse Waldman’s illegal activity, I found the book fascinating, and even encouraging. No, I would not personally take illicit drugs, nor would I advise anyone to do so. Yet, I would ask that the federal government and researchers be more forthcoming regarding the positives of certain chemical substances and determine whether they could be used for the benefit of those who suffer.


Stunting Growth

Earlier this week, the New York Times published a story about the increasing usage of “the Ashley treatment.” Such a procedure is not really “treatment,” at least in terms of ameliorating the symptoms of disease, but instead a variety of medical procedures designed to stunt the growth of children with disabilities. Not only did the eponymous Ashley have her stature permanently reduced; her parents also opted for her to undergo a hysterectomy and removal of her breast buds.

I’m horrified that author Genevieve Field actually asks the titular question: “Should parents of children with severe disabilities be allowed to stop their growth?” The question should not be up for public debate, especially in a supposedly post-eugenic society. Whether or not a child is disabled, that child still has the rights to dignity, bodily integrity, and eventual autonomy.

Parents that have sought out the Ashley treatment – at least 65, according to the Times article – attempt to differentiate their disabled children from non-disabled children. The more sane parents tend to argue that it will be difficult to take care of their children as they age into adult bodies. They believe that keeping their children miniaturized will lead to better care. Yet, does size have more effect on quality of life for the disabled party or the caregiver? I have not seen any studies indicating a correlation between physical size and decreased quality of living. I have, however, witnessed caregivers bitching about having to turn and lift anything lighter than a feather. Thus, it’s hard for me to ignore sinister undertones of selfishness and convenience on the part of decision-making parents.

Remember, I called those the parents on the sane end of the spectrum. At least they are capable of rational thought. Some parents also talk about their desire to keep their children just that – perpetual children. One mother, named Nancy – who, of course, chooses to withhold her last name – told Field, that her daughter “needs to be in our laps for our whole life.” I wouldn’t want to be within 10 feet of a sicko like Nancy!

What happens when Nancy and other parents pass away? Are they so codependent with their children that they will end up murdering the child and committing suicide before natural death can run its course? Hey, growth-attenuation is a pretty big deviation from the moral norm, why not go ahead and commit murder, too?

Instead of focusing on why their children are different, I wish these parents would treat their disabled children as they retreat any other child. Yes, they should be nurtured. But they should also be permitted to grow, physically, as well as intellectually and emotionally.