Saturday, July 30, 2011

I Have A Secret

Seren only runs from what she is most afraid of, her father. Scared that she may face the wrath of one of his outbursts she heads to somewhere she feels safe, a playhouse that once saw better days in a shaded forest. When Seren falls asleep her imagination transports her to a magical fantasyland where she re-lives her stolen childhood. Just as all dreams have to end, Seren will finally have to return to reality.

I Have a Secret - Short film from Chris Newman on Vimeo.

Phoenix police: Dead girl in footlocker tortured; 4 arrested.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Don't Let The Economy Get You Down

It's a tough economy and people are doing whatever they have to in order to provide for their families. But, new pharmacy graduates have it a little easier than most and don't need to take drastic actions. It's not as bad as often perceived. Don't let your fears get the best of you and lead you to make poor employment decisions.

[Original video remove by author]

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Introducing George

This friendly fellow is George. He lives in San Francisco's Mission District. George likes living the clean life. According to him, he has no plans to relocate into the Remission District.

Self-Diagnosis from Alexander Jorgensen on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

There Is No Magic Pill

What's a responsible provider to do when everyone believes a pill will cure all of their ills? There's no doubt that DTC pharmaceutical advertising and drug spam works my friends.

Magic Pill from Liam Upton on Vimeo.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Diogenes of Sinope

A modern take on Diogenes of Sinope, the ancient Greek philosopher and father of cynicism.

[Sorry, originally posted video removed from Vimeo]

Source: Diogenes by M.D. Usher

Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Illusion Of Politics

Hmm.. seems like I've seen all of this recent political rhetoric somewhere before.

Judging by the many hostile political tweets that I've read lately, I guess there are still those who believe that the political process is not fully corrupt, believe that they are actually part of that process, and that one political party is better than another. They haven't yet figured out that we're all puppets, dancing on the ends of strings held by our corporate owners.

Many good people, just like you and me, still believe in the illusion of politics. The unfortunate part of this illusion is that it always fosters conflict, hate, and inevitable violence. And who benefits from this conflict? Not the people killing each other. Only the corporations pulling our strings and profiting from our mistaken belief that we're actually creating change.

About Taxes from wreckandsalvage on Vimeo.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Zero Degrees Of Empathy

Ever wonder why people do such evil things? Here's a new theory - it's about six degrees of empathy. University of Cambridge Psychologist, Simon Baron-Cohen, author of Zero Degrees of Empathy: A New Theory of Human Cruelty, presents a new way of understanding what it is that leads individuals down negative paths, and challenges all of us to consider replacing the idea of evil with the idea of empathy-erosion.

Source: The RSA

Thursday, July 21, 2011

The Perils Of Obedience

Have you ever experienced being an unwitting participant in the Milgram experiment at work? If you've been practicing pharmacy for any length of time, I'd bet you've experienced being at both ends.

One similarity that I've noticed in all of the different aspects of pharmacy practice in which I've worked over the years, is that many pharmacists are given supervisory or management positions without ever having had any education, training or prior experience in management.

In many of these instances, the pharmacists seeking these positions do so only in order to escape the absurdity that comes with working the front lines of pharmacy, or because they are unable or incapable of working the front lines for an extended period of time.

And why is that a bad thing? Because, IMO, it perpetuates a problem.

As Milgram points out - ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process.

Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work become patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority. They just can't seem to say that one simple word - "No".

I've seen many newly licensed, untrained, or inexperienced pharmacist managers blindly follow the same absurd, corrupt, or reckless orders of their superiors - the same orders they hated when they were working the pharmacy front lines - out of fear of losing their jobs or for fear of being transferred back to the front lines, where they can't cope.

And so, the vicious cycle of abuse continues.

Is there an absolute solution to the problem? Of course not. Each individual pharmacist will have to decide their own actions for themselves.

However, it is my opinion that Milgram's book, Obedience to Authority: An Experimental View, should be required reading for every pharmacist considering a supervisory or managerial position.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bad Science

Author of the Guardian’s weekly ”Bad Science” column and Bad Science: Quacks, Hacks, and Big Pharma Flacks, British physician Ben Goldacre dismantles the questionable science behind an assortment of drug trials, court cases, and events of our time.

Ben Goldacre Talks Bad Science from PopTech on Vimeo.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Cynics Are Born, Not Made

I think many of my readers have made the assumption that my experiences being screwed as a pharmacist for so long are what led me to be a cynic. But, that's not true. I've been cynical as long as I can remember. It's just gotten worse and more apparent with age.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Enemies Of The People

Right after the war in Vietnam ended, the ultra-communist group known as the Khmer Rouge took over leadership of Vietnam's neighboring country, Cambodia.

The Khmer Rouge period (1975–1979) refers to the rule of Pol Pot, Nuon Chea, Ieng Sary, Son Sen, Khieu Samphan and the Khmer Rouge Communist party over Cambodia, which the Khmer Rouge renamed as Democratic Kampuchea.

The Khmer Rouge subjected Cambodia to a radical social reform process that was aimed at creating a purely agrarian-based Communist society. They attempted to rebuild the country's agriculture on the model of the 11th century, discarded Western medicine, and destroyed temples, libraries, and anything considered Western. The city-dwellers were deported to the countryside, where they were combined with the local population and subjected to forced labor, or sent to the Killing Fields.

About two-million Cambodians are estimated to have died in waves of murder, torture, and starvation, aimed particularly at the educated and intellectual elite. It has also been estimated that, in a country of over seven-million people at that time, only four physicians and seven pharmacists survived (pdf) the genocide.

The Khmer Rouge slaughtered nearly one-third of the population in the late 1970s. Yet the Killing Fields of Cambodia remain largely unexplained. That is until now.

Enter Thet Sambath, an unassuming, yet cunning, investigative journalist who lost his family in the conflict and spent a decade gaining the trust of the men and women who perpetrated the massacres. From the foot soldiers who slit the throats of men, women, and children to Pol Pot's right-hand man, the notorious Brother Number Two, Sambath and co-director Rob Lemkin record shocking testimony never before seen or heard, in Enemies of the People.

The full version of Enemies of the People can be watched for free until 08/12/2011 on the PBS Video, POV website. Here's the trailer -

Saturday, July 9, 2011

Are You An Automaton?

One of the unfortunate things about life is that one gets caught up in the enthusiasm of work in the rush to become rich or feel important to others. We always want to "win", to beat the other guy, no matter the potential consequences of our actions. It's only as one gets older and reflects on our past decisions, when we realize our errors in judgment.

I wonder how different the world would be if we reflected beforehand, while we're still young, and didn't follow the herd, didn't blindly follow orders, and didn't become an automaton?

We can do it if we live below our means, avoid debt, keep a well-funded emergency fund, save a significant portion of our earnings, and invest wisely. These simple steps will empower us to say "no" when presented with difficult decisions that could negatively affect ourselves, our loved ones, our peers, and any other innocent victims - and keep us from going down the path to the dark side of healthcare.

Automatons from wreckandsalvage on Vimeo.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Valley Fever Watch

After yesterday's haboob, you're probably at a greater risk for coming down with Valley Fever. Most infections are minor and don't present with any serious symptoms, but it can be deadly for some people, especially those who are immunocompromised.

So, if you happen to come down with a cough, fever or flu-like symptoms within the next few weeks, make sure to ask your provider to consider it a potential cause.

Source: Mary Ellen Resendez

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

My Support Group

Posting might be a little light this week while I meet with my support group. I know that you want to read more about the dark side, but don't become upset over such a little thing.

Small Penis from Espen Hobbesland on Vimeo.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Where's The Safest Hospital Located?

Nope, it's not Johns Hopkins in Baltimore, it's also not the Mayo Clinic located in Rochester, nor Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston. It's not even considered one of the top fifty hospitals in the country. According to U.S. News & World Report, it's not even the number-one ranked hospital in it's own home State.

The safest hospital in America is Denver Health Medical Center, located in the great State of Colorado. According to a June 30th PBS NewsHour report, it has the lowest mortality rate of any academic medical center in the U.S., and sets the bar for patient safety.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Calgon, Take Me Away

The American Medical Association (AMA) has recently called for federal legislation against synthetic substances, like those found in bath salts (pdf), that can cause psychotic hallucinations and even death. Bath salts are abused as recreational drugs typically by injection, smoking, and snorting, and the AMA wants sales to stop before anyone else dies.

But, should the government be banning every drug that has the potential for abuse? Will that stop the seemly growing problem of drug abuse? Should the healthcare profession be held responsible for the people who abuse drugs? I have ambivalent feelings about this topic.

Of course, I'd like for people to quit abusing drugs and destroying their health, to stop getting foolishly sucked into the vicious cycle of addiction, and then committing crimes to enable and perpetuate that addiction. I'm also for preventing drug abuse in children and teens who aren't capable of making adult decisions.

But, I also believe we can't control all of the choices adults make, and at some point, they must eventually be held responsible for their own actions. Parents should also be the ones held responsible for educating and supervising their children about drug abuse, not government, not teachers, and not the healthcare industry. We can help in prevention and treatment, but we shouldn't be the ones considered responsible for their actions.

As history has also consistently proven, the world will never run out of unethical people and criminals seeking to exploit anyone in order to line their own pockets.

Here's the problem I see with designer drugs - Always on the hunt for ways to skirt laws, makers of these designer drugs try to stay one step ahead of laws and law enforcement. By the time laws are written against the production of such drugs, the perpetrators have switched the formulation and morphed their synthetic drugs into something new.

How can you put a stop to that? Escalate the war on drugs? Harshly allow nature to take its course?

What do you think about this topic? What's your opinion about synthetic drug abuse? Can it be stopped, and who should be held responsible for fixing the problem?