Friday, April 26, 2013

Be A Hero, Donate Blood

Did you know that 700 blood donors are needed every day just to meet the needs of patients in the fifty-eight Arizona hospitals dependent upon United Blood Services?

In emergency situations, it’s the blood on the shelves that saves lives. Your donation could save a family member, a friend or a neighbor. Donors of all blood types are needed, especially O-negative, the universal blood that can be substituted for all other types in emergencies.

To make an appointment to donate blood, call 1-877-UBS-HERO (1-877-827-4376) toll free or search by zip code online. Find the Hero in You.. and chill out. It's not like you're getting a THORacotomy.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

A Woman Of Means

With my nose to the pavement and my lantern lighting my search for a few honest men, I discovered something else - a honest woman. Regardless of what the good Dr. Dicksheet may have thought, there are just as many honest women as there are honest men to be found. However, this is the first woman that I've spotlighted on The Cynical Pharmacist.

And that honest woman is Dr. Roseanna Means, a practicing Internist in the Boston area.

Dr. Means observed that homeless women were underrepresented at the clinics she worked at and learned that using traditional health care access venues, even when staffed by doctors trained in caring for the homeless, is overwhelming for women impaired by exhaustion, mental illness and fear.

Consequently, in 1999, Dr. Means founded Women of Means, a group sending volunteer physicians into shelters to provide care where the women feel safest.

Since that time, Women of Means has grown from a single physician enterprise to an established presence in the medical landscape of Boston area shelters. Today, a team of volunteer doctors and paid nurses, representing all of the major Boston teaching hospitals, selflessly provide free medical care throughout the Greater Boston area.

Dr. Means, and the Women of Means, mission is to improve the lives of women and families who are homeless or marginally housed through quality health care, education, and advocacy.

Guided by a determination to address and improve health disparities by those who suffer severe and complex socio-economic conditions, Women of Means meets its mission by giving vulnerable women and families the "means" toward self sufficiency through improved health and health literacy.

The world is a much better place with people like Dr. Means and her team in it sharing their humanity. But, don't just take my word for it. Watch this CBS Evening News presentation about her -

Source: Boston doctor's kindness helps save homeless

Friday, April 19, 2013

Angel Of Death | 60 Minutes

In his first television appearance, "Angel of Death" serial killer nurse Charles Cullen tells Steve Kroft of 60 Minutes he is sorry for murdering scores of patients, but he isn't sure he would have stopped if he hadn't been caught.

Cullen is the first serial killer to appear on 60 Minutes in its 45 years on the air and though he says he murdered between 30 and 40 victims on his confession tape -- portions of which will be broadcast for the first time -- some suspect he killed many more. Cullen's interview and the first interviews with key figures in his arrest will be broadcast on 60 Minutes Sunday, April 21 at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

From The Beginning | An Ending

It's hard to believe I've been writing this pharmacy blog for two years now. And you know what?

It's also been two years since I've last worked in a pharmacy. After I quit my last job, I told everyone that I was finished working as a pharmacist. Of course they didn't believe me, and even in the back of my own mind, perhaps I didn't really fully believe it myself. It was very difficult walking away from a lucrative position, but I did it.. and I'm glad I did. I live a MUCH happier life now.

But now that I'm out of it, I'm not sure how long I can continue writing about pharmacy.

Logically, if someone is not working in the profession, that person can't fully understand what's going on and offer credible views and opinions. Plus, as time goes on, I don't really care what happens with pharmacy either. Pharmacy is quickly becoming a part of my past, and I'm losing interest in it.

So, while I'm thankful for the people who've been reading my blog from the beginning, understand that I'm probably going to be writing less frequently, less about pharmacy, and more about human nature, crime, ethics, morality, safe sex, politics, or any other unusual crapola that interests me personally.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

In God We Trust

It's always after the fact. Can you imagine spending 25 years working for, and enabling, the person who committed the largest financial fraud ever perpetrated (for now), and not even being aware of it?

Premiering at the 2013 Tribeca Film Festival on April 17-28, In God We Trust follows Bernard Madoff's personal secretary, Eleanor Squillari, in the days after the world discovered his dark secret.

Reframing the conversation around Madoff’s case through the story of one woman’s insatiable search for the truth, directors Derek Anderson and Victor Kubicek present Squillari’s findings, and Squillari herself, in this highly personal take on the financial crisis. Here's the trailer -

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

The Big Club | Corporatocracy

And there is it - just like long-serving Independent Senator from Vermont, Bernie Sanders predicted, that many investigative journalists and former Government insiders have reported, and that comedian and social critic George Carlin described years ago - the corporations control America.

President Barack Obama has proposed changes in his 2014 fiscal year budget that cut our Medicare and Social Security benefits. Like George said, "it's a big club, and we ain't in it" | "and now they're coming for your social security money" | "they want your fucking retirement money".

Monday, April 8, 2013

Arizona's "Stupid Motorist Law"

Strange day in the Valley today. Nice cool weather for a change. It would be nice to be able to open the windows and doors in order to enjoy the cooler weather, but it's also extremely windy. The air is inundated with dust and dirt.. making it a great day to contract Valley Fever though.

But, luckily it's starting to rain.. but not heavily enough to break out the big guitars to warn everyone just yet. Warn for what? Flash floods. Flash floods can occur in Arizona with no rain in sight. A storm that's miles away can produce rushing water that can quickly take you by surprise.

Every time it rains in the Valley, you can bet that they'll be a news report of some stupid driver trying to cross a flooded wash. Flash floods are a very real danger in Arizona. Some people even lose their lives because they are taken off guard by storms or rushing floodwaters. It's such a serious problem here that Arizona has created it's own "Stupid Motorist Law".

Rainy days can be dangerous, so be careful out there mmkay? But, don't just take my word for it.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Dealing With People From The Dark Side

I was reading the recent sad DEA news release and the ABC News report, New York Doctor Charged as Head of $10 Million Oxycodone Ring. According to an excerpt from the ABC News report -
Investigators said 41 members of Pennsylvania "drug crews" were among those arrested in connection with the case. Officers seized a total of 28 firearms from them. "The firearms recovered in this case also highlight how the gun violence associated with cocaine and heroin trafficking is now the muscle in the illegal oxycodone trade,"..
Of course, I'm always intrigued with these type of criminal schemes and what could possibly possess educated, responsible, well-paid, white-collar healthcare professionals already living comfortable lives, to embrace the dark side of human nature? Is greed that powerful of a force?

Although I often share news reports about the [allegedly in this case] failings of those who've taken an oath to do no harm, I thought it was important to point out this one case to remind us that visiting the dark side requires dealing with people who've spent their entire lives in the dark side, and who are seriously darker than we could ever think of being.

It's not only having to worry about the risks of getting caught by the police, convicted in a court of law, and serving long prison sentences often associated with turning to the dark side. There's also the more serious risks and consequences that come from dealing with the shady people that we enlist to help us perpetrate our unethical and illegal schemes. They're not the soft, white-collar criminal types.

Some of these people are hardened violent criminal psychopaths.

Would you trust them with your life? For instance -

Do you remember Michael J. Kerkowski, a pharmacist who in the early 2000s ran afoul of the law by selling controlled substances to drug users and others without prescriptions? In order to perpetrate his crimes, Kerkowski enlisted convicted criminals Hugo Selenski and Paul Weakly to enable him, under the mistaken assumption that they were unconditionally trustworthy.

But Weakly and Kerkowski had other plans. They decided that even more money could be made by torturing, robbing, and murdering Kerkowski (and his unwitting girlfriend), taking the illegal profits for themselves, and then burying their bodies in his back yard. Pretty gruesome, huh? And now, over ten years later, the courts are still trying to convict Selenski for their murders.

And then there was the pharmacist whose schemes for buying stolen prescription drugs caused him to become a victim of one of America's most-prolific serial killers, Richard Kuklinski: The Iceman, a psychopath whose violent crimes paralleled those of America's first known serial killer.

Paul Hoffman, a pharmacist, was suckered into a scheme to buy stolen Tagamet® for pennies on the dollar from Kuklinski when he disappeared in the spring of 1982. Kuklinski never really had the stolen drugs and murdered Hoffman after he showed-up with the cash. A year later, his car was found in the rented warehouse that Kuklinski used for his car theft racket. Hoffman’s body was never found.

Kuklinski later confessed to this murder [begins at minute 27:50 of documentary], saying he first shot Hoffman but that he didn’t die immediately, so he finished him off by using a tire iron. He then shoved Hoffman’s body into a 55-gallon drum and left it near Harry's Corner Luncheonette, in New Jersey. He periodically checked on the drum to see if had been discovered, and eventually it disappeared.

So, now that we're reading more reports of firearms and underworld "muscle" being involved in what were formerly simple white-collar crimes of healthcare fraud, is taking a short visit to the dark side and entrusting the people you'll find there worth the risk? How much is enough? Be happy with what you've got and don't turn on the people who trust you with their lives, or it may just happen to you.

Friday, April 5, 2013

Hands-Only CPR

Hands-Only CPR is CPR without mouth-to-mouth breaths. It is recommended for use by people who see a teen or adult suddenly collapse in an “out-of-hospital” setting (such as at home, at work, at the park, in a gym, or while at the IRS). And it consists of two easy steps:

1. Call 9-1-1 (or send someone to do that).
2. Push hard and fast in the center of the chest.

Take 60 seconds and hustle to learn how Hands-Only CPR can help save a life.

Source: American Heart Association Hands-Only CPR