Thursday, January 31, 2008

When religion and mental health collide

About 2.5 years ago, while Tom Cruise was jumping the couch and claiming only [his] religion had the cure/treatment for mental illness, a 23 year old Romanian nun was killed because a priest also thought his religion was the only way to save her. That priest, Daniel Corogeanu, has finally started to serve his sentence for killing Irina Cornici.

The nun had been admitted to a psychiatric hospital in April of 2005, given medication for treatment and released to the care of the Holy Trinity Convent with instructions to follow up for continued treatment 10 days post discharge. Apparently, without continued treatment and appropriate medical care she decompensated so the priest and 4 nuns decided that instead of ensuring she received much needed medical attention that she needed, their religion provided a better answer: exorcism. The young nun was bound to a cross, gagged with a towel and left to die of suffocation and dehydration.

Much to their credit, the Orthodox Church condemned the actions of the priest and nuns and had them all defrocked. They have also promised to perform psychological testing on potential clergy.

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Sunday, January 27, 2008

Blame Canada

Via Raw Story, this sounds more like an episode of South Park, alas it is real news from Texas.

Long derogated as weak-kneed liberals with lax laws and funny monopoly money, Canadians have carried a negative connotation in certain regions of America – but not as a replacement for the N-word.

Earlier this week a columnist with the Houston Chronicle uncovered an email from Harris County assistant district attorney Mike Trent who, in a congratulatory note to a junior prosecutor, used the word "Canadians" to describe blacks on a jury.

Trent wrote of the prosecutor in a 2003 email: "He overcame a subversively good defence by Matt Hennessey that had some Canadians on the jury feeling sorry for the defendant and forced them to do the right thing." [Toronto Star]

There were, of course, no Canadians on the jury but the DA claims he thought there were Canadians on the jury and had no idea the word was a racial slur. The fact the word isn't a racial slur and that we should not now think that its use in indicative of one does not exonerate the DA. Without knowing some people now use the word as a slur, anyone with a cognitive skills would be left scratching their head at the reference to Canadians on this jury or them feeling sorry for the defendant and rightfully guess he was using another word to hide what he was saying. I guess it's now only a matter of before someone gets nailed with a harassment suit at work for saying something about Canadians.

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Thursday, January 10, 2008

but they're still suing Baxter

Anyone who knows me personally knows I'm pretty much disgusted by my own industry these days, so for me to take an unpopular approach in defending a manufacturer may be surprising to some. This being said, I noticed that Dennis Quaid and his wife are now on the warpath against Cedars-Sinai over the horrific and easily preventable heparin overdose their newborn twins received shortly after they were born. The Quaids decided to sue Baxter, the product manufacturer, but not the hospital as they hospital had acknowledged the error and were apologetic about the error. Now, I understand that, despite having color coded labels to differentiate between doses, there have been quite a few errors in dosing with heparin that have lead to some really bad outcomes and agree that, wherever possible, a manufacturer and regulatory agencies should do what they can to to help ensure weary healthcare workers don't make mistakes. That being said, when the news of the lawsuit against Baxter was announced I thought the suit was ill-conceived and a wrong-headed approach.

The human error involved in the overdose of the Quaid twins was human error that was easily preventable times 2. Human error was made when the higher concentration vials of heparin were delivered to a pediatric unit and then compounded when the healthcare provider using the vials apparently didn't bother to look at them prior to dosing the infants. As such, it is fully possible that the error would have been made regardless of any action or change to labeling by the manufacturer. Even pedigreeing was in place and Cedars had bar-coded the vials and so the vials be scanned prior to use to track the use of the vials, it's still likely that a rushed healthcare provider may well dose a patient and then scan/check the vial label.

The latest news is that the Quaid twins actually received twice the overdose than originally reported. The Quaid family is understandably pissed off at this discovery and, since this is a true case of overt negligence by hospital staff , a malpractice suit against Cedars is warranted. It is now apparent that t
he twins would have been overdosed (granted, to a lesser degree) regardless of labeling and that the Quaid family should drop the lawsuit against the manufacturer.

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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Prostitution and Divorce don't undermine the institution of marriage as long as they involve straight folks

It's been ages since I've blogged but a story about a Polish man heading to a brothel only to find his wife there just made me giggle like a 12-year old. This "traditional" and therefor liturgically acceptable couple gets bonus points for both the husband and wife not only committing adultery, but for doing so via prostitution. Needless to say, the couple is further undermining the institution of marriage by getting divorced.

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