Thursday, August 31, 2006

Good news on the organ transplantion front

Today at midnight new regulations will come into effect in the UK. On current estimates they will prevent approximately 1200 unnecessary deaths p/a. Under the current regime relatives of a deceased person can prevent the NHS from utilising the deceased's organs for transplantation purposes. This results every year into what I would call unnecessary deaths of people on transplant waiting lists who are unable to access life-preserving donor organs in time. Under the new regime the relatives won't be able to stop this process. In other words, the state assumes as of midnight today that a deceased person would want to preserve a fellow citizen's life by means of permitting her organs to be utilised for transplantation purposes. Anyone objecting to this can carry on him a note saying that in case of death he would not wish to see his organs utilised in such a manner. The result of this policy changes is estimated to prevent 1200 premature deaths per year.
Good news indeed.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

UK National Health Service IVF rules criticised


The British Fertility Sociey has issued a document arguing that obese women (and others where the expensive, tax payer funded IVF treatment that is provided free of charge, is less likely to be successful) should be denied access to fertility treatment within the NHS.
I think, if the objective of providing free IVF treatment is to maximise the number of new babies born per GBP invested, this probably is a very sensible policy. Indeed, the Society argues that healthy singles and lesbian couples should not be discriminated against in terms of IVF access.
This is all very sensible if one accepts a fairly questionable premise, namely the idea that people are somehow entitled for other taxpayers to pay so that their urges to have a genetically linked child are satisfied. About this I have serious doubts. Our planet remains seriously overpopulated, a couple of hours flying time away hundred thousands of children have become orphans due to the ravages of HIV/AIDS, yet in this country tax monies are being wasted so that people can have their 'own' children instead of taking care of any number of children in need of parents that they could also care for.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Friday, August 25, 2006

AIDS babble


Stephen Lewis (picture to the left), a left-liberal Canadian AIDS activist, and currently the UN special envoy to AIDS, is a good man. A good man simply by virtue of the fact that the South African government wanted him removed for his trenchant criticisms of its genozidal policies on AIDS. The country's health minister Manto Tshabalala-Msimang is these days widely referred to as DR Beetroot due to her continuing insistence that people with HIV/AIDS should take to African remedies such as beet root, garlic and other goodies instead of anti-retroviral medicines.
In any case, Lewis, in a clear sign of succumbing to that sometimes dreadful illness of political correctness suggested in his parting speech to the World AIDS Congress (a large inconsequential talkfest attracting in excess of 10,000 AIDS activists, reporters and a few scientists), suggested that the next AIDS special envoy on AIDS should be a black woman.
Seeing that blackness and biological gender seem to be his only selection criteria, one wonders whether Manto is going to throw her hat in the ring, seeing that at home there is a growing campaign of civil disobedience by people with HIV/AIDS against her continuing tenure.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

What's wrong GM?


General Motors, the dying dinosaur of US car making is attempting a come-back with a car truly appropriate to the age of global warming and depleted oil resources. It's a state-of-the-art product. - They re-invented the Camaro, a car, reportedly taking 1 litre of petrol to transport two people for one kilometre. A car (for the retiring baby boomers, they say), running on something like 400+ horse power.

One can only hope GM dies sooner rather than later, seeing that otherwise its products will kill us sooner rather than later.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

South African health minister acts against people with HIV/AIDS


Incredibly as it may sound, South Africa's health minister asked her department to display a stall during the currently ongoing AIDS talk fest in Toronto. The stall displayed prominently her favourite remedies against the retrovirus, namely garlic, lemon and similar household remedies that have never been demonstrated to have any serious effect on the virus and/or disease progression. Her continuing ethical failure to ensure access to known and tested treatment has cost hundred thousands of South Africans their lives.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Racism in Glasgow


I attended a court case in Glasgow today. A bloke working at Glasgow University as a physicist chose to hurl racial abuse at me last year because I chained my bike against his metal fence. I reported the matter to police to see how well legislation works that aims to prevent such incidents from happening or repeating themselves. Honestly, I was genuinely distressed for about two days, because of those 15 min of non-stop verbal abuse that I was subjected to by this character. Well, after nearly 4 hours of trial, with the prosecutor and the defense lawyer questioning me, another witness and the accused, the court found the accused guilty.
What fascinated me was the accused's brazen lying under oath. Without flinching he lied like there's no tomorrow about the incident in question. In the end the presiding judge didn't believe him.
Still, being not a lawyer, I wonder whether he didn't commit perjury, given that he was under oath?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Conferencing


I am going this week to a European Summer Academy on Bioethics in Ludwigshafen in Germany. Look me up in case you're around town :).

Friday, August 04, 2006

Medical Professionalism - some Indian doctors' version


Something not requiring any commentary... according to a report issued today by news agency Reuters:
Three Indian doctors caught on camera apparently agreeing to amputate the healthy limbs of beggars are to be questioned by the Indian Medical Council, an official said on Tuesday.

Secretly-filmed footage taken by the CNN-IBN news channel and broadcast on Saturday showed one of the doctors asking for 10 000 rupees (about $215) to amputate a lower leg, leaving a stump that may draw sympathy -- and a few rupees -- from passersby.

He then suggests chopping off three fingers from the man's left hand.

Police said one of the three doctors had been questioned and denied the allegations, but that no arrests had been made.

The doctor, from Ghaziabad in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh and a satellite town of the capital, New Delhi, explains how he can stitch up blood vessels in a healthy limb, causing it to blacken with gangrene over a few days.


Post scriptum:
Dena Seiden added this: 'I was in India for four months in the winter of 1983-1984. At that time, I encountered many children who had limbs amputated at the direction of their parents as they would be more effective beggars. I can attest that it is quite effective when one is traveling fourth class on Indian trains and a child thrusts his/her stump into your half asleep face. I was in 16 different health care centers during those months, but I never found a physician who admitted to the procedure. My impression was more that the parents did it themselves or found a local person who was known for doing amputations of children's limbs.'

Thursday, August 03, 2006

Middle East wars


We hear a lot on TV about innocent people dying in Lebanon as a consequence of Israel's attacks against Hizbullah. I found this little video on tube, featuring Iran's Ahmad Katami. It's quite revealing I should think...

Here's a piece featuring young Palestinian girls aiming to die for their God and Islamic causes. Truly boggles the mind, but also makes one doubt about any serious possibility for peace in the foreseeable future.