Assisted suicide

 

Professor David Goodall

This is about two resolute individuals with different medical concerns but with one gallant goal in mind – to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death, a euphemism for physician assisted suicide.

Let me first talk about Professor David Goodall, an honorary research associate in Ecology at Perth’s Edith Cowan University, who, at 104, is considered Australia’s oldest scientist.

Goodall has produced dozens of research papers and until recently continued to review and edit for different ecology journals.

He does not have a terminal illness but his quality of life has deteriorated that he has secured a fast-track appointment with an assisted dying agency in Switzerland where euthanasia is legal.

“I greatly regret having reached that age,” the ecologist said in an interview on his birthday earlier in April. “I’m not happy. I want to die. It’s not sad particularly. What is sad is if one is prevented.”

Assisted suicide is illegal in most countries around the world and was banned in Australia until the state of Victoria became the first to legalize the practice last year.

But that legislation, which takes effect from June 2019, only applies to terminally ill patients of sound mind and a life expectancy of less than six months.

If that is not ironic, I don’t know what is.

Exit International, which is helping Prof. Goodall make the trip, said it was unjust that one of Australia’s “oldest and most prominent citizens should be forced to travel to the other side of the world to die with dignity”.

Noel Conway

The other individual who had already been to the Court of Appeal in London to win the right for what he calls his “fight for choice at the end of life” is Noel Conway, a 68-year-old retired lecturer from Shrewsbury, England, who has been diagnosed with motor neurone disease in November 2014 and his health continues to deteriorate.

When this neurodegeneration occurs, everyday activities become increasingly difficult or completely impossible.

Over time, the condition progressively worsens as the muscle weakens and can visibly waste.

The majority of those diagnosed with the disease are given a three-year life expectancy starting from when they first notice the symptoms.

When Conway has less than six months to live and retains the mental capacity to make the decision, he wishes to be able to enlist assistance to bring about a “peaceful and dignified” death.

This is how Conway, who says he feels “entombed” by his illness, describes his dire predicament now: “I now can no longer walk at all and have to be hoisted from bed to chair, as well as experiencing increasing difficulty with breathing and having to wear my ventilator for 22 hours a day.”

Feeling fatalistic about the whole thing, Conway also issued the following statements: “I know this decline will continue until my inevitable death.”

“This I have sadly come to terms with, but what I cannot accept is that the law in my home country denies me the right to die on my own terms.”

The High Court judges said that as the “conscience of the nation”, Parliament was entitled to maintain a “clear bright-line rule” forbidding assisted suicide.

Again, what an irony for a man destined to die soon, who says, “The greatest fear I have is still being alive but not able to use my body.

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Another new body organ discovery

 

Interstitium: latest body organ discovery

Sometime in early 2017 scientists discovered an important organ making it the 79th inside the human body.

Called the mesentery, it is a double fold of peritoneum – the lining of the abdominal cavity – that holds our intestine to the wall of our abdomen.

Accordingly, what is considered an organ now has always been inside the human body performing important functions that affect systems throughout the body, but was ignored throughout the centuries thinking it was just a few fragmented structures in the digestive system.

What it is in fact is a continuous organ that plays an important role in the intestinal, vascular, endocrine, cardiovascular and immunological systems, but more research is needed to determine the extent of those roles.

Among its functions, it carries blood and lymphatic fluid between the intestine and the rest of the body. It also maintains the position of the intestine so that it’s connected with the abdominal wall without being in direct contact.

Very interesting discovery, indeed, even to a known medical person, but what makes it even more fascinating to me is that I have known about this word already when I was running a meat processing plant where we butchered our own hogs and large animals.

The foregoing, however, is not the subject of this piece.

The new human organ discovery I am referring to in the title is called Interstitium, which according to scientists had previously gone unnoticed despite being one of the largest organs in the human body.

It was reported that Mount Sinai Beth Israel Medical Center medics Dr David Carr-Locke and Dr Petros Benias came across the interstitium while investigating a patient’s bile duct, searching for signs of cancer.

The researchers noticed cavities that did not match any previously known human anatomy, and approached New York University pathologist Dr Neil Theise to ask for his expertise.

The researchers realized traditional methods for examining body tissues had missed the interstitium because the “fixing” method for assembling medical microscope slides involves draining away fluid – therefore destroying the organ’s structure.

Instead of their true identity as bodywide, fluid-filled shock absorbers, the squashed cells had been overlooked and considered a simple layer of connective tissue.

Having arrived at this conclusion, the researchers realized this structure was found not only in the bile duct, but surrounding many crucial internal organs.

“This fixation artefact of collapse has made a fluid-filled tissue type throughout the body appear solid in biopsy slides for decades, and our results correct for this to expand the anatomy of most tissues,” said Dr Theise.

How about that for the latest human organ discovery!

I would suppose this makes it the 80th important organ of the human body.

Too much farting can be reason for emergency landing

 

Farting, they say, is like the song from Frozen that partly says:

Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go……

Well, not really especially if one happens to be on a commercial flight – whether long or short.

With reports of senseless killings, turmoil and natural disasters happening everywhere in the world today that makes one seemingly inured, including the political wrangling we have here and abroad, I decided to share with you this odd story which, if not for its medical tribulation, would be laughable at best, and at worst, a revolting experience for those concerned.

I am referring to an unidentified elderly gentleman, if you can call him that after what he did, who was the reason why his Transvia Airlines flight from Dubai to Amsterdam made an unscheduled stop in Vienna, Austria and was forcibly removed from the aircraft.

Apparently the old man was farting excessively up in the air, even as two passengers sitting next to him had asked if he could control the passing of his wind, so to speak, as it was starting to contaminate the atmosphere inside the plane.

Suffice to say that the man’s uncontrolled farting was going on for quite some time that it was unnerving more and more the passengers. It must have been a terrible ordeal for those inside that crammed fuselage.

Whether the man had a medical condition to deal with, or had much sauerkraut ingested, or was simply an asshole, the fact was that no amount of warning, not even from the flight crew, could stop him from letting go of his farts such that a fight broke out and the plane had to make a detour to Austria for an emergency landing.

It was reported that Austrian police officers were alerted and came onboard with dogs to remove the flatulent individual.

What a relief and a breath of fresh air it must have been for the remaining passengers!

Dealing with loneliness issues

 

This may sound odd indeed, but it has been reported that U.K. Prime Minister Theresa May has created a government agency, to be headed by a Minister, that will be dealing with loneliness issues.

A study conducted found that one in 10 people in the U.K. face isolation, a condition that can trigger a range of physical and mental health issues.

“I want to confront this challenge for our society and for all of us to take action to address the loneliness endured by the elderly, by carers, by those who have lost loved ones ― people who have no one to talk to or share their thoughts and experiences with,” May said in a statement.

Statistics have shown that more than 9 million adults in the U.K. report feeling often or always lonely. For 3.6 million people aged 65 or older, it found, television is considered the main form of company.

According to Brigham Young University Psychology Professor Julianne Holt Lunstad, the harmful impact of loneliness is more than psychological. Having weak social connections is considered to be as damaging to one’s health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“There is robust evidence that social isolation and loneliness significantly increase risk for premature mortality and the magnitude of the risks exceeds that of many leading health indicators,” Lunstad  is quoted as saying in the Jo Cox Commission’s on Loneliness, an organization that works to combat social isolation and loneliness.

More than half of all disabled people in the U.K. experience loneliness, with it being more prominent among younger individuals. Eight out of 10 caregivers have also felt lonely or isolated as a result of looking after a loved one, according to the Jo Cox Commission’s report.

The commission is named after Labor Party lawmaker Jo Cox, who was a prominent advocate for addressing the issue of loneliness in Britain before her 2016 shooting death by a right-wing extremist.

As loneliness is universal that comes in different manner, shape and form, it may be beneficial for other countries to take notice of what the U.K. is doing in raising understanding and awareness of loneliness issues if only for the afflicted to know that there are organizations and people out there who support and care for them.

 

Trump’s mental health

 

US President Donald Trump

With what is going on in the U.S.A. with President Donald Trump as its leader and his much-to- be-desired relationship with all the leaders of the world community, more specifically, with Kim Jong Un of North Korea, one can’t help but ask if the Americans were right in installing him on the seat of power of the greatest nation on Earth.

I am an avid follower of American late night talk shows, from Trevor Noah to Seth Meyers to Jimmy Kimmel, etc. and am amazed that not a night passes that the subject is not Trump.

The way I look at it is that it is not about the person, per se, that always makes him the favorite subject or the flavor of the night, if you may, but rather it is the things he does – from his tweets , his choice of words, his facial expression, his body language, his arrogance, his hatred for Obama, his disdain for immigrants, his lack of humility, his indifference, his low regard for women, his pretensions, his fibbing, his abhorrence for mainstream media, his unequivocal support for white supremacist, his uncompromising support for bearing arms, his unabashed admiration of himself, his superiority complex and countless more negatives of his persona and as a leader of the free world, that makes a good fodder for the talk show hosts.

Trump’s negative attributes and inadequacies are the reasons why I am sharing with you this disturbing development about U.S. psychiatrists warning about Trump’s mental state.

Below is letter by a psychiatrist published in the Opinion section of the New York Times, dated, Nov. 30, 2017.

To the Editor:

I am the editor of “The Dangerous Case of Donald Trump: 27 Psychiatrists and Mental Health Experts Assess a President.” We represent a much larger number of concerned mental health professionals who have come forward to warn against the president’s psychological instability and the dangers it poses. We now number in the thousands.

We are currently witnessing more than his usual state of instability — in fact, a pattern of decompensation: increasing loss of touch with reality, marked signs of volatility and unpredictable behavior, and an attraction to violence as a means of coping. These characteristics place our country and the world at extreme risk of danger.

Ordinarily, we carry out a routine process for treating people who are dangerous: containment, removal from access to weapons and an urgent evaluation. We have been unable to do so because of Mr. Trump’s status as president. But the power of the presidency and the type of arsenal he has access to should raise greater alarm, not less.

We urge the public and the lawmakers of this country to push for an urgent evaluation of the president, for which we are in the process of developing a separate but independent expert panel, capable of meeting and carrying out all medical standards of care.

BANDY X. LEE, NEW HAVEN

The writer is a forensic psychiatrist at the Yale School of Medicine.

Relative to the above concern of Trump’s mental state, let me share with you the following corroborating video for your information.

Dog cyst pictured like Trump

 

I do not know if this is fake news, but I sure found this under a weird news column and like any weird news item this is simply incredible and worth sharing.

A beagle dog in Tyneside, England was said to be persevering a growth, a cyst, if you may, in his ear.

Will, this may be normal for a  beagle since its extraordinary long ears almost always touches the ground when sniffing for something and in the process picks up a lot of dirt.

Jade Robinson said her two-year-old beagle, Chief, developed the cyst after dirt got in his ears.

Robinson said that while she tries to keep Chief’s ears clean on a daily basis, she admitted she can only do so much and noticed the infection growing from bad to worse.

Finally she decided to take a picture of the growing cyst to show to the vet, but not before a friend saw it and commented that what made the infection more seemingly painful to the dog was that the cyst resembled the image of Donald Trump, the 45th president of the USA!

You just have to use your imagination and picture it out yourself and you will see the resemblance.

It was said that Chief needed to be sedated so that vets can figure out the severity of his ear problem. The initial cost is the equivalent of about $590 ― more than Robinson could afford ― so she was hoping to raise the money via a crowd funding campaign that has the words “get Trump out of Chief’s ear” cleverly embedded in the URL.

Maybe not surprisingly, but generally, Chief got a lot of support from people who sympathize with him, and aren’t fans of the man the cyst resembled and donated with the accompanying comments like:

  • “Hope this helps Chief to rid himself of any nonsense creeping into his lughole. Could you even imagine how annoying it would be to have that fool in your ear?!?”
  • “I would donate far more for a vet to deal with the real Donald Trump!”
  • “Poor Chief. No one should have to put up with Trump in their ear! Here’s to a speedy recovery.”
  • “We here in America would all like to see Donald Trump surgically removed-The least we can do is help out Chief!”

Now, talking about how unpopular and despised Trump is!

Another knee replacement coming up

 

Three years ago I underwent a total replacement of my right knee. I never regretted the decision to have it done as the pain and discomfort was getting incommodious in many ways to my daily routine.

I learned later that it was not unusual for many in my predicament that sooner or later the other knee will suffer the same fate.

True enough as my right knee was getting better and stronger every day, my left knee was getting worse and weaker every day also.

Actually it is only logical that my left knee has to follow suit because I was so dependent on it for support/strength when my right knee was getting to be a problem for me. Needless to say that I was wearing it down also by over using it to compensate for the inadequacy of my right knee.

It did not help that, because I love brisk walking as a form of exercise, I continued doing it knowing that my right knee was already strong. In the process it exacerbated the deterioration of my left knee.

Hopefully, and God willing, after my July 4th surgery, all will be well again and I can enjoy the quality of life I envision to have as I live the remaining years of my life with my family and friends.

What I am not sure, however, is whether or not I will continue writing. The urge is no longer there especially when what you hear, see and read about here and around the world are depressing.

Well, let me take it back. It is still heartening to have Duterte, no matter his flaws, and thank goodness he is not like Trump in many, many ways! The latter is making it difficult for everybody to live in this world.

Having said all of the above, you will not probably hear from me for a long time. But I am not putting closure to everything.

Suffice to say that I will see you again when I start using the computer keyboard again, if ever.

Meanwhile I am extending to you all my warm personal regards and best wishes!