Ebola
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Ebola

Officials in the state are trying to reassure the public. David Lakey, the Texas Health Department Commissioner, issued a prepared statement saying, “We knew a second case could be a reality and we’ve been preparing for this possibility. We are broadening our team in Dallas and working with extreme diligence to prevent further spread.” With all of the protective measures that had been taken in the Duncan case, how did Pham contract the disease? At this point, no one knows. All that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention can say with certainty is that “a breach in protocol” must have occurred. Be that as it may, the third case is likely. And the fourth!!!Will Ebola become another entry in the long list of reasons the U.S. government has given us not to trust it? You can count on it. National Institutes of Health head, Dr. Francis Collins, recently blamed a decade of “stagnant spending” for slowing down research that could have contributed to the development of an Ebola vaccine.It’s not just the production of a vaccine that has been hampered by money shortfalls. Collins also said that some therapeutics to fight Ebola “were on a slower track than would’ve been ideal, or that would have happened if we had been on a stable research support trajectory.”“We would have been a year or two ahead of where we are, which would have made all the difference,” he said.Money, or rather the lack of it, is a big part of the problem. NIH’s purchasing power is down 23 percent from what it was a decade ago, and its budget has remained almost static. In fiscal year 2004, the agency’s budget was $28.03 billion. In FY 2013, it was $29.31 billion — barely a change, even before adjusting for inflation. The situation is even more pronounced at the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, a subdivision of NIH, where the budget has fallen from $4.30 billion in FY 2004 to $4.25 billion in FY 2013.But the aspect of decreased funding for the proper practice of "patient care", a very much used but hardly considered term, began with the advent of "corporate medicine". When corporate medicine emerged from the corporate boardrooms into mainstream America, it proved to be the cash-cow it was projected to be. With the theory of corporate-think, the bottom line became the guiding light of medicine as opposed to the patient care concept inculcated in the Hippocratic Oath, which became meaningless document.Indeed, a growing number of physicians have come to feel that the Hippocratic Oath is inadequate to address the realities of a medical world that has witnessed huge scientific, economic, political, and social changes, a world of legalized abortion, physician-assisted suicide, and pestilences unheard of in Hippocrates' time. Some doctors have begun asking pointed questions regarding the oath's relevance: In an environment of increasing medical specialization, should physicians of such different stripes swear to a single oath? With governments and health-care organizations demanding patient information as never before, how can a doctor maintain a patient's privacy? Politics and boardroom economics have morphed the practice of patient care into the expansion of the bottom line.Corporate pricing policies have escalated the cost of medications astronomically to the point that what the patient has to pay for their medicine and its adjunct practitioner visit borders on extortion. But the boardroom is not solely to blame for these high costs. The government must share the blame. This coalition has mandated that hospitals must "do more with less".This means that our medical institutions have been called upon to cut staffs to the bitter bone and budgets to run their various departments have been cut in a like manner. Typically...and expectedly...this degrades patient care--in some cases, dangerously. The use of the word "dangerously" applies not only to the patient but to the overworked and possibly distracted staff.Corporate Medicine, along with the government's intervention into the medical field, has made the United States much more vulnerable to diseases such as Ebola and, arguably, to the introduction of biological agents into our culture by our enemies. While the number of our enemies has grown, the capabilities of our medical institutions has shrunk.  Jim Morris
Twilight Imagery, Inc.

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