How the NHS failed me and mine.
What it did, to the most important person
in my life and how it could happen to you unless
we do something about it!

Wednesday, 30 September 2009

The Killing Fields?

The recent and tragic death of a schoolgirl, after being injected with the vaccination for the Human Pappiloma Virus, raises a number of concerns about attempts by our political masters to prevent diseases in the future. Be it long term or short, a duty of care exists, to ensure that society is not put at greater risk by participating in these protocols, than by taking their chance with the disease or infection by not doing.
Currently the NHS is rolling out the seasonal flu vaccine, swine flu in the near future and the huge campaign to allegedly safeguard young women from cervical cancer with these Hpv vaccines. We are told in all cases that these vaccines are well tested and safe to use, but as studies show all is not quite as we are led to believe.
Adverse reactions have been recorded widely in the USA and even GlaxoSmithKlines' own document shows minor reactions in 10% of all recipients. It is further alleged that inadequate field trials have taken place and that such a huge undertaking, to vaccinate all girls prior to or at puberty, should be approached with more regard to health and safety.
Independent trials seem to be a thing of the past as Big Pharma peddles its wares throughout the civilised world with Government even commissioning (with swine flu) specific medications or vaccines targeted at perceived threats, often as a knee jerk reaction to sensationalist headline illnesses, that when investigated are somewhat less dangerous to the populace than the Daily Mail would have us believe. It is surely a given that offering gold to a snake oil salesman, will elicit a new and better version of his wares.
But Government wants it both ways; it is a well known fact that most victims hospitalised for swine flu had underlying co-morbidity's. And, the illness presents less of a threat to the average adult than seasonal flu, yet it persists with roll out of a hastily prepared and untested vaccine (tests start this week) that will effectively be field trialed in the population. At the same time it is urging mothers to protect their daughters with Cerverix (or the other one) but when one terrible problem occurs it is played down with the inference that an underlying co-morbidity was responsible. There is hypocrisy here.
The same hypocrisy that pervades all politics at present, that primes us all for the cuts to come, yet fails to address the issues of regulation of the very architects of the need for any.

Thursday, 17 September 2009

Diabetics-Do No Harm ?

Like most people I really had no view on the plight of Diabetics; that is until it impinged on my life. Shortly after my life's love had healed from her ordeal at the hands of the NHS certain symptoms and evidence in the patient file lead me to the view she had NIDDM (non insulin dependent diabetes mellitus). This was confirmed within a short time by tests conducted via the GP.
I researched the likely prognosis for this ailment, of which I had some basic knowledge from many years before, only to become increasingly alarmed at what the future might bring. It would have been nice to blame the Hospital for this but whilst I am appalled at their basic incompetence in diagnostics and follow-ups it was not something you could catch like MSRA. I could postulate that the trauma they subjected J to was instrumental in the diabetes coming to the fore after probably her being Insulin resistant for some time. I do blame them, for missing what was obvious to me, an old and very rusty biochemist and in doing so, putting her life at risk. But, as she survived that failure, there is no 'causation' so no harm then!
What however emerged from my intensive foray into the darker reaches of the debate about diabetes was both alarming and debilitating.

Most diabetics are obese (80%).

Most diabetics are insulin resistant to some degree or another.

Most are prescribed hypoglycemic agents in the form of Metformin or others both in isolation or in tandem with others.

Most decline in their control of their blood glucose levels to the extent that have to inject insulin as a means of control once the drugs cease to adequately provide it.

Most go on to develop co-morbidity's related to diabetes in the form of peripheral neuropathy, retinopathy and liver or coronary heart disease and usually hypertension.

Quite a litany of ailments, none withstanding the side effects of the drugs they take especially insulin which increases their likelihood of obesity still further and exposes them to hypoglycemic episodes which are life threatening.

So what to do?

I was not persuaded of the view that this was all that could be done as certain facts seemed self evident.

1. Attempts to increase pancreatic output of insulin by drugs of someone whose Islets are already exhausted seemed counter productive and counter intuitive.

2. To promote the idea of utilising a 'normal balanced diet' for nutrition which included quite a large percentage of carbohydrates seemed to not only be unproductive but insane!

3. To advocate within this diet an avoidance of fats especially the saturated type also seemed both stupid and unscientific in the extreme!

I have never believed in the Diet-Heart Hypothesis anyway, so I could not understand why there is an advocacy for low fat diets for anyone let alone the Diabetic,who probably only got to be so, by a diet with an over abundance of carbohydrates in the first place. Any fairly lowly biologist can tell you of the reaction of the human body to the intake of any carbohydrate; it invokes the supply of insulin to enable the muscles to take up the product and to some extent the liver too. If that person has both limited insulin manufacturing capability ie; Diabetes and/or Insulin Resistance then the end result is high levels of circulating blood glucose. This the very problem that the prescribed drugs are there to address! So why would you eat such a diet? It is the same as advocating an alcoholic to drink more alcohol!

It seemed that we were f****d. But, hold on, I remembered that the human body can and has often survived on ketone bodies rather than simple glucose and that grains and sugars are relatively new to the human diet. So I looked deeper into diet and health and found a substantial body of opinion well founded in science, that we can live healthy lives with less illness if we largely shun carbohydrate intake in favour of fats (no insulin reaction at all) and proteins (limited insulin reaction).

So that is what we did, both her - very low carbohydrate diet - and me - restricted carbohydrate diet. The result has been dramatic if a little protracted. In six months Hba1c down from 8.7 to 6.6, blood pressure down to below 120/70 and someone glowing with health and half a stone lighter. Me, I'm a stone lighter and my arthritis knows it! All without recourse to drugs and against the advice of the mainstream view.

So why is the NHS, Diabetes UK, the ADA and all these other bodies giving advice that counters this? I can only assume that the same influences that brought us statin drugs continues to profit from its perpetuation. There's not a lot of profit in it for 'Big Pharma' if we all stopped taking these drugs and controlled NIDDM with diet and exercise. A profit stream would be all but stifled and the organisations they support (and they do, in spades) would be relegated to a very small role. Many would lose their jobs and the NHS (the taxpayer) would save a fortune, and we are talking billions!

We continue down this road unsupported by the NHS even for the test strips although the GP has expressed delight in the figures even J's 25(OHD) levels which are good,(that's the vitamin D3 levels) which indicates good absorption from diet and sunlight.

I'm still holding my breath about all of this; I am a pessimist still sometimes mired down in depression but all indications are that with a little more effort J could become a 'latent' type 11 diabetic and some increase in pancreatic output could occur with a lowering of her Insulin Resistance. But this is now and maybe that's too much to hope. It is a way though, one pioneered by Atkins for weight loss but always advocated by him as the best way of Diabetic control. I also owe my thanks to Barry Groves for his excellent advice and informative writings and Gary Taubes for his.

Wednesday, 16 September 2009

Safeguarding Our Children?

Once more the Government is stepping into our lives to ensure that we do the things it believes we do wrong in a controlled and regimented manner. I have no qualms at all about teachers and education workers being 'vetted'. It is a simple security measure in which I have been involved myself for the necessary security of our country. But to set up yet another body to oversee simple practises of parents involved in giving lifts to other parents children is a 'bit of a stretch'.
The worst aspect for me is the institution of yet another body to carry out these activities, probably in glorious isolation from those that already exist. The Police vet employees, contractors and others as part of their brief. the MOD vets anybody who works for them or is in the Forces together with companies who work for them or makes things for them from uniforms to battleships. The Security Services vet people who come into contact with strategic assets or politicians sometimes on behalf of the Police. The Nuclear Industry vets people who work for them in a similar way. All of these organisations employ numerous people for this task ALL OF WHOM DON'T TALK TO EACH OTHER!
Talk about joined up Government and that's all we do; talk about it. So if you work as a contract cleaner and clean the offices at a Nuclear Power Station, then go down the road to Police HQ to do the same. Followed swiftly by washing the floor at the Army Recruitment Centre and occasionally you have to fill in at BAE's offices or perhaps the Job Centre you will probably be vetted by four different agencies none of whom take each others word for it as regards your safety and security. Now if you take a party of local kids along with your own to a swimming school or something of that ilk in your spare time you will have yet another agencies hoops to jump through.
Gordon, my friend, if you want to save money, for heavens sake look at some of these monsters you create and integrate their activity so the same ground is not continuously covered by different people all with same goal! And whilst you are at it stop the proliferation of intrusion into the lives of your citizens on the excuse of safety and security or their health. Most of us are grown up now and can chew solid food. Stop that damned Food Standards Agency from telling us what it should be. They are f***ing clueless; they speak without authority or proof that they have read the science let alone understood it and anyone listening could do themselves harm from heeding it. Unless of course you want to pay for a million more Diabetics.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

The View ?

The title of this blog was conjured from the place I live, looking down from the hill to the Teaching hospital that has been the source of most of my of my fears, misery and trauma. It also lends an air of an overview of life
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That place is one that I avoid, like the plague. In fact I go to quite considerable lengths in this endeavour, often driving a circuitous route to do so, such is the effect it has on my state of mind. Yet it continues to intrude. Letters keep arriving for appointments for this Clinic or that Test for my lovely J to attend, in the very place that treated her so badly as to her never wanting to go there ever again
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This made me think as to why the NHS wants to intrude in the lives of us all so much, as to book appointments out of the blue and then entreat us to attend with an attitude bordering on that of the bully. Often this is for mammography, blood tests or Retinopathy tests, all in the interest of disease prevention. But is it?

The NHS spends a huge portion of its budget finding things to test its patients for. Some of these are without doubt both important and non invasive but many are not. Cancer figures highly on the list and yet real outcomes have altered little in the years that most of these tests have been around and some, such as the exercise to perform mammography on women between 50 and 70 years has had little impact on the incidence of breast cancer. In fact the scheme itself has been shown to be positively dangerous for women who have cancerous growths because it can exacerbate the spread of these and speed progression. It also has an alarming number of false positives that cause fear and suffering to no good purpose. Other detection measures such as self examination and thermography are likely to be less intrusive and give back to women the right to make their own informed judgement as well as exposing them to less radiation, which in itself can be a cause of cancer. This is especially true of J who will have one or two X-rays a year to monitor her prosthesis together with a DXA scan for osteoporosis every two. Mammography itself exposes women to at least 1000X the dose of a normal X-ray, more if you have to return for a repeat in the event of an abnormality.

So why do we do it and more importantly why are bullying tactics employed for this, for blood tests we didn't know we needed, to check our cholesterol, eye tests we've already had at the optician but the NHS feels now only they can perform adequately ( the opticians used to do them but it was taken away). Letters now that not just request you ring for an appointment but tell you one has already been made! This is just the same as the clauses in contracts that you have to positively opt out of instead of opting in. Not only are they spending our money on dubious test procedures they are telling us often that we will fall prey to some awful disease or condition without them!

This is disease mongering and as Big Pharma seeks more markets for its often dubious products, some of which are a rehash of one that didn't quite work in its previous role but will be successful in a new persona for another ailment. So it invents diseases or conditions and the NHS which relies heavily on the Pharmaceutical giants for funding of projects, research and dubious jamborees for consultants and managers, swallows the bait. Just, it has to be said as do a body of GP's and without doubt the Government.

Statins are probably the worst example of this; a drug to treat the 'worried well' for a condition that largely has no symptoms and a hypothetical outcome founded in dubious research (by Big Pharma) to utilise an obscure poison found in a remote Chinese valley that they needed to offload on a gullible ( and well 'palm greased ) FDA to pay for the research they had undertaken. The result is now 450 million pounds of revenue from the NHS every year to pay for the prescriptions most (if not all) that are not needed and can cause the very problem they allege to ameliorate, heart failure. That figure does not include the support costs of maintaining a 'patient' on these drug protocols which usually means six monthly tests for checking results and possible effects that manifest. The obvious one of course is the depletion of CoQ10, an essential for a healthy heart (sic). These tests are likely to double the cost of treatment, all for a highly dubious and contested ailment that is founded in 'bad science'.

'Statinisation' is symptomatic of an NHS that now consumes vast sums of money mainly to no effect to tick the boxes of disease prevention and fulfill pointless targets. At the same time it bullies and entreats for people to lead a healthy life with a healthy diet with hordes of highly paid support staff labelled with dubious titles to support this goal. It is self defeating and many know it but none want to 'rock the boat' of profligacy.

We are in the midst of an epidemic of Diabetes, Obesity and Heart disease that all of these efforts have failed to even dent. I would venture most of the advice and interventions are in fact counter productive. Medics need to get back to basics and Nurses need to get back to Nursing. 'Do no harm' is the clue you idiots. Get back to curing the sick and the lame. Stop trying to prevent the demise of the hypothetical sick until at least you have conquered the goal of treating those that present to you with real and tangible problems. So far, and more and more of late, Medics in particular and the NHS in general has singularly failed in this endeavour. Concentrate your efforts in this area and maybe then we could look at other goals. You are all in a hole so my advice is to stop digging!