Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Medical Tragedy

Reminder: If you have not done so, please read the Initial Post and  Blog Information.  At the upper left of this page above my picture click on the button, Initial Post and  Blog Information.

Sorry.  This is a day late.  Had a water pipe break under the slab of my home last week.  Have spent a week getting it fixed, repainting the room and replacing the floor.  And I still have stuff to do.  It's always something!

The recent spate of meningitis caused by contaminated steroid injections was, unfortunately, avoidable for a great number of the people infected.  Steroid injections into the facet joints are statistically no better than placebos for decreasing pain.  Most should never have occurred.

The driving force behind this tragedy may be the design and function of the American medical system.  It is true that we live in a capitalistic society and that capitalism is probably the most efficient and productive way of running an economy ever devised.  Unfortunately, some portions of the economy can be abused by people who are more concerned with profit than the best interests of themselves or their customers.  This is especially true if there are no consequences for actions which lead to deaths, or the crash of the economy itself.  Regulation is not as important as honesty, I think.  We may not be able to legislate honesty, but we can certainly punish those who are overtly dishonest, especially when it leads to serious consequences for their customers.

That said, patients need to be patient.  No one likes to be in pain.  But, in spite of what the AMA, television, the pharmaceutical companies, or even your family has told you, there are no miracle cures.  There is no single procedure, injection, pill, or balm that will miraculously relieve your pain.  Your body has the power to heal itself, most of the time.  People who pay, or get their insurance companies to pay, exorbitant prices for 'cures' that have not been shown to do anything more than a placebo (see my blog post from September 4, 2012) are wasting their money.  They are spending their time undergoing procedures, etc. while their body heals, but they are not helping themselves much.  And they may be taking a big risk.  In the case of the steroid facet joints, they can be hurt by the procedure.

Every pill, every procedure, every injection, every treatment not only has its expected effects, it has side effects and sometimes the side effects are worse than the original problem.  At this point there are about 30+ dead and 400+ affected from the contaminated steroid injections into the facets, numbers that will surely rise.

Be patient.  Do the stuff that statistically works.  Avoid the placebos and hang in there.  You will get better.

12/18/2014: Final toll 64 deaths and an indictment yesterday. Fourteen owners or employees of the New England Compounding Center were charged Wednesday in connection with the outbreak that killed 64 people nationwide and was traced to tainted drug injections.


  1. Thanks for your article. It's good to know I'm not suffering alone. I'd been looking for a clinic that has a cure all for lower back pain treatment in Pa, but I know there is not a single trick to cure back pain, it's a long process. Thanks for what you've shared.

  2. I have a cyst in my sacrum with symptoms for 3 years. I'm very scared of paralysis.

  3. There is very little chance that treatment or lack of treatment of a sacral cyst will result in paralysis. Having said that, it behooves you to see a physician and discuss the pros and cons of treatment, since I have not examined you.