Archives

bnuckols

Conservative Christian Family Doctor, promoting conservative news and views. (Hot Air under the right wing!)
bnuckols has written 1082 posts for WingRight

“Mostly False,” Politifact “Fact Check”

Researching the what-about-isms & dueling accusations about who didn’t take the novel coronavirus seriously enough, soon enough, I came upon a “fact check” on PolitiFact that defies understanding except as a lie. An intentional lie.

Let me tell the story with screen shots, no more.

“Mostly False”

Biden quote Number 1:

Biden quote link, here

Biden quote Number 2:

Link, here

Biden quote number 3:

Link to this quote, here.

Front lines in the ICU with COVID-19

Reality is teaching a hard reality lesson with COVID-19.

This video concerns the minority of COVID-19 patients who require intensive care and the less than 1 percent who die of the disease. The discussion about the course of the disease and treatment is possibly too technical and brutal for the general public, so watch the whole thing with care.

However, I’m hoping to spur conversations about end of life in light of the broader COVID-19 crisis and specific crisis events.

This is a tough, highly technical discussion between Dr. Zubin Damania, a blogger otherwise known as “ZDoggMD” and Barbara McClean, MN, RN, CCRN, NP-PC, an expert in Critical Care & Intensive Care medicine in an Atlanta, Georgia teaching hospital with over 100 ICU beds. The first few minutes show Barbara McClean as a compassionate caring practitioner and educator. I believe and trust what she says about the worst case (stressing, again: fortunately these are the minority!) outcomes with COVID-19.

If you want to get to the meat of the video, there’s a “philosophical discussion” about the very real, unique in this modern age, futility of CPR in COVID-19 patients whose hearts stop due to the disease at 35:00 to 41:00.

There’s also interesting information about Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) difficulty (not shortage, but the physical reality) at the segment 30:00 to 35:00 minutes.

COVID-19 is, as Ms. McLean says, an unpredictable, sometimes deadly disease. Currently, patients can go from minor symptoms to death due to respiratory failure and cardiac arrest in as little as 4 hours. There is very little success to date in attempts to resuscitate patients who “code,” whose hearts stop, while in distress due to the virus.

I can’t stress enough that we need to talk, we need to make decisions among our families and to understand that this disease takes some options, some autonomy we have come to assume are our rightful “choices,” completely off the table. This disease doesn’t care what we want.

I’m unable to turn comments back on for this post. Please post comments to my Facebook page and I will try to keep up with replies. Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

Let’s keep this on the level of philosophy and medical ethics. I will delete political criticisms.

People ‘shed’ coronavirus early, but most likely not infectious after recovery

A study of only 9 people, but it’s a start.

Essentially, you can spread the virus even when your symptoms are mild, but probably won’t after 8 days.

Don’t eat the COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

The good news is that we were warned and it’s Spring, not Winter. (And we don’t routinely greet acquaintances with real kisses in the US.)

The really good news is that you aren’t helpless.

Chances are, most of the people who get sick picked the germs up with their hands and put them in their mouth, nose or eyes. (Gross, I know, but, trust me, I’m a doctor and a mother. I can be more gross than that when I want to get your attention.)

I tend to be a skeptic about panics, and so much of the news coverage about coronavirus is political hyperbole, but … I’m reading some worrisome stories from doctors dealing with the outbreak of COVID-19 in Italy.

Don’t panic, and don’t share! The coronavirus is spread by particles, droplets that have to enter your body by way of your nose, mouth or eyes. While it’s possible that someone might infect you by sneezing or coughing in your face, most viral infections are spread because of poor personal hygiene.

Virtually no one is immune to this coronavirus and we won’t have a vaccine for months, so people are panicking. I’m not, and here are some reasons why:

The US isn’t Italy. For one thing, we have a younger population. And, although the Lombardy region in Italy is modern and advanced, we have a higher intensive care capacity.

After all, we easily absorb the burden of influenza: up to 49 million infections, half a million hospitalizations, and 50,000 deaths every year due to influenza and hardly anyone even notices.

And we’ve had more warning than they did.

Here’s how fast influenza spreads each year in the US. If we don’t practice excellent self- protection, it’s a preview of how fast COVID-19 could spread.

Confirmed hospitalization history for Influenza in the US. Red = 2019-20, Orange =2017-2018

What’s the rate of spread of influenza in the US each year? This year? The graph above shows the historic rates of confirmed hospitalizations in the US. The red line is this year and reflects just over 16,000 patients, so far. The bright orange at the top is 2017, when we had a poorly matched vaccine.

There have been 200,000+ positive influenza tests reported to the CDC this year, 16,000 hospitalizations, and 136 pediatric flu deaths – not elderly patients with chronic diseases – this year.

We call it “seasonal” influenza for a reason. People tend to share the virus more in winter because of Thanksgiving and Christmas gatherings (and travel) and because children are in school. Sharing germs.

The coronavirus cases in the US sometimes have unknown “patient 1,” but the bulk have all involved clusters of patients with known physical and/or close contact with someone who was sick. The deaths have mainly been patients in one nursing home and a (different) hospital. In these sites, sick people were exposed to the droplets much more than you or I might be, because medical treatment accidentally aerosolized secretions.

COVID-19 symptoms are a fever over 100.5, a dry cough, and, for some, rapid onset of trouble breathing. Ther might be a runny nose or diarrhea, but there isn’t vomiting.

Use common sense and easy-to-achieve precautions. Wash your hands, don’t touch your face (eyes, nose, mouth), stay out of crowds, kindly and gently use what influence you have to encourage others to do the same.

If you get a fever, don’t go to the ER unless you are having trouble breathing. Call your doctor, and “self-quarantine.”

Most of all, Don’t share your germs and don’t pick up others’ viruses and put them in your body.

(Comments are closed. Please comment on my Facebook page.)

To kill or not to kill – or even to call it killing?

It seems that an advocate of Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide (EAS), which is legal in Canada since 2016, complained to the “The Protection of Conscience Project” administrators about their use of the word, “killing,” rather than “Medically Assisted Death” (MAD) when writing about the law. The wording of the objection exposes the potential limitations even on thoughts, much less the act of refusal, of physicians who object to participating in EAS.

In response, Sean Murphy, an Administrator of the Project, discusses and defines the acts and prohibitions involved in EAS, threatened conscience protection in law as decided by Canadian legislators and courts, and policy statements of the Canadian Medical Association.
A recent case decided by the Supreme Court of Canada considered “whether or under what circumstances physicians and institutions should be allowed to refuse to provide or collaborate in homicide and suicide.” While the Canadian courts have not made it illegal to refuse, the author points out that the Canadian Medical Association now considers EAS medical treatment. Although refusal isn’t illegal, if it becomes “unethical,” the licenses of conscientious objectors may one day be at risk. (Mr. Murphy let me know that the CMA is trying to respect both views)*
Just as all inalienable rights are dependent on the protection of the right to life, all medical ethics principles (autonomy, beneficence, justice) are based on the foundation of nonmaleficience, “Cure when possible but, first, do no harm.” This is the First Principle of Medicine.
The editorial gives an useful “litmus test” for discerning between ethical and unethical acts carried out under the umbrella of medical therapy: it’s considered a “failure” if the patient doesn’t die as a result of EAS.
In contrast, the intent of withdrawal or withholding medical treatment is not necessarily to cause death, but to stop acts that are unwanted or medically inappropriate because they do not heal, cure, slow the progression of the disease or relieve pain and suffering, but actually exasperate suffering and may cause damage beyond that inflicted by the disease.
To use a current case in the news in the USA (which I recently covered here), Baby Tinslee Lewis’ doctors wish to withdraw life sustaining treatment that they believe is medically inappropriate. The doctors would not consider it a failure if, rather than die of her severe heart and lung damage, she continued to live.
Canada is already far down the slippery slope of mandating participation in induced (elective) abortion and “MAD” by designating each as “therapeutic and medical services.” The Project Conscience authors rightly predict the possible consequences:
“[I]f the state can force unwilling people to kill or help to arrange for the killing of other people, there would seem to be nothing that the state cannot demand of its citizens. This would promote the development of dangerous forms of authoritarian and even totalitarian government: ultimately more effective and deep-rooted, perhaps, within a democratic framework than they ever have been in dictatorial regimes.”

(*EDITED An earlier version stated that licences were at risk. Not yet.

BBN 11 February 2020 12:30 AM)

More thoughts on Texas Advance Directive Act

I was asked about the #BabyTinslee case and what we should do, what can we do, in the disputed cases.

We need to educate more. People don’t understand basic medical ethics in this day of “choice.”

Autonomy doesn’t supersede nonmaleficience. In other words, the First Principle of medicine, “Cure when possible, but first do no harm,” always should guide us, rather than “wants” or “choice.”

In the end, doctors are the ones actually performing the acts and we’re most likely to understand the projected outcome. We benefit from oversight by colleagues and the community, both informally and in the process prescribed by the Texas Advance Directives Act.

Some people demand that every one of these cases go to court, for “due process” and “cross examination.”

But judges and courts can’t be as knowledgeable as doctors are. Their decisions are necessarily informed by dueling (paid) lawyers and (hired) medical experts.

In all the cases that have gone to court, the family has had quite a lot of notice, but the 48 hour notice before the committee meeting is perceived as too abrupt, especially since the relationships all appear to be adversarial by that point.

(And who could get your family to a meeting in 2 days?)

The 10 days isn’t thought to be long enough to arrange a transfer, either. Again, in many of the Court cases, the attempts to find another doctor willing to accept the patient’s care has begun before the committee meeting.

Doctors acknowledge the great trust and privileges we are given by agreeing not to abandon our patients. When we have a disagreement with a patient or surrogates (usually a familymember), we accept that we must continue treatment for a period of time. But not indefinitely.

If we could get the reforms that have been attempted to lengthen the statutory timeframe (multiple times) since before 2005, the TADA would be much better. It’s still the best process we have, currently.

A Lawyer, A Life, A Lie

Lawyer Wesley Smith has done good work in the past on end of life issues, but he is once again lying in order to score political points.

In his January 7, 2020 op-ed column for National Review, Smith accuses the doctors in the Tinslee Lewis case of wanting her to die, writing, “continued life is precisely what the doctors/bioethicists don’t want.”

Smith laughably misnames Texas’ Attorney General, Ken Paxton:

(He’s also evidently unaware that Tinslee’s “parents” are actually a single mother. Which would be irrelevant other than the fact that he refers to the “parents,” so often.)

Mr. Smith is so wrong. The doctors do not want Tinslee to die. They want to stop causing her near death several times a day.

They want to do for Tinslee,  not to her.

Tinslee’s doctors report that due to the delicate balance of Tinslee’s lung capacity and heart function she has 2-3 “death events” every day, each of which requires aggressive resuscitation efforts.

The difference between doctors and this lawyer in the tragic case of Tinslee Lewis is that the doctors are at the bedside all day, every day.

The doctors are the ones putting their hands on and minds to work for Tinslee while  Smith sits in his office calling them murderers and writing about coercing them to act against their best medical judgment. Her medical records submitted to  the court report that her doctor and nurses often spend time educating and counseling Tinslee’s single mother.

Shame on lawyer Smith for once again distilling months of highly competent, complicated and excellent care down to an accusation of murderous intent.

That’s a lie.

Miracles in a predictable universe

We are blessed with a universe that’s predictable and testable, yet we pray for miracles. And we pray for miracles, but act as though human actions can block them. Is the will of the Creator Who spoke the physical laws into existence limited by humans if they act as though the universe is predictable and testable?

Those of us who practice medicine are limited by the physical laws, the predictable and testable, with an emphasis on the tested. Our education and experience is based on these tested predictions and guide our decisions, and we’re watched and sometimes redirected by our colleagues, patients, laws and the community.

And then, there’s the best test of all: time.

In fact, I once noted that a patient who outlived the “10 Day Rule” might have proved the doctor (who instigated the process from the Texas Advanced Directive Act) wrong. There might have been a few cases like this, just as I believe there have been miracles. 

However, can you tell me how to measure these events and predict their occurrences, much less practice medicine based on them?

In the majority of TADA cases when treatments weren’t withdrawn, the patient died in the exact manner the doctors predicted, after the same interventions -and sometimes more invasive and tortuous “treatments” than the ones the doctor originally objected to. 

Doing to, not for (Baby Tinslee & TADA)

“We’re doing things to her. Not for her.” (Wini King, spokesperson for Cook’s Children’s Hospital, January 3, 2020) This may be the best description of a very sad case. 

Tinslee Lewis was born prematurely on February 1, 2019, with severe heart and lung defects. She had cardiogenic shock and was admitted to the Cardiac ICU at Cook’s Children’s Hospital immediately. ♡(See Cardiac Pathology ♡below.)

Even after three open heart surgeries, a fourth to close her sternum, a short time on ECMO (essentially, heart-lung bypass) and constant ventilator since July, of 2019, Tinslee’s enlarged heart and small, damaged lungs can’t keep up with the necessary blood circulation and exchange of oxygen and carbon dioxide, even with the assistance of multiple blood pressure medicines, diuretics and the ventilator on high, except when she’s still and quiet with the help of sedating and paralyzing drugs.


In response to a lawsuit against Cook’s Children’s Hospital,  where Tinslee has been in the CICU since birth, Tinslee’s medical records were submitted to the Court.  I’ve been able to review approximately 200 pages that are now public record, describing the constant,  repetitive interventions necessary to keep Tinslee alive on the ventilator.  

Tinslee’s doctors (and, the notes show, the nurses and staff) believe that they are being forced to cause Tinslee pain and suffering, while keeping her paralyzed and sedated. They report increasing difficulty with managing the ventilator so that her damaged heart & lungs can maintain oxygenation. She requires repetitive heart, lung and blood tests to guide adjustment of meds & treatments and has had several infections requiring treatment. In contrast to my earlier presumption, the notes in the records show that the ventilator and all its required meds and manipulations are indeed causing undesired problems, including fluid overload, infections and cardiopulmonary distress, in addition to her underlying lung disease. Even the baby’s growth, something we usually celebrate, increases her risk of cardiopulmonary insufficiency. 

Those records also contain notes from many attempts to explain and council Trinity Lewis,  Tinslee’s mother,  about her baby’s underlying problems and prognosis and the reasoning behind, in contrast to some past media reports.

Ignoring the fact that doctors, not hospitals, practice medicine in Texas, Texas Right to Life Lawyer Joe Nixon is quoted, claiming that the “hospital ” has decided to withdraw treatment. Texas Attorney General, Ken Paxton, is shown to have Tweeted that the problem is a “legal issue,” rather than an ethics and justice matter of forcing doctors (and by their orders, nurses and other staff) to cause pain and suffering for a little girl who is dying as her body fails to heal, in spite of every intervention possible.

Many people, out of compassion, object that “the family ” should decide when to withdraw life support. Yet, the family  members aren’t watching the oxygen levels drop while they rinse Tinslee’s airways with a bicarbonate solution to keep her lungs clear. And it’s certainly not the lawyers that are probing, injecting, measuring and adjusting constant, innumerable hourly interventions done to a baby who must be sedated and paralyzed to prevent cardiac and respiratory distress. 

In spite of the diligent  complicated interventions and care of the doctors and nurses at Cook’s, there have been comments in blogs and social media that the “hospital” wants to “kill” Tinslee. Startlingly,  AG Paxton called the latest Court ordered, indefinite hold on removal of life support  a “Stay,” as though the doctors, not her multiple medical problems, would kill Tinslee. He also misrepresents the process that Cook’s Children’s Hospital and Tinslee’s doctors followed,

“The statute fails to require that physicians provide an explanation of why they refused life-sustaining treatment and provide the patient’s family with adequate notice and opportunity to argue their position prior to the committee reaching a decision, effectively allowing the government to deny an individual’s right to his or her own life and to do so without due process.”

In fact, though, it is the lawyers, particularly at Texas Right to Life, who are turning a little girl’s tragedy into a continuation of their legal battle against the Texas Advance Directive Act. I’ve covered the benefits of and the struggle to improve the Act – repeatedly blocked by TRTL and their lawyers – for years on both WingRight.org and Lifeethics.org

The Act, TADA, was hammered out in 1999 by a group of stakeholders   including  patient and disability advocates, hospitals, doctors, ethicists and lawyers. Texas’ prolife organizations,  including TRTL and the organization for which I served on the Board of Directors for 15 years, Texas Alliance for Life, and for whom I wrote this essay.  

Briefly, TADA allows a balance and legal options when there’s a difference in opinion between a patient’s desire for a given treatment and the medical judgment (a combination of education, experience, and the standard of care) of the doctors who are tasked with the most difficult medical and surgical cases. 

I’ll admit that it’s my opinion – and only my opinion – that the lawyers hate that TADA provides a safe haven from lawsuits if doctors follow the law (!). I slowly came to this conclusion over the years because at virtually every Legislative hearing and stakeholders’ meeting about any changes to the Act, the lawyers bemoan the fact that doctors don’t have to go to court over each of these cases and that they face no legal penalty or “liability.” 

Poor Tinslee Lewis will most likely never leave the hospital alive. Disease and death don’t respect “due process,” but, they are predictable and an inevitable part of life. Hopefully,  we will see her mother and those who love her come to find peace with her death, celebrating the time they’ve had to be with her, especially these last 2 months. However, I fear that the lawsuits will continue for years, adding to their grief.

Edited 1/19/2020 for a typographical error: in the secondparagraph, “cardiogenic” replaced “carcinogenic.” BBN

♡Ebstein Anomaly – Cardiac Pathology 101, about as simple as I can make it (and understand,  too);

Ebstein Anomaly
(Thanks to Mayo Clinic)

Babies born with Ebstein Anomaly have a malformed right and atrium and ventricle and misplaced (tricuspid) valves between the right sided ventricle and atrium. The larger right ventricle can’t pump efficiently. 

In addition,  the blood the right ventricle tries to pump into the lungs leaks/flows/churns (risking blood clots) back into the right atrium, which grows even bigger, with even thicker walls. The ventricle also grows bigger. When the  muscle fibers of the chamber walls get stretched apart enough, they are less inefficient. (Think of two hands gripping at the fingers. The farther out the grip, palm > 1st joint  > fingertips,  the less strength and pull on the opposite hand.) (For the geeks: Frank-Starling law.

The lungs aren’t efficiently filled with blood, they don’t expand, the pressure builds up in them and efficient exchange of gasses doesn’t take place. 

In the meantime, the blood backs up in the body, the liver, kidneys and extremities & eventually the left side of the heart, which can hypertrophy , too. 

The enlarged heart puts pressure on the lungs and nearby soft tissue,  including the blood vessels coming to the heart.

The combination of leaking high pressure blood vessels and the body’s increasing fluid in order to try to pump what oxygen there is, leads to edema or swelling of the body.

Sometimes,  the fetal atrial-septal defect stays open, allowing mixing of the un-oxygenated blood from the right, with the oxygenated blood. This malfunction can help, temporarily. 

With the high pressure, poor flow, and actual physical damage due to the mass of the heart, none of the organs can function well. Increased activity, stress, and growth will increase the demand for oxygen, kidney & lung function.

Experimental Abortion – Schrodinger’s Fetus

What ethics review board approved a randomised trial to temporarily prevent the ending of the life of a human embryo or fetus, with a planned surgical abortion as an end point?

Horrifying report about human experimentation: Obstetricians at the University of Southern California have announced that they stopped a study using progesterone to reverse the anti-progesterone effects of mifepristone in medical abortions.

According to the NPR:

For the study, the researchers aimed to enroll 40 women who were scheduled to have surgical abortions. Before their surgical procedures, the women received mifepristone, the first pill in the two-medication regimen that’s used for medical abortions. The women were then randomly assigned to receive either a placebo or progesterone, which advocates claim can block the effects of mifepristone.

Ignore the fact that only 12 women signed up over 6 months, that in spite if the claims if the researchers, the mifepristone was the actual, immediate cause of the complications that included 3 women needing ambulance transport to a hospital for excessive vaginal bleeding and 2 others dropping out due to some other side effects.

But you should certainly – they hope – forget that 4 of the babies exposed to progesterone and 2 who received placebo after the mifepristone continued to live for 2 weeks until their death at the hands of an Obstetrical surgeon. That’s half of the study group!

There’s no question that I consider it unethical to cause the intentional, interventional death of any human who isn’t a threat to life for another. It’s heinous that our laws allow the best medical technology in the world to kill members of our species, because they aren’t considered human-enough to possess the inalienable human right not to be killed.

But there’s an additional ethics problem in this case: a strong “yuck factor” (aversion) to the idea of purposefully experimenting with ¢ lives of humans, both the mother and her child, planning to monitor the signs of the prenatal human’s life, anticipating his or her death by surgical abortion.

Half of the original mothers had planned two weeks (14-16 days)delay with serial ultrasounds, confirming her baby’s heartbeat. (Remember this experimental protocol the next time an abortion advocate complains about State-mandated waiting periods and pre-abortion ultrasounds.)

Let me repeat: half of the nascent human beings experimented upon/ lived two additional weeks after exposure to the mifepristone poisoning. Only one of the 12 pregnancies resulted in what would be considered a “normal” medical abortion.

Eventually however, all of them were finaly “terminated.” After two weeks of observation – Schrodinger’s humans.

Note: Due to some sort of technical problem at the website, I wasn’t able to purchase the article, so this is based on the abstract and NPR report.

Edit 12/9/19, BBN: I was able to purchase access to the article (24 hours for $60!). There’s no change in the facts other than to note that the authors report continued life of the prenatal humans as 6 of 10 subjects: 4 of 5 who finished the trial and received progesterone, and 2 of 5 who were randomized to the placebo arm.

Parachutes don’t save lives?

Not when the jumper starts only 2 meters from the ground.

“Parachute use to prevent death and major trauma when jumping from aircraft: randomized controlled trial
BMJ 2018; 363

“”Ah, but the method of madness matters! The non-participating passengers flew at 800 km/hr at an altitude of 9,146 m, but the trial participants jumped a whopping 0.6 meter (2 feet) from a plane traveling at an incredible 0 km/hr. The authors point out their trial’s glaring limitation — an inability to generalize to higher altitude jumps — and use it make a point that health journalists would be wise to remember:

“When beliefs regarding the effectiveness of an intervention exist in the community, randomized trials might selectively enroll individuals with a lower perceived likelihood of benefit, thus diminishing the applicability of the results to clinical practice.

This study was conducted in response to a Christmas, 2003 BMJ article decrying the lack of RCT (Random Controlled Trials) for the efficacy of parachutes. As the authors of this article point out, even RCT’s have their limits.

As one review explains,

Put plainly, if most people already think an intervention works, then an RCT may end up with enough bias in its design that the conclusion ends up clinically meaningless. Sometimes, an RCT is truly unethical, and other times an RCT really might be needed to test an intervention taken for granted. Health journalists should scrutinize an RCT’s methods closely.

I’ve disabled comments on the blog. Please leave your comments on my Facebook page, “Beverly Nuckols.”

Cook’s Children’s Press Release on Tinslee Lewis

The Press Release is published in .pdf on the hospital’s website. Here’s the text:

Cook Children’s Statement Regarding Patient Tinslee Lewis Fort Worth, Texas (November 10, 2019) –

Tinslee Lewis is a beautiful baby who has captured the hearts of many at Cook Children’s since her premature birth nine months ago. She was born with a rare heart defect called an Ebstein’s anomaly and has undergone several complex surgeries at Cook Children’s in an effort to improve her heart function. Further complicating matters, she also suffers from chronic lung disease and severe chronic pulmonary hypertension. Due to these complications, she has spent her entire life hospitalized in Cook Children’s intensive care unit. She has required artificial respiratory support throughout that time, and has been consistently on a ventilator since July.

In the last several months, it’s become apparent her health will never improve. Despite our best efforts, her condition is irreversible, meaning it will never be cured or eliminated. Without life-sustaining treatment, her condition is fatal. But more importantly, her physicians believe she is suffering.

To maintain the delicate balance necessary to sustain Tinslee’s life, and to prevent her from pulling out the lines that are connected to the ventilator, doctors have had to keep her constantly paralyzed and sedated. While Tinslee may sometimes appear alert and moving, her movements are the result of being weaned off of the paralyzing drugs. We believe Tinslee is reacting in pain when she’s not sedated and paralyzed.

Cook Children’s has made heroic efforts to treat Tinslee’s condition, all while being very transparent with her family regarding her poor prognosis. Despite those extraordinary efforts, Tinslee’s condition has not improved. At the request of Tinslee’s family, we have reached out to nearly 20 facilities across the country to see if any would be willing to accept Tinslee as a patient. Some of the facilities include:

 Texas Children’s  Children’s Memorial Hermann Hospital  Dell Children’s  Dallas Children’s  Medical City Dallas  Children’s Medical Center Oklahoma City  Children’s Hospital of Atlanta  St. Louis Children’s  Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia  Johns Hopkins  Methodist Hospital San Antonio  University Hospital San Antonio  Boston Children’s  Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles  Arkansas Children’s  C.S. Mott Children’s Michigan  LeBonheur Children’s Memphis  Rady Children’s  Children’s Hospital San Antonio CHRISTUS

All have said our assessment is correct and they feel there is nothing more they can provide to help improve this precious child’s life.

A team of Cook Children’s doctors nurses and staff have given their all to help Tinslee. While, we believe every child’s life is sacred, we also believe that no child should be sentenced to a life of pain. Removing this beautiful child from mechanical ventilation is a gutwrenching decision for Cook Children’s physicians and staff, however we feel it is in her best interest to free her from artificial, medical intervention and suffering.

Winifred King

Assistant Vice President of Public Relations Cook Children’s Health Care System

Baby Tinslee Lewis and the Texas Advance Directive Act

I was a relieved to hear that the doctors caring for 9 month old Tinslee Lewis decided not to remove her ventilator on Sunday, November 10, 2019. Their decision, most likely due to public outcry, was announced 2 hours before removal was planned. Later in the day, and a local judge issued a restraining order that mandates continuing the ventilator until at least November 22 unless an appropriate transfer to another facility can be arranged.

At first glance, this sounds like several other stories about disputes between the family of a patient and medical professionals who have invoked the provision in the Texas Advance Directives Act(TADA) that allows for removal of life sustaining treatment. However, from what I’ve read and the hospital’s statement, I’m concerned that this time the law may have been invoked based on “quality of life” rather than the futility of the treatment and the suffering it causes.

(Note: I want to be very careful to point out my limits. The following medical and legal information about this case comes from what I’ve gleaned from Facebook, blogs and Twitter posts, as well as a few news articles like this one. I’ve tried to be as factual and accurate as possible. It’s important to understand that I don’t know all the details and that any conclusions I draw are merely my opinion.)

Tinslee has lived her whole life in the ICU at Fort Worth Cook’s Children’s Hospital. She was premature and was diagnosed with a congenital heart defect, Epstein’s anomaly, that in spite of several surgeries led to heart failure and caused her heart to become so enlarged that it damaged her lungs. She’s been on a ventilator since July.

Her doctor or doctors reportedly believe that Tinslee is in pain and suffering. In order to keep her comfortable and to prevent her pulling the ventilator and feeding tubes, they must use paralyzing drugs and sedation. An attending doctor responsible for Tinslee’s care invoked TADA and a hospital committee agreed that the continued use of the ventilator is inappropriate. On October 31, the family was notified that the ventilator would be discontinued at 5 PM on November 10.

I became concerned when I saw the video posted at Texas Right to Life, showing a beautiful girl with apparently healthy skin, reacting to voice and touch. In the video, she doesn’t move her right leg, barely opens eyes and only seems to point her eyes to lower right. Still, the treatments, including sedation, seem to be working and she doesn’t appear to be in distress or pain.

A hospital spokesperson, Winifred King, assistant vice president of public relations for Cook Children’s Health Care System, sent out a statement by email, that is quoted in part by the Fort Worth Star Telegram:

“In the last several months, it’s become apparent her health will never improve,” King said in a statement via email. “Despite our best efforts, her condition is irreversible, meaning it will never be cured or eliminated. Without life-sustaining treatment, her condition is fatal. But more importantly, her physicians believe she is suffering.”

And,

“While we believe every child’s life is sacred, we also believe that no child should be sentenced to a life of pain,” said Winifred King, assistant vice president of public relations for Cook Children’s Health Care System, in a statement. “Removing this beautiful child from mechanical ventilation is a gut-wrenching decision for Cook Children’s physicians and staff; however, we feel it is in her best interest to free her from artificial, medical intervention and suffering.”

(Kaley Johnson, Fort Worth Star Telegram https://www.star-telegram.com/news/local/fort-worth/article237223826.html accessed 11/10/19)

Hesitantly, I find myself second guessing the decision of Tinslee’s doctor(s) to invoke TADA and of the hospital ethics committee to affirm that the ventilator is inappropriate medical care. As I wrote above, I can’t know the real medical circumstances and certainly haven’t examined Tinslee or even read her chart. I’m not a pediatric cardiologist or pulmonologist and may not understand her prognosis as she grows and develops. Has she required chest tubes because of the ventilator? Is she growing? Will a larger body put too much strain on her heart or will growth allow time – and room – for her lungs to heal? Will she be able to have a tracheostomy and would it make her care easier and her more comfortable?

However, there’s no sign that the ventilator itself is causing damage to her lungs and there is evidence that the medication helps Tinslee tolerate the mechanical intervention.

The wording of Ms. King’s statement makes it appear that the doctor(s) decided to end the ventilator treatment based on a perception of her quality of life, rather than on their knowledge of the futility of the treatment and the damage it causes. In my opinion, “quality of life” is a very personal value judgement. As I’ve noted before,

“Although no reason is required by law, in every case I know of the doctor has made it clear that the requested treatment is causing suffering and/or actual harm and violates the First Principle: “Cure when possible, but first, do no harm.”’

The good news is that TADA allows, and Tinslee’s family were able to, access practical and legal assistance.

Ms. King shared a list of 19 hospitals that, as required by TADA, the hospital administration has contacted in an attempt to find other doctors and facilities that will accept Tinslee as a patient. All refused the transfer, apparently agreeing with Tinslee’s doctor (and casting doubt on my conclusion).

TADA also allows the family to seek a delay through the local courts. Texas Right to Life helped Tinslee’s family by providing a lawyer and legal advice. They also sent out a plea on Friday, November 8, asking the public to call and email Cook’s administrators about Tinslee. Several State legislators have also become involved.

Now, Tinslee’s mother and family and the hospital will have another 12 days to try to find someone willing and able to treat her.

Questions still remain: Is there any long term facility that is able to offer the ventilator and sedation that Tinslee needs? Or must Tinslee live sedated and paralyzed in the ICU for the rest of her life?

But there shouldn’t be any question weighing whether Tinslee’s “quality of life” is worth living.

Timeless Frederick Douglas

An excellent essay.
An excellent, timeless quote, that could as easily be paraphrased about elective abortion or euthanasia:
“[T]he constitutionality of slavery can be made out only by disregarding the plain and common sense reading of the Constitution itself; by discrediting and casting away as worthless the most beneficent rules of legal interpretation; by ruling the Negro outside of these beneficent rules; by claiming everything for slavery; by denying everything for freedom; by assuming that the Constitution does not mean what it says, and that it says what it does not mean; [and] by disregarding the written Constitution.”

Texas transgender (7 yo) case

I don’t believe it’s appropriate for a child to undergo transition at such an early age, but there’s a few gaps in this story.

There is very little media coverage of the case, with opinion from only one side published online. I picked the report about the court decision that’s most comprehensive, even with some errors.

Mostly, this appears to be an especially ugly divorce battle. The dispute about transition has been going on since the child was 3 years old.

The child is one of two twins conceived by in vitro fertilization using the father’s sperm and a donor egg. The mother carried the two to term and delivered.

The mother filed the suit to end joint custody, but the father demanded that the jury decide custody, rather than the judge.

The jury was charged with 2 questions: should one parent have sole custody and should that parent be Mr Younger. They answered yes and no: one should have sole custody, but it shouldn’t be the father. The judge will rule this week on who gets custody & conditions.

I’m not sure, but I’m reading that there’s no immediate plans for puberty blockers & finding quite a bit of info that the blockers aren’t permanent.

I can’t help but hope there’s more to this story, because I still can’t accept a decision like this, at this age.

Eat the Rich (with the rest of us for desert)

Dems used to just act as though government owns your current and future earnings. Now, they want to know the value of your wedding ring, grandma’s China, the homestead, & your golden parachute. The plan is to tax them *every year* until you have to sell them (to them?) to pay those taxes.

“But, but, but,” you say, “It’s only on the greedy $Ultra-Rich!”

  • A wealth tax like the one proposed by presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren would make ultra-wealthy Americans pay the federal government a small percentage of their net worth each year.
  • Sen. Bernie Sanders released his own proposal for a wealth tax on September 24 that his campaign claims would cause “the wealth of billionaires would be cut in half over 15 years.”

Suuure it is. That’s what they said about the income tax in 1913. (and you can keep your doctor, too.)

By 1918, the highest tax rate went from 1% to 67%, 77% in 1918. The lowest on incomes less than $4000, went from 0% to 6%.

No, the $UltraRich might not all up and leave the country. The income tax law requires expats to continue paying US income tax for years after leaving.

Yes, in a (coco)nut shell, that is it. If you want the tax break, all you have to do is abandon everything you own, book a flight and never return, or at least not that much anyway. (HT: The Points Guy)

If you denounce your citizenship, you may be liable to an “Exit tax” calculated as though you sold everything you own on the day you “expatriate.” And you can’t get your citizenship back.

So, what we have is a bunch of 70 year olds who have enjoyed their wealth and some 20- to 30-somethings who don’t want to pay their student loans and don’t really want to work hard enough to accumulate wealth on their own.

Eat the Rich. It’s a thing.

Nite: comments disabled. Please comment on my Facebook page.

Entire abnormal human genome in vaccine?

What bunk, incredible, unbelievable junk “science.” No one is injecting cancer into anybody’s body!
There’s a video being shared on Facebook that claims that vaccines produced using human cell lines contain the”entire human genome” along with abnormal DNA that causes cancer. It’s riddled with baseless accusations and attacks on science.

Quintessential anti-vaccine propaganda. The first sentence indicts the source, Mike Adams, the founder of “Natural News” and seller of food supplements like Organic Broccoli Sprout Capsules with a side of conspiracy.

The cells aren’t injected into every baby. The cells certainly aren’t “put into the vaccines;” the vaccines are grown in the cell lines, the antigens are removed, purified, and distributed as vaccines. Note that “remnants” of cells were found in the vaccines, not cells, (and no mercury or preservatives, either).
Where are the tests of cell DNA in affected children or cancer tumor cell essays showing that the dead DNA fragments from vaccines have been taken up, inserted into the chromosomes, and not only reproduced in the nuclear DNA of vaccine recipients, but switched on and functional in producing abnormal but living cells?
The “study” isn’t a study: it’s a series of lab tests on the composition of vials of vaccines. It wasn’t published in a journal, but placed online by a private company that raised money based on opposition to current vaccines.
Then, there’s an “open letter that refers to a very poor non-peer reviewed opinion published in a “journal” devoted to opposing vaccines.
The progression of “facts” is really mere opinion, misrepresenting the few studied alluded to.
The letter as well as the Corvelva “study” fail to describe standard methods or referrals to the scientific literature, at all. There are no control vials tested, no independent evaluation of the data yielded.
**The video maker, the people who had some vials tested, and the “independent” “natural news” website all make money off of selling their opinion.** I hate to link to these sites, because that (and selling merchandize) is how they make money.

Yet, that’s what they accuse the “cancer industry” of doing.

Did you notice the tiny amounts of contaminants reported? These are consistent with environmental contaminants found in the lab where the machines were. Where are the controls?
Pregnant women have much higher levels of fetal DNA circulating in the blood during normal pregnancies.
The idea that there are enough contaminants in vaccine injections (1/2-1 ml., ~ 1/10th of a teaspoon) into muscle – not the blood stream – to cause high body concentrations is ridiculous.
As to the ethics of using those cell lines, here are 2 articles, from bioethics organizations whose views I trust:

Christian Medical and Dental Association

National Catholic Bioethics Center

Finally, the accusations in the video have been rejected in court. This, in spite of the low requirements for vaccine injury compensation.

Edit 10:15 AM 10/07/2019: The MMR assay report from Corvelva is here. I’m skeptical about the “entire genome” supposedly found. Are they saying that all 23 chromosome pairs are present in each dose? BBN

Replace male statues in Central Park with women?

If everyone gets a trophy, why should anyone get a statue? Especially men?

Yes, here’s the next woke thing:

The New York Post reports that a City commissioner proposes to “Replace male statues in Central Park with women.”

“”A member of the commission that oversees art and architecture on city property suggested Monday that instead of simply adding statues of historical female figures to Central Park, the panel yank out some of the male ones first.

““There are what, five or six [male] statues that I think could easily be replaced by individual statues of each of these women,” said Hank Willis Thomas, a painter who serves on the Public Design Commission, at a hearing at City Hall.

“Thomas appeared to be specifically fingering statues including that of Scottish poet Robert Burns, in the park’s Literary Row, and the one of Christopher Columbus in the park, near the famed second one of the explorer in Columbus Circle, for removal.”

Goodbye Columbus indeed!

Texas Governor Abbott on “Suspicious Activity”

Texas’ Governor Greg Abbott ( @GovAbbott ) isn’t trying to change Texas law with last week’s Executive Order – in contrast to the claims I’ve seen on my Facebook news feed.

Instead, he called for law enforcement agencies under the executive branch to establish policies and training, and financial incentives to encourageimproving reporting channels and closing ‘information gaps’ when members of the public or law enforcement agencies worry that a person might be a threat to commit violence.

The last three mass shootings in Texas tell us that we need to improve how our law enforcement and agencies follow current law on following up on reports and investigations.

The Sutherland Springs Church shooter in South Texas should have been rejected at point of sale background check because of his prior conviction and incarceration for domestic violence crimes while in the military. Unfortunately, he was never reported to the Federal database. (And so, Texas law probably couldn’t have made any difference.)

However, the Odessa shooter threatened and brandished a weapon at his neighbor, but local Law Enforcement Officers didn’t follow up because his house wasn’t on their GPS maps and was difficult to find!

The El Paso shooter’s mother tried to report him, but the LEO who spoke to her on the phone dismissed her concerns. No record of the call was made, according to the Allen police department.

I’m not sure that current laws would have (or should have) allowed any action against the (future) shooter by authorities, but it looks like that question and reporting procedures are what Governor Abbott wants clarified. From the Executive Order:

“”Within thirty days of this order, the Texas Department of Public Safety shall develop standardized intake questions that can be used by all Texas law-enforcement agencies to better identify whether a person calling the agency has information that should be reported to the Texas Suspicious Activity Reporting Network.

Within thirty days of this order, the Department of Public Safety shall develop clear guidance, based on the appropriate legal standard, for when and how Texas law-enforcement agencies should submit Suspicious Activity Reports.”‘

The question should be whether the “standardized questions” and reporting processes might have made a difference. Unfortunately, I’m not reading questions: I’m reading accusations that the Governor wants to impose “red flag laws” and confiscation of guns without due process of law.

The Governor previously directed the Texas Department of Public Safety to implement the “iWatch app” in June, 2018, allowing the public to report suspicious activity. There was no outcry then, and there doesn’t appear to be any “red flag” incidents because of this initiative.

Why do people think the Governor wants gun control now?

There’s no change in citizenship! None!

The false reports from the media have lots of people confused about US policy concerning the citizenship of children. I wrote about the confusion last week.

Twice this week, I’ve heard the false story that President Trump has decreed that children born on US soil will not automatically be US citizens!

Supposedly, the”law” will become final in October.
While President Trump favours ending “birthright” citizenship, Congress would have to change many laws they passed in the past.
But it’s not true!

There was an announcement of a policy clarification by the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services.

Children born on US soil are – and will continue to be for the foreseeable future – US citizens even if their parents aren’t citizens except where parents are in special positions, like diplomats for another country. This automatic citizenship even includes babies born on US soil to parents here illegally.
The policy changesyou’ve heard about concern children who -already- weren’t considered citizens by our State dept
A difference between the practices of the State department and the US Citizenship and Immigration Services is resulted in some children who thought they were citizens unable to obtain a passport.
The few who are affected are children whose parents aren’t citizens when they were born out, non-citizen children who are adopted, and children whose (neither) citizen parents have never lived in the US a minimum total of 5 years.

In spite of all the hyperbole last weekend, there hasn’t been much clarifying coverage in the news. Raise your hand if you’re not surprised.

OIG finds Comey violations. No big deal?

Some (political) animals are more equal, I guess.
Is this all there is to the OIG report by Michael Horowitz that we were told was coming in June? (It’s now the end of August.)
If not, why is the IG’s report piecemeal? Why is it taking so long? And why is the follow through on “wait until the IG finishes the investigation” so chaotic – or at the least, highly variable?
The Inspector General released info that he found Comey broke FBI policies *after* the Justice Department determined that Comey wouldn’t be prosecuted.
It turns out that Horowitz actually referred the Comey violation to the Justice Department for prosecution but the DOJ decided not to prosecute.

Who – in actual places of responsibility – cares about policies? What good is an Inspector General investigation and referral for prosecution, anyway?

Children born overseas (No change)

About the Trump Admin & citizenship of children who aren’t born citizens: don’t believe the spin. Nothing has changed in the law. In fact, the policy is the same as long standing State Department policy and practice.
The disputed policy update of the United States Citizenship and Immigration Services is here.

The “Highlights:”

•Clarifies that temporary visits to the United States do not establish U.S. residence and explains the distinction between residence and physical presence in the United States.

• Explains that USCIS no longer considers children of U.S. government employees and U.S. armed forces members residing outside the United States as “residing in the United States” for purposes of acquiring citizenship under INA 320.3

The regulations clarify the question of physical presence vs. “residing in” the US and the timing of the birth & citizenship.
Children of citizens who have lived in the US as citizens for 5 years before the birth – the usual situation for US military and government workers – will continue to “automatically” be citizens from birth.
Children who are born before a parent becomes a citizen, non-citizen children who are adopted by citizens, and children of US citizens who have not physically lived in the US for at least 5 years will need to become naturalized citizens. The parents must apply for citizenship for the child by his 18th birthday.

Not the hype you’re reading about in the news.

Edit: Penultimate sentence: “18” instead of “28.” On September 3, 2019. BBN

Heterosexuality: oppression or happiness

Raise your hand if you agree that “security comfort (sic), acceptance and success” are the opposite of “oppression.”

Yet, a recent NBC News claims that heterosexuality is a failure because it created the “patriarchy.” And,
Patriarchy is at its most potent when oppression doesn’t feel like oppression, or when it is packaged in terms of biology, religion or basic social needs like security comfort, acceptance and success.”
NBC News recently published an insane opinion piece by Marcie Bianco claiming that the divorce of a celebrity is a “blow to the patriarchy.”
It’s insane because Ms. Bianco expands her thesis to advocate the false premise that Miley Cyrus’ divorce and the unusual lifestyle choices of a very few other celebrity women prove that *heterosexuality* is failing.
Ms. Bianco asserts that heterosexuality – which is the norm for all but a small percentage of the world’s population – is the source of men’s domination over women. According to her, “the patriarchy” is the cause, beneficiary, and result of heterosexuality, allowing men to dominate women and avoid responsibility and consequences for their actions.
But there’s factual evidence that men do take responsibility for and live with the consequences of their actions. For instance, census data shows that a majority of children in the US live with both biological parents who are married to each other. These fathers (and mothers) are responsible and literally live with “consequences.”
No, the cause, beneficiary, and result are increased cohabitation without marriage, divorce, elective abortion and single motherhood. (See link above)

As these have become socially acceptable – and rants like Ms. Bianco’s are published – it’s possible that more and more men are *learning* not to see any benefit from taking responsibility or living with the consequences of sex or even any sort of commitment.

With money and celebrity, perhaps it’s possible for a time to openly flaunt “security comfort, acceptance, and success” and claim they are “oppression.” For most of us, however, those conditions are what we call “happiness.”

Washington Post attacks Life via Texas

The Washington Post distorts history and geography to advocate for abortion- and for the Democratic Party.
The Texas Medical Board this year reported that 25 Counties don’t have any physicians at all. Many Texas Counties are health care shortage areas because of there’s not enough population to keep doctors busy. And many high population centers are shortage areas because Texas has a doctor shortage over all.
In 2011, Texas cut virtually every item on our budget due to the requirement of the State Constitution to balance our budget. One measure used to balance the budget was to focus State healthcare dollars on County clinics and hospitals that provide comprehensive, continuing – not single organ system – care.
Then, in 2013 we prioritized public and county clinics and hospitals over those single-issue facilities. Planned Parenthood was never mentioned, nor were the other abortion providers in the State. If the clinic or group took care of the whole patient and didn’t provide abortions, they would be eligible after County and State funded health care was funded.

We could have done more if President Obama hadn’t blocked Texas from receiving Federal Women’s health or Family planning funds. Texas taxpayers paid into that Federal fund, but were denied its return to us. Texas did our best to fill in the gaps this lost funding created, allocating $32M of our State tax funds to Family Planning and Women’s Health programs in 2013-14.

In 2015, when the budget improved, we increased State spending for Women’s health and Family Planning beyond historic amounts. In 2019, nearly $400M was allocated, including raising the cut off for eligibility to 200% of the poverty level. $15M+ was set aside to improve post-partum care.

The main goal of the opinion piece is not only to increase State and Federal funding for Family Planning and Women’s Health. The author, Richard Rival of San Antonio, attacks Texan’s science, religion and assumes that government should consider elective abortion an integral part of “reproductive health” programs.

Nevermind that science affirms that the life of each human begins at fertilization. Or that “reproduction” has obviously occurred before any woman has an abortion, ending the life of that other body, her child. (Yes, one commenter tried to tell us that not only women seek abortions.)

But it’s the last paragraph that tells the truth about the author’s agenda, with a little side dressing of racism. Mr Rivard tells voters to end the ,”one-party state” – to force taxpayers to fund elective abortion for both citizens, non-citizens, and illegal aliens alike.

Beverly B Nuckols, MD

Edit 8/21/19 5:15 EST (France time) to fix typos. BBN

Vacationing for health

It’s good to have confirmation.

But jobs that don’t allow vacation probably have different effects than jobs that do allow time off.

Leftist liars gonna lie about abortion –

“It’s not the baby’s fault for the sin of the father, or of the mother,” King said.

Remember this statement when you read or hear that Congressman Stephen King “defended” rape and incest.

In reality, he “defended” every child at risk of being killed because they are the result of a pregnancy after rape or incest.

And all the descendents of past pregnancies due to rape or incest.

Politicians and laymen alike should beware when publicly supporting the ethical position that all humans are, indeed, human at all stages of life and that they shouldn’t be killed: The Leftist liars will attack. In force.

Representative King wasn’t just defending the children of tomorrow: he was defenfing all of their descendents.

“What if we went back through all the family trees and just pulled out anyone who was a product of rape or incest?” King told a breakfast meeting in Urbandale, Iowa. “Would there be any population of the world left if we did that? Considering all the wars and all the rapes and pillages that happened throughout all these different nations, I know that I can’t say that I was not a part of a product of that.”

King was obviously referring to retroactive killing. After all, elective interventional abortion is the ending of a human’s life by intentional acts that are licensed and regulated under the medical codes of the various States.

Regardless of how they were conceived, every human is created equal and endowed with inalienable #HumanRights.

The faithful Left can’t tolerate equal rights endowed on all humans. They will invariably takeba any firm statement against their sacrament of abortion and their tools in the media will pull out sections, ignore the context, and turn it inside out, to spread the big lie.

So much the more if they can twist their lie into a defense of one of their own. Congresswoman Ilhan Omar cited the lying reports as proof of Republican “filth.”

(Nevermind that her own hometown paper, the Minnesota Star Tribune and her Somalian communityare the ones accusing her of biggamy as well as marrying her own brother to commit immigration fraud. Or that she’s been fined for filing false tax returnswith one of her husband’s. Y’all move along, there’s nothing to see, here.)

So tell me: how many people would be left alive if we killed every person who has an ancestors who was conceived in rape or incest?

New Political Party?

Claiming that ” ‘conservative’ and ‘Republican’ are now mere team names that have lost all meaning,” pseudo-Conservatives are trying to start a new movement, possibly a new Party. However, their #PrinciplesFirst aren’t Conservative.

The Principles have at least two fatal flaws.

1. They’re based on man-made law & artificial designations of “persons”& “citizens,” not on inalienable rights endowed on “all men” (humans).

The Constitution of the United States is an unique, exemplary document. But its strength and legitimacy depends on the concept of inalienable rights of humans that are not endowed by laws, men or any powers that be of this world. The Constitution can be amended. Human rights can only be infringed.

2. The list also errs in supporting “Each and every family unit – regardless of its shape.”

Would these families include those shaped by polygamy? Why not?

The Republican Platform can be downloaded for reading, here.

The Platform confirms most of the items in the Principles First list. However, the Preamble of the Republican Platform is clear on its origin:

“”We affirm — as did the Declaration of Independence: that all are created equal, endowed by their Creator with inalienable rights of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.”

And equally clear on the”shape” of the family:

“”It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of TT man and one woman.””

Correct these errors, and the “new” Principles would be indistinguishable from that of the Republican Party Platform. The effort should be to hold our elected officials to the Platform, to strengthen our Party, maintain and expand our Seniority in the Senate, win both back in the House. It’s certainly not Conservative to tear down. #FirstPrinciples

Texas’ reaction

At least 22 people are dead and another 20 to 40 wounded in El Paso, Texas, due to a planned, murderous rampageby a man who drove 650+ miles to reach the site. He carried a semi-automatic rifle and wore both eye and ear protection.

13 hours later, a second man also carried a long gun and put on eye and ear protection. He added a bullet proof vest and a huge ammunition magazine. When he attempted to enter a neighborhood bar, he was refused entry, was immediately surrounded by police, and yet managed to kill nine people and wound dozens of others.
These followed closely on the California Garlic Festival shooting that claimed three lives, including two children.

The killings alone are enough to prove the killers are evil and full of hate, but their history and social media portray individuals focused on hate, erasing all doubt. It appears that the Texas shooter identified with white supremacists white supremacists while also professing to be anti-government and anti-corporation, while concerned about the environment. The Ohio shooter was known to be obsessed with guns, had participated while armed in a counter-protest against white supremacists and was politically left-leaning. The motives of the California shooter aren’t clear at all.

Meanwhile, in Chicago,at least two mass shootings in public parks went nearly unnoticed, although seven people were killed by guns in the City and 52 were injured and treated at local hospitals.
Yet, Chicago and Illinois have some of the strictest gun control laws in the US:
“””The age to purchase a firearm is 21. The state requires gun owners to obtain licenses and face background checks as well as imposing waiting periods on firearms purchases. Judges can take guns away from owners who are deemed to be a threat to themselves or others. And recent legislation aims to begin a fingerprinting database of all gun owners in the state.””
However, as noted in that article,
“””Apparently it doesn’t work like that. (Someone should tell our elected leaders.)””
These are the same strict gun control measures that are now being demanded across the Nation. The contention is that strict gun laws will decrease gun violence.
The problem seems to be (both in Chicago and around the country) that legal gun owners are not the ones causing the issues, these gun control laws are also suspected of impacting poorer citizens disproportionately, and, in the recent cases, it’s unlikely that any of the often-proposed gun control laws would have prevented the murders: The murderers decided to kill people. Each went to extremes and broke laws already in place, in order to carry out their plans.

Evil will find a way.

The UK has had 285 knife killings in the UK IN 12 months, 40K+ knife attacks and hundreds of homicides using knives or other sharp instruments in the last year. Twenty people were killedwith a knife attack in Japan in 2016. Three more were killed and in another knife attack this year. In 2015, a man attacked teachers and students with a sword, killing two.
And this week, four people were killed and others wounded by a man with a knife in California, a State with the most strict gun laws in the country.
The greatest risk is that an unarmed populace is vulnerable to domination by armed criminals. Gun control in Mexico is nominally very strict, yet the gun murder rate is five times that of the US and large parts of the country are oppressed by organized – and armed – criminal cartels.

What will Texas response be?

I doubt that any of the proposed gun control laws will ever be passed in Texas.
First, it’s important to realize that Texas’s Legislature only meets every two years. The next Regular Session won’t meet until January, 2021. The Governor is unlikely to call a Special Session to increase gun control.
Second, in spite of calls by President Trump and some Republicans, it’s highly unlikely that the Lone Star State will back (attractive, even to me) “Red Flag” laws because of these attacks. So called “Red Flag” laws are billed as attempts to make it easier to seize guns from current owners who may be dangerous, but are certain to result in armed resistance by owners and the refusal by law enforcement. In fact, nearly half of the Sheriffs in Washington State have made it known that they won’t enforce that State’s new law, I-1639.
Any move to prohibit classes of guns and ammunition will likely face a successful court challenge, at least until the more unlikely event that the Second Amendment is constitutionally repealed. Even if you see repeal of the Second Amendment to the Constitution as a remote possibility, how quickly do you think it could happen?

In Texas, the result will probably be more guns.

I won’t be surprised to see an increase in gun purchases, in Concealed Carry License (CCL) applications and to see more current CCL holders actually carry, rather than to decide to leave the gun at home.
I do hope that more people will sign up for CCL, safety and response classes.
But, if we learned anything from these recent shootings, it’s not that guns are dangerous: The gun needs a human to pull the trigger. But it’s more obvious than ever that even when the police are present or respond immediately, they can’t prevent a determined killer from the attempt.

Candace Owens, Steve Bannon, future of the Republican Party

@SteveBannon: More bartenders and fewer lawyers, not the donor-class candidates.

@RealCandaceO; Mock the Left, be cultural, not so staid.

Here’s the video, https://youtu.be/qC-r0izU4j0

Me: Use the energy and frustration and STOP tearing each other down!

The interview started out covering the grass roots efforts to build a border wall using private money, but these two talk about even deeper issues.

Here in Texas, we have some perfect examples: MQS and Speaker Bonnen, the”Freedom Caucus” vs. the Republican Caucus and the division in the pro-life, pro-family community are prime examples of their position.

Since 2012 at least, the various factions in our own Republican Party of Texas are fast losing our sense of cameraderie, and have already lost our sense of humor. In order to prove our uber-conservatism has been engaged in “Ready, Fire, Aim,” a circular firing squad.

Take the Strickland vs. Geren cookie incident:

https://www.texastribune.org/2015/05/03/stickland-and-texas-house/

Sure, Gerens’ joke was a little mean spirited, but it was funny. Strickland would have been so much better laughing it off, perhaps offering Green some Grecian Formula in response.

I’ve compared our factions to the sanctimonious deacon who loudly and critically disapproves of the prodigal church members who show up on Mother’s Day or Easter Sunday. Rather than making them welcome and encouraging them to come back next week.

I know I’d rather debate an atheist on issues than some of our faithful. Both sides might tell me to go to hell, but it’s a lot more damning when the believers give you directions.

Consider: Is it true, is it really importantis it necessary, and will it make the situation better or turn the frustration back on our own side? Why not look for a way to turn the debate around to unite Conservatives in a win/win deal?

Eye emergency: Floaters and Flashes

MEDICAL WARNING! (From a doctor who became a patient.) (On vacation.) (In England.)
If you have a sudden visual change including increased “floaters” (spots, threads or rings in what you see, that usually move around) flashes of lights or -especially! – a loss of part of your vision, including a “curtain coming down”over one or both eyes, get to the ER! It could be a retinal detachment! You need evaluation and urgent, if not emergency, treatment to save your eye!
The biggest risk factors are aging – over 50 years old – and nearsightedness, followed by direct trauma to the eye.
After 50 years old, the vitreous will deteriorate, becoming liquid like water, instead of its usual jelly-like consistency. The vitreous collagen fibers can pull on the retina and create a tear, fluid from the vitreous can ooze behind the tear, pulling the delicate tissue of the retina away from its nourishing bed. The retinal cells will soon die, taking your vision on that eye.
The good news is that sometimes, the symptoms are (like mine were) only due to aging and the pulling by the vitreous. They will eventually resolve on their own. (Even these can carry an increased risk of a tear in the first month, accompanied by a sudden visual change, as described above.)
We can save most of, if not all, of your vision with out-patient Laser therapy, *if* you get care early on. If you wait days, the dead cells can’t be replaced or repaired. Even with the best outcome, the treatment is much more complicated as time goes on, requiring surgery and carrying a greater risk of lost vision and an increased risk of cataract development.

While “on holiday” in England, I got to learn this lesson better than any medical textbook could teach me.

I first had the flashes and thought it was a painless migraine and that I was simply more aware of the floaters because of the flashes.
All of the symptoms were variable throughout the day, seemed to get better and even went away over the next few days. And who wants to go to an ER on vacation, especially in another country?
Then a week after the first flashes, I had a real scare: a sudden increase in the number of floaters and a very short time when it seemed as though I was looking through bad glass. I remembered a patient who had a retinal detachment who told me about seeing through “cracked” glass.
So, on a Saturday afternoon, I visited the local “A&E” at the hospital, followed on Monday by a trip to the Urgent and Emergency walk in clinic at the eye hospital in Oxford.
At the ER visit, I received a quick exam by the ER doc and, after reassuring me that there didn’t appear to be a detachment, I was given warnings about what to watch out for and the need to follow up with an opthalmologist for a dilated exam of the eye.

At the eye hospital, I had a visual fields test and a dilated retinal exam by an opthalmologist. There was no tear or obvious defect in my retina. I was reassured that I was experiencing “a normal process of aging,” but the warnings to return for new visual loss were repeated.
I met wonderful, kind and cheerful at both facilities and wasn’t charged a fee at all. I was told that “the first one is free!”
The waiting times were actually shorter than I expected, since neither department was very busy when I visited. (That must have been the slowest Monday morning clinic I’ve ever seen.)
My vision is fine, with a few more “floaters” than before. They’re more like strings or half rings at the the outside of my eye, and there’s one dot that floats past the middle of my vision occasionally.
(This is a re-write of a Facebook post.)

@bnuckols tweets

Click here to get your “Choose Life” license plate

Rick Perry RickPAC

Yes, I'm still for Governor Perry!

RickPAC

What to read around here

Archives

SiteMeter