At times NobodyisFlyingthePlane will be a diatribe about the current state of affairs in the US and the world at large, at other times it will be an evidentiary discussion of the problem, and most of the time it will just be a collection of links I wanted to share.
This article is another adding to the discourse about all of the unnecessary care the medical community is giving these days.
We’re having trouble coming to grips with the understanding that our ability to perform a certain treatment or provide a certain type of care doesn’t mean we should perform or provide it.
Just because we can prolong a life doesn’t mean we should.
“If people were more informed about their options, they wouldn’t want a lot of the ‘medical care’ that they end up getting in our hospital system today.”
The American approach to death in the past century has followed an arc not unlike our approach to food. One of the most common pieces of advice given by nutrition experts today was coined by Michael Pollan: “Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants.” But amid war and scarcity in the early and mid nineteenth century, producers flaunted triumphs science in food processing and preservation—in their capacity for synthetic tastes, bright colors, and infinite shelf lives. Wonder Bread, Tang, Spam, Velveeta, perfection salad, and Twinkies were created not because they should have been created, but because they could be created.
It was decades later that the the “real food” movement supplanted the virtue of processed foods, favoring anything natural (or at least appearing to be of nature). Part of that shift was due to advances in agriculture and transportation making natural-food access possible, but an even larger part was consciousness of nutrition and health. For many people, the central questions of consuming food shifted away from “Can we?” and toward “Should we?” Nearly in step, those were the questions facing doctors in a culture that tended to pursue invasive measures by default, for patients near the end of their natural lives.
The dilemma of modern medicine, in the era of tremendous medical capabilities—when almost any person can be kept alive well past the point when they would have otherwise died (and, in some cases, after they did die)—is, when are health professionals missing the point? When does care become, to use the word Volandes and Gawande do in their lived stories, torture? Because it is a very rare case now, when there is nothing more that doctors can do.
In recent years, the trend has slowly begun to reverse. Since 1990, more and more Americans have died the way they wanted. By 2010, 45 percent of Americans died in hospice care—most of them at home. The rates, among the highest in the world, are what Gawande calls a “monumental transformation” away from a “miserable” system perpetuated by tradition and familiarity. But this remains, he believes “an unsettled time.” In our 21st-century approach to dying, “We have begun rejecting the institutionalized version of aging and death, but we have not yet established our new norm.”
“[Doctors] think our job is to ensure health and survival. But really, it is larger than that. It is to enable well-being. And well-being is about the reasons one wishes to be alive.”
The Fallacy of ‘Giving Up’
NYTimes: Islam’s Problem With Blasphemy
NobodyisFlyingthePlane. Drugs don’t need to cost so much; they just do.
NYTimes: Why Drugs Cost So Much
An interesting look at the real cost of red state economics and politics. They’re unsustainable over time, but boy do people like sprawl and cheap energy.
NYTimes: Is Life Better in America’s Red States?
This opinion lines up quite well with those of the staff here at NobodyisFlyingthePlane.
This summation captures the principle of the ongoing dispute quite well.
no one disagreed on the big points. No one disagreed that black lives mattered just as much as white lives. No one disputed that racial bias in law enforcement should be exposed and eliminated. In fact, no one disagreed about the basic facts surrounding each case. The breakdown happened over relevance and context.
The essence of the disagreement:
it was clear that both sides wanted law and order. But the conservatives were convinced that order is only possible when citizens treat cops with respect. Liberals, on the other hand, were arguing that order can only occur when cops treat everyone the same. And round and round we went. The chicken and the egg.
What to do about it:
I support peaceful protests, and I’m all for rooting out bad cops. But let’s not stop there. If we’re serious about saving lives, and eliminating the confrontations that lead to the demise of Garner and Brown, let’s also condemn the stupidity that leads so many Americans to resist arrest.
I don’t care if you’re white, black, red, periwinkle, burnt umber, or chartreuse — resisting arrest is not a right, it’s a crime. And it’s never a good idea.
Pictures and calorie counts for gluttonous restaurant meals. Most show what a meal of 2000 calories (approx total daily need for adults) looks like.
Same same but different. We think we’re eating the same food our parents ate, but we’re not even eating the same food we ate as kids.
Hard to say that these corporations aren’t at fault for the problematic state of food in this country.
NYTimes: What 2,000 Calories Looks Like
Its refreshing to hear of environmental successes.
Its also nice to see that corporations can be induced to work for the greater good.
NYTimes: Restored Forests Breathe Life Into Efforts Against Climate Change