Thursday, December 17, 2009

A Local Doctor On H1N1

Posted by on Thu, Dec 17, 2009 at 4:55 PM

From Dr. Michael Fratkin:


Hello Community....

I have something to contribute regarding H1N1 Influenza.  My comments are predicated on a deep respect for your autonomy and your capacity to make good decisions for your self and your family.  They are also based on 15 seasons caring for the most critically ill hospitalized patients in a rural community, as well as 7 seasons working long hours in a community health center with the more mundane and miserable.

This flu is different.

I just spent this week supporting and caring for Debra and her family in our ICU.  A 50 year old other of three adults, the middle sister of three, and a nonsmoking, non-drinking schoolteacher.  She had no significant medical problems, wasn't obese, unhappy, or otherwise unhealthy.  After two weeks in the ICU, she died yesterday morning, despite the technological kitchen sink being thrown at her.  No medical mistakes were made, she had insurance, and she and her family were treated with respect and understanding.  She would have died if she was cared for at the Mayo Clinic or Johns Hopkins or Stanford.  She would have died two weeks ago if she lived in most places in the developing world.  She is the third such person in our community (< 50,000) that has died of influenza this year and it's not even November.

Over the years, I have cared for hundreds of people with influenza and expect that by March, a few of the very old, the very young, and the very sick will die from complications of influenza.

This flu is different.

Over the years, I have cared for thousands of people in the clinic miserable for a few days with routine illness from influenza.  This year people are sicker for longer and missing more work.

This flu is different.

I have no financial interest in pharmaceutical companies, no great love for corporations in general, no blind trust of public health missives, and no interest in scaring or alarming anyone about anything. I too wonder if future science will identify mistakes made that will have caused avoidable harm ( i.e. vaccines, GMO's, amalgam fillings, EMR, radon in our basements, cell phones, red dye #13, monosodium glutamate, bad vibes, etc...) I just thought you might want to know....

This flu is different.

That a potentially effective vaccine has been developed and produced this quickly is extraordinary.  The technology that has created it is well understood and is very likely safe.  No guarantees there or anywhere.  Those of us that receive the vaccine may enjoy a modicum of protection, though we won't know until we look back.  Those of us that do not receive it will also benefit from the vaccine, by its ability to impair this virus's ability to move through our population.  Whether you choose to be vaccinated or not, you will likely enjoy some protection provided by your neighbors willingness to consciously or unconsciously take a small risk in your interest.

This flu is different.

Regardless of your choice, how much you wash your hands, or how much you wring your hands about H1N1 Influenza, please consider opening your heart to the millions that will suffer in your somewhat more extended neighborhood....our planet.  Around the world, this influenza will cause suffering that will make your own anxieties seem trivial.  Consider sending your love and opening your eyes and settling your self and broadening your view of your place in the family of humans.

Love, Michael

 

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