Tag Archives: being

Planned Parenthood head: ‘Being a woman is now a pre-existing condition’

Planned Parenthood’s president, Cecile Richards, gave a damning verdict on the Republicans’ healthcare bill to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act on Thursday, saying: “Being a woman is going to be now a pre-existing condition in this country.”

Speaking hours after the American Health Care Act was narrowly passed in the House of Representatives, the activist – who is a key figure in the campaign for American women’s health and reproductive rights – received a standing ovation as she arrived on stage to address a packed audience at the New School in New York as part of PEN America’s World Voices Festival.

Richards said the bill, which won by a margin of just four votes, was “jammed through” without proper scrutiny or debate, adding: “To say it’s unpopular is really an understatement.”

Opening the talk, Richards tried to strike an optimistic tone by saying to cheers and applause that the delay to the bill – which failed to win sufficient support in March – proved that “the resistance is working”.

However, she went on to describe the damage that the bill, which she described as “a vampire resurrected”, could go on to cause if it gets past the Senate. Preventing that outcome, she said, was now the key focus for campaigners’ energies.

She told the audience: “Today, of course, for those of you who have been blissfully off of Twitter, the House of Representatives jammed through a bill that really very few members of Congress, I think, had read. Certainly the Congressional Budget Office hadn’t even scored in terms of its impact – both fiscal impact and impact on folks.”

She added: “There’s a lot of things in the bill, we can talk about them, but of course one of the things that has been foremost on the mind of some of the leaders and Speaker [Paul] Ryan was ending access to Planned Parenthood for women on, patients on Medicaid.

“That means millions of folks who come to us for cancer screenings and for family planning, particularly in medically underserved areas, will no longer be able to go to Planned Parenthood for that care.”

She said based on the evidence she has seen in her home state, Texas – where more than half the abortion clinics have closed – the effects of the new healthcare plan would be “devastating”.

“The impact is immediate on women and particularly women on low income, women of color,” she added.

Citing figures that estimate 24 million people will lose their health insurance coverage under the bill, she talked about its other possible implications.

Richards said the equity “we fought for so hard under President Obama” had been “thrown out”, gender ratings enabling insurance companies to charge women more would return, and it would be more difficult for women to have access to maternity coverage and family planning.

“Supposedly the pro-family party just passed a bill that will basically make it harder to not get pregnant, harder to have a healthy pregnancy and harder to raise a child,” she added.

Although Richards said the Senate was “a place where cooler heads prevail”, where she claimed the bill is “wildly unpopular”, she feared the Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, would “try to get it through” regardless.

She urged opponents of the bill to “tell the story of what happened”, adding: “The more this gets out there, the more people hear about it, the less popular it is and the more people that, when these guys go back home, because of course they’re mainly guys, they go back home and they have to deal with a lot of women in pink pussy hats, Planned Parenthood signs and patients telling their stories, and they don’t like that.”

The event, which had been scheduled long before the bill’s outcome was known, featured a discussion between Richards and the PEN America executive director, Suzanne Nossel, about the body politic.

America’s healthcare is being driven off a cliff by nihilists | Ross Barkan

If the mythology of Paul Ryan, cerebral and considerate policy wonk, survives 4 May, it will truly be a miracle. Or just another marker of the punditocracy’s unshakeable idiocy.

Ryan’s Republican Congress, after trying and failing to hold a vote on a repeal of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare) in March, has rounded up the votes to pass the American Health Care Act, perhaps the worst piece of life-altering legislation to ever see the light of day.

This bill won over a few so-called moderate Republicans because it now includes an amendment that would allow states to waive an ACA rule that forbids charging sick people higher insurance prices, as long as the states set up a special insurance pool for those people. The amount of money allocated for this? A paltry $ 8bn.

A quick recap: Ryan’s legislation (calling it Donald Trump’s bill gives too much credit to a man wholly disinterested in anything that smells of policy) will scrap the ACA’s mandate to buy health insurance, substantially cut Medicaid, and hope somehow this doesn’t cause premiums to skyrocket.

The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office (CBO) found that 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance under a version of the legislation considered in March. The CBO hasn’t had the time to score this bill. Republicans aren’t interested in finding out just how much of a disaster they’re going to inflict on regular people. They have a campaign pledge to fulfill, after all.

Were an alien to wander down to Earth and examine the functionality of American democracy in 2017, it would find an intellectual graveyard. Lawmakers tasked with carefully considering remarkably complex legislation with the potential to significantly alter the lives of millions of people are instead rushing to vote for a bill that they know almost nothing about and that no outside expert has had the time to seriously assess. This is insanity.

The healthcare bill will funnel $ 100bn to states over a decade to stabilize what are sure to be markets wracked by chaos, assuming this legislation survives intact to Trump’s desk. Amendments provide another $ 30bn to states with few strings attached. If somehow all of this money is used just for the high-risk pools, it will come out to $ 138bn, which sounds impressive enough. But most healthcare researchers believe a competently run national high-risk pool would cost much more.

Factoring in lifetime caps on coverage and longer waiting periods, one 2010 estimate from two conservative health economists found such a pool would cost $ 150bn-$ 200bn over a decade. Other recent estimates believe the price tag to be much higher.

Obamacare itself is far from perfect. Subsidies are too low, deductibles are too high, and people who are not very sick and not very poor have not seen any vast improvement in their healthcare. As popular as it’s been for anyone under the age of 26 to remain on their parents’ healthcare, it also ensures a lot of healthy people aren’t buying insurance, thus driving up costs for everyone else. (Republicans are keeping this provision.)

In a rational society with a quasi-thoughtful legislative body incentivized to not destroy government as we know it, lawmakers would come together to repair the ACA. Republicans would work with Democrats, and the president, invested in the health and success of his citizens, would devote time and energy to addressing our bloated healthcare system’s greatest flaws.

Of course, we’re in this dystopia, not that world, so we’re left with Trump and Ryan’s flock of nihilists. The only good news is that the Republican-controlled Senate must also pass the American Health Care Act, and there’s little chance that such a disastrous bill will survive in its current form. Unlike members of the House, Republican senators are responsible for entire states. As a unit, they’re less susceptible to the worst impulses of their House colleagues.

All Republicans, however, will have to own this mess because their party has total control of government. House Republicans are guaranteed to lose seats next year. The only question that remains is if this bill will be enough to drive them out of a majority that not so long ago seemed impregnable.

More importantly, the American Health Care Act will belong to Ryan’s legacy. This is his House. And it deserves to fall.

Asylum seekers and the poorest parts of the UK are being let down | Letters

“Most refugees sent to the poorest parts of the UK” (Front page headline, 10 April). Here are suggested headlines for the remainder of the week: “Lowest life expectancy in the poorest parts of the UK”; “Proportionately highest levels of indirect taxation…”; “Worst maintained private and public housing…”; “Highest levels of prescription drugs…”; “Highest attendance at A&E departments…”; “Least investment in schools…”; “Highest number incarcerated…”; and more.

Condescending notions such as “responsibilisation” are used to deflect the political, economic, structural dynamics and suffering of poverty. Zero-hours contracts are recast as “flexible and adaptive working”; low-waged health support workers are declined travel time; part-time contracts without holiday pay or security underpin; essential services are cut to the bone. The list is endless.

On estates of poverty-induced resentment, the comparatively few refugees and asylum seekers entering Britain are warehoused and managed by private, profit-driven companies with, at best, questionable track records – G4S and Serco to name but two. The lack of coherent, integrated, humanitarian policies and interventions is the outworking of inadequately funded public authorities, reflecting a cynical and divisive betrayal by central government of those most in need, whether citizens, refugees or asylum seekers.
Professor Phil Scraton
School of Law, Queen’s University, Belfast

I was saddened but not surprised by your front page. An asylum seeker living with me has told me how he was initially sent to a hostel in Manchester after his arrival in Kent, but when he put in his asylum application, he was transferred to a house in a remote suburb of Liverpool. Unable to afford public transport, he had to walk for an hour or more to shops or to meet people: “it was like being in prison,” he says.

The charities I have been in contact with tell me there are enough potential hosts to house all the asylum seekers they are dealing with, but they lack the resources to assess their suitability. Why can’t the government work with these charities to enable more asylum seekers to be housed with people who are keen to help them learn English and find out more about life in the UK?
Cary Bazalgette

Yvette Cooper and the home affairs select committee are absolutely right to criticise the government’s policy on asylum seekers, and in particular its reliance on private sector providers of accommodation. In Newcastle some years ago, one such provider housed Iranian and Iraqi refugees in the same premises. More recently, the change from the provision of accommodation and support by Your Homes Newcastle (a public sector body leading management of the issue in the north-east) to G4S and its subcontractor Jomast, coupled with a reduction in funding, has effectively led to the disappearance of support services.

Treating the issue as a matter of housing alone is unsatisfactory, both for the asylum seekers and refugees and for the other residents of what tend to be the most disadvantaged areas of towns and cities in the least prosperous parts of the country.
Jeremy Beecham
Labour, House of Lords

Your front page says the home affairs select committee is calling for changes to the “appalling” system of sending these hapless people to the poorest parts of the country. Since government policy for their dispersal has been framed around the inability and unwillingness of local councils to provide education, health and other services for them, the outcome of location in impoverished ghettoes is inevitable. These same blanket policies mean that private hospitality, widely and generously offered, is effectively prevented from being taken up. Thus a Kindertransport scheme was made impossible.

Keith Vaz, as its previous chairman, presided over a select committee on the Shaw report, which highlighted many of the shortcomings in government policy but was kicked into the long grass.

The Home Office claims the UK has a proud history of granting asylum to those who need our protection. We now seem to be at the end of history.
Tommy Gee
Wingfield, Suffolk

Zoe Stewart (Passport checks for patients is an abandonment of NHS principles, theguardian.com, 7 April) is right to say that health tourism costs the NHS a relatively small amount (0.3% of a £130bn annual budget or some £330m). That is still the cost of a new hospital, so not insignificant, but she misses the bigger issue entirely.

The NHS, social housing and all of our public infrastructure were built by previous generations, out of their taxes, with an expectation that not only they but their descendants would benefit. The reason that “health tourism” sticks in the craw is that it breaks the implicit promise of “social goods” being passed on from generation to generation. People do have a sense of ownership over great public enterprises, and with that there is resentment of newcomers who are perceived as not having contributed to the development of the “common weal”, and who are then perceived as taking their jobs, houses and healthcare.

Proclaiming the “universality” of rights or benefits, while attractive as a principle, only really works in stable, homogenous societies. Immigration, of any variety, can dent that sense of communal solidarity, and hence “cracking down on health tourism”, an important though relatively minor financial amelioration, has a wider and justifiable significance.
Simon Diggins
Rickmansworth, Hertfordshire

Join the debate – email guardian.letters@theguardian.com

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EpiPens Are Being Recalled in U.S. Because of Potential Defect

If you or a loved one carries an EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. auto-injector for use in the case of a dangerous allergic reaction, check the device’s lot number. A subset of devices distributed between December 2015 and July 2016 have been voluntarily recalled in the United States after the manufacturer received two reports that EpiPens did not activate as intended.

The two problems were caused by a defective part that could potentially make the device difficult to activate in an emergency, the Food and Drug Administration reported on Friday. Both reports occurred outside the United States, and in both cases the EpiPen users were able to receive treatment from an alternative device.

The voluntary recall began in mid-March in Europe, Japan, Australia, and New Zealand, and has since expanded into North and South America and other parts of Asia. In the U.S., 13 separate lots—with expiration dates of April, May, September, and October 2017—are included in the recall.

People who have EpiPen or EpiPen Jr. devices can check the 2-pack cartons or the auto-injectors themselves for lot numbers and expiration dates. The lots affected in the United States are 5GM631, 5GM640, 6GM082, 6GM072, 6GM081, 6GM088, 6GM199, 6GM091, 6GM198, and 6GM087 (regular EpiPen, 0.3 mg), and 5GN767, 5GN773, and 6GN215 (EpiPen Jr., 0.15 mg).

Any auto-injectors from those lots should be replaced as soon as possible, says a statement from Mylan, EpiPen’s distributor. But don’t toss them before you get your hands on a new one: “We are asking patients to keep their existing product until their replacement product can be secured,” says Mylan’s statement.

Instead, consumers are encouraged to visit mylan.com/EpiPenRecall or call 877-650-3494 for further instructions. Starting today, Mylan says, consumers will begin receiving vouchers to trade in for new replacement products at their local pharmacies. They’ll also receive a container for mailing back back the recalled devices.

As a replacement, consumers can receive either EpiPen branded auto-injectors or Mylan’s authorized generic equivalent. (None of the currently recalled lots include the generic version.)

RELATED: 31 Everyday Things That Can Trigger Allergies

If your EpiPen is from a lot not included in the recall, it does not need to be replaced before its expiration date, says Christina Ciaccio, MD, assistant professor of pediatrics at the University of Chicago Medical Center. However, she does recommend keeping an eye on the list of affected products, in case the recall expands further.

And for anyone who relies on EpiPen and is spooked by the news, Dr. Ciaccio offers some words of reassurance. “Recalls on epinephrine auto-injectors have occurred in the past,” she says, “but overall, the reliability of these devices has been excellent. Companies that manufacture auto-injectors have done an excellent job moving quickly when a problem has been discovered.”

That being said, she adds, it is always a good idea to carry more than one auto-injector—for two reasons. “The first is in case the auto-injector misfires, either by user error or manufacturing error,” she says. “The second is in case he or she needs a second injection before arriving at the emergency department.”

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According to Mylan’s statement, both of the reports that prompted the recall occurred in a single lot, and the defect that was responsible for the failures is extremely rare. However, the statement continues, the recall has being expanded to include additional lots “as a precautionary measure out of an abundance of caution.”

The EpiPen has been in the news consistently over the last few months, after a report in August showed that the device’s price had skyrocketed by more than 600% since 2008. To save money, some patients and doctors even resorted to making their own pre-filled epinephrine syringes.

In the past few months, several new commercial products have hit the market, as well: Mylan now produces its own generic auto-injector at a lower price; CVS announced its own generic version called Adrenaclick; and the competing brand Auvi-Q recently returned to the market—with new and improved safety checks—after it was voluntarily recalled in 2015.

Dr. Ciaccio says that she and her colleagues are “very excited” that several options of epinephrine auto-injectors are now available for patients to choose from. “If EpiPen is not the right device for you or you have difficulty getting one after the recall,” she says, “try another, or even carry more than one brand.”

We need to stop being coy about periods and tampons

Periods are no fun, even when you’re safe at home with a drawer full of tampons, pads and a hot-water bottle. So it’s little surprise that some girls are missing school because they can’t afford the right equipment. Imagine the mess, anxiety and shame they could be facing. And that’s on top of all the other unpleasantness. This being on the women’s pages of the website, you’re probably already familiar with it: unpredictable bleeding – sometimes seeping, sometimes in worrying great blurts – the aches, smells and dealing with a part of your body that you may not be too keen on. But perhaps the people in charge of public happiness, health and hygiene don’t know all this. Maybe they think that periods are a breeze.

I have only had one tiny bad experience of having no access to sanitary products. There I was – 14, at home with asthma, mum in hospital nearly dead from a brain haemorrhage, dad at work, a childminder looking after me – and, late one night, I got my first period. The minder initially refused to give me a sanitary towel as she needed the few she had for herself. And those were the days of scratchy, nonabsorbent toilet paper. Eventually, she gave me one. Horrid, but not a microscopic patch on what those schoolgirls, plus refugees, homeless or incarcerated women and millions in the developing world have to deal with.

You’d think we’d be managing by now to supply women here in the UK with such necessities, but we’re even lagging behind the US. New York City gives away tampons, while poor women here are using old socks and newspapers. But we’re still rather coy about it. Even in newspaper features about periods, blood has been referred to as “fluid”. Blood is fine in horror films, but somehow becomes taboo when it’s pouring from vaginas. But pour it does, and we need to mop it up efficiently, and keep ourselves clean. And so, to free toilet paper, soap and towels in schools, colleges, prisons and all public lavatories, we must add free sanitary items, like the caring, compassionate country we are meant to be.

Rural deprivation and ill-health in England ‘in danger of being overlooked’

Rural communities are in danger of being overlooked when it comes to poverty, deprivation and ill-health, warns a new report from Public Health England.

In England 9.8m people – or 19% of the population – live in rural settings ranging from coastal villages to market towns to large, open expanses like the Yorkshire Dales.

But experts caution that while on average people in rural areas have better health than those in cities, the popular idea of affluent bucolic life is a misconception.

Instead, they say, official statistics have failed to capture the reality that many residents scattered across rural communities face deprivation, poverty and poor health.

“Within a rural community there are significant inequalities between parts that actually are very wealthy and parts that are quite deprived,” said Dr Rashmi Shukla,
Public Health England’s regional director for the Midlands and East of England and lead author of the report.

Published by the Local Government Association (LGA) and Public Health England, the research sheds light on a number of issues affecting the health and wellbeing of rural communities, including low-paid work, unemployment of young people, high costs of housing and fuel poverty.

Access to health services is also of concern, the authors note, with GPs, dentists and other services further away than in urban areas. Indeed, while 97% of urban households lie within 8km of a hospital, the figure for rural households is just 55%.

In addition, rural areas often lack of public transport, while poor broadband and mobile phone network availability hinders communication and access to online health services, banking, and shopping.

“Even people who may not be materially disadvantaged may have difficulties connecting and may be more socially isolated as a consequence of that,” said Shukla.

Social isolation, she adds, is a particular problem for older people – a sector of society that is larger in rural communities, with 23.5% of residents over the age of 65, compared to 16.3% in urban areas.

An ageing rural population, the authors point out, brings a number of challenges. These include the fact that older people often have poorer health and greater care needs, issues compounded by the greater distances to healthcare services and poor public transport. “Financial poverty in rural areas is also highly concentrated amongst older people, with around one-quarter of those in poverty in pensioner households,” the authors add.

Izzi Seccombe, chairman of the LGA’s Community Wellbeing board, said that many of the services that could help tackle these issues have been under pressure.

“What local authorities have all seen is a reduction in government grant,” she said. “While they have tried to protect the services for vulnerable people, like social care, some of our other services that we deliver – which can be subsidised transport, can be library services, it can be grants to the voluntary sector – those have been squeezed.”

The report encourages local authorities to take action to improve healthcare for rural areas, urging them to look closely at the particular challenges facing different communities. The authors also highlight successful initiatives including the “Fish Well” health improvement project in Norfolk, that offered quayside health checks, advice and support to fishermen that they would otherwise have found difficult to access.

The authors also highlight the need for official statistics that look more closely at conditions experienced by those living in the countryside, and at different areas within it, pointing out that current approaches don’t pick up small pockets of deprivation, and tend use measures that are more relevant in urban areas, such car ownership.

“A lot more digging needs to be done to understand the level of deprivation within rural communities,” said Shukla. “Just under 10m of our population live in these communities and a proportion of them are under severe hardship. We need to address that,” she added.

Seccombe agrees. “We must not forget our vulnerable people in more isolated communities,” she said.

Drug addiction isn’t going away so why are treatment centres being slashed?

You may not know that your local authority is responsible for funding drug and alcohol treatment. And unless you, a friend or family member have been personally touched by addiction you might not think that these services should be a funding priority for cash-strapped councils.

We’re left to manage a host of intractable problems that we’re not qualified or able to deal with.

I work in a community drug and alcohol treatment centre and my job is to support people to overcome their addiction and support their recovery. When I arrive at work in the morning there is usually a queue of people outside wanting to get help.

They’re vulnerable people with complex needs and demand for our support is increasing. Yet we’ve seen our funding slashed by 42% since 2010. The situation is the same across the country.

I see fewer heroin users nowadays but far more people dependent on alcohol and people getting into problems with so-called party drugs such as methamphetamine and ketamine. The heroin users might be fewer in number, but they require more of our attention as they get older and sicker. They often have hepatitis C and smoke tobacco and succumb to liver and lung diseases as a consequence.

Addiction sits at the centre of a cluster of physical, psychological and social difficulties. Our service users need help and support in all these domains if they are to stand a chance of recovery. Our caseloads have got bigger because we have had to cut posts and as pressures elsewhere in the health and social care system builds, the complexity of the problems we are presented with has increased, too.

Even when there are clear mental health problems, mental health services don’t want to treat people who also use drugs or drink, so they send them to us. The same applies to the general hospitals – with access to liver treatments being rationed. I know they are also under pressure, with ever-expanding waiting lists, but as a consequence we are left to manage a host of intractable problems that we are not qualified or able to deal with.

Some of our clients lead chaotic lives and come to us in desperation with a whole host of difficulties that go far beyond addiction. They might be embroiled in the criminal justice system and need advice, they might have housing problems or be struggling with trauma; it is not uncommon for me to treat clients who used to be in care and have survived institutional abuse. We used to have psychologists in our team who could provide treatment for complex trauma related to sexual abuse but their posts were cut last year.

I have two clients who are so physically unwell that the local residential detox provider does not think they can safely manage them. The NHS-run unit we used to refer to because it had the necessary medical cover has been closed due to the cuts. If they don’t die beforehand, the only hope for my clients is that they will get a detox if they are admitted in an emergency with a physical health crisis to a general hospital.

With diminished resources we have had to prioritise treatments such as opiate substitute medications and needle exchange, which we know can keep people alive. But how are these actually helping people overcome their addiction?

Addictions services are often retendered with contracts being awarded to the cheapest bidder. I work with people who have had their service retendered and employer changed multiple times. This is a massively stressful process and I have friends who have left the sector feeling demoralised and burnt out.

We are judged on figures like the number of people leaving treatment drug-free, and treatment centres know that this can be used against them. The worst-kept secret in our sector is the gaming of this so-called “performance data”.

If a client drops out of treatment it will have a negative impact on our figures. One way to manage this is not to start the most chaotic people in treatment in the first place. People aren’t refused treatment but they are asked to jump through hoops before structured treatment is commenced.

A homeless, mentally unwell heroin user is going to find it difficult to attend a “treatment induction group”, but the consequence is that they never start on the medication that might actually help them.

Some facts are impossible to hide: drug-related deaths are increasing and new drugs and associated problems are causing problems in prisons and emergency departments. Even the shadow health secretary, Jonathan Ashworth, whose father was an alcoholic, has called for greater recognition of the damage done by excessive drinking.

Drug and alcohol use and addiction isn’t going to go away. I try to do the best I can for the people I work with. I try to close my ears to the negative and stigmatising language. Instead I keep my ears open to my clients and I try to find a connection and build a relationship that may help them in their recovery.

This series aims to give a voice to the staff behind the public services that are hit by mounting cuts and rising demand, and so often denigrated by the press, politicians and public. If you would like to write an article for the series, contact kirstie.brewer@theguardian.com

Talk to us on Twitter via @Guardianpublic and sign up for your free weekly Guardian Public Leaders newsletter with news and analysis sent direct to you every Thursday.

Are you happy being frustrated?

When we look at the root of the drug and alcohol problems in the affluent Western nations, frustration and misery always rise to the surface. Yet, most people in the world find that hard to believe.

After all, the people in the Western countries are so much wealthier and have such full facility to enjoy themselves that it seems implausible that they would be entrenched in an even bigger drug problem than the poor countries.

The problem is that most people are in the illusion that material wealth alone is sufficient to make a person happy. They are equating happiness and/or satisfaction with material sense enjoyment and that if the person is “enjoying” the bodily senses they will be satisfied.

The lesson to be learned is that if a person could be happy simply by enjoying the senses, there would never be problems associated with frustration and unhappiness.

People in the Western world are very affluent, have full facility for sense enjoyment, have money, have time, have, or could have, good health, and yet are not happy.

Seeing this reality, an intelligent person would ask, WHY?

The answer is simple: sense enjoyment is not enough to satisfy the person.

Yet, according to modern chemicalist philosophy, a person is nothing more than a combination of material chemicals. As such, if one makes the body’s senses happy that should eliminate frustration.

In real life, we see that people have full facility for bodily sense enjoyment but they are still not happy.

So, to understand the problem of alcoholism and drugs one has to go deeper into the subject of frustration and dissatisfaction.

Going deeper shows that despite experiencing sense gratification to the fullest there is still something still not addressed – spiritual starvation.

Alcoholism and the drug problem are merely symptoms of the disease. A disease that many people are reluctant to face.

While unknowingly suffering from this disease, there are people in various stages or degrees of this spiritual starvation.

There are so many that are so unhappy with their lives yet they still carry on with their duties and normal activities but turn to drugs and alcohol to help them forget their purposelessness. And by some weird quirk of fate this drug problem somehow becomes a drug solution.

Let’s say that, for example, a middle-aged man has spent most of his life working to be able to get all the facilities for their sense enjoyment as well as their family’s and has succeeded in doing so.

Then one day he sees that his kids are not satisfied despite all they have been provided with and he realizes that he will have to die one day and leave everything ha has accumulated.

What happens is that the feeling of having wasted many years of his life manifests? He worked his whole life to provide those things he thought would make his family happy and it did not. Now what?

Now the kids see that their parents are unhappy despite having wealth and they experience similar frustrations even though they never had to work for anything.

The vast majority of young people in America have facility for unlimited sense enjoyment that most people in other parts of the world can only dream about.

Being born into affluence means that you can get everything money can buy. Despite this, the kid is still unsatisfied.

Some time ago I wrote about the hippies in the late sixties and early seventies, when millions of young Americans, Europeans, Australians, etc., left their affluent homes and all its comforts, the vast majority of which took just the clothes on their backs and wandered around, living in cramped quarters with other young people, trying to find a deeper meaning of existence.

Unfortunately, most of them did not find a deeper meaning of existence and instead, succumbed to drugs. Why? Because they were trying to forget the meaninglessness of their existence.

Yes, the hippie movement is over, but the massive use of drugs for the purpose of forgetting the meaninglessness of our existence is one of the main effects that the hippie movement had on the greater American and western society as a whole.

To put is another way: a life which has as its central purpose nothing more than material sense enjoyment leads to annihilationism.

The idea that I am merely the material body, that I am matter, just chemicals, leads to hedonism or a life centered around the sole purpose of sense gratification. This leads to frustration, which ultimately leads to thoughts of the desire to cease existing.

There are two ways to try to get rid of pain. One is to try to get rid of the pain; the other is to try to get rid of the experiencer of the pain.

So whether they are pushing drugs, alcohol, annihilationism, or voidism, they are no different than the doctor who “cures” his patients by killing them.

So all these methods are attempts to decrease one’s awareness of his own existence. And since awareness or consciousness is the characteristic of life itself, the attempt to decrease such awareness is the symptom of the desire to die. This desire to become free from suffering by ending one’s existence is called mukti, or the liberation from suffering.

So, ultimately, the life of endless sense gratification, called bhukti, leads to frustration and misery, which leads to drugs or alcohol in the hopes of achieving mukti or liberation.

This is called the bhukti-mukti syndrome. First, the desire for sense gratification –bhukti –and then the desire for liberation from the purposeless and misery – mukti.

The solution to the bhukti-mukti syndrome is coming to the realization of your actual identity. The realization that we are not the material body but rather the life force within the material body. The body is material matter and temporary and the life force is spiritual and eternal.

We also must learn that we are not God but dominated parts and parcels of God. The realization of these two things will enable one to understand that the purpose of life is not to serve the senses but to somehow be engaged in loving service to God.

You see, we try to find happiness by playing God. In doing so we ultimately become frustrated and spiritually starved.

This can be compared to a finger on the body that is trying to enjoy independently. Imagine your finger sitting in a bowl of food, it’s right in the middle of the food but it can’t quite take the food in.

Seeing this I might tell my finger that to get energy from that food I need to get it to the mouth. From there it goes to the stomach and from the stomach the food is digested and ultimately delivered to me. But, the finger protests and wonders why it has to give it to someone else (the mouth) when all it wants to do is enjoy it directly.

The answer is that it is just not the natural position and function of the finger. That’s the arrangement and there is nothing anyone can do about it.

The only way the finger can get energy is for it to work in coordination with the entire body and help get the food to the stomach.

The same thing applies to the living entity. The living entity is part and parcel of God. We are all parts of Him. If we try to enjoy independently or separately from His concern, then we will not actually experience true satisfaction of joy.

People in the Western world do not understand this. We are sitting in the midst of incredible wealth, just like the finger sitting in the middle of the food.

But so many people are spiritually starving to death because they do not know their actual identity or their relation to God or the purpose of the human form of life.

We wrongly identify ourselves as our bodies. We see ourselves as being the dominator and consider that our natural position is to be master or enjoyer. So we set out on a path of exploitation in life, believing that we can have happiness independently from God.

People need to be spiritually educated as to who and what they are and what their relationship with God is. Until that happens, we will continue to be bound by selfish interests and endure the bhukti-mukti syndrome endlessly.

The economic development of the West has been built almost entirely upon the desire for their own sense gratification. In other words, for a person to have sense gratification they must secure themselves economically. This is the motivating force. The belief that this sense gratification will make us happy is no longer as strong or convincing in the people as a whole.

There are millions of young people who feel no motivation to make economic advancement. They feel completely without reason to live. They were originally taught that the goal of life is sense gratification and the way to achieve it is to work hard for economic development.

From their own experiences that sense gratification is not enough to satisfy them they no longer have motivation to work and feel hopeless.

So, how do we resolve the conflict? It all starts in your heart where two beings reside: the soul and the Super Soul, aka God. Since God resides in the heart of ALL living beings, He knows your thoughts and desires. If you sincerely want to know Him, He will work it out. All it takes on your part is the sincere desire.

If you understand that God is in your heart does it not stand to reason that your body is truly a temple? As such, why do we continually defile it? Question: would you go into a church/temple/ synagogue/mosque or another place of worship and literally pee or take a dump on the floor? It’s probably the last thing you would do.

So, why then do you continually do it to your body?

You fill your temple with rotting carcasses, with heavy pesticides and drugs, both medicinal and recreational, smoke and alcohol, artificial sweeteners and flavors, chemically produced foods, and so many other pollutants and atrocities, and yet wonder why what is happening to you is happening to you.

See your body for the temple that it is and respect the Inhabitant and His part and parcel and maybe, just maybe, one day you will get the surprise of your life by finding out there is a God.



To learn more about Hesh, listen to and read hundreds of health related radio shows and articles, and learn about how to stay healthy and reverse degenerative diseases through the use of organic sulfur crystals and the most incredible bee pollen ever, please visit www.healthtalkhawaii.com, or email me at heshgoldstein@gmail.com or call me at (808) 258-1177. Since going on the radio in 1981 these are the only products I began to sell because they work.
Oh yeah, going to www.asanediet.com will allow you to read various parts of my book – “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”, containing a wonderful comment by Mike Adams.
In Hawaii, the TV stations interview local authors about the books they write and the newspapers all do book reviews. Not one would touch “A Sane Diet For An Insane World”. Why? Because it goes against their advertising dollars.

Increased risk of 11 types of cancer linked to being overweight, researchers warn

Being overweight could increase the risk of a host of cancers, including those of the colon, breast, pancreas and ovary, researchers have warned following a wide review of more than 200 studies.

According to previous figures from two leading charities, almost three quarters of people are expected to be overweight by 2035, with 700,000 new cases of obesity-related cancer expected over the next 20 years.

The new study by an international team adds weight to the warning, revealing that there is currently strong evidence for a link between excess body fat and an increased risk of 11 cancers: colon, rectum, endometrium, breast, ovary, kidney, pancreas, gastric cardia, biliary tract system and certain cancers of the oesophagus and bone marrow.

“I think now the public and physicians really need to pay attention to obesity with respect to cancer,” said Marc Gunter, a co-author of the research from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. “Telling people to avoid being overweight not only reduces their risk of, say, diabetes and cardiovascular disease, it also reduces their risk of many different cancers.”

Published in the British Medical Journal, the study examined evidence from 204 previously published studies which each looked at combined results from multiple pieces of research probing the link between body fat and the development of particular cancers.

Of the 95 studies which looked at obesity measures on a continuous scale such as body mass index, 12 were found to offer strong evidence of an association, encompassing a total of nine different cancers.

Analysis of these studies revealed that as BMI (weight divided by height squared) increased, so too did the risk of developing certain cancers. For men, for every 5kg/m2 increase in BMI, the risk of developing colorectal cancer rose by 9%, while among women forgoing HRT, the risk of developing postmenopausal breast cancer increased by 11%. The figures were even higher for cancer of the biliary tract system, with risk increasing by 56% for every 5kg/m2 increase in BMI.

The authors note the remaining 83 such studies were of mixed quality. While 18% were deemed “highly suggestive” of a link between excess body fat and cancer, 20% had only weak evidence while 25% had no evidence for a link.

When studies that looked at other measures of obesity were included in the analysis, the total number of cancers for which there was strong evidence of a link to body fat came to 11.

While the new study does not shed light on how excess body weight is linked to an increased risk of various cancers, a number of explanations have previously been proposed. “We know that if you are overweight it causes lots of disruption of hormonal and metabolic pathways,” said Gunter, noting that excess fat has been linked to higher oestrogen levels, higher insulin levels and increased inflammation – all of which can affect cell division.

Dr Rachel Orritt, Cancer Research UK’s health information officer, said: “This research uses very strict criteria to evaluate the evidence and confirms that obesity increases the risk of cancer, linking many of the same cancer types that have been linked before.”

Being overweight, Orritt adds, is second only to smoking as the biggest preventable cause of cancer. “Whether it’s taking the stairs or switching to sugar-free versions of your favourite drinks, small changes can make a real difference, helping you keep a healthy weight and reducing your risk of cancer,” she said.

Dr Alison Tedstone, chief nutritionist at Public Health England, added that awareness was key. “Less than half the population realise that being obese increases the risk of cancer and, with almost two-thirds of adults carrying excess weight, this is worrying,” she said.

Paul Aveyard, professor of behavioural Mmedicine at the University of Oxford, agreed that the study highlighted the need for society to take steps to reverse the rise of obesity. “It is one more reason for people to be concerned about the excess body weight that they carry,” he said. “This risk isn’t confined just to people who are really overweight. All of us who carry excess fat, and that is most of us in this country, are at some degree of risk.”

NHS admin staff keep services running – but we’re being hit by cuts

Secretaries, waiting list and medical records clerks, clinical audit facilitators, business analysts and IT technicians and other support staff pull together to keep essential lifesaving NHS services running smoothly. To a staff nurse, the help of a ward clerk to retrieve a patient’s medical history can be just as crucial as that of a senior consultant. Data quality officers ensuring patients are properly admitted and discharged on computer systems can have an immeasurable impact on the management of bed capacity.

Yet those of us in NHS support services work in less-than-ideal circumstances. I work in an office that is a converted ward. Save for wheeling out most of the medical equipment, it remains an abandoned clinical area. I’m always wary when manoeuvring around our cramped kitchenette – imagine the embarrassment of accidentally leaning on one of the emergency call buttons and having the rapid response CPR team come crashing in.

Plates and cutlery stand stacked precariously atop the tiny dining table and fridge (kindly donated by another admin department, who were throwing it out). A locked walk-in cupboard adjacent to the kitchen would be ideal for storing these. However, due to budget and staff restrictions, logging a job with estates to get a new Yale lock installed has proven fruitless on several occasions. Jobs deemed non-essential are often cancelled. With a leaking radiator pipe, broken window and an unexplained beep from above the ceiling tiles failing to see a quick response, reporting anything else can make one feel rather hypercritical.

The already cramped office still holds a partly dismantled bed hoist, condemned imaging machines and a box of surgical tubing, seemingly forgotten. We have jokingly discussed eBaying the lot to raise funds to buy desk lamps; dim strip lighting doesn’t quite work in an office.

I was lucky enough to suffer a full-scale-beyond-repair PC meltdown one day, so IT had no choice but to provide me with a reconditioned model from their storeroom. However, some of my colleagues are working on machines so old they take upwards of 20 minutes to boot up in the morning. The high-pitched whine of the struggling fans is maddening. Stretched IT staff struggle to keep up with demand. While problems with direct patient impact understandably take priority, waiting three days for a simple but essential fix is excessive.

For a team dependent on computers for their jobs, this can mean time wasted recording information on paper, only to have to transfer it to a digital source once systems are back up and running. It’s easy to see how this can contribute to huge backlogs and missed deadlines. Panicked managers pleading staff to take budget-stretching overtime is often the result.

Cheap or outdated equipment with a tendency to crash or throw up errors only adds to the problem. False economy reigns supreme, when an inadequate version is eventually replaced with the one we should have had all along. An ancient printer once cost my department half a day of productivity, as IT spent hours searching for a withdrawn ink cartridge so we could run off essential documents.

A friend in another department is responsible for requesting essential office supplies. To ensure he’s not buying luxury items the trust can’t afford, all orders are approved by executive-level staff. A recent attempt to gain a few pencil sharpeners saw 12 members of staff told to share three. Mouse mats are definitely off limits.

Understaffing is not just a problem on the frontline. Although there have been cuts and restrictions to what is made available, access to support and training for admin staff is still admittedly good, and it’s not uncommon to hear of a new recruit using NHS resources to gain experience and qualifications before handing in their notice to take a similar role in the private sector. Vacancies are often not re-advertised. While the wary jump ship, those left behind are expected to absorb the roles of colleagues, often without a wage increase.

I am proud to say I work for the NHS. It means much more to me than private sector benefits like a shiny new Apple Mac to work on or an all-expenses paid Christmas do. I enjoy knowing that I am, albeit in an indirect way, contributing to saving people’s lives. There is a sense of community in the health service I don’t sense in corporate organisations; we still join unions, strike together, are aware of each other’s problems.

Yet, just like the healthcare professionals feeling the stress and strain of the continued NHS cuts, we support staff feel we can do only do our best when we’re comfortable at work and morale is high. Since beginning my NHS career, although I’ve advanced and been promoted, I also feel that things are sliding backwards. While frontline medical staff are still undoubtedly in the most direct line of fire, we feel the impact under the surface too and there’s a definite feeling that things are getting worse.

  • Some details have been altered to protect the identity of the writer

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