Archive for July, 2008

Banks Have All the Money and It is Ours

Thursday, July 24th, 2008

When I was a kid, I told my parents I wanted to own a bank because that was where all the money was. They were amused. Today I drive around in my home town, every EXPENSIVE commercial four-corner intersection has at least one if not more than one branch bank. I have learned since my childhood that banks get their money from us–the general banking public. So, why am I paying for all these expensive banks on every corner along with paying for essentially every service the bank provides?

Banks are not only building expensive facilities they are also paying shareholders. Recently in their foolish attempts to make more and more money (greed has no bottom or top) they have lost their shirts on sub-prime loans. But, this is not my problem or yours except they will make it our problems by gouging us with more fees of all kinds.

To make matters worse, as we suffer the consequences of a down economy with increasing inflation especially gas and food prices, they raise our fees and interest rates to cover their costs and losses. I hear a long time ago, that socialism has a heart but does not work and capitalism has no heart but works. We are suffering from capitalism’s lack of heart and paradoxically, it is NOT working.

Are there answers? Well for one thing, we must learn to live within our means. No more debt supported life-styles. Pay off credit cards. Next, shop for banks services just like any other bargain hunting. Credit Cards vary on fees and charges. There are some that are much more advantages than others. Shop around for your best deal. If possible, use a credit union. They do NOT have the shareholder’s interest at heart; they have yours (or, at least, they’re supposed to). Stop frivolous spending like cigarettes!

Finally, mutual banks needs to be established where the depositors and users are the owners. These mutual banks would minimize fees and charges while maximizing returns to their customers. Vanguard is a good example of a fund company that believes in this philosophy; so, we should invest our retirements, 401(k), etc. with them. In this way the lower fees and charges increase our retirements amounts rather that the money managers.

Do Anti-Psychotics Truly Harm Severely Demented Patients?

Tuesday, July 15th, 2008

The ethical principle of double effect is well understood in Medicine. Basically, it states that unwanted and unintentional bad effects are acceptable when the intent is to do good. Patients who undergo procedures sometimes have unfortunate and unavoidable consequences that may include death. For every attempt to do good a possibility of doing harm exists. So, why is there alarm over the untoward effects of potent anti-psychotics on advanced demented/Alzheimer’s patients?

By the time demented patients required anti-psychotics, they have lost their sentience, i.e., awareness of self and others. So, the control of unruly behavior cannot include verbal appeals and medications are the only alternative. Not infrequently, the unruly behavior is so severe that only potent anti-psychotics manage to re-established some semblance of control.

Recently, some have reported alarming and fatal side-effects to the use of anti-psychotics in severely demented patient and have warned against their use. These alarms have probably lead to less inappropriate AND appropriate use of these agents of control.

In the past, the physical restraining of these patient was condemned and essentially regulated out of use. It now appears that medication restrains may be going the same way. This would leave medical care providers with no options but a padded room. Even then self-harm could not be prevented.

If a life-ending side effect in an unruly, non-sentient demented patient occurs where is the harm? Up to 3% of sentient patient going to coronary bypass surgery die before leaving the hospital and this untoward effect has NOT stopped these bypasses from being performed daily. The principle of double effects permits these procedures to go on.

In the same way, the appropriate use of potent medications, i.e., anti-psychotics, for unruly demented patients must also be permitted. If an unintentional life-ending side effect occurs, so be it. Their physical deaths are frequently not as painful as the psychological and social deaths that the dementia had caused.