Citizens' Issues
51 child deaths in Sishu Bhavan alarms Government officials
Upset with the turn of events, angry parents of the children, including those under treatment, accosted Odisha Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Naik for narrating their woes before visiting media persons
Odisha Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Naik made a surprise visit to Sardar Vallabhbhai Post Graduate Institute of Paediatrics, also known as Sishu Bhawan, at Cuttack where 51 infants have died in the last few days due to medical negligence.
Upset with the turn of events, angry parents of the children, including those under treatment, accosted Odisha Health minister Atanu Sabyasachi Naik for narrating their woes before visiting media persons.
Informed sources tell Moneylife that there are several political dimensions to the issue, including a major, orchestrated cover up. The health minister, AS Nayak, they allege, is disinterested in the health portfolio, but is politically important to his party and hence being protected “at the highest level”.  This, they say, is evident from the swift inquiry conducted by the Odisha Government, which appears to have absolved everybody from blame. That is why he is untouched by two major tragedies, including dozens of deaths a few months ago because of hepatitis. Those in the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) who are seriously unhappy at the government’s callous attitude to the tragic deaths say they are helpless and can only continue keep up the pressure.   
The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in Odisha has decided to gherao all the 314 blocks on 2nd September to protest the "state government's failure to provide adequate health facilities to the infants resulting in spate of deaths" in the Sishu Bhawan.
Over 5,900 infants have died in the referral hospital while undergoing treatment during the last five years. As per the health department report, 3,869 infant have died in out-patient department (OPD), while 2,034 have died in Intensive Care Unit (ICU) between 2010 and 2015. As per the health department report, 407 infants have died in both ICU and OPD in the last three months. Five of the deaths occurred in the new born wards and the parents of all these children are blaming it on the doctors and their medical negligence that led to this drastic situation.
The hospital has a dearth of doctors now and so it is not being maintained properly. It is observed that out of the 55 sanctioned posts of resident doctors, only 20 were filled.
A central government team has submitted its report to the Health Ministry on Monday highlighting severe infrastructural lapses, staff shortage as well as hygiene issues as the contributory factors for the deaths.  It has also highlighted absence of a "robust infection surveillance system" in the hospital, lack of higher antibiotics and life-saving drugs and shortage of essential equipment like infusion pumps and pulse oximeters. 
"Only 40% of the children were admitted to the Intensive Care Units (ICU). In most cases, there was a delay of more than 4-5 hours due to non-availability of beds or other reasons. As far as treatment is concerned, in majority of the cases, the treatment was appropriate but monitoring both by doctors and nurses was inadequate," said a senior official, who was part of the seven-member team that visited the tertiary care hospital in Cuttack. 
The Team Members also went through the case sheets of all the children who expired between 21/8- 26/8 and physically went round the wards, ICU wards and the lab facilities.
According to one of the members, the hospital "hardly has any documentation of consultants' advice on the case sheets though they might have seen the patients. The lab reports in many cases were also not up to date".
The central government team has also made some recommendations to restore the credibility of the hospital. This includes mobilisation of senior residents to strengthen the current management and strict monitoring of sick children, round the clock availability of lab facilities for emergency investigations etc.
The central government team, which visited the State include specialists from Lady Hardinge Medical College, RML Hospital and the Safdarjung Hospital in New Delhi and the team was also assisted by an Assistant Professor from AIIMS Bhubaneshwar.
“On average, the 416-bed facility receives at least 450 children daily from across Odisha and neighbouring states -- at least 50 requiring intensive care. Most of the children who died in the past days suffered from birth asphyxia -- when a baby does not receive enough oxygen at birth. Other cases involved neonatal sepsis, a blood infection that occurs in infants younger than 90 days,” says a report from CNN.


Pulse Beat

Vitamin D Supplement Is Useless

We have just celebrated our Independence Day. I always say that what we got on that day is only political independence; we are still intellectual slaves of the West, more so of America. For over two decades, ever since vitamin D became a money spinner, I have been telling patients that we do not need vitamin D in India; and, even if we do, we do not get any benefit from exogenous vitamin D. The common man, and his doctor, used to laugh at me behind my back. Now comes a bombshell from the intellectuals!
“Vitamin D is no better than a placebo for boosting bone mineral density, muscle function, and muscle mass, or reducing falls in postmenopausal women,” according a study published in the 3rd August issue of JAMA Internal Medicine. “High-dose vitamin D offers no muscoloskeletal benefit and no protection against falls in postmenopausal women, a new study found.”
I hope and pray that, at least, now our wise doctors listen to the voice of sanity.

Stem Cell Deception

Right from day one, I was sceptical of the stem cell story. We have been working on endogenous stem cells produced by our own body; for example, in bone healing after a fracture. The RBC (red blood cells) inside a blood clot at the site of the bone fracture, if carefully studied, undergoes changes slowly but steadily to become a pluripotent stem cell which helps heal all parts of the fracture site. We also have been seeing powerful stem cells produced by the body when we try to use electromagnetic energy to heal large wounds where the body produces its own stem cells to heal the wound. That said, I must add that any in vitro stem cell (stem cells made in the laboratory by a human being) introduced into the patient’s system finds itself like a fish out of water. Nowhere, so far, has stem cell therapy succeeded! Occasionally, when it has done so, it has given rise another deadly disease. 
What went wrong is that the stem cells injected into the system eventually die out; but before that, they should be able to give birth to daughter stem cells for doing the job. Till date, researchers have no clue about why the daughters are not born, and, if born, do not thrive! Of course, if they had used their brains, they would have known that in a holistic system, reductionist ideas like introducing a man-made stem cell from outside to direct it to do what man wants, is like asking for the sky! 
Epigenetics teaches us that what the artificial stem cell does cannot be dictated by the scientist, but by its environment! The latter is basically the human mind.
Currently, there is fresh excitement in the stem cell research field. Unless stem cells perform, the funds for research will dry up: Science thrives on ‘research funds’. The latter thrive on scientific papers published. So it is a vicious cycle where most publications—even in the so-called prestigious journals—can be termed as frauds! A group of researchers has seen a new communication method between stem cells and their daughters in the form of a new nanotube from the mother cell to the daughter. The enthusiasm has been getting greater by the day when another researcher found such tubes were there in existence even earlier which were misinterpreted. So back to the square one!
So where are we in reductionist research? We keep coming back to where we started! Stem-cellers do not get excited as yet!

Granny’s Treatment for Sore Throat

When I was a child, I had to sip as much hot water as possible for my sore throat and it went away. Today’s children get antibiotics for what’s mostly a viral sore throat. Now, research shows that hot water sips, that raise the throat temperature by just a degree centigrade, are the best treatment for 90% of sore throats. 


The Human Reasons Why Athletes Who Dope Get Away With It
The logistics of drug testing, and the reliance on the competence and thoroughness of each country’s efforts, makes catching cheaters extra difficult
Last week, we examined reasons why the very nature of drug testing technology — which cannot eliminate false positives and false negatives at the same time — means it will never be a perfect mechanism for catching cheaters. This may come as no big to surprise to anyone who remembers the famous Nike commercial featuring video of Lance Armstrong taking a drug test. “What am I on?” Armstrong asks rhetorically. “I’m on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day.” He was also on a raft of drugs, yet passed hundreds of tests. Certainly, testing technologically has progressed since then and will continue to do so. But even if technological holes are closed, logistical loopholes may remain. Here are four holes large enough for Lance to ride a bike through:

1. The Dog Was Eating My Homework...While My Doorbell Was Broken

When athletes take small doses of synthetic hormones, the window during which they might fail a test is very short — often just hours. So it’s critical that athletes don’t know when the tests will occur. To facilitate year-round, unannounced testing of a limited number of top athletes, the World Anti-Doping Agency calls for “whereabouts requirements.” Beginning in 2009, potential Olympians had to fill out forms letting anti-doping authorities know where they would be for at least one hour each day — between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. — for the next few months. (An athlete’s whereabouts calendar can be altered, and the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency even has a mobile whereabouts app.) Still, athletes can miss three tests in 12 months before they face a sanction. It’s only fair to give some wiggle room — any idea where you’ll be three Tuesdays from now? — but it means athletes can sometimes avoid the testers by claiming to have stepped out briefly or that they didn’t hear the doorbell. Or, as retired professional cyclist Tyler Hamilton — and admitted former doper — once succinctly summarized a low-tech method of chicanery: “We hid.” 

2. Testing Infrastructure? What Testing Infrastructure?

The World Anti-Doping Agency itself is not — as is commonly misunderstood — set up to drug test athletes around the world. WADA was launched just before the turn of the millennium to coordinate anti-doping efforts and rules around the world. The agency conducts research to better detect ever-more advanced doping, accredits labs that want to become certified for drug testing (and strips accreditations if labs don’t maintain certain standards), and keeps the World Anti-Doping Code. The Code, includes the list of banned substances and the methods and rules for how anti-doping efforts should be conducted by sports federations and countries. It was implemented before the 2004 Olympics and has been updated several times. So WADA simply keeps the Code; it’s up to the Olympic committees, national and international sports federations, and anti-doping bodies in each individual country to actually implement it. Typically glacial bureaucratic movement has ensued. In one prominent instance, Renee Anne Shirley, former executive director of the Jamaica Anti-Doping Commission, pointed out that limited staff and expired testing kits led to a total halt to JADCO’s out-of-competition testing in the three months before the 2012 London Olympics. (Athletes were still subject to testing by international governing bodies.) Implementing agreed upon anti-doping practices is still a fairly new and definitely evolving venture for plenty of countries and sports organizations, and it’s still a global patchwork. 

3. TUE

It’s an abbreviation for “Tuesday” to you, but any athlete who sees those letters immediately thinks “therapeutic use exemption.” Athletes have to be allowed to care for their health, and the TUE system allows them to apply for permission to use substances or medical procedures that would normally be restricted, ranging from corticosteroids and stimulants to IVs. The trouble is that any process by which athletes can gain permission to use potentially performance enhancing drugs also provides a possible anti-doping loophole. Perhaps the most stunning recent TUE revelation was that Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez was actually given permission at one point to use synthetic testosterone, and then to use the drug clomiphene citrate, meant to boost testosterone in men who are not producing enough naturally. The Ultimate Fighting Championship also gave out a rash of exemptions for testosterone, with most athletes claiming they needed it because they had low testosterone for their age. In Olympic sports, an exemption for testosterone would be extraordinarily hard to come by. Simply low testosterone levels do not suffice; a rare condition — like being born without testicles or having them removed — would have to be present. But the prevalence of certain medications among athletes — like corticosteroids, both injected for pain and inhaled for asthma — has led some of the pros themselves to call for removal of the TUE process altogether, so that there would be no exemptions for otherwise restricted medication. As American distance runner Ben True recently put it: “I have a hard time with the idea that if you’re that sick and need certain drugs that you’re able to be at the top of the sport and race at the highest level. Maybe you just need to go home and rest and recover for a while.”

4. Henhouse, Meet Fox

Officials at IAAF — track and field’s international governing body — were understandably a tad defensive after a recent report by London’s Sunday Times and German broadcaster ARD that a review of 12,000 leaked biological passport tests for track athletes from 2001 to 2012 found that around 15 percent of them were doping. The governing body has a lot to lose from the perception that cheating is rife and that many athletes get away with it. It falls in line with a host of recent scandals in pro sports in which the agency charged with rooting out cheaters was unsurprisingly “surprised.” You didn’t expect Sepp Blatter to lead the charge against corruption in World Cup soccer, did you? Or the UCI — cycling’s governing body — to take down Lance Armstrong? Of course you didn’t, just like you didn’t expect Major League Baseball to interrupt the steroid-fueled home run chase — which propelled baseball back to relevance after a devastating strike — in order to bring you an important message about performance enhancing drugs… Continue Reading…
Courtesy: ProPublica


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