Monday, October 23, 2006

Wong Wrongs

In the spirit of election season, we bring you a local Houston, Texas race for State Representative in District 134. For the record, we endorse the sane candidate: Ellen Cohen. Make sure you get out and vote!

Current State Rep. Martha Wong represents one of the most affluent and educated districts in Houston. Yet, watching her in debate and reading about her political mishaps is unbelievable--we are starting to feel sorry for her, and we're not even voting for her.

Take a look at some of Wong's wrongs:

Endorsement problem(s)

Signage issues

Mailing/lying issues

Bribery of High School Students: In an uncomfortable moment, Wong mentioned that she sits on the board of the University of St. Thomas, adding, “so if any of you want to go there…”

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

It's no wonder the spinich is poisoned

When the head of the FDA is lying and cheating, is it any wonder that the food and drug suppliers are getting away with murder?

(From the AP)
Former FDA chief Lester Crawford has agreed to plead guilty to charges of failing to disclose a financial interest in PepsiCo Inc. and other firms regulated by his agency, his lawyer said Monday.

The Justice Department accused the former head of the Food and Drug Administration in court papers of falsely reporting that he had sold stock in companies when he continued holding shares in the firms governed by FDA rules.
Court papers say Crawford chaired the Food and Drug Administration's Obesity Working Group while he and his wife owned shares worth at least $62,000 in soft drink and snack food manufacturer Pepsico Inc., based in Purchase, N.Y. In addition, the documents say, he held stock worth at least $78,000 in food product manufacturer Sysco Corp., based in Houston.

While he and his wife owned the stock, the panel Crawford chaired met with representatives from the packaged food industry and gave congressional testimony encouraging manufacturers to relabel serving sizes to give calorie counts greater prominence.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Documentary on Medical Errors

TV can be good for you--make sure you tune in tomorrow night (Thursday) for this 4-part documentary--it's sure to be educational (plus, I don't think PBS will be running a fund drive, so they won't be interrupting every 10 minutes for a donation).

Four-part PBS series will explore medical errors
(taken from The Belleville News-Democrat by Roger Schlueter)

One million more are injured, many by drug-dosing errors like the ones that recently killed three premature infants in Indianapolis. In fact, it is estimated that medical errors kill as many people each year as breast cancer, AIDS and car accidents combined.

The four-part series will explore both the quality crisis and the innovative solutions being undertaken to improve the medical care patients depend on. The one-hour programs will be shown locally in Houston at 9 p.m. on Thursdays through Oct. 26 on Houston PBS Channel 8.

Each program will examine critical health-care issues facing the country today, including patient safety, medical and medication errors, hospital-acquired infections, family-centered care and effective management of chronic disease.

But rather than simply assign blame for the failings, the series spotlights solutions by showcasing the stories of individuals and institutions that are working to ensure better care.

Tomorrow night "First Do No Harm" will examine the impact of medical errors and patient safety in two hospitals. It will follow the efforts of doctors like Donald Berwick, founder and CEO of the Insitute for Healthcare Improvment, who are challenging their colleagues to live up to their medical school oath.

On Oct. 19, "The Stealth Epidemic" will take up the challenge of treating common chronic diseases that now affect nearly 100 million Americans. Conditions such as diabetes and heart disease now consume 70 percent of all health-care resources.

The final program, "Hand in Hand," will look at how doctors can retain the human touch even as medicine becomes more technologically sophistacated and complex. The show focuses on Julie Moretz, whose son Daniel was born with serious heart disease. She helped the Medical College of Georgia's Children's Medical Center change how it treats families to become a leader in patient- and family-centered care.

The show will be hosted by Peabody- and Emmy award-winning journalist John Hockenberry, who wound up needing intense medical care himself after an accident on the Pennsyvania turnpike left him a paraplegic in 1976.