The End Of Modern Medicine: CDC Reports Millions Faced With Drug-Resistant Bacteria And Rising Death Toll As Washington Ignores The Emerging Crisis

250px-The_Doctor_Luke_Fildes_cropWe have previously discussed how Congress and the White House continues to spend hundreds of billions on foreign wars without pause but have failed to address an emerging global threat to humanity: antibiotic-resistant strains of bacteria. It is part of the lunacy that governs this nation. We spend wildly on wars while largely ignoring a threat that could endanger the entire population. Recently, Thomas Frieden, director of the Center of Disease Control and Prevention, put it in the starkest terms to try to get someone to pay attention. Indeed, Margaret Chan, director general of the World Health Organization, has warned that we are moving into a “post-antibiotic era.” That means “an end to modern medicine as we know it. Things as common as strep throat or a child’s scratched knee could once again kill.”

The CDC has been presenting data on the rise of bacteria resistance to carbapenems, the most powerful antibiotics that represent our final line of defense. CDC is reporting the appearance of the bacteria now in every state and what it describes as the realization of the “nightmare” scenario for the medical field. Frieden puts the estimate now at over 2 million Americans with infections each year that are resistant to antibiotics. Of those, at least 23,000 people die as a result. To get perspective, we have been waging wars for over ten years at a cost of over a trillion dollars after 3000 were killed by Islamic fanatics. Almost ten times that number are dying each year from this crisis and we are looking at an exponential increase. Yet, few members of Congress have even mentioned this threat or the need for a “war on resistant bacteria.” It just doesn’t get you the same popularity and votes as demanding more defense appropriations. While money has been gradually increased in recent years, it is still a fraction of our appropriations given to pork projects and war efforts.

In the meantime, our politicians will do what they have repeatedly done: they will ignore the warnings and wait for a pandemic. We make fun of the Taliban barring vaccinations, but do relatively little in the face of the loss of antibiotics that are the backbone of modern medicine.

Once we are faced with a rising death toll, they will suddenly act and spend wildly long after the point where the crisis might have been avoided. After all, who needs modern medicine when there are wars yet to be fought. Members only recently expressed frustration in facing public opposition to entering the Syrian war. Bacteria research does not feed the massive lobby in Washington behind defense contracts or produce photo ops in front of ship launchings. Indeed, preventing a crisis does not give you any immediate political benefits. They know that they will not be blamed for the crisis that could have been avoided and can cite to past appropriations as evidence that they did something, albeit not much.  They did relatively little to stop the use of antibiotics in livestock or the overuse of antibiotics by physicians that have fueled drug-resistant bacteria.  After all, the agricultural lobby is an immediate threat.  A pandemic is still an abstraction.

Besides, modern medicine is so last century.

Source: Washington Post

48 thoughts on “The End Of Modern Medicine: CDC Reports Millions Faced With Drug-Resistant Bacteria And Rising Death Toll As Washington Ignores The Emerging Crisis”

  1. Pharma has been leaving the antibiotic stage. This is an area where government and the nonprofit sector have to quickly enter the breach.

  2. Re lawyers advertise. My lawyer won the Phen fen case (I did not know he was doing it at the time he had my case) I hired him because we went to high school together and I remembered him as a kid with integrity. You know the story of forcing me into settlement so won’t go into it but I took it to fee dispute. They found in my favor, “awarded me money amd thenn wrote their decision wa sin favor of attorney. The attorneys on the fee dispute committee made a big deal of “Why didn’t you hire a lawyer who advertises when I said I went to Mike because I knew him and knew no other attorneys.” They felt it was fine to advertise. (I disagreed with it then in 95 and I continue to disagree with it. I don’t think they should advertise. Part is because they do seem to want to take any case no matter what the facts. A new ad is about ‘even if the accident was your fault come talk to us so we can sue the other guy.”
    The problem is even the ones that every business to be in court can be found against the plaintiff no matter how strong the proof (again, the doc in mine actually perjured himself and the juror still “believed” the doc. Had it gone to verdict I would have been found the liar, my proof ignored so they could find in favor of doc. The judge did not like that I was pro se and made rulings I have been told were against the rules of evidence). Even with an attorney they wanted to find for the doc. A cabbie told me and this I believe was also the issue, “the hospital is the largest employer here. You will never win against any of our doctors.”
    I agree with you there are too many lawsuits. I am appalled at some of the lawyer advertisements. (My lawyer when won Phen fen was quoted in a newspaper saying some of the claimants in the class action did not have the defect for which Phen fen was being sued and they received payment as members of the class.) I personally know of someone who won where her contributory negligence was substantial. (It went to settlement not jury).
    Something has to be done. I think the idea of penalizing the party when it is proven the case is frivolous would help to stop a number of lawyers from proceeding. It always comes down to hurting someone in the pocketbook (sadly. Would be nice if instead it was integrity that kepp these cases out of court or even being arbitrated, etc))

  3. leej, My plan would not do away w/ contingency fees. It would make a plaintiff’s attorney look closer @ liability and prevent lawsuits that have no business in court. There are too many lawsuits w/ limited auto damage, questionable liability, and large, inflated doc bills. My career started before attorneys were able to advertise. I’ve been around. Since attorney TV ads have become ubiquitous, the number of lawsuits have exploded. leej, Most of the work I did was defendant/insurance company. However, I also worked many plaintiff cases and found them some of those most rewarding. I am NO lover of corporations or insurance companies. But, we’ve become too litigious. We need to find that “sweet spot” where injured people can get good representation but cut down on lawsuits that have no business being filed.

  4. I had a secretary to Sen Warner hit my car in DC, She totaled it. It was obvious it was her fault, either ran a red light or just plain speeding. The insurance company said based on what I told them, they never saw the car, the cops never came, thought we waited 3 hours,, and was before camera phones. I told them the story again but they said you 1% therefore in DC a no fault state you were responsible and they paid nothing. My car wasn’t worth going to court and it never occurred to me I could. I just accepted what they said (dumb me)
    The problem with your solution is that it keeps poorer plaintiffs out of court, who cannot pay an attorney absent a contingency arrangement of all or nothing.
    I am in process of suing a home inspector who didn’t disclose dangerous knob and tube wiring. 3 lawyers actually lost me the initial statute of limitations. Now it is a somewhat harder case because of what has to be pled. I could not find an attorney I could afford. Absent suing I lose about 50,000 when I try and sell the house since I cant afford to do the necessary fixes. One attorney who was ready to take the case charged contingency of 40% but then he made it much worse then that. If he recommended a settlement, any amount, and you refused, even if it was a ridiculous low amount, you would then have to pay his hourly fee of 450$ from the onset of his taking the case.
    I am now Pro Se. My financial situation doesn’t allow for the 250$ – 450$ an hour to pay an attorney. (Legal aid won’t take it if there is a potential monetary award and where I live they are the only venue for lowcost/nocost legal help).
    The same situation would apply if I had a med mal case and there was the potential that I would have to pay legal costs at the end of the day. As long as you have juries made up of people who need to truth their doctors too many cases will be lost or blame assigned at a high level to the plaintiff so that the jurors can maintain their belief doctors are honest and good and don’t actively try and hurt patients.

    As per the original post maybe if doctors rose up and started making noise about this (of course and also stopped prescribing antibiotics when unnecessary) the media would start paying attention, and ultimately the rest of us.

  5. leej, More and more med mal cases are being handled via arbitration or mediation. I agree, that is a good way to handle many of these lawsuits.

    Regarding my loser pays %’s. Firstly, the burden of proof is preponderance of evidence. It’s a civil case and that’s the way it is, and should be. In all states[I believe], in a civil trial, the jury assigns %’s of fault for the plaintiff and defendant. However, how those %’s are handled vis a vis the judgment vary. These variations change. My state of Wi. has changed a couple times, I think, during my tenure. Dem state legislatures pass pro plaintiff rules, Republican, pro defendant rules. There are/were a few states that have/had the most pro defendant rules. Alabama and Maryland are 2 I remember off the top of my head. But again, it’s always changing. These rules, which I consider unfair, say if the plaintiff is even 1% @ fault, they recover NOTHING! In other words, you sue someone for a car accident. You had the right of way, you were not speeding, another drive just pulled into the intersection and T-Bones of the more common scenarios. The jury hears the evidence. They say the defendant was 98% @ fault. However, you’re an older woman and the jury thinks if you were a bit quicker w/ your reflexes, you could have either avoided the crash, or more likely just lessened the impact a bit. The jury says you’re 2% negligent. YOU GET NOTHING.

    Most states have modified comparative negligence and it can be complicated. But, a common rule is this. Same accident, jury assigns the same %’s, you get 98% of the award. That’s fair. Many states have the rule that if you don’t convince the jury the driver who T-boned you was @ least 50% negligent, then you lose. In a T-Bone that’s not going to happen, but in a lot of accidents liability is pretty close. I’m saying use those same %’s for loser pays. If it’s a close liability. Let’s say the jury comes back that you were 55% @ fault, and the other driver was 45%. Well, you don’t collect but it was a legit case so no attorney fees would be assessed. But, let’s say the case was a dogass and the jury says, no leej, you were 75% @ fault and the defendant was only 25%. Then, you pay the defendant’s attorney fees. I would also have parameters where a plaintiff would pay maybe half attorney fees if say they were found 65% @ fault.

    This is just raw, rough musings. I doubt it would ever happen.

  6. Remove government from our lives, except for a few essential services. Were this achieved, results & solutions will be found for everything. Stop the silly wars of course, but even before that is the heinous crime against liberty called Income Tax that must be abolished like the Plague.

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