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Saturday, July 14, 2007

The Sword Of Damocles

Courtesy of Karl Stern:

Whenever one gets on a moral soapbox one runs the risk of falling off. Blanket statements of zero tolerance and moral superiority often run the risk of making the statesman look like a hypocrite or arrogant. However, when I say "I hate drugs", it comes with more life experience attached to it than I care to admit.

It seems like there have been times in my life when everyone around me was on some sort of drug. Most of which were prescribed by doctors more concerned with making money and getting repeat customers than with helping people get well. Doctors, willing or unwittingly, make money on addiction. Every return trip to a clinic yields another payday for a person who is supposed to be bound by a Hippocratic oath "To please no one will I prescribe a deadly drug nor give advice which may cause his death." Yet day in and day out that's exactly what they do.

I see people who have back pain and go to the doctor who, in return, gives them a pill, not to heal them, but to dull the pain. Instead of finding out why the back hurts and suggesting remedies to end the suffering a pill is given. Then that pill causes them stomach discomfort which, in turn, calls for another pill to be sold (and usually another trip to the clinic to complain about the stomach pain). The new pill dulls the stomach pain caused by the first pill that dulls the back ache. The problem now is the two pills together have caused them not to be able to sleep, which of course calls for another pill... and so on it goes. A doctor isn't making any money if you are well.

I see people in my life acting in irrational and illogical ways as a result of the pills they put in their mouth. I see people whose lives have not improved with the administration of medication, instead, whose lives are now significantly worse. But then again I guess their back doesn't hurt any longer. However mine does, from watching them crouched over the toilet all day long vomiting their guts up because the pills made them sick. Mine hurts from picking them up off the floor where they've fallen down after going to sleep standing straight up. Mine hurts from carrying their load because they can't.

Recently an inmate at our jail complained of feeling bad due to high blood pressure. Despite the fact he was an alcoholic and the alcoholism had likely caused his high blood pressure, a doctor somewhere had given him blood pressure pills to lower it, even when he poured alcohol in voluminous quantities down his throat. My back hurts from carrying him to jail too because he was too drunk to walk. A better prescription for his suffering may have been rehabilitation for his alcoholism thus ending, in all likelihood, his high blood pressure.

How many more people have to die? "Whatever houses I may visit, I will come for the benefit of the sick, remaining free of all intentional injustice". That too is a part of the Hippocratic oath. As my blog is also a part of a larger combat sports website the specter of the Chris Benoit story hangs like the sword of sword of Damocles over, not only pro wrestling, the WWE, but also over the heads of the medical profession.

Karl Stern is a combat sports journalist and webmaster of http://www.karlstern.com and host of an internet radio show at FigureFourOnline.com. Karl Stern is also a veteran police officer and a court certified expert witness in pro wrestling. You may contact Karl Stern at karl@karlstern.com