Healthcare Inc.

I had originally written my last column ripping Kate Gosselin apart for the way she has exploited her eight children to a reality television series only to make obscene amounts of money. However; when I was in the car with my mom this morning, she gave me news of my grandfather and I immediately changed my channel of thought. Note that my grandfather has faced his share of pain through multiple cancer diagnoses throughout the last four years, but a new type of pain has hit and it is in a league of its own.

His doctor, disregarding strong requests from the family, pressed the idea to prescribe the 80 year old man to a brand new trial drug in order to increase the lost bone marrow from intense chemo radiation treatments. The medication, unapproved by the FDA, is essentially a trial drug that is being tested on my grandfather at a local hospital. The hospital and its doctors are receiving both funding and recognition for pioneering the use of the trial drug.

As a series of side effects such as loss of appetite and shortness in breathe surfaced during his first dosage, a sense of alarm was raised through the family as complaints flowed to the doctor’s secretary. The response from the doctor was simple: these side effects are not a big deal. After researching the new drug, my mother discovered that warnings had been posted about even taking the drug in the first place. Warnings had advised patients to seek immediate medical attention if a shortness of breathe was occurring. Remind me again why this is not a big deal?

The dangerous side effects disgust me much less than the principle of the matter. The principle is disturbing because, in reality, the doctor is receiving a bonus from the drug company for the number of prescription medication pills that are being sold. When that happens, the drug companies receive their own kickbacks from lobbyists who are pushing for these new drugs to find their way into medicine cabinets in homes around the country. Sure this trial drug will eventually be taken off the market due to its dangerous side effects, but that’s not the point. The point is, there will be another drug to replace it. And one after that, and so on. Lobbyists will continue to inject more funds into the research of the drugs. As all of this is going on, CEOs of large drug companies will continue to trade the lives of average American’s in order to pay for a new private jet.

To me, this has gotten out of hand. It is a problem when doctors work with pharmacists and even psychiatrists to prescribe a pill for every little thing under the sun. Whether it’s a teenager or a senior citizen, eventually mental and or physical health problems will surface as a result of the medication. We have lost sight of alternative treatments to diseases, both physical and mental. I mean, people wonder why our generation is so screwed up with recreational drugs and prescription pain pill addictions. Say I’m angry at the world, call me crazy, criticize me for having no solution to the problem. I would probably do the same thing if this type of thing did not effect me. But sadly I have to sit and watch as doctors continually drag my grandfather’s health down and wonder where it is going to end. No wonder the man refused to see a doctor for more than 25 years.