Commentary on medical news by a practicing physician.

  • Epocrates MedSearch Drug Lookup


    "When many cures are offered for a disease, it means the disease is not curable" -Anton Chekhov

    ''Once you tell people there's a cure for something, the more likely they are to pressure doctors to prescribe it.''
    -Robert Ehrlich, drug advertising executive.

    "Opinions are like sphincters, everyone has one." - Chris Rangel

    email: medpundit-at-ameritech.net

    or if that doesn't work try:


    Medpundit RSS

    Quirky Museums and Fun Stuff

    Who is medpundit?

    Tech Central Station Columns

    Book Reviews:
    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    Read the Review

    More Reviews

    Second Hand Book Reviews


    Medical Blogs


    DB's Medical Rants

    Family Medicine Notes

    Grunt Doc




    Code Blog: Tales of a Nurse

    Feet First

    Tales of Hoffman

    The Eyes Have It


    SOAP Notes


    Cut-to -Cure

    Black Triangle



    Kevin, M.D

    The Lingual Nerve

    Galen's Log



    Doctor Mental



    Finestkind Clinic and Fish Market

    The Examining Room of Dr. Charles

    Chronicles of a Medical Mad House



    Health Facts and Fears

    Health Policy Blogs

    The Health Care Blog

    HealthLawProf Blog

    Facts & Fears

    Personal Favorites

    The Glittering Eye

    Day by Day


    The Business Word Inc.

    Point of Law

    In the Pipeline


    Tim Blair

    Jane Galt

    The Truth Laid Bear

    Jim Miller

    No Watermelons Allowed

    Winds of Change

    Science Blog

    A Chequer-Board of Night and Days

    Arts & Letters Daily

    Tech Central Station





    The Skeptic's Dictionary

    Recommended Reading

    The Doctor Stories by William Carlos Williams

    Pox Americana: The Great Smallpox Epidemic of 1775-82 by Elizabeth Fenn

    Intoxicated by My Illness by Anatole Broyard

    Raising the Dead by Richard Selzer

    Autobiography of a Face by Lucy Grealy

    The Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat by Oliver Sacks

    The Sea and Poison by Shusaku Endo

    A Midwife's Tale by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich



    American Academy of Pediatrics

    General Health Info

    Travel Advice from the CDC

    NIH Medical Library Info



    Wednesday, April 25, 2007

    Prescience of the Gods: Who could have predicted that an odd, loner college student would go so off deeply off the bend? Apparently, nearly everyone - at least in hindsight.

    But odd people aren't all that unusual, are they? Not on Main Street, and certainly not on college campuses. Sometimes they are even among the faculty. So how do you predict who among those odd people is an imminent threat? You can't. Not unless they share the thoughts in their heads, which odd, loner types rarely do. We place a high value in our society on personal autonomy and free will. As a result, we don't deprive people of their freedom on the basis of their personalities, even if their personalities are disturbed. In the off chance that a disturbed person admits that he's intent on harming himself or someone else, we can separate him from the rest of the world, but only temporarily. We only lock someone away indefinitely if they've broken the law. Even then, it's not necessarily indefinitely or completely.

    Some look at this state of affairs and say that we should be able to lock away the insane forever. But the problem is defining insanity, and what level is a threat. Yesterday, I saw a little boy who was commanded to have a physical exam by his school. The reason? He made an injudicious joke. A classmate of his said he was so bored he was going to shoot himself, to which this little boy - a class clown type - replied, "No, we should just shoot the teachers." Needless to say, I didn't find any medical reason for his comment. But, before he can go back to school, he has to go see a psychiatrist. Admittedly, it was a foolish thing to say, at least from an adult's perspective. It's also beyond adult reason, however, to expect a fifth grader to recognize that. Today, he has to go see a psychiatrist, but if we expand "zero-tolerance" to involuntary commission, some day a remark like that could send a kid to an asylum.

    Here's another example, also from a little boy I know, and also from yesterday. He was asked to use the words "loathe" and "sulkily" in a sentence. His sentence, "I loathe my brother when he sits around sulkily," earned him a reprimand from his teacher and a note sent home to his parents telling them that this sentence was "inappropriate." Perhaps they should just ban objectionable vocabulary words like "loathe" or "hate" or "shoot."

    We don't want to turn our society into a prison. It's all too obvious if we do, the inmates will be running it.

    UPDATE: Political correctness is contagious. I was tempted to delete the comment below because it quotes a song parody that many school children of my generation used to sing. This blog in no way advocates violence, but the comment also won't be deleted. In fact, here's a violent song parody that was also popular in the 1960's and 1970's. I don't recall there being a lot of mass shootings in schools in those days. Then again, the kids back then were allowed to vent those feelings through funny songs without getting expelled.

    posted by Sydney on 4/25/2007 08:42:00 AM 1 comments


    This zero tolerance crap is just silly. Ten year old boys inhabit a world were you can't see the bullet holes because of all the blood. Deal.

    "On top of old smokey
    all covered in blood
    I shot my poor teacher
    with a .44 slug"

    By Anonymous Violence Dogood, at 1:52 PM  

    Post a Comment

    This page is powered by Blogger, the easy way to update your web site.

    Main Page


    Home   |   Archives

    Copyright 2006