Steve G.

Medical school could prove unnecessary in day to day life

In Libertarian on July 17, 2008 at 6:49 am

It’s been a long time since I posted something but here’s what I’m thinking today:

Found this article via reason‘s hit&run. Apparently, TN LEOs think themselves doctors and their counterpart and are administering meds that most people have to give consent to have in a hospital setting.

…Metro police have had the option of calling for a needle loaded with a strong sedative to control the most unruly people they encounter on the street.

One of the doctors who came up with the protocol said it’s the safest option out there and that it is used all over the country.

But many people said that the injection was news to them, and a top medical ethicist said it’s a troubling precedent.

The drug is called Midazolam, which is better known as Versed. People who have had a colonoscopy have probably had a shot of the drug for the procedure.

“The drug has an amnesia effect, and we use that therapeutically because one of the nice ways to take care of the discomfort is to make people forget that they’ve had it,” said biomedical ethics and law enforcement expert Dr. Steven Miles….

Now, I’ve always been one to argue with my husband about the protection his field has been afforded, especially with regard to natural remedies and the like, but this is a breach that I can’t quite get over. You see, at least my husband was trained to know when a pharmacological sedative should be used and when it shouldn’t. My quibble today is that either a governing power has admitted that the training doesn’t require rigorous standard and testing or it’s decided that its authority makes such training ridiculous on its face. And, it’s my opinion that the state shows its true color with either answer.

Sadly, for my marriage, either answer proves disastrous; either my husband is a god or a tool- I don’t bow to one and only use the other for hard labor.

(FWIW and on a serious note, my husband is both depending on the day of the week and thankfully, my expectation of him is outside the professional realm and that’s nothing that could be measured outside our home. ;o)

  1. Good to see you post here again. I have no bright, quippy or poignant comments right about now, as the effects of a natural sedative manufactured by my brain are just starting to wear off.

  2. Wow… this is indeed a dilemma. But the way we view medicine in this country is changing, and sadly for the docs, they are going to become more like mechanics than gods. Not because we have so much understanding about human health, but:

    [1. because we have seen the fallibility of medicine, and been injured or killed by it.] Harmed by drugs. Harmed by doctors. Harmed by hospitals cutting corners to cut costs. Harmed by superbugs unleashed by medicine we don’t understand well enough and are still abusing — with a body count that makes street drugs look pathetic.

    But further than that, I think more recent (re)discoveries about the way the body works are making it clear that medicine is not the mystically infallible realm it has been made out to be, but rather something that everyone has to participate in on a daily basis, in order to achieve what we’re really after–which is not healthcare–but health.

    [2. because we have to look at the cost/benefit analysis.] Medicine has turned out to be yet another consumer product; the pharmacological aspects, shall we say, have been out of the doctor’s hands for some time.

    Unfortunately, it is a very expensive consumer product, and the disaster that is Medicare D is a big part of that. So people are looking at ways to make the tools of medicine serve more widely, whether wisely or not…

    In the meantime, health care is going to have to get cheaper. So is policing, since we do so bloody much of it here.

    That is where that decision came from. A need to cut costs and a new willingness to look at using the tools of medicine in a new context. Perhaps the court decision allowing the forced use of drugs on prisoners in an attempt to render them “fit” to testify may have given this cop the idea?

    Would you prefer they used tasers? They are a medical risk, and unfortunately it’s not always visible who’ll be harmed by it in advance. Also, use of tasers seems to spiral out of control, and somehow I don’t think they’ll get the same thrill having a medtech shoot more Versed into the guy.

    Which does bring up another question, one that I hope *someone* will ask — how do we ensure it doesn’t get diverted by corrupt police for other uses? It’s going to happen unless the stuff is locked up and handled by a medical tech, including the injection. If that were the case, would you have less objection than if it is done by a cop?

    Reading over this I realised that the problem isn’t as much having non-specialist people do this in a street context, but having *LEOs* do this in a street context. It’s just not a good blend of judgements to have to make — humans can’t even handle talking on the phone and driving simultaneously.
    It isn’t logical to task LEOs with two such rigorous and often conflicting duties.

    Just my $0.02.
    (or maybe $0.03 this time 😉

    karen eliot

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