Saturday, March 20, 2010

Immigration Reform

I've been hearing a lot about Immigration Reform lately. Of course, I've heard a lot about it over the last few years, as well, but the pot is definitely coming to a boil. This article came into my inbox this morning, and I thought I'd share it with you. The article reports on the march in Washington, D.C. scheduled for this Sunday, of people stating that it is a religious imperative to legalize "illegal immigrants." They quote Scriptures such as Leviticus 19:33-34, Deuteronomy 27:19 and Matthew 25:35 to support their claims.

Now, legitimate counter-arguments can be made. Those passages were written to a specific people in a specific time, and America is not the Israelite nation and those words were given millenia ago. SO many errors are made in taking Biblical passages out of context. Also, can mandates given to individual people be extrapolated to apply to a nation? Not always, and we must discern whether we can do that in these cases.

My dad has often compared the illegal immigrant situation to people breaking into your house. He argues that illegals have broken into "House" America, stolen our food, our healthcare, our jobs, etc etc. He argues emphatically against legalizing them, and makes a logical point that doing so would encourage more of the same.

I'm not sure exactly how I feel about all that. My sympathy is with these people, who often driven to the U.S. by unbearable conditions in their native lands. But, America does have limited resources, and it makes sense that the benefits of living here should go to the people who have made a commitment to that society by learning the language, valuing the history and paying taxes.

Being NO economist, I wonder what the economic impact of legalizing vs deporting all the illegals currently in the U.S. would be. I know that many of these people are willing to work for far lower compensation than we Americans are, with our great sense of entitlement. Would deporting them provide more jobs for the many jobless Americans? Or, would it crash the economy. I don't know!

I'd love to hear your thoughts :)

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Cleaning My Carotids

A super awesome parody of Eminem's "Cleaning Out My Closet." It's the Transient Ischemic Attack (TIA) song! Hope you enjoy the awful rapping, and maybe, just maybe, it will help you study.

Ethics Poll

I'm going to try to start posing an ethical question on here on a fairly regular basis. I want to know YOUR thoughts (even if this posting is super old by the time you read it!). A lot of these will be medical ethics situations (I am a medical student, after all!) If you could tell me your opinions as to both 1) What you think the doctor should do, and 2) What you would want your doctor to do, if you were the patient in the situation. The two won't always be the same!

Here's the first situation. After awhile, I'll give you my opinion.


You are the attending (senior) cancer doctor in charge of a patient, Mr. Jones. You've been seeing Mr. Jones for awhile and treating his cancer. The cancer is going away, all seems well, but all of a sudden it's back. It's a type of cancer (acute leukemia) that almost never goes away again once it comes back out of remission. All of a sudden Mr. Jones is going to die within an hour if you don't put him on life support.

Mr. Jones has expressed to you that he absolutely does not want to go onto life support. His wife, however, is 200 miles away and driving as fast as possible to get there, but unless you do something, he will be dead before she arrives. Mr. Jones' parents are present, and urge you to put him on life support to keep him alive until Mrs. Jones can get there.

While you decide what to do, Mr. Jones loses consciousness. There's virtually no hope that he will regain consciousness whether you intubate him (put him on life support) or not. His last expressed wish was just to die naturally. you intubate him, or not? Remember, he's unconscious and won't know what you do either way.

Note: This was an actual patient. The name has been changed to protect patient privacy. I'll update later with both MY personal opinion as well as what actually happened in this case.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

They're People, Too!

I haven't blogged in forever, blah blah blah, sorry sorry, excuse know

I read an article a few weeks ago...I wish I could find it and link to it, but I deleted the source and can't seem to locate it. Anyway, I've been thinking a lot about that article, and trying to apply it to my own life. I think there was a great truth presented therein.

The main thesis of this article was that a reason for much of the rude, inconsiderate, cruel and even downright monstrous behaviour that we humans have toward each other is that we don't think of other people as being real. I believe the author termed this concept "abstraction".

By not being "real", I mean that we put other people into a box, so that we can safely treat them however we want to, and it doesn't matter, because they're not real, whole people. We put labels on them, whether consciously or not, and then we're free to mistreat them.

An example of this concept in its most extreme form is the Nazi treatment of people of Jewish descent (I believe the author specifically mentioned this example). The Nazi government did a wonderful job of painting them as less than complete humans: they were just "those Jews".

This behaviour often creeps into our lives in a very insidious manner, though. It's seldom that extreme. You are showing this behaviour every time you yell at someone who cuts you off...the person who just cut you off is not a real person, he's just "a jerk." How often do we wonder, honestly, in a charitable manner WHY he's driving so aggressively? Perhaps if he is late one more time to work, he's going to get laid off...whether you agree with his reasoning or not, it's a good thing to try to be compassionate like this.

What about the nice man or woman who brings your mail every day? Do you ever smile and wave at him as he drives by? Do you thank him for bringing your mail? Or is he "just the mailman". Or, what about the cashier? Do you even say hello to her as she rings you up, or do you continue talking on your cell phone without even acknowledging her existence. Do you stop to think about how she's a single mom, trying to take care of her kids with this job and the one she has to go to right after her shift there is done? I suspect that most of the time, she's "just the cashier."

Telemarketers are real people, too. Don't yell at them, don't hang up on them. They're just trying to make a living. For once, be polite and say, "I'm really not interested in your product, but I hope you have a pleasant day." Really think about how often you label other people and then just write them off because of it.

"Those liberals!" "Those conservatives!" "Darn those pro-choicers (or pro-lifers)!" Are you guilty of this one, as I am? -"Why can't this or that stupid professor just explain the material clearly?!" ...without thinking, hey, this is that professor's first time ever teaching this class. Give him/her a break! S/he's probably super nervous and just trying to pull through, and will learn from these experiences and become a better teacher later on.

People are people, people! Try to think of each person in all aspects of his or her life. What about your spouse? Do you think about the parts of his/her life that don't involve you? His/her hopes/dreams/aspirations?

I challenge you to do this: for an entire day (or longer!) think about EVERY person you encounter as a whole person. Try to envision every aspect of his/her life. See if that changes how you interact with him.