doctor/patient



E

Eboka

Guest
MEDICAL MARIJUANA

Mr. Attorney General, Listen to the Doctors and Patients

John Ashcroft, meet a cancer victim

Kate Scannell

Sunday, February 16, 2003


I want John Ashcroft to leave his desk, come into the chemotherapy

suite and participate in the real consequences of his choices. I want

him to meet the bald, frail woman lying in the hospital bed next to

mine in the chemotherapy suite. I want this 70-year-old woman to ask

him the same medical question she asked me.

Because I was a cancer patient receiving chemotherapy at the same

hospital where I worked, the women with whom I shared the suite

quickly surmised that I was also a doctor. The clues were obvious:

the colleagues dropping by, the "doctor" salutations from co-workers

and the odd coincidence that one of my suite mates was also one of my

patients.

I braced myself for this woman's question, both wanting to make

myself available to her but also wishing that the world could forget

that I was a doctor for the moment. After receiving my cancer

diagnosis, dealing with surgery and chemotherapy and grappling with

insistent reminders of my mortality, I had no desire to think about

medicine or to experience myself as a physician in that oncology

suite. And besides, the chemotherapy, anti- nauseants, sleep

medications and prednisone were hampering my ability to think clearly.

So, after a gentle disclaimer about my clinical capabilities, I said

I'd do my best to answer her question. She shoved her IV line out of

the way and, with great effort and discomfort, rolled on her side to

face me. Her belly was a pendulous sack bloated with ovarian cancer

cells, and her eyes were vacant of any light. She became short of

breath from the task of turning toward me.

"Tell me," she managed, "Do you think marijuana could help me? I feel so sick."

I winced. I knew about her wretched pain, her constant nausea and all

the prescription drugs that had failed her - some of which also made

her more constipated, less alert and even more nauseous. I knew about

the internal derangements of chemotherapy, the terrible feeling that

a toxic swill is invading your bones, destroying your gut and

softening your brain. I knew this woman was dying a prolonged and

miserable death.

And, from years of clinical experience, I - like many other doctors -

also knew that marijuana could actually help her. From working with

AIDS and cancer patients, I repeatedly saw how marijuana could

ameliorate a patient's debilitating fatigue, restore appetite,

diminish pain, remedy nausea, cure vomiting and curtail

down-to-the-bone weight loss. I could firmly attest to its benefits

and wager the likelihood that it would decrease her suffering.

Still, federal law has forbidden doctors to recommend or prescribe

marijuana to patients. In fact, in 1988 the Drug Enforcement Agency

even rejected one of its own administrative law judge's conclusions

supporting medicinal marijuana, after two full years of hearings on

the issue. Judge Francis Young recommended the change on grounds that

"marijuana, in its natural form, is one of the safest therapeutically

active substances known to man," and that it offered a "currently

accepted medical use in treatment."

Doctors see all sorts of social injustices that are written on the

human body, one person at a time. We see poverty manifest as a young

father who suffered a stroke because he could not afford

cholesterol-lowering medications.

specify whether our hypertensive patient might respond differently to

standard treatments based on white male norms. We see the desperate

and damaged homeless arrive in emergency rooms to receive health care

on a crisis-to- crisis basis that rarely ever offers cure.

These social injustices are gargantuan problems that cannot be fixed

in the clinic, and their remedies can only come from broad public

reform. But this one - the rote denial of a palliative care drug like

marijuana to people with serious illness - smacks of pure cruelty

precisely because it is so easily remediable, precisely because it

prioritizes service to a cold political agenda over the distressed

lives and deaths of real human beings.

The federal obsession with a political agenda that keeps marijuana

out of the hands of sick and dying people is appalling and

irrational. Washington bureaucrats - far removed from the troubled

bedsides of sick and dying patients - are ignoring what patients and

doctors and health care workers are telling them about real world

suffering. The federal refusal to honor public referendums like

California's voter-approved Medical Marijuana Initiative is as

bewildering as it is ominous. Its refusal to listen to doctors groups

like the California Medical Association that support compassionate

use of medical marijuana is chilling.

In a society that has witnessed extensive positive experiences with

medicinal marijuana, as long as it is safe and not proven to be

ineffective, why -shouldn't seriously ill patients have access to it?

Why should an old woman be made to die a horrible death for a hollow

political symbol?

I want Attorney General Aschroft to wipe the vomit off this woman's

chest, help lift her belly so she -doesn't hurt as much when she

rolls onto her back, and explain straight to her grimacing face why

she -can't try marijuana. I want him to tell me why it does not

matter to him that almost every sick and dying patient I've ever

known who's tried medical marijuana experienced a kinder death. Face

to face, I want him to explain all these things to her and to me and

to the heartbroken family who is standing by.

Kate Scannell is a doctor in Oakland who is co-director of the

Northern California Ethics Department of Kaiser-Permanente.
 
K

Kristofer D. Da

Guest
Eboka <[email protected]> wrote:

> I want Attorney General Aschroft to wipe the vomit off this woman's chest, help lift her belly so
> she -doesn't hurt as much when she rolls onto her back, and explain straight to her grimacing face
> why she -can't try marijuana. I want him to tell me why it does not matter to him that almost
> every sick and dying patient I've ever known who's tried medical marijuana experienced a kinder
> death. Face to face, I want him to explain all these things to her and to me and to the
> heartbroken family who is standing by.

What a coincidence, I want to see him tried and hanged for high treason and crimes against humanity,
along with the rest of his Constitution-hating cronies. The real "cancer" we are all dying from now
is the system itself, as I know only too well from observations made over the last five years
watching the rights of friends, family, and citizens alike trampled under foot by ignorant and
incompetant "oafish-shills" engaged in covering up their illicit activities, including patent fraud
and unjustified human experimentation. We have been "given" front-row seats to Washington, D.C.'s
hot new freak show, "Dying for Dollars" with your host, Dubya Bush. A whole new concept in
mediavision, the audience IS the show, and we are ALL contestants! BTW, no one will be allowed to
leave until the "security guards" have unblocked the exits...

Lest we forget those who have been down this "primrose path" before us:

"In Germany they came first for the Communists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the Jews and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew. Then they came for the
trade unionists and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist. Then they came for the
Catholics and I didn't speak up because I was a Protestant. Then they came for me--and by that time
no one was left to speak up."

- Martin Niemöller 1892-1984

"The Revolutionary War may be over, but the battle of independence has just begun."

"The Constitution of the Republic should make special provision for Medical Freedom as well as
Religious Freedom. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal privileges to
others will constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic.
They are fragments of monarchy and have no place in a republic."

"Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize
into an undercover dictatorship to restrict the art of healing to one class of men and deny equal
privileges to others: The Constitution of this Republic should make a special privilege for medical
freedom as well as religious freedom."

- Dr. Benjamin Rush

--
_o Kristofer Dale, _ \<,_ ragged individualist, _____( )/ ( )_____ statistic at large...

p.s. Learn and live, http://www.vitaletherapeutics.org