Sunday, February 27, 2011

It's that time....

To remind everyone that you need to fill out the FASFA! I know, I know, the most dreaded paperwork we have to do, but hey, it needs to be done,and plus it helps you out with receiving financial aid, so in the end it's a win win! I will be doing mine this week so that I will be ready to go for the Spring quarter, which is right around the corner. It's approaching way too fast, but then again, everything seems to be coming along really fast!

I meant to bring this up in a post last week, but I didn't get the opportunity to, since my week again was a little hectic! Have you all checked out the video and announcements about Project Green Path's Recyclemania? If not, please check out the information I provided for you to read below! I think this is great and everyone on every campus should get involved!

Join Berkeley College students, staff, and faculty in an effort to reduce waste during the Recyclemania competition February 6 - April 2, 2011. Tell all your friends and lets all take the necessary steps to reduce waste on and around our campuses! Good luck and have fun with it!

I also want to make mention that there is a Virtual Career Fair going on now until March 4th! If you get the chance, log on and participate. It's fun and easy and who knows what it may do for you! It's simple to join. Just access: Blackboard, Career Services, Virtual Career Fair and the rest is taken care of from there. If you have any troubles or questions, please feel free to contact: Madeline Dielmann at the following email:

I plan on logging into it this week and see what is going on. I encourage everyone to join in as well!

So we are approaching Week 9, which means 4 more weeks till we are complete. Please keep in mind that classes will end Sunday, March 27th! Keep checking Blackboard for updates from your professors in regards to final assignments for for information about your final exams! Now is the time to make sure you stay on top of all your work and finish the quarter off on a good note! You wouldn't want to fall behind now would you?

Best of luck for Week 9, and let's see what the week brings! Nicer weather I hope!

Monday, February 21, 2011

Week 8: Where has the time gone?

Good Morning Berkeley! I know, I've been MIA lately. It's been a little hectic over the past 2 weeks as we are getting ready to near the end of the winter quarter. Busy is good though, so keep that in mind! So how it everyone doing this quarter? Hopefully by week 8, you've been able to keep your grades up and get any extra help that you needed with any assignments or studying for an exam.

Last week in my bio-ethics class, I co-lead a discussion board about the Oklahoma case. I actually want to post about it because it is a huge deal and it's not like it was in the past, it was actually quite recent, which surprises a lot of people. Below, I encourage you to read about the case, the issues with it, and then some of my recommendations and opinions as to what should have been done to avoid this type of situation.

The Oklahoma Case


I will be discussing the Oklahoma Case for this week’s discussion. This case discusses the parents of babies who have myelomeningcele, which is the medical term for spina bifida, that were part of an experiment that weren’t even notified that they were a part of an experiment. American doctors conducted this experiment to prove that they could kill the babies of poor families with this disease and get away with it.

To have a better understanding, spina bifida is a birth defect that is the incomplete development of the spinal cord. This usually occurs at the end of the first month of pregnancy. This is when the two sides of the embryo’s spine fail to join which leaves an open area. Due to this opening, the nerves of the spinal cord have the possibility of severe damage, which as a result can’t do its job of sending messages to and from the brain. When the brain tells the body to do something, if the spinal cord nerves are damaged, then the message won’t follow through, resulting in the action not being able to happen. Some of the symptoms associated with spina bifida depend on how severe the defect is. A mild defect could mean no symptoms or problems or the child may have a dimple, birthmark or hairy patch on his or her back. If the case is more severe such as nerve damages, then the child may have little to no feeling in their legs, feet, or arms. They also may not be able to move those parts of the body.

This occurred between 1977 and 1982 at the Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, located in Oklahoma City. Four doctors and a social worker monitored babies who were born with spina bifida. Doctors were identifying the families who were poor and were identifying the families that were wealthy. In this case, the doctors would advise the “poor families” that it wouldn’t be in their best interest to treat their baby and would give the families the expectancy of the worst of the situation, so that their thoughts would be NOT to the give their child the treatment. On the other hand, the wealthier families were told all the ins and outs about the treatments and they were given a more optimistic outlook for their child’s life. They were advised to GIVE the treatment to their child. The doctors knew that if the child wasn’t treated for spina bifida that they would die, but through this experiment they wanted to prove that families would accept the recommendation from their doctor to not give the treatment to their child.

This study was conducted for 5 years and over that time, 69 babies were born with spina bifida in the Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma. Out of the 69, 33 babies were recommended for “supportive care” without treatment, which meant they would slowly die. Out of those 33, 8 were actually treated due to their parents saying they wanted the treatment either way or because they were given more accurate information. The 24 babies, who were left on supportive care, had died. Then, 2 out of the 8 babies whose parents stated they wanted the treatment had actually passed away due to the treatment coming too late or the worsening of symptoms. The study showed that the babies, who were deprived of the treatment, were born to women who were relying on Medicaid to pay for their child’s care.

Frieda Smith & The Birth of Her Son, Stonewall Jackson Smith: 1979

One victim to this terrible experiment was Frieda & John Smith, the loving parents of Stonewall Jackson Smith. Frieda had a very difficult birth and just days after; she had been confronted by her doctor.

Here is what Frieda stated the doctor said to her: “He told me that I would have to take care of him, that he would be blind, that he would never know me that he was more like some kind of animal than a human being. He never really sat down with me and explained what the operation would do for Stoney. He made it sound like Stoney would live longer, but he wouldn’t ever get any better.”

The doctor never told her that the failure rate of the treatment was very low or that there was a positive outlook on life with the treatment. Due to the lack of information, she signed the form that would give “supportive care” to her child, but not give any sort of antibiotic of surgery to correct the issue. When she had questions later on, the doctor refused the answer her and she didn’t know at that time that she had the right to go to another hospital where he would have been treated as soon as possible.

Frieda and John soon joined two other parents in a lawsuit against the Children’s Hospital of Oklahoma, the Oklahoma Department of Social Services, administrators in both institutions, and the doctors and social workers who conducted this terrible experiment.

Issues in the Oklahoma Case:

After 10 years of hearings and appeals, the Supreme Court decided not to hear the case, leaving the lawsuit unsuccessful. These families were filing the lawsuit for the following issues:
• Doctors advising “poor families” that their child would not make it-giving the families a pessimistic view on the issue so that they would not go through with the treatment (wrongful deaths)
• Malpractice-Failing to follow proper professional standards for the lives of babies with spina bifida
• Violations of the fundamental Constitutional rights
• Failing to inform the families that they were participating in an experiment conducted by these doctors and social workers
• Discrimination under Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act
• Violations of Federal Law
• Discrimination on the Basis of Socioeconomic Status
• Substantive Due Process- The appellants argue that the appellees' conduct violated their substantive due process rights by depriving them of their liberty interests in their own lives
• Parental Rights- deprived them of the right to choose what type of medical care their children should receive.
• Discrimination Against All Infants with Spina Bifida
• Discrimination Based on Degree of Handicap
Jane Brockmann, who represented mother Sharon Jackson and son Carlton Jackson as part of this lawsuit, claimed that if the Supreme Court would have recognized this complaint and issue, that they could have sent a message to hospitals all over that they will have claims put against them if they discriminated against the disabled child in a situation where the treatment is related to that particular condition. If that was done, physicians would be scared away from how these other physicians acted.

Good News About Carlton Johnson

Carlton was one of the babies who “beat the odds.” At 10 years old, he was attending a segregated educational program for children with disabilities, where he was making progress. He does not communicate by speaking, but he is an alert, active, and competent child who wheels himself around. He also plays an electric organ that his family bought for him. He is able to recognize his friends and loved ones and has the capacity for enjoyment and happiness.

Ethical Framework

The ethical framework I would apply to this case is the four principles of autonomy, beneficence, nonmaleficence, and justice. This is what should have been followed to prevent such an unfortunate event. In the Oklahoma case, the children and families who were poor really were told the worst case scenario so that they would choose not go to through with treatment. In the case of autonomy, although the child couldn’t make the decision yet, the parents still were not given the full set of facts about the treatment, and therefore, were interrupted by the misinformation from the doctors. The parents should have been left with the decision to make for their child with all facts made clear and presentable, not the way the doctors did by involving them in an experiment based on their financial status. For the doctors, they should have practiced beneficence, which means to help others and ground compassion for them. They didn’t do so because first off, they involved the families in an experiment so they were only acting in the best interest of themselves, and secondly, they only had compassion for the families with money. They should have helped anyone regardless of their financial standings. This goes hand in hand with nonmaleficence, which is not to harm others. They blew this one out of the water as well. They harmed the families by telling them the worst case scenario instead of the good it could bring and they let the child not receive a treatment because they were from a poor family. If they were to bring that child anywhere else, he would have been treated immediately, but because of this experiment, lives were lost. And justice? Where was the justice in this case? Justice is the means of treating patients the same regardless of insurance coverage or family’s position financially. Clearly, that wasn’t the case here. Everything the doctors did was injustice. This is not only unfair to the family, but so unfair to the child who could have still lived their life.
“The Spina Bifida Association has stated: Since we have found it virtually impossible to predict at birth which infants with meningomyelocele will become competitive, ambulatory, and intellectually able, we have no relied on arbitrary guidelines to determine which children should or should not be treated. On the contrary, we believe that all such children should be treated, and we feel that our data show this philosophy to be correct.” (pg. 159-Chapter 7 of our text)

My Opinion

One thing is clear that if this were me and my baby in this situation, I would not be very happy. How could someone use my child and my financial standings as part of an experiment without giving me any sign of notification or telling me this is what was going on? The real kicker here is that if these families went to another hospital, they would have been treated as soon as possible. They also would have been fully disclosed of all the accurate information regarding the treatment. It’s a shame that the parents who were pretty much encouraged to not get the treatment, could have been raising and caring for their child today. If spina bifida is treated as soon as possible, there is a chance that the child will have little to no problems, or if it went untreated for a little bit longer, they may have trouble with feeling and things of what sort, but it’s manageable, especially when you have a caring family who will be there by your side no matter the circumstance. The fact that this went on for so long and the court decided not to hear the case is mind boggling to me. Today, doctors are in court attempting to establish rights for themselves to not treat some patients.

Recommendations for Future Care & Decisions

Now a days, it’s always best to get a second opinion from another doctor. Some people may even get three or four different opinions before they decide on their decision to treat their child. The thing to keep in mind that a child with spina bifida, needs to be treated as soon as possible to avoid further nerve damage, where the treatment won’t be much help if this were to occur. Understanding the seriousness of your child illness is what is key to making such decisions as to whether treatment will be beneficial. For the most part, treatment can really help, but there are the select few who aren’t so lucky and unfortunately just need to be on “supportive care” until they pass on their own. Either way, doctors should be following the four principles ethical framework and act in the best interest of their patient, not themselves and some experiment that affected a lot of lives.

All the information was taken from the following sources:
Pence, Gregory. “The Ethics of Treating Impaired Babies.” Medical Ethics.

As you can see, this was a very sad and unfortunate case for these families who had to deal with this. This is one of the reasons I love my bio-ethics class because these types of things were so controversial and educational, but yet, you are unaware of things that have happened in the past and it makes you wonder.

So this week, you get a little recap of my topic and what I learned from it. If anyone ever gets the chance to take bio-ethics, I highly recommend it as an elective. It's fun and definitely puts you up for some debating!!

As we dive into week 8, keep up the studying and all the hard work! Let's all end the winter quarter on a good note and get ready for Spring, which means bye bye snow and hello warm weather!! It will be here before you know it. Be safe traveling today if you have to! It's pretty slippery out there!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Game Over!


Congrats to Green Bay, although that wasn't my choice of team to win, but they did play a good game! So, the main talk here is MARKETING and those advertisements! What were some of the favorites out there?? I got mine and I actually saw it preview before the Superbowl, and it won my vote then too! Here it is:

Did anyone else favor this commercial?

Here is a site that actually lists the most popular ads for this years Superbowl:

So now that the Superbowl is over, companies will begin to see if their $3 million ads paid off for them. At this point, I think it's a matter of putting the image in the consumers mind so that in the future, they remember this ad and go to that company to make a purchase. It's all about getting your name out there in a way consumers will remember!

Here we are in week 6, mid term week! I hope everyone is prepared and ready to go for any last exams you need to finish up, being that it's already mid week. I didn't have any major exams this week, but next week I will be co-leading a discussion board for my bio-ethics course. I will be sure to share that when I put the finishing touches on it. I will be discussing the Oklahoma Case, which is about the treatment for impaired babies with spina bifida. The case is very sad and very surprising about what doctors did to these innocent children and their families.

GOOD LUCK on all of your midterms and please share what your favorite ads were for the Superbowl this year!!

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Get Ready For The Game!

Happy Weekend to everyone! It's finally here, the big game day is tomorrow! Who has their money on what team or are you just watching to get a kick out of all those Super Bowl Ads? My last blog I shared some information about those ads, so I'm interesting to see how it all plays out while I'm watching tomorrow. The other morning, I think it was on Good Morning America, they showed the Volkswagen commercial that will be airing tomorrow during the Super Bowl and it was pretty funny, so I'm excited to see what everyone else does.

I still find it hard to believe that these commercials are going for $3 million for a 30-second airtime. That is probably the most talked about topic regarding the Superbowl. As I did a brief Google search about the Superbowl I found this statement:

"But that's not what the 15 percent of viewers who tune in solely to see the ads care about. They want to know what $3 million for 30 seconds of advertising buys.
In fact, fully 50 percent of viewers will keep the volume up and actually watch the famously expensive ads."

So, kickoff is set for 6:25PM, so until then, fill up on some junk food and enjoy the game, or should I say, the ads! Let marketing take over for the day!

Some other news, Groundhog Day passed this previous week on February 2 and Mr. Groundhog himself did not see his shadow, so you know what that means? Spring will be here sooner than we know it! Well, we hope at least! The way winter has been this year, I feel like I'll never see my front lawn ever again! It's something to look forward to though, so let's see what happens!

Also, I want to remind everyone to schedule for their classes for the Spring quarter! I just did mine the other day and will be taking 17 credits for the Spring quarter, so that I will be set to graduate by the end of the Summer quarter! REALLY scary thought! I was discussing with an advisement representative the other day about my schedule and when he advised me of what was left and where I was with my classes, I was in complete shock! It's all so real now, and the end is near, but like they say "One door closes, and another door opens!"

So remember to log on, check out self-service for your enrollment appointment and get into those classes you want for the Spring Quarter!

Enjoy the rest of your weekend and the Superbowl! :) Till next week.....