Thursday, August 06, 2009

So When We Meet Again, Introduced As Friends...

Work avoidance.

Or, dangerously close to stream of consciousness thinking.

Swine 'flu continues to rumble on in the background, although it seems this wave has broken. Now, we wait for the second wave in the Autumn.

BBC4 has run a few interesting 'docudramas' recently, one on the Penicillin story, and, more recently, one on the 1918 'Spanish 'flu' outbreak. Well timed to help keep hype levels cranked up to 11. Except that, being on BBC4, I expect most people missed it.

Dr Crippen offers his thoughts on swine 'flu here.

As far as I can see, pandemics are a lose-lose situation for any Government. Either you 'over-react' and close shit down, and nothing much happens (quite possibly because you closed shit down), and everyone gets cross; or, you 'under-react' and people die, and then people get cross.

It's an interesting time to be an health care professional. This 'flu doesn't seem any more virulent than regular 'flu, which makes over-reaction all the more likely. Unlike in 1918, young, fit healthy folks are not dying in their droves. There has been no cytokine storm.

Will there be?

Watch this space.

Is it possible that, in fact, in 1918, the virus was much as it is today, but that a world freshly riven by war presented potential carriers more susceptible to its onslaught? I can't help but fell that society today, for all its fat, wheezy kids, is healthier than 90 years ago.

I guess we'll see in the Autumn and Winter.

What the desire to keep people at arms length has provoked is a concern that we'll get it wrong. Dr C touches on this far better than I could, but let's be honest, you don't need to be a genius to figure out that telephone diagnosis is DANGEROUS. Especially when your criteria are so vague.

I can only assume that someone, somewhere has weighed up the options: the flooding of the health service by ?'flu patients, versus the occasional death by misdiagnosis, and decided that this is the lesser of two evils.

The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few?

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