Home > Uncategorized > Why elections matter, part n^6

Why elections matter, part n^6

July 14, 2009

You’re at the doctor’s office – again – with your child.  Last week she had a little bug bite, and she scratched it with dirty fingernails, and it got infected.  The doctor gave her antibiotics and you thought that would take care of it.  It didn’t and this week the doctor says; “Take her to the emergency room, I’ll call ahead so they’ll expect you.”

Your daughter is frightened as you wait in the noisy, chaotic ER.  She’s examined, different antibiotics are tried.  Days later she lies in a steel-framed bed, drifting in and out of consciousness and receiving last-resort drugs through an IV tube.  But she’s also receiving narcotic pain killers because this infection has gone systemic and it hurts.  She wakes up and asks when she can go home.  For the first and perhaps last time in her short life, you lie to her about something really, really important.

This is why elections matter:

New York Times: “The Obama administration announced Monday that it would seek to ban many routine uses of antibiotics in farm animals in hopes of reducing the spread of dangerous bacteria in humans.

In written testimony to the House Rules Committee, Dr. Joshua Sharfstein, principal deputy commissioner of food and drugs, said feeding antibiotics to healthy chickens, pigs and cattle—done to encourage rapid growth—should cease. And Dr. Sharfstein said farmers should no longer be able to use antibiotics in animals without the supervision of a veterinarian…”
- Obsidian Wings The wrong way to use antibiotics

We just finished eight years of inaction while the antibiotic situation got worse and worse, and the Bush administration deferred to the livestock industry instead of doing the right thing for public health.  It isn’t an abstract or even debatable point: routine antibiotic administration to livestock is a horrible idea.  It needs to stop, period.

Hilzoy from Obsidian Wings again: “This is really important. Antibiotics make diseases that used to be fatal into minor annoyances. But resistance to antibiotics is rising, and we are not developing new antibiotics to replace the ones bacteria are becoming resistant to. This is in part because spending money to develop new antibiotics doesn’t make sense for pharmaceutical companies…”

I don’t agree with everything our president does, and there are some things I don’t even understand well enough to disagree with.  But then he goes and does something like this, and I want to vote for him all over again just to say I really meant it.  Recently I had an experience with a life-threatening infection.  They were able to save me but they had to use extreme drugs and in a handful of years, even those may not work anymore.  And new classes of antibiotics are not exactly pouring out of the gate.  We need to use the ones we’ve got more prudently, not just for agribusiness profits.  Thank you, Mister President.

NOTES:

Categories: Uncategorized
  1. July 15, 2009 at 23:02 | #1

    It’s nice to have a president that not only cares about science, but understands it too.

    I did a damn good job at work the other day when 2 bosses and another manager and some co-workers of mine were sitting around as everyone started a bitch fest about Obama. Yea because Palin knows that antibiotics are more than just dish soap. WTF, she was reason enough not to vote for McCain.

    It’s tough being away from a place that accepts liberal ideas.

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