Without evidence of benefit, an intervention should not be presumed to be beneficial or safe.

- Rogue Medic

What’s the Good News on Hydroxychloroquine?

Hydroxychloroquine is a darling of the media and of politicians, but what about the evidence? Well, the evidence on the use of hydroxychloroquine to treat humans with COVID-19 (COronaVIrus Disease identified in 2019) is either negative (hydroxychloroquine is worse than homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy, prayer, . . . ) or the evidence is neutral (hydroxychloroquine is just as useless as homeopathy, acupuncture, naturopathy, prayer, . . . ).


But what is the good news?


The good news is that all of the research on hydroxychloroquine is of low quality or of very low quality. This is exactly the kind of evidence that frauds use to sell their fly by night panaceas.


The “best” news for the frauds is that one study showing harm from hydroxychloroquine has been retracted by most of the authors, due to problems with the data.[1],[2] The researchers contracted out the data acquisition and analysis to Surgisphere Corporation, a private company that appears to have promised to be able to deliver more than it can deliver.


If the negative paper has been retracted, why am I calling the promoters of hydroxychloroquine the frauds?


I am not referring to any of the researchers as frauds, not even the ones from the company that provided the retracted information. The frauds are the people promoting hydroxychloroquine without any evidence that hydroxychloroquine is safe or effective to treat COVID-19 in our species. These people are recklessly and irresponsibly endangering people for their own apparently political reasons.


We still do not have any valid evidence that hydroxychloroquine is safe to use in any humans to treat COVID-19.


We still do not have any valid evidence that hydroxychloroquine is effective at improving any outcomes for any humans with COVID-19.


Experimentation on humans should be limited to well controlled research studies.


The WHO (World Health Organization) appropriately, and only temporarily, paused research on hydroxychloroquine to re-examine the safety data available. The enrollment of patients in the WHO research has resumed.[3]


For those who claim that this retraction is evidence that science doesn’t work – It is amusing to see you trying to cite evidence to support your rejection of evidence, every time you do it. May you never tire of demonstrating the validity of the Dunning-Kruger effect.


This is like using a stopped clock to tell you the time. The stopped clock does not provide any useful information about the actual time, but it does provide useful information about the person claiming it provides useful information about the time.



This was pre-print – not yet peer reviewed, which was retracted by most of the authors, because of questions raised about the data. It may turn out that the outcomes for patients were better than represented in the paper. It may turn out that the outcomes for patients were the same as than represented in the paper. It may turn out that the outcomes for patients were worse than represented in the paper. We won’t know until the full information is independently analyzed, which might not happen. The failure to provide access for independent analysis was the reason for the retraction.


Late addition (6/08/2020 at 15:08): Dr. Steven Novella has a more detailed description of this at Neurologica, written on 6/08/2020 after I posted this on 6/06/2020:


The Surgisphere Fiasco



Footnotes:


[1] Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis.
Mehra MR, Desai SS, Ruschitzka F, Patel AN.
Lancet. 2020 May 22:S0140-6736(20)31180-6. doi: 10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6. Online ahead of print.
PMID: 32450107


Free Full Text from PubMed Central.


[2] Retraction—Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis
Mandeep R Mehra, Frank Ruschitzka, Amit N Patel
Published:June 05, 2020
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31324-6


[3] “Solidarity” clinical trial for COVID-19 treatments
WHO (World Health Organization)
Information page.


Update on hydroxychloroquine


Originally posted 27 May 2020, updated 4 June 2020


Having met on 23 May 2020, the Executive Group of the Solidarity Trial decided to implement a temporary pause of the hydroxychloroquine arm of the trial, because of concerns raised about the safety of the drug. This decision was taken as a precaution while the safety data were reviewed by the Data Safety and Monitoring Committee of the Solidarity Trial.


On 3 June 2020, WHO’s Director-General announced that on the basis of the available mortality data, the members of the committee have recommended that there are no reasons to modify the trial protocol.


The Executive Group received this recommendation and endorsed the continuation of all arms of the Solidarity Trial, including hydroxychloroquine.


The Data Safety and Monitoring Committee will continue to closely monitor the safety of all therapeutics being tested in the Solidarity Trial.



.

Hydroxychloroquine – The More You Know, The Worse It Looks



Do you want to use a drug that was never based on any good evidence, but only a hunch? Try hydroxychloroquine. The president says, What have you got to lose?


Kitchen sink medicine is a remnant of the Dark Ages, but it has not been eliminated from medicine. It is the argument from ignorance. If you can’t prove that the treatment is harmful, the treatment is wonderful. If you can prove the treatment is harmful, you are part of a conspiracy.


This is further evidence that hydroxychloroquine is harmful. The higher the quality of the evidence about hydroxychloroquine, the worse hydroxychloroquine looks.


Today, Lancet published this study comparing almost 15,000 patients receiving several different experimental treatments with about 80,000 patients not receiving any of the experimental treatments. This should convince reasonable people that there is no justification for treating patients with hydroxychloroquine outside of a well controlled randomized trial.


The comments on articles about the study are full of the usual anti-science, anti-vax, alternative medicine propaganda. Their religion has failed, but they keep preaching.


After controlling for multiple confounding factors (age, sex, race or ethnicity, body-mass index, underlying cardiovascular disease and its risk factors, diabetes, underlying lung disease, smoking, immunosuppressed condition, and baseline disease severity), when compared with mortality in the control group (9·3%), hydroxychloroquine (18·0%; hazard ratio 1·335, 95% CI 1·223–1·457), hydroxychloroquine with a macrolide (23·8%; 1·447, 1·368–1·531), chloroquine (16·4%; 1·365, 1·218–1·531), and chloroquine with a macrolide (22·2%; 1·368, 1·273–1·469) were each independently associated with an increased risk of in-hospital mortality.[1]


The evidence shows that you are twice as likely to die if you receive hydroxychloroquine.


Don’t listen to anti-science, anti-vax, anti-medicine preachers, because they are not interested in your health.


What have you got to lose?


What are you treating, you politics/religion or your health?


If your goal is to treat your religion, go ahead and use the magic elixir and maybe you will not be harmed by it.


If your goal is to treat your health, avoid magic claims about treatments, regardless of the treatment. Use treatments that work in the real world.


What have you got to lose?


You are twice as likely to lose your life. Among survivors, the significant adverse effect rate was much higher in the hydroxychloroquine groups. This is the highest quality research so far and there is no good news for the hydroxychloroquine.


Read the full paper and think for yourself. Don’t listen to those making excuses to promote their agenda. Your health has never been important to those who reject science.


It is unfortunate that we do not have some treatment that works well, but that is not a good reason to bet your life on bad medicine. More people survive with better health with conventional treatment.



Footnotes:


[1] Hydroxychloroquine or chloroquine with or without a macrolide for treatment of COVID-19: a multinational registry analysis
Prof Mandeep R Mehra, MD, Sapan S Desai, MD, Prof Frank Ruschitzka, MD, Amit N Patel, MD
Lancet. Published:May 22, 2020
DOI:https://doi.org/10.1016/S0140-6736(20)31180-6


Free Full Text from Lancet.


.

New FDNY Cardiac Arrest Protocol is Reasonable

In New York City, the protocol for cardiac arrest during the coronavirus pandemic has been changed. The protocol now states to pronounce the patient dead after 20 minutes, if there is no return of spontaneous circulation (ROSC). If the patient remains pulseless after full paramedic treatment, the chances of any good outcome have dramatically dropped to zero. However, the dangers of transport and infection are only going to increase with transport for the purpose of pronouncement at the hospital, because that is all that is going to happen. A doctor will probably walk out to the ambulance, ask for a brief report, look at the monitor, and then tell the medics to stop compressions and ventilations.

Is there any reason to believe that an emergency physician, who is already overworked, is going to endanger the other patients in the emergency department, just to “make it look good” for a few more minutes?

Many communities already have these protocols in place. The American Heart Association (AHA) and the International Liaison Committee on Resuscitation (ILCOR) already recommend that resuscitation be terminated with no ROSC after 20 minutes.

FDNY (Fire Department of New York, which run EMS in New York City) has traditionally been, well . . . , very traditional in its approach to cardiac arrest. Cardiac arrest treatment doesn’t require much, but the traditionalists like to do a lot more than is good for the patient. For appearances? For unreasonable optimism?

Unfortunately, the president of the local union is misrepresenting this, in order to make a political point, or to demonstrate a lack of understanding, at a time when he should be trying to explain that this is protecting union members and protecting the public.


This is what the military does. They come. They check your pulse. No pulse – next. You know, we’re going to be leaving bodies behind, which is the exact opposite of what’s the oath we took.[1]


Oren Barzilay EMS Local 2507 President. Also identified by the news as a paramedic. If so he should know better.

What does the protocol state?


TEMPORARY Cardiac Arrest Standards for Disaster Response[2]


NYC REMAC (New York City Regional Emergency Medical Advisory Committee) does need to approve whatever N-95 masks have been donated, if the claim that the masks have not been approved is more accurate than the claim about resuscitation.

The NYC protocol has caught up with what many other states have been doing for decades. It is sad that the union leadership is fighting to keep EMS in the dark ages with misinformation and emotions. Misinformation thrives on emotions, so the emotional appeal is not surprising.

There is another protocol change that seems to escaped the notice of Oren Barzilay EMS Local 2507 President, or that part of the interview was cut. Intubation can be skipped – in favor of an extraglottic airway.


Use of Alternative Airways[3]


There is still no good evidence that the average paramedic is competent at intubation, but many agencies insist on intubation as if it is some sort of magical ability of paramedics. Just wave the laryngoscope and the tube goes into the trachea. Paramedics are not good at intubation, but we are good at whining about having intubation taken away, as if it is something we have earned.

We have not earned the right to make patients hypoxic, to tear up the airway, and to claim that we are improving outcomes. Hypoxia is bad for the patient. Tearing up the airway is bad for the patient. We have no good reason to believe we are providing a benefit to the patient, but we do have plenty of evidence that we are causing harm.

Why do so many of us refuse to practice?

Why do so many of us refuse to behave as if we believe any of the lies we tell about intubation being a life saving procedure?

If intubation really is “life saving”, why do paramedics refuse to engage in more than token intubation practice – and then brag about how much they practice?

Because we do not understand what we are doing and because our arguments are emotional, rather than rational.

We paramedics deserve ridicule for our repeated defenses of incompetence.

Why are we still intubating, when there is no evidence of benefit and we refuse to practice this “skill”?


Here is the only evidence I know of demonstrating benefit from intubation:


Prehospital rapid sequence intubation improves functional outcome for patients with severe traumatic brain injury: a randomized controlled trial.
Bernard SA, Nguyen V, Cameron P, Masci K, Fitzgerald M, Cooper DJ, Walker T, Std BP, Myles P, Murray L, David, Taylor, Smith K, Patrick I, Edington J, Bacon A, Rosenfeld JV, Judson R.
Ann Surg. 2010 Dec;252(6):959-65. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181efc15f.
PMID: 21107105


Here is some of the evidence showing either a lack of benefit from intubation or evidence showing harm from intubation:


Misplaced endotracheal tubes by paramedics in an urban emergency medical services system.
Katz SH, Falk JL.
Ann Emerg Med. 2001 Jan;37(1):32-7.
PMID: 11145768

Free Full Text PDF


Rapid sequence intubation for pediatric emergency patients: higher frequency of failed attempts and adverse effects found by video review.
Kerrey BT, Rinderknecht AS, Geis GL, Nigrovic LE, Mittiga MR.
Ann Emerg Med. 2012 Sep;60(3):251-9. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.02.013. Epub 2012 Mar 15.
PMID: 22424653

Free Full Text from Annals of Emergency Medicine.


A is for airway: a pediatric emergency department challenge.
Green SM.
Ann Emerg Med. 2012 Sep;60(3):261-3. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2012.03.019. Epub 2012 Apr 19. No abstract available.
PMID: 22520991

The article above is a comment on the previous article.


Prehospital intubations and mortality: a level 1 trauma center perspective.
Cobas MA, De la Peña MA, Manning R, Candiotti K, Varon AJ.
Anesth Analg. 2009 Aug;109(2):489-93. doi: 10.1213/ane.0b013e3181aa3063.
PMID: 19608824


Intubation by Emergency Physicians: How Often Is Enough?
Kerrey BT, Wang H.
Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Dec;74(6):795-796. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.06.022. Epub 2019 Aug 19. No abstract available.
PMID: 31439364

The article above is commentary on the article below:

Procedural Experience With Intubation: Results From a National Emergency Medicine Group.
Carlson JN, Zocchi M, Marsh K, McCoy C, Pines JM, Christensen A, Kornas R, Venkat A.
Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Dec;74(6):786-794. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.04.025. Epub 2019 Jun 24.
PMID: 31248674


Effect of a Strategy of a Supraglottic Airway Device vs Tracheal Intubation During Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest on Functional Outcome: The AIRWAYS-2 Randomized Clinical Trial.
Benger JR, Kirby K, Black S, Brett SJ, Clout M, Lazaroo MJ, Nolan JP, Reeves BC, Robinson M, Scott LJ, Smartt H, South A, Stokes EA, Taylor J, Thomas M, Voss S, Wordsworth S, Rogers CA.
JAMA. 2018 Aug 28;320(8):779-791. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.11597.
PMID: 30167701

Free Full Text from PubMed Central® (PMC)


Effect of a Strategy of Initial Laryngeal Tube Insertion vs Endotracheal Intubation on 72-Hour Survival in Adults With Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest: A Randomized Clinical Trial.
Wang HE, Schmicker RH, Daya MR, Stephens SW, Idris AH, Carlson JN, Colella MR, Herren H, Hansen M, Richmond NJ, Puyana JCJ, Aufderheide TP, Gray RE, Gray PC, Verkest M, Owens PC, Brienza AM, Sternig KJ, May SJ, Sopko GR, Weisfeldt ML, Nichol G.
JAMA. 2018 Aug 28;320(8):769-778. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.7044.
PMID: 30167699

Free Full Text from PubMed Central® (PMC)


Pragmatic Airway Management in Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest.
Andersen LW, Granfeldt A.
JAMA. 2018 Aug 28;320(8):761-763. doi: 10.1001/jama.2018.10824. No abstract available.
PMID: 30167679


Interruptions in cardiopulmonary resuscitation from paramedic endotracheal intubation.
Wang HE, Simeone SJ, Weaver MD, Callaway CW.
Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Nov;54(5):645-652.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2009.05.024. Epub 2009 Jul 2.
PMID: 19573949


Association of prehospital advanced airway management with neurologic outcome and survival in patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Hasegawa K, Hiraide A, Chang Y, Brown DF.
JAMA. 2013 Jan 16;309(3):257-66. doi: 10.1001/jama.2012.187612.
PMID: 23321764

Free Full Text from JAMA


No evidence for decreased incidence of aspiration after rapid sequence induction.
Neilipovitz DT, Crosby ET.
Can J Anaesth. 2007 Sep;54(9):748-64. Review.
PMID: 17766743

Link to Abstract and Free Full Text PDF Download from Can J Anaesth


The Great Prehospital Airway Debate
August 31, 2018
Emergency Medicine Literature of Note
by Ryan Radecki
Article


EM Nerd-The Case of the Needless Imperative
August 31, 2018
EMNerd (EMCrit)
by Rory Spiegel
Article


Intubation or supraglottic airway in cardiac arrest; AIRWAYS-2
The Resus Room
Podcast with Simon Laing, Rob Fenwick, and James Yates with guest Professor Jonathan Benger, lead author of AIRWAYS-2.
Podcast, images, and notes


Variation in Survival After Out-of-Hospital Cardiac Arrest Between Emergency Medical Services Agencies.
Okubo M, Schmicker RH, Wallace DJ, Idris AH, Nichol G, Austin MA, Grunau B, Wittwer LK, Richmond N, Morrison LJ, Kurz MC, Cheskes S, Kudenchuk PJ, Zive DM, Aufderheide TP, Wang HE, Herren H, Vaillancourt C, Davis DP, Vilke GM, Scheuermeyer FX, Weisfeldt ML, Elmer J, Colella R, Callaway CW; Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium Investigators.
JAMA Cardiol. 2018 Sep 26. doi: 10.1001/jamacardio.2018.3037. [Epub ahead of print]
PMID: 30267053

Free Full Text from JAMA Cardiology


Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Ewy GA.
Am J Med. 2006 Apr;119(4):335-40.
PMID: 16564776


Cardiocerebral resuscitation improves neurologically intact survival of patients with out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Kellum MJ, Kennedy KW, Barney R, Keilhauer FA, Bellino M, Zuercher M, Ewy GA.
Ann Emerg Med. 2008 Sep;52(3):244-52. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2008.02.006. Epub 2008 Mar 28.
PMID: 18374452


Minimally interrupted cardiac resuscitation by emergency medical services for out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Clark LL, Ewy GA, Chikani V, Sanders AB, Berg RA, Richman PB, Kern KB.
JAMA. 2008 Mar 12;299(10):1158-65. doi: 10.1001/jama.299.10.1158.
PMID: 18334691

Free Full Text at JAMA


Passive oxygen insufflation is superior to bag-valve-mask ventilation for witnessed ventricular fibrillation out-of-hospital cardiac arrest.
Bobrow BJ, Ewy GA, Clark L, Chikani V, Berg RA, Sanders AB, Vadeboncoeur TF, Hilwig RW, Kern KB.
Ann Emerg Med. 2009 Nov;54(5):656-662.e1. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2009.06.011. Epub 2009 Aug 6.
PMID: 19660833


Cardiocerebral resuscitation is associated with improved survival and neurologic outcome from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest in elders.
Mosier J, Itty A, Sanders A, Mohler J, Wendel C, Poulsen J, Shellenberger J, Clark L, Bobrow B.
Acad Emerg Med. 2010 Mar;17(3):269-75. doi: 10.1111/j.1553-2712.2010.00689.x.
PMID: 20370759

Free Full Text from Acad Emerg Med.

And more.


That is a big difference. There is nowhere near enough evidence to justify allowing paramedics to intubate.


Footnotes:

[1] Grim New Rules for NYC Paramedics: Don’t Bring Cardiac Arrests to ER for Revival
By Tom Winter
Published April 2, 2020 • Updated on April 2, 2020 at 8:32 pm
nbcnewyork.com
Article with autoplay video

[2] TEMPORARY Cardiac Arrest Standards for Disaster Response
NYC REMAC
Advisory No. 2020-08
Issue Date: March 31, 2020
Effective Date: Immediate
Protocol in PDF format

[3] Use of Alternative Airways
NYC REMAC
Advisory No. 2020-05
Issue Date: March 20, 2020
Effective Date: Immediate
Protocol in PDF format

.

Dr. David Price on How to Stay Healthy, While Treating COVID-19 Patients

Here is a quote from 2007, written about the response to the 1918 influenza pandemic.

 

Influenza pandemics have occurred regularly every 30 to 40 years since the 16th century. Today, influenza experts consider the possibility of another influenza pandemic, not in terms of if but when. Due to the high likelihood of an influenza pandemic, planning is underway in many U.S. states and other countries. We reviewed the responses of two neighboring Minnesota cities during the 1918–1919 pandemic to gain insight that might inform planning efforts today.[1]

 

We have chosen to forget what we had already learned. We can expect fewer deaths, this time, but this is a result of the arrogance and complacency that is our willful ignorance.

 

We work with patients who may not know that they have COVID-19 (novel COronaVIrus Disease identified in 2019), but we still have to treat them, just as we do for every other infectious disease. The same is true for patients who have tested positive for COVID-19. We are expected to take care of them, protect our other patients from transmission by us, and protect ourselves from infection.

 

Here is the advice, based on the best available evidence, from Dr. David Price of Weill Cornell Medical Center in New York City, currently the hottest spot of COVID-19 transmission in the world, but that will change. Dr. Price is a pulmonologist, treating COVID-19 patients full time, but he is not worried about becoming sick, because he uses evidence-based practices to protect himself. The quality of the video is not great, but the quality of the information is very high.

 

 

 

 

Some of this is not new. As I already stated, we knew this a century ago. We have chosen to forget how to deal with a pandemic.

 

We need to wash our hands.

 

We need to not touch our faces.

 

The most effective use of a mask may be to train yourself to not touch your face. We should have already been good at that, since we are not supposed to touch our faces, when we are wearing gloves, but many of us do touch our faces with gloves. When we have gloves on, the gloves should be considered to be contaminated, and anything everything we touch with our gloves should also be considered to be contaminated.

 

If you think that you need to be seen by a doctor, call first, because it can probably be handled over the phone.

 

If you think that you need to be seen in the emergency department, you probably do not.

 

Wash your hands before you put gloves on

 

Wash your hands after you take gloves off.

 

Clean everything you touch.

 

Wear an N95 mask, face shield, and a gown, when treating COVID-19 patients.

 

Be considerate of others and do not hoard medical supplies. The medical supplies do not do you any good unless you are treating COVID-19 patients and following these rules.

 

We need more accountability for giving bad dangerously incompetent medical advice.

 

President Trump has been promoting a poorly tested treatment as if he has a financial stake in the drug. A couple followed the “medical advice” of President Trump. One died. The other is in the hospital.[2]

 

In Iran, a bunch of people have consumed methanol to cure/protect against COVID-19. hundreds are reported to have died. Methanol ingestion is something that happens with children, who aren’t old enough to read the warnings on the label.[3]

 

Get your medical advice from a physician who understands evidence-based medicine.

 

We, in America, currently are producing too many new infections each day. We need to control our bad (infection-wise) behaviors in order to protect our patients, our neighbors, our families, and our selves. As health care providers, we should be better at this than everyone else. Too many of us are not.

 

 


Financial Times – Coronavirus: free to read
Click on the link for the full page of the latest graphs from Financial Times or click on the image for a larger version of the graph at the time I wrote this.

 

The countries with the most aggressive spread of COVID-19 are the countries that have not aggressively restricted movement among citizens. Anyone, including President Trump, telling you to ignore the social distancing recommendations is endangering the health of everyone. Most of us will probably become infected. Almost all of us will recover, but the rate of recovery drops if everyone becomes sick at the same time, since we do not have enough ventilators to adequately treat such a dramatic increase in very sick patients. The stock market will recover, although not immediately. The same thing happened a century ago, when dealing with the influenza pandemic.

 


This is a chart of what happened to the stock market before, during, and after the 2018 influenza pandemic.[4] Do not take this as trading advice – maybe if you get your medical advice from science deniers, you should trade, based on this. There are many differences between 2018 and now, such as the size, and importance, of other markets. This isn’t the end of the world, unless you don’t follow safe hygiene practices and get yourself infect. Crying about the economy and worshiping in a “traditional” way should not earn any sympathy for Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick[5], First Things writer R.R. Reno, and Cardinal Raymond Burke.[6] Their promotion of immorality is despicable.

 

Social distancing was effective at limiting the spread of the pandemic.[7]

 

Do not expect a vaccine until 2021 or 2022.

 

Do not expect an effective treatment (something that significantly improves outcomes for patients, rather than just improves the sales for the manufacturers) for several months, at the earliest, because the drug President Trump has been promoting is not supported by good evidence. Ironically, HuffPost, which used to be Huffington Post and used to promote the science denialism of Jenny McCarthy, Dr. Oz, Oprah, and plenty of others, has a good article exposing the problems with the paper being cited by President Trump. Let’s hope that the name change is due to a dramatic change in their approach to reality.[8]

 

Footnotes:

[1] Lessons learned from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ott M, Shaw SF, Danila RN, Lynfield R.
Public Health Rep. 2007 Nov-Dec;122(6):803-10. No abstract available.
PMID: 18051673

Free Full Text from PubMed Central® (PMC)

 

[2] Husband and wife poison themselves trying to self-medicate with chloroquine – An Arizona man is dead and his wife is hospitalized after both of them self-medicated with chloroquine.
By Kimberly Hickok – Reference Editor
3 days ago
Live Science
Article

 

[3] Bootleg Liquor and Why You Should Not Drink Methanol
By Live Science
Staff September 19, 2012
Article

 

[4] Market action a century ago suggests worst could be over for stocks, if not for the coronavirus pandemic
Published: March 19, 2020 at 1:50 p.m. ET
By Shawn Langlois
MarketWatch
Article

 

[5] Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick suggests elderly should die to save economy from coronavirus
By Kate Feldman
New York Daily News
March 24, 2020 | 11:46 AM
Article

 

[6] Editorial: May the lesson be indelibly inscribed — we need one another
Mar 24, 2020
by NCR Editorial Staff
National Catholic Reporter
Article

 

[7] Lessons learned from the 1918-1919 influenza pandemic in Minneapolis and St. Paul, Minnesota.
Ott M, Shaw SF, Danila RN, Lynfield R.
Public Health Rep. 2007 Nov-Dec;122(6):803-10. No abstract available.
PMID: 18051673

Free Full Text from PubMed Central® (PMC)

 

 

Influenza pandemics have occurred regularly every 30 to 40 years since the 16th century. Today, influenza experts consider the possibility of another influenza pandemic, not in terms of if but when. Due to the high likelihood of an influenza pandemic, planning is underway in many U.S. states and other countries. We reviewed the responses of two neighboring Minnesota cities during the 1918–1919 pandemic to gain insight that might inform planning efforts today.

 

Many of the components of current pandemic influenza plans were utilized to some degree in Minneapolis and St. Paul during 1918–1919. Coordination between different levels and branches of government, improved communications regarding the spread of influenza, hospital surge capacity, mass dispensing of vaccines, guidelines for infection control, containment measures including case isolation and closures of public places, and disease surveillance were all employed with varying degrees of success. We focus on medical resources, community disease containment measures, public response to community containment, infection control and vaccination, and communications.

 

[8] The Hucksters Pushing A Coronavirus ‘Cure’ With The Help Of Fox News And Elon Musk – Tucker Carlson, Glenn Beck and more have given a giant platform to a sketchy paper touting chloroquine.
03/20/2020 02:05 pm ET Updated Mar 20, 2020
HuffPost
By Nick Robins-Early
Article

.

Happy Darwin and Lincoln Day 2020


Happy Lincoln-Darwin Day!
 
Today is the birthday of two people considered enemies by the American slavery belt – Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln. The slavery belt was so afraid of Lincoln that most of the slave states seceded before Lincoln took office as president.

Charles Darwin wrote a book that exposed the slavery of human beings as immoral. The slaves were just as human as every slave owner. Bible quotations in defense of slavery were regularly provided by slave owners to justify their immorality, but it was not working as well as it used to. To be fair, many of the Founding Fathers opposed slavery, but this was a compromise that will always stain the Constitution. There was even an agreement in the Constitution to allow the importation of slaves at least until 1808.
 

The Migration or Importation of such Persons as any of the States now existing shall think proper to admit, shall not be prohibited by the Congress prior to the Year one thousand eight hundred and eight, but a tax or duty may be imposed on such Importation, not exceeding ten dollars for each Person.[1]

 

There was enough opposition to the importation of slaves that a law prohibiting importation went into effect the first day possible – January 1, 1808.

Opponents of Lincoln continue to make excuses for the treason of the slave states that seceded and made war on the United States of America.

Opponents of Darwin continue to make excuses for rejection of biology, even though genetics and evolution are essential for the understanding of biology. Denial of science has become a tenet of Creationist sects.

Currently the most popular method of denying science is the one made notorious by the exposure of private documents of the cigarette industry. Create the appearance of scientific doubt and scientific controversy, even though the only doubt and controversy is about minor details, rather than the broad conclusions.
 

The most important type of story is that which casts doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines should strongly call out the point[2]

 

 

Doubt is our product next hit since it is the best means of competing with the “body of fact” that exists in the mind of the general public. It is also the means of establishing a controversy. Within the business we recognize that a controversy exists. However, with the general public the consensus is that cigarettes are in some way harmful to the health. If we are successful in establishing a controversy at the public level, then there is an opportunity to put across the real facts about smoking and health. previous hit Doubt is also the limit of our ” product.” Unfortunately, we cannot take a position directly opposing the anti-cigarette forces and say that cigarettes are a contributor to good health. No information that we have supports such a claim .

Truth is our message because of its power to withstand a conflict and sustain a controversy. If in our pro-cigarette efforts we stick to well documented fact , we can dominate a controversy and operate with the confidence of justifiable self-interest [italic emphasis added]. {2111.01, pp. 4, 5}[3]

 

The point was to create the appearance of honesty, without the substance. This method is used by a lot of other science denialists – anti-vaxers, climate change deniers (both those who deny that climate change is real and those who claim that human activity is not responsible for the dramatic acceleration of global warming), flat earthers, alternative medicine promoters, anti-GMO activists, anti-abortion activists, anti-equality activists, geocentrists, et cetera.

Reality is their enemy.

Reality will always be their enemy.

Footnotes:

[1] Article 1 Section 9
U.S. Constitution
Link to Article 1 Section 9 at constitution.net

[2] Tobacco Explained – The truth about the tobacco industry …in its own words
World Health Organization
Page 11/79 on the pdf counter, but marked as page 7 on the page
Free Full Text in PDF format from WHO
 

Carl Thompson from Hill and Knowlton writes a letter on the best angles for the
industry magazine, Tobacco and Health Research:
“The most important type of story is that which casts
doubt in the cause and effect theory of disease and
smoking. Eye-grabbing headlines were needed and
“should strongly call out the point – Controversy! Contradiction! Other Factors! Unknowns!” 31 (Hill and
Knowlton, 1968)

 

[3] Using Cigarette Ads to Counter Health Information
The Cigarette Papers
Chapter 5 Public Relations in the “Safe” Cigarette Era
Resisting Government Regulation: Advertising Campaigns
Pages 190-191
University of California Press
Link to book with search for “Doubt is our product”

.

Do Emergency Physicians Intubate Often Enough to Maintain Competency?

 

    There is a study of the frequency of intubation among emergency physicians in the current Annals of Emergency Medicine. This study is accompanied by a discussion, which unfortunately does not question the assumption that intubation improves outcome. There is very little evidence to suggest that intubation improves outcomes. That evidence is only using paramedics with the highest success rates – much higher than your average paramedic.

 
Greater intubation experience in paramedics is associated with improved patient outcomes2; does a similar relationship exist for emergency physicians?[1]
 


Image credit.

The unquestioned assumption is that excellent intubation performance improves outcomes, rather than that excellent intubation performance causes less harm than average intubation performance, or below average performance. We do not have any good evidence to support the wishful thinking that paramedics, or even much more experienced emergency physicians, improve outcomes by intubating patients. We just assume this, because we don’t really want to know. If we decide to be honest and actually find out the effect of intubation, how will we handle it if the results show that we are harming more patients than we are helping?

The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial was only started because the proponents of the different antiarrhythmics (encainide, flecainide, and moricizine) wanted to prove that their drug was better than all of the rest. They even agreed to include a placebo arm, although the doctors did not like the idea of depriving patients of such beneficial treatment.

 
CONCLUSIONS: There was an excess of deaths due to arrhythmia and deaths due to shock after acute recurrent myocardial infarction in patients treated with encainide or flecainide.[2]
 

People who had frequent ectopic heart beats – PVCs (Premature Ventricular Contractions) after a heart attack were more likely to die than people who did not have frequent PVCs. The obvious solution – the equivalent of intubation and blood-letting – was to give drugs that will get rid of the PVCs. The problem is that the PVCs were not the problem. The PVCs were just a sign of the problem. The drugs made the actual problem with the heart worse, while making the heart appear to be better. The same is true of blood-letting and may be true of intubation. Abundant evidence for the obvious benefits of blood-letting are quoted in the footnotes.[3]

If intubation is harmful, do we want to know?

If intubation by the average paramedic is harmful, do we want to know?

If intubation by the average emergency physician is harmful, do we want to know?

It isn’t as if we take intubation seriously. If we did take intubation seriously, we would practice much, much more than we do. In stead, we make excuses for failing to practice something that we claim is life-saving, because we are too arrogant to admit that practice is important to develop and maintain any skill.

Practicing on even the most basic mannequin should be done before every shift, whether you are a paramedic or an emergency physician. Unless you have a 99%, or better, success rate on hundreds of patients.

Footnotes:

[1] Intubation by Emergency Physicians: How Often Is Enough?
Kerrey BT, Wang H.
Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Dec;74(6):795-796. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.06.022. Epub 2019 Aug 19. No abstract available.
PMID: 31439364

The article above is commentary on the article below:

Procedural Experience With Intubation: Results From a National Emergency Medicine Group.
Carlson JN, Zocchi M, Marsh K, McCoy C, Pines JM, Christensen A, Kornas R, Venkat A.
Ann Emerg Med. 2019 Dec;74(6):786-794. doi: 10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.04.025. Epub 2019 Jun 24.
PMID: 31248674

[2] Mortality and morbidity in patients receiving encainide, flecainide, or placebo. The Cardiac Arrhythmia Suppression Trial.
Echt DS, Liebson PR, Mitchell LB, Peters RW, Obias-Manno D, Barker AH, Arensberg D, Baker A, Friedman L, Greene HL, et al.
N Engl J Med. 1991 Mar 21;324(12):781-8.
PMID: 1900101

Free Full Text from N Engl J Med.

[3] Blood-Letting
Br Med J.
1871 March 18; 1(533): 283–291.
PMCID: PMC2260507
 

Physicians observed of old, and continued to observe for many centuries, the following facts concerning blood-letting.

1. It gave relief to pain. . . . .

2. It diminished swelling. . . . .

3. It diminished local redness or congestion. . . . .

4. For a short time after bleeding, either local or general, abnormal heat was sensibly diminished.

5. After bleeding, spasms ceased, . . . .

6. If the blood could be made to run, patients were roused up suddenly from the apparent death of coma. (This was puzzling to those who regarded spasm and paralysis as opposite states; but it showed the catholic applicability of the remedy.)

7. Natural (wrongly termed ” accidental”) hacmorrhages were observed sometimes to end disease. . . . .

8. . . . venesection would cause hamorrhages to cease.
 

.

Does Room Air Reduce Mortality Among Term Neonates Requiring Respiratory Support at Birth?

     

The title of this meta-analysis suggests that it is important for us to have evidence in order to withhold treatments that are based on assumptions and anecdotes, rather than based on evidence. We should not even suggest this. Fortunately, the neonatal resuscitation guidelines have recommended not using the assumption-based and anecdote-based treatment since 2010.

 

Before 2000, resuscitation guidelines recommended 100% Fio2 for newborn respiratory support.6 However, hyperoxemia caused by high Fio2 results in the formation of free radicals, which can damage the lungs, brain, eyes, and other organs.7 Hypoxemia may also lead to harm. Literature in the early 2000s suggested no harm with room air resuscitation in term neonates, but also potentially an improvement in short-term mortality.8 In accordance with this literature, in 2010 and 2015 ILCOR recommended using room air for the initial resuscitation of term neonates.9, 10 [1]
 

The authors of this summary of the meta-analysis qualify this meta-analysis with a list of the weaknesses of the research. This is important for every analysis of research, but is it relevant, when there is no good reason to recommend the traditional intervention?  

According to these results with low evidence certainty, room air reduces short-term mortality compared with 100% Fio2 among term neonates requiring respiratory support at birth. Despite the low-quality evidence, these results are consistent across studies with low heterogeneity. The effect of intermediate Fio2 levels is not known and may benefit from further study. [1]
 

These are not reasons to reconsider, or oppose, the withholding of any treatments that are based on assumptions and anecdotes, rather than based on evidence.

The burden of proof is on those promoting any intervention. In the absence of valid evidence, we should limit ourselves to interventions that are supported by high quality evidence.

For epinephrine in cardiac arrest, there is no high quality evidence of benefit. The highest quality evidence is evidence of harm from epinephrine. The same is true for amiodarone, ventilation in cardiac arrest not due to a respiratory problem, furosemide in ADHF/CHF (Acute Decompensated Heart Failure/Congestive Heart Failure), and many other treatments we provide to patients, but definitely not for the benefit of patients.

We need to stop putting patients last in treatment decisions. The neonatal resuscitation guidelines are correct in their rejection of supplemental oxygen for neonatal resuscitation and the guidelines should not be changed.

Footnotes:

[1] Does Room Air Reduce Mortality Among Term Neonates Requiring Respiratory Support at Birth?

Brit Long, MD (EBEM Commentator), Michael D. April, MD, DPhil (EBEM Commentator) Department of Emergency Medicine, San Antonio Uniformed Services Health Education Consortium, Fort Sam Houston, TX

Annals of Emergency Medicine

October 2019, Volume 74, Issue 4, Pages 509–511

DOI:&nbps;https://doi.org/10.1016/j.annemergmed.2019.03.017

Free Full Text from Annals of Emergency Medicine. .

Happy Full Moon Friday the 13th


Technically, the full moon is not until 00:33 – 33 minutes after the end of Friday the 13th, so that may help the superstitious to feel better, since these superstition events are not actually coinciding – pitting twice as many Gods against the superstitious (a double whammy). Or the superstitious may feel worse, because they now have two days in a row of the Gods conspiring against them. The reality is that only their own beliefs conspire against them. it is all in the heads of the believers.

Even when someone does claim to come up with some evidence to support their beliefs, those conclusions are not supported by higher quality research.
 

In conclusion, Friday the 13th appears to be dangerous for some women. Since Friday falls on the 13th day of the month only twice a year on average, prospects for significant public health gains are limited. However, the risk of death for women who venture into traffic on this unlucky day is higher by 63%, and it should be possible to prevent one-third of the deaths occurring on this particular day. Even then, the absolute gain would remain marginal, since only one death per 5 million person-days could be prevented.[1]

 

The total number of deaths is small. Drawing that conclusion, based on a small sample size is a problem. In order to be able to come up with larger numbers, to minimize the effects of the small sample size, other researchers looked at the motor vehicle collisions, rather than just fatal motor vehicle collisions. The assumption that the cause of the fatalities was anxiety, produced by superstition among the drivers is projecting a lot onto the drivers – without any evidence to support this supposed cause.

It should not be a surprise that the results of a much larger sample size contradicts the assumptions based on the much smaller sample.
 

Conclusion:
We conclude that, in the Finnish traffic accident statistics for 1989–2002, females have not incurred more injury (or fatal) road traffic accidents on Fridays the 13th than expected, as a driver, bicyclist or pedestrian. We suggest that Näyhä’s contradicting result on fatalities is due to different sampling, non-optimal setting and chance in a fairly small data. However, this does not imply a nonexistent effect on accident risk as no exposure-to-risk data [18] are available. People who are anxious of “Black Friday” may stay home, or at least avoid driving a car. The only relevant data [4], suggesting a small decrease in highway traffic, is rather limited and should be confirmed with more extensive research.[2]

 

The law of small numbers is an attempt to expose the mistake of extrapolating from small numbers as if the small numbers are representative. Small numbers are misleading. Small numbers are often used to promote ideas that are not supported by adequate numbers – such as the claims that epinephrine improves cardiac arrest outcomes that matter, or that amiodarone improves cardiac arrest outcomes that matter.[3]

Footnotes:

[1] Traffic deaths and superstition on Friday the 13th.
Näyhä S.
Am J Psychiatry. 2002 Dec;159(12):2110-1.
PMID: 12450968

[2] Females do not have more injury road accidents on Friday the 13th.
Radun I, Summala H.
BMC Public Health. 2004 Nov 16;4:54.
PMID: 15546493

Free Full Text from PubMed Central.

[3] Chapter 10
The Law of Small Numbers

Thinking, Fast and Slow
Daniel Kahneman
2011
Wikipedia page

.