Whenever you do a thing, act as if all the world were watching. – Thomas Jefferson 1743 -1826
Editor-in-Chief, Chester ‘Trip’ Buckenmaier III, MD, COL, MC, USA.
The Deepwater Horizon drilling disaster caused the release of an estimated five million barrels of crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico. President Jefferson’s advice seems even more poignant in our increasingly complicated world as the excuses and apologies of corporate executives compete with images of oil covered marine life and fouled beaches.
The human cost of this manmade calamity from the economic and ecological ruin is heart wrenching to watch.
As a physician, I also wonder at the long term health effects of all the crude oil being dumped into the Gulf Coast environment. Crude oil is a cornucopia of thousands of hydrocarbon compounds, many are known to be toxic to humans, and for many others the impact is unknown.
The enduring effects of the oil on the ecosystem and the life there is even more indeterminate. The psychological effects on the coastal population are already being experienced as the stress of lost livelihoods and ways of life impact on the local community.
The impact of this stress was recently highlighted with the suicide of charter boat captain Allen Kruse that was described on network news channels as the first suicide directly associated with the spill. Many are concerned that captain Kruse is just the first of perhaps many who will be driven to such extremes. read more
HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AUGUST ISSUE OF U. S. MEDICINE
Addressing Suicide, TBI, and Mental Health Issues Continues to Challenge DoD Properly diagnosing head injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) continues to be a challenge for the military because there is still so much unknown about the brain, a top DoD official told a Senate committee. read more
Haiti Seeks to Recover, Solidify Infrastructure Six months after the earthquake that devastated the country, Haiti remains a nation whose people are on fragile ground. With much of the infrastructure destroyed and the capital city of Port-au-Prince devastated, life is still far from normal. read more
Organization Representing Physicians Tackles Pay Issues Many federal physicians do not feel they are adequately paid, but also may not be aware of the pay policies of their respective agencies, a survey conducted by the Federal Physicians Association (FPA) found. read more
HHS Drafts New Plan to Address Hepatitis An HHS interagency workgroup is drafting a new strategic plan to strengthen viral hepatitis prevention and control in the US, an HHS official told a House committee at a recent hearing. read more
Web-based System Helps DoD Track Suicides Suicide surveillance technology is helping the military track suicides, an important component in prevention, officials said during a DCoE webinar held last month. read more
Collins Lays Out NIH Priorities Finding innovative research vectors for major diseases, furthering partnerships with industry, and ironing out conflicts of interest among scientists are some of the many pressing goals facing NIH. Testifying before Congress last month, NIH Director Francis Collins, MD, PhD, discussed those issues, as well as how the agency allocates its research dollars. read more