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July 11, 2008 Why am I getting this?

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CDC lacks urgency on salmonella scare

Dear Friend,

As a raw milk advocate, you'll have to excuse me for feeling vindicated by the salmonella scare that's striking America's crops. Usually, it's raw milk that's seen (incorrectly, I might add) as a cocktail chock full of salmonella, E. coli and all manner of nasty bacteria. Instead, it's what's in your salad and not in your glass that's at the root of a 41-state salmonella breakout.

As I write this, a large number of national chain restaurants and grocery stores have indefinitely pulled three types of raw tomatoes from menus and shelves while the FDA is on the hunt for the source of the contamination. In fact, the investigation has now spread to other vegetables, such as peppers.

The CDC says that the outbreak started back in April, and that since then more than 1,000 people have all been infected with salmonella bacteria containing the same "genetic fingerprint." Salmonella from this outbreak is believed to have caused the death of a cancer patient in Texas. Considering the size and scope of this outbreak, I'm underwhelmed by the lack of urgency. Trust me, if raw milk had been at the root of this problem, the CDC and the FDA would have quickly dropped the hammer on all raw milk producing dairies.

But in spite of 41 states and three varieties of tomatoes still in question - and the absurdly huge volume of tomatoes that are both sold and served to the public every day in this country - the FDA and CDC attitude on this salmonella outbreak seems to be one of reassurance. In fact, the tone hasn't changed much even as the investigation has expanded beyond tomatoes.

So how do you explain the understated non-panic over our nation's salmonella-contaminated crops? Call me a cynic, but I'd say it's because U.S. vegetable growers probably have better lobbyists and more money to throw around Washington than the raw milk advocates.

Step aside Joe, there’s a new antioxidant king in town...

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The M.D.'S wall of silence

A survey done at prestigious Massachusetts General Hospital showed that more than 45 percent of the doctors that witnessed significant medical mistakes being made did not report them to the proper authorities.

Of course, 90 percent of the doctors surveyed said that physicians should always report an impaired or incompetent colleague. I'm not sure who's worse in this case – the 45 percent that saw something wrong and did nothing, or the 10 percent who don't believe that medical incompetence should be reported at all – whether you see it or not.

That's not the only disturbing fact that was unearthed by the survey. Eleven percent of the respondents reported that they had breached doctor-patient confidentiality. And a third of those surveyed said they would order an unnecessary and expensive MRI scan just to get rid of a complaining patient.

Respondents to the survey were, of course, anonymous. Over 3,000 doctors received the survey with a $20 incentive check (about half responded to the survey). Here's the best part: 21 of the doctors who didn't answer the survey still cashed the check.

Always ready with an outbreak of truth,

William Campbell Douglass II, M.D.

The exercise “nuts” call me crazy

The exercise “nuts” call me crazy for saying you’ll stay strong and muscular without pumping iron 24/7…

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