Your health is important. Fight for it. Because it matters.
Your voice is important. Scream for justice. Because it matters.
Your life is important. Live life like it’s important. Because it is.
Showing others that their life matters is important. Because it does.
Doing something, anything, and I’m honestly not sure what direction to go, about the problems associated with fluoroquinolones, is IMPORTANT. It’s not okay that any of us were hurt by a prescription antibiotic. There is nothing okay about that. We are not collateral damage, we are not small numbers (of people) (of people is in parentheses because it barely matters to some – we’re numbers ) who are adversely effected by an otherwise good drug – we’re PEOPLE whose lives matter. And it’s important that we scream and let the people and the system that is disregarding us know that WE MATTER! It’s important for us to change the medical (and maybe the American, and maybe the world) culture that views it as okay to treat people as if they don’t matter, as if they’re collateral damage. It’s really important.
There are children, even babies, who are given fluoroquinolones – typically in the form of ear and eye drops to treat ear infections and pink-eye. It is our biological and moral imperative to protect our children. And by our children, I don’t just mean our biological children, I mean all children. IT IS REALLY IMPORTANT THAT WE PROTECT CHILDREN FROM THESE DRUGS! The knowledge that fluoroquinolones are contraindicated in the pediatric population is as easy to access as a Wikipedia article, yet kids, innocent babies that are depending on us to protect them, are being given these drugs because their doctors are not heeding the warnings. We MUST protect the children. We must. Because it’s really, really, really IMPORTANT.
In prescribing a fluoroquinolone in a situation that was not life threatening, and where other, safer drug alternatives were available, our doctors disregarded their Hippocratic Oath. THE HIPPOCRATIC OATH IS IMPORTANT. We need to scream at our doctors, nurses, pharmacists, etc. until they start following their Hippocratic Oath again. It’s the moral basis of our medical system, or at least it should be, and it’s really, really important.
Another basis of our medical system that has been lost is INFORMED CONSENT. It’s also quite important. When drugs have dangerous, and sometimes permanent, side effects, as is the case with fluoroquinolones, it’s really, really important that informed consent be obtained before the drug is prescribed. This rarely happens. Patients are prescribed what they assume is a benign antibiotic. They probably don’t even think about the side effects. It’s an antibiotic, people take antibiotics all the time. How could an antibiotic be harmful? The sheet listing the side effects is included in the baggie when the prescription is filled, but the pharmacist doesn’t take the time to go over the side effects. No one ever says, “This can damage your CENTRAL NERVOUS SYSTEM” or “This may permanently weaken all of the connective tissues in your body to the point where you become bed-ridden” or any number of warnings that can describe the horror of fluoroquinolone toxicity. It is really important that a protocol be established when prescribing and filling prescriptions for fluoroquinolones. All gatekeepers, at all steps in the process, should be informing patients of the possible consequences of taking these drugs. To not obtain real informed consent is WRONG.
It is important for side effects to be relevant. It is important that doctors, nurses, pharmacists and especially patients know the RISKS associated with every drug. Everyone involved in the system, including the patients, are guilty of disregarding warnings of side-effects. Warnings are disregarded because they’re seen as arbitrary and unimportant. They’re seen as arbitrary and unimportant because the FDA puts one-size-fits-all rules around what is said on drug packaging instead of adequately communicating REAL RISKS of each and every drug to doctors and patients alike. If warnings are seen as arbitrary, if they’re not seen as real, they will not be heeded and people will get hurt. It’s important that proper information be given to patients and that they know the risks associated with every drug that we put into our body.
The system let us down. It’s important that we try to fix it so that it doesn’t let other people down.
Sometimes I wonder if fighting Bayer and Johnson & Johnson is possible. I know that it is the right thing for me to do, but I get tired. Fear takes over. I wonder if I’m getting stuck in the past and stuck in a time in my life when I was sick, when I’m largely recovered, and that’s not a healthy thing to do. Winning is borderline unimaginable. Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are huge, powerful and have resources beyond my comprehension. But then I think, who am I not to fight? Not that many people see that there are some REALLY BIG PROBLEMS in the medical system, but I do, because of what I’ve been through, so I should take this (unwanted) gift of insight and use it – to scream. Injustice is being done, people are being hurt and the system needs to be fixed. So I will scream. I will find a way to scream. This blog is a start (maybe it’ll go viral – you never know (yes, that means share this post)), but bigger, better, louder ways of screaming are possible and I will do my best to find them. BECAUSE BABIES ARE BEING POISONED. Until they stop giving Cipro ear drops to 1-year-olds, I will scream – because it’s IMPORTANT to keep babies from being poisoned. The fact that that needs to be said means that we live in a crazy world. Let’s try to make it a little more sane.