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Title: Blog by Novelist William S. Frankl, MD

Archive for the ‘On His Own Writing’ Category

The Riots at Charlottesville, Virginia 11–12, 2017.

Wednesday, August 23rd, 2017

During the past 12 days, since the Charlottesville Virginia riots on the 11th and 12th, serious changes have occurred in America. The far-right represented by the Klu Klux Klan, Neo-Nazis, and other white supremacist organizations came to Charlottesville, Virginia to speak against the removal of a statue of General Robert E. Lee who led the Confederate armies during the United States Civil War. We all know how heinous, anti-Semitic, anti-black, and anti-immigrant these organizations are. No question. They were met by supporters of the statue who were against removal, including members of the Antifa, a violent, anti-democracy, far left organization (see subsequent post about this group).

This terrible riot ended in the tragic death of Ms. Heather Heyer, who had come to march against these far right groups. She was killed by James Alex Fields, Jr, a 20-year-old white supremacist who deliberately drove his car into the opposition crowd in an effort to kill and injure.

President Donald Trump, shortly after this event had occurred, spoke against these kinds of barbaric activities , but initially did not specifically single out and chastise the KKK, Neo-Nazis, and other right-wing groups. This was interpreted as “insensitive” and “racist” and really not speaking to the major cause of the riot, namely the right wing agitators. He further enraged the Media by saying that all sides should cease and desist from violence. This must be understood in light of the fact that a good portion of the Media deeply dislikes and despises President Trump. Later, Trump came back to the airways to single out the far right groups, but this was said to be “too little and too late.” The following day, the president got into a verbal battle with the Media and indicated that both their far right and far left( which indeed was the case) were responsible for the riots, which resulted in a venomous response from the Media, Democrats, corporate moguls, and a significant number of Republicans, who see this terrible event as the fault soley of the right wing and that Trump’s insistance that both sides are responsible indicates he is a racist and should not remain President. This situation is indeed threatening the Trump presidency.

What I wish to do is to: educate the readers of this blog about the Antifa, who were part of the resistance to the right at Charlottesville, who have received almost no notoriety, but who threaten our democracy as does the far right; indicate that not everyone feels that President Trump is a racist (as he is being called in the Media); and how the concepts and actions against statues, etc. threaten to erase our history, both good and bad.

I now follow with literature on these events gleaned from some thoughtful essays on the Internet and other venues.

The Political Scene in the United States is Mean and Chaotic

Monday, July 10th, 2017

I’ve written only one post in April and one and May and none in June. Why? The mess in the United States, as well as across Europe, Far East, the Middle East, etc. indicate pure chaos as we look in every direction. Too much to put together that would be meaningful. What can one say except we bow our heads in prayer for those and their families who have died in England, France, Germany, and of course the United States as a result of the insane, corrupt, murderous Islamic Jehidists –––– Non-human vermin who have polluted civilization. Much too much to talk about. Much too complicated to write coherent stories.

But, now, a direct effort to injure the United States by one of its major parties. The war of the Democratic Party against Pres. Donald Trump.
For those who read any of my posts during the primaries and the election, I explained how awful I felt Donald Trump was as an original candidate for the Republican nomination, and then presidential candidate (of course, think of the opponents––– Hillary Clinton, liar and traitor etc.; and Bernie Sanders, an old firebrand socialist/communist entrances––– hell of a mess.)

But, Trump and is now president. As such, he needs to be supported. He has made some good choices––– Supreme Court, Cabinet secretaries, some of his foreign policy moves ––– the air attack on Assad; his meets with Saudi Arabia, the Gulf Arabs, and Egypt; his visit to Poland and the G20. However, he has been destructive to himself and his programs by acting like a bloody fool, tweeting all the time, day or night, and often spewing language not at all appropriate for the president of the United States. But it matters not––– everything he does or says is opposed, degraded, challenge, and despised with calls for impeachment by the Democrats who refuse to work with him and the Republicans. And of course they are aided by many the main stream media who hate him as well.

This has produced a greater and greater slowing down of the needed actions of the federal government and threatens to destroy the ability for the Administration to function. The Democrats are willing to see the Administration fail miserably, all in an effort to defeat and destroy Donald Trump. Let the country be damned, destroy Trump. And impeach him after they regain the House and Senate in 2018.

A pox on all their houses. But decency and the good of our nation are more important than their hatred and their despicable war on the President.

To top it all, the attack on a group of Republican representatives and senators training for a baseball game with Democrats for charity ––– for poor kids in Washington, DC. A former worker for Bernie Sanders decided that Republicans needed to be rubbed out. He almost did it, were it not for two Capitol police who killed the shooter, who had already seriously shot four people including the Republican whip in the House. Three of the four were seriously wounded including the two capital policeman. The worst injured was the Republican Whip, Mr.Scalise.

And guess what the response has been? The Republicans blame the wild talk and the media pronouncements against Trump and Republicans. And the Democrats blame, of course, Donald Trump. We seem to be skirting around anarchy. Who knows when or where it will finally burst out?

A Few Brief Notes About Heart Attacks For a Lay Audience

Monday, December 12th, 2016

When I was first in the practice of cardiology, a heart attack was a fearsome problem. Our tools for handling it were primitive especially in light of what we know about the process and its management with today’s technology. Over the years, the understanding of coronary artery disease, coronary thrombosis, lipids, etc. have blossomed along with a greater and greater sophistication in dealing with a heart attack. In addition, with time, research, and the burgeoning of our tools, the understanding of the variability in the presentation of heart attacks have led to an increased capability in handling such cases.

Despite our new technology, a major element in cardiac diagnosis for over a century has been, and still is, the electrocardiogram invented in 1903 by Willem Einthoven, a Dutch physiologist. It remains today a critical tool in much of cardiology, including in the diagnosis and management of heart attacks. The alterations in the EKG during a heart attack can help assess the possible severity of the attack and possibly the prognosis.

What exactly is a STEMI Heart Attack?

A STEMI is a full-blown heart attack caused by the complete blockage of a heart artery. A STEMI heart attack is taken very seriously and is a medical emergency that needs immediate attention. STEMI stands for ST elevation myocardial infarction. “ST elevation” refers to a particular pattern on an EKG heart tracing and “myocardial infarction” is the medical term for a heart attack. So STEMI is basically a heart attack with a particular EKG heart-tracing pattern.

When someone is being evaluated for chest pain the EKG tracing is done as soon as possible to help see if it’s the heart. An ST-elevation myocardial infarction (STEMI) is a combination of symptoms of chest pain and a specific STEMI EKG heart tracing. The EKG has to meet what is called STEMI criteria to make a correct diagnosis, just like an NSTEMI will provide another set of specific diagnostic criteria. The EKG also provides information as to which part of the heart the blocked artery is supplying, for example an anterior vs. a posterior STEMI vs. an inferior STEMI. An anterior STEMI is the front wall of the heart, and the most serious. A posterior STEMI is the back wall of the heart. An inferior STEMI is the bottom wall of the heart.

What Happens to the Heart?

In a heart attack there is sudden rupture of an unstable part of the wall in a heart artery (coronary artery). This leads to a build up of clot in an attempt to heal it. However this clot formation results in total blockage of the artery. Unfortunately, this total blockage leads to loss of blood supply to the heart beyond that point. The heart muscle stops working within minutes of this and dies within minutes to hours unless the artery can be opened up and illustrates what is the primary goal in tratment –––– to rescue as much heart muscle as possible. For this reason every minute from the onset of a heart attack is absolutely critical. Often the patient doesn’t make it to the hospital due to sudden death due to a malignant heart rhythm. For those that leave it too long to get help or for those in whom the heart attack isn’t treated, the heart muscle dies and is replaced by a non beating scar.

Treatment

The most important part of any STEMI treatment protocol is to get to the hospital as quickly as possible, so basically to call 911 immediately!!! In a STEMI, an artery is blocked and treatment centers on opening this up as quickly as possible. The preferred way to do this is by performing something known as an angioplasty and stent placement. In this procedure the artery is opened up working through a small tube passed into the heart either from the wrist or the groin. In some cases this cannot be performed quickly enough (less than 90-120 minutes) because of being too far away from a hospital equipped to do these things, and in order to avoid a significant delay in any treatment, clot busting drugs are used. Unfortunately these clot busters are not as good since they are less likely to open the artery and are also associated with bleeding complications. However, they are better than no treatment at all. So sometimes we have to use them.

In addition to this, a number of other treatments are used. Painkillers such as morphine are required to settle down pain and reduce anxiety. Oxygen is administered to those who are breathless or have heart failure. EKG monitors are attached so that potentially lethal arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation or even less dangerous but still significant arrhythmias such as inappropriate sinus tachycardia or atrial fibrillation with a rapid heart rate can be identified and treated. Blood thinners such as heparin, aspirin and other platelet inhibitors (clopidogrel/ticagrelor) are used to improve outcomes and prevent more heart attacks.

Post-STEMI Recovery

Educating patients and their families is one of the most critical aspects of care after a STEMI. Several new medicines are started after a heart attack, several of which may be needed lifelong. Patients need to be sure they take the medications prescribed to have a benefit. I’ll address these briefly later. Stopping smoking is essential. It’s important patients follow up with their doctors. Drugs should be used to control blood pressure. After a STEMI patients will be enrolled in cardiac rehabilitation that is a program they should attend on a regular basis. This involves exercise, addressing questions such as time of return to physical activities and dietary concerns. Following these things after the STEMI is arguably as important as treating the STEMI itself.
What exactly is a Non-STEMI Heart Attack

As previosly indicated, ST refers to the ST segment, which is part of the EKG heart tracing used to diagnose a heart attack. NSTEMI stands for Non-ST segment-elevation myocardial infarction. Nevertheless, a NSTEMI is still a type of heart attack, although presenting in a somewhat less acute manner than a STEMI. A myocardial infarction is, of course, the medical term for a heart attack.
How is a NSTEMI diagnosed?

In addition to signs such as chest pain, a heart attack is diagnosed mainly two ways. First is a blood test that shows elevated levels of certain markers of heart damage such as cardiac troponin. Secondly is by looking at the EKG heart tracing. As we have already shown, if there is a pattern known as STsegment-elevation on the EKG, this is called a STEMI, short for ST elevation myocardial infarction. If there is elevation of the blood markers suggesting heart damage, but no ST elevation seen on the EKG tracing, this is known as a NSTEMI, a non ST segment elevation myocardial infarction. A NSTEMI may be associated with other EKG changes such as ST segment depression. Often looking at the EKG helps us to locate the area of the heart that is affected.

Treatment of Non STEMI Myocardial Infarction

In addion to the EKG, part of the way of diagnosing a NSTEMI is by a blood test called troponin that is indicative of heart damage. Although the troponin test is great in that it does not miss heart attacks, it is not specific for heart attacks alone. Once the patient’s problem is diagnosed as a NSTEMI, the treatment strategy will typically include an echocardiogram to look at heart muscle functioning. Initially, blood-thinning agents will be given such as aspirin and the blood thinner heparin. These medicines have been proven to improve outcomes in patients with NSTEMI. There may be other medicines given such as a beta-blocker or nitrates. Many patients will then go for a heart catheterization. This test involves injecting dye into the heart arteries to look for blockages. In the case of severe blockages, treatment in the form of a stent or multiple stents may be required. Sometimes there are so many blockages that bypass surgery is advised.

Prognosis after a NSTEMI

A NSTEMI IS a heart attack, so the treatment of that applies here as well. Medicines are prescribed that have been proven to save lives in the long term for heart attack sufferers. Depending on factors such as symptoms and heart function, a number of medicines may be prescribed. Lifestyle changes and modification of risk factors are key in preventing recurrence. It is important for smokers to stop smoking. Blood pressure control and control of diabetes are key. A post-heart attack exercise plan should be incorporated into a daily lifestyle if possible. Often NSTEMI patients will be sent to cardiac rehab to receive education on the important of exercise and begin a program in a supervised environment.
Common Medicines Prescribed After a Non STEMI or STEMI Myocardial Infarction
Aspirin, antiplatelet agents, Beta-Blockers, ACE-Inhibitors and Statins are often prescribed.
STEMI vs NSTEMI – Which is Worse?

The bottom line is that both are bad. STEMI is seen as more of an immediate emergency because there is a known total occlusion of a heart vessel that needs opening urgently. In terms of long-term outcomes, they have equal health implications. Patients with NSTEMI often have other illnesses such as ongoing critical illness, diabetes, kidney disease, and other that means they have a generally high risk over the long term. Both STEMI and NSTEMI need aggressive treatment over the short and long term.

The Political Follies Continue

Monday, December 12th, 2016

As I and many others predicted, the election of either Trump or Clinton would produce chaos in our country. Well, here are a few present and future issues to provide headaches and headlines over the next four years.
After President Obama and Hillary Clinton definitively stated that the election was fair and absent of any significant corruption in November, the administration, the New York Times, Washington Post, and all the other left wing media outlets are indicating that the Russians intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just undermine the confidence in the electoral system. The CIA is indicating that the Russians provided Wikileaks with thousands of hacked e-mails from the Democratic National Committee and others, and further alleged that this was part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.
So, could all this proceed in the following manner: Democrats declare the election should be nullified, putting pressure on the Electors to change their votes and deny Trump the 270 electoral votes required to win, throwing the election into the House of Representatives where either the Republican House votes to elect Trump (thus allowing Democrats to proclaim that the Republicans have elected an illegitimate president) or with enough votes from Republicans abandoning Trump in the House giving the election to Hillary. Well, folks, is that enough chaos for you? I hope my predictions are wrong. But hold on, the voyage might be rough in the next few months.
/But, in the meantime, I am going to add a few posts, which are not political, but might be interesting to some of the very few who visit my site.

Mea Culpa

Saturday, November 12th, 2016

Well, the election is over, and I stand up as stupid, the dummy of the year.

1. Hillary Clinton did not win as I was convinced she would.

2. Trump was obviously not a “Trojan Horse” for Hillary as I kept insisting.

3. I did not at all understand what was going on during this election –– the immense number of disaffected Americans who voted for Trump no matter how the media slammed him.

4. It is not the Republican Party that I said was torn asunder by Trump. It turned out to be the Democrat’s who lost so hugely –––  national, statewide, local. So now we have a Republican President, a Republican Senate, a Republican House, and an overwhelming number of Republican governors and Republican state legislatures.

Wow! How could anyone be so wrong?


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