In June 1995, physicians Angus Wallace and Tom Wong were waiting for their flight to depart Hong Kong to London when they were asked to examine a woman complaining of arm pain caused by a "fall." After takeoff, the doctors returned to the woman to put a splint on her arm but they quickly realized that her injuries were much more serious than she had first reported. Not only did the woman have arm and rib fractures, her lung was punctured and air leaking between her lung and chest wall had caused a pneumothorax. The condition is life threatening if not treated and Wallace believed the change in air pressure upon landing would kill her. So Wallace and Wong had to improvise. From Wikipedia:
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The medical kit had lidocaine – a local anaesthetic – but the catheter in the kit was designed only for urinary catheterisation and was too soft for use as a chest tube. The doctors fashioned a trocar from a metal clothes hanger to stiffen the catheter, and a check valve from a bottle of water with holes poked in the cap. They sterilised their equipment in Courvoisier cognac, and began surgery by making an incision in the patient's chest, but with no surgical clamps available, Wong had to hold the incision open with a knife and fork while Wallace inserted the catheter. The whole surgery lasted about ten minutes; the doctors successfully released the trapped air from the patient's chest, and she passed the rest of the flight uneventfully, eating and watching in-flight movies.
In Louisiana, police arrested Belinda Gail Fondren, 52, for forging doctor's notes that she sold to students skipping school. The notes were $20/each and she reportedly sold 14 of them before getting nabbed. She had been signing the name of a physician who previously employed her. Fondren was caught after the Vernon Parish School Board called the physician's office to look into the sudden increase in excuse notes from his office. It's surprising that the students would waste money on something they could easily make themselves given the endless free templates available online! From Yahoo! News:
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Fondren was arrested on October 23 and charged with filing or maintaining false public records, according to the Bastrop Enterprise. The Vernon Parish School Board did not immediately respond to Insider's request for comment and it's unclear whether or not the students who bought the fake notes will be punished.
If convicted, Fondren could face up to five years in prison.
Rolling Stone's Mac McClelland tells the story of the physicians bravely breaking the law by treating patients with MDMA, ayahuasca, DMT, LSD, and other hallucinogens. From RS:
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As an internal-medicine specialist, Dr. X doesn't have any patients who come to him seeking psychotherapy. But the longer he does the work, the more "I'm seeing that consciousness correlates to disease," he says. "Every disease." Narcolepsy. Cataplexy. Crohn's. Diabetes – one patient's psychedelic therapy preceded a 30 percent reduction in fasting blood-sugar levels. Sufferers of food allergies discover in their journeys that they've been internally attacking themselves. "Consciousness is so vastly undervalued," Dr. X says. "We use it in every other facet in our life and esteem the intellectual part of it, but deny the emotional or intuitive part of it." Psychedelic therapy "reinvigorated my passion and belief in healing. I think it's the best tool to achieving well-being, so I feel morally and ethically compelled to open up that space."...
"If we didn't have some idea about the potential importance of these medicines, we wouldn't be researching them," says Dr. Jeffrey Guss, psychiatry professor at NYU Medical Center and co-investigator of the NYU Psilocybin Cancer Project. "Their value has been written about and is well known from thousands of years of recorded history, from their being used in religious and healing settings. Their potential and their being worthy of exploration and study speaks for itself."
Optimistic insiders think that if all continues to go well, within 10 to 15 years some psychedelics could be legally administrable to the public, not just for specific conditions but even for personal growth.