Sunday, September 29, 2013

The Cambridge History of Medicine

I have never been interested in the history of medical sciences. I have indirectly and in ad hoc heard of its advancements and set backs, but I have never had the curousity or interest to pursue a more in depth knowledge of it. My view has been: human being is her best physician and pharmacist. No two people are alike, therefore no two people's health strengths and weaknesses can be put in the same category despite similar symptoms. My quick and superficial readings of medical advancements or lack of it, left me suspicious of its benefit. When a life event put me in an uncomfortable proximity of medicine, one that I had no choice but to surrender to the risk of its flaws, and inaccuracies in the hope, it will help, I became really interested in reading about it.

I didn't read the "Illustrated" version, but that's the only version available in Goodreads. The Cambridge History of Medicine, is a collection of ten articles written by various medical historians or medical physicians. The titles explore the history and rise of medicine and its evolution through years as well as the care system, the hospitals and the pharmacology.

As we settled down in one place and started changing and manipulating our evironment to sustain us, we became "magnets for disease." Farming and domesticizing exposed the human body to pathogens. These pathogens invaded the human body and killed mercilessly. Those who survived the disease became immune to it. This way, human body developed a sophisticated immune system. [Para-phrasing Chapter 1 - The History of Disease, by Kenneth f. Kiple]

So, I guess we can call disease an inadvertent invention of civilization.

The last two chapters, "Looking to the Future (1996)" and "Looking to the Future (2006)" by Geoff Watts is thought provoking. Despite the enthusiasm and ingenious ideas, such as personalized medicine, and gene-therapy, medical system is bound by funding, often providied by the government and/or private sources. There is --no-- effective world body to orchestrate the effort, guide and direct it in the direction per the defined necessity and priority and make it easily available to everyone --from all walks of life, to poor and rich alike.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Zipcar's insurance policy

It has been three years since I first looked into car sharing, and subsequently joining zipcar.  I thought "ziping" would replace "renting" completely, however, over these years my needs of becoming a motorist has been met by a mixture of "renting" and "ziping".  Despite the administrative overhead,  renting makes more economical sense, especially long term.  The cost of a day of ziping comes close to $80, while renting could be $10-$30 cheaper.  The downside to that are: I have to pick up the car before the rental office closes, return after it opens, and fill up the amount of gas the car consumes.

Back in 2010, when I was researching zipcar, I couldn't quite understand how zipcar's insurance  works.  Here is a section from that blog:

***Yes, the price does include insurance, but they charge you $750 damage fee, unless you sign up for a waiver which costs $5 per month.

I don't quite understand the logic behind this rule; if insurance is included in the price then what's the $750 damage fee? Let me know if you have this figured out, will you?

Recently, I was in my first accident while zipping.  I backed up into a concrete and damaged the rear bumper of the driver side.  I don't have a damage fee waiver, so I am responsible to pay the cost of repair up to $750.00.  If the repair costs more than that Zipcar pays the difference.

The short of it is that Zipcar transfers the co-pay of their insurance policy to the driver.

I don't like this at all, simply because zipcar advertises, rental fees include insurance; then orthogonal advertises the damage fee waiver.  A naive mind regards the damage fee waiver as an optional fee.

I asked the zipcar representative working on my case about this.
How is zipcar's insurance different than the rental car's? 
Upon purchase of the rental car's insurance the renter doesn't pay for any damages. The insurance covers it. Is the damage fee the insurance co-pay? If yes, shouldn't zipcar pay because the pay hour fee, per zipcar, includes insurance?

Here is his answer.
"Should a Zipcar member be involved in an accident with their reserved Zipcar, they would be responsible for a damage fee.  The damage fee works much in the same way a personal insurance policy deductible would work. For those members who are interested in reducing their current damage fee, Zipcar does damage fee waivers for an extra cost.  Eligible members can purchase one of four different waiver plans available.  Please find below a breakdown of the different waiver options currently offered:

Complete Waiver:  Reduces damage fee from $750 to $0 per incident
-    Annual: $79 one-time charge
-    Month-to-Month: $9/month

Partial Waiver: Reduces damage fee from $750 to $375 per incident
-    Annual: $50 one-time charge
-    Month-to-Month: $5/month

The Month-to-Month waiver options will auto-renew each month for a 12 month period and can be opted out of at any time.  Both the monthly damage fee waivers and the annual waivers will auto-renew at the end of the 12 month period so long as the Zipcar member remains eligible for the damage fee waiver program."

Saturday, September 07, 2013

What doesn't kill you make you stronger

Dr. Rod Lim at the London Health Sciences Centre suggests the labels may be useful to prevent accidental overdoses in specific instances. For example, people who take two pills every four hours could easily overdose on Extra Strength Tylenol.

"The problem is they're used to taking two pills every four hours but they'll exceed the maximum daily dose within 16 hours," he tells CBC.

Acetaminophen can be found in other products such as Nyquil, Excedrin, and Sudafed.

The following details appears on the box of the Tylenol Extra Strength "Do not take more than the maximum daily does. Overdose may result in severe or possibly fatal liver damage."

The pain doesn't kill, so putting up with it trumps the side effects of the soothing pain medication.