Thumb’s Up, Thumb’s Down 2/2/09

How much more are we citizens of the USA ready to take?  When is someone going to sit up and take notice of the bizarre and potentially dangerous chemicals that seem to show up in goods imported from China?  I do not even know which item to give the heaping big thumb’s down to, there are so many.

Food, pet food, milk, candy, toothpaste, and now drywall?  Yes I said drywall. 

I blogged and copied an entire article about this that can be found at and you cannot miss the article because it is titled Drywall Imported from China, Big Stinky Problem

Why do we import from China?  When is this insanity going to stop?  When are we going to return to using goods made in the USA?  Why do we trust China?  I have a friend who has a friend who says that she thinks the Chinese want to destroy us (as in kill us). 

I am beginning to think about that.  As I said who do you begin to give the thumb’s down to, our government who allows it?  The FDA?  The companies who put plants in China without supervision?  How much more are all of us willing to take?

That is my first piece of disappointing news this week.  I had a very bad week last week.  I could not get positively motivated.  I was tired of hearing all the negative bullshit and I still am tired of it.  I do have to admit the Super Bowl did help raise my spirits some.  Those “in the know” (whomever they are) said that the game and all the events surrounding the game would do that for people.  Thumb’s up to the Super Bowl for sure.  I will not comment on the outcome of the game, but I will say it was a very good game. 

Thumb’s up to the two unemployed young men from Indiana who have worked hard on getting their ad ideas chosen now for several years by Frito-Lay.  They finally got picked and it only cost them $2000 to produce the ad.   I do not understand crotch humor but obvioulsy it sells.

Thumb’s up to Anheuser-Busch who always comes up with Clydesdale ads that touch our hearts.  When we go to Busch Gardens here in Tampa we always spend time at the stables admiring these amazing animals. Part of the fun in doing this is because while you get to be up close and personal with these exceptional creatures, you also get to see the older television ads over and over.  It is always fun.

Speaking of horses, thumb’s down to the 4 idiots here in Tampa who tried to get on the horses of the mounted police unit as they rode by.  Excuse me?  What were you thinking as you were taken for a ride alright, all the way to the Hillsborough County jail.  I hope the police units on the horses got a chance to use their billy clubs.  I have a feeling these four shining examples of idiots were three sheets to the wind.

I am saving my biggest thumb for last.  As someone who has worked in medicine, in research at times, and with many different people who have been in need of fulfilling a desire, I have to comment on the birth of the octuplets in California.

When the news broke that this woman is a single parent, I was seeing flashing warning lights that something was amiss.  Then this news was followed by the revelation that she has 6 other children at home.  Her mother announced she plans to leave if her daughter plans to bring these 8 new babies into her home.  Now my radar was screaming at me that something was truly out of whack here.

I found the following article very interesting:

WHITTIER, Calif. – How in the world does a woman with six children get a fertility doctor to help her have more — eight more? An ethical debate erupted Friday after it was learned that the Southern California womanwho gave birth to octuplets this week had six children already.

Large multiple births “are presented on TV shows as a ‘Brady Bunch’ moment. They’re not,” fumed Arthur Caplan, bioethics chairman at the University of Pennsylvania. He noted the serious and sometimes lethal complications and crushing medical costs that often come with high-multiple births.

But Dr. Jeffrey Steinberg, who has fertility clinics in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and New York, countered: “Who am I to say that six is the limit? There are people who like to have big families.”

Kaiser Permanente announced the mega-delivery Monday, with delighted doctors saying they had initially expected seven babies and were surprised when the cesarean section yielded an eighth.

Multiple births this big are considered impossible without fertility treatment, but the doctors who delivered the babies would not say whether the 33-year-old woman had used fertility drugs or had embryos implanted in her womb.

However, the children’s grandmother, Angela Suleman, was quoted as telling the Los Angeles Timesthat her daughter had embryos implanted last year, and never intended to give birth to eight, but “they all happened to take.” Suleman said her daughter rejected an offer from doctors to abort some of the embryos.

More common among younger women is the use of fertility drugs that stimulate egg production; doctors are supposed to monitor budding eggs and stop the drugs if too many develop.

Some medical experts were disturbed to hear that the woman was offered fertility treatment, and troubled by the possibility that she was implanted with so many embryos.

Dr. David Adamson, former president of the American Society of Reproductive Medicine, said he was bracing for some backlash against his specialty.

In 30 years of practice, “I have never provided fertility treatment to a woman with six children,” or ever heard of a similar case, said Adamson, director of Fertility Physicians of Northern California.

Women seeking fertility treatment are routinely asked to give a detailed history of prior pregnancies and births, and “it’s a very realistic question to ask about someone who has six children: How does this fit into the concept of requiring fertility treatment?” Adamson said.

The woman’s fertility doctor has not been identified. The hospital has not released the mother’s name, citing her desire for privacy. There was no immediate information on whether she is married or who the father of the babies is. Her six other children range in age from 2 to 7.

Records show that she held a psychiatric technician’s license from 1997 to 2002. It was unclear whether she is now employed.

It was only the second time in U.S. history that eight babies survived more than a few hours after birth. The six boys and two girls were said to be in remarkably good condition but were expected to remain in the hospital for several more weeks.

The mother of the octuplets lives with her parents in a modest, single-story home on a quiet cul-de-sac in Whittier, a Los Angeles suburb of about 85,000. Children’s bicycles, a pink car and a wagon were scattered in the yard and driveway.

On Thursday night, the children’s grandfather came to the door and angrily told reporters to leave the property.

Court records show Angela Suleman filed for bankruptcy last March, but after she failed to make required payments and appear at a creditors’ meeting, the case was dismissed. She reported liabilities of $981,371, mostly money owed on two houses she owns in Whittier.

The births were a hot topic of conversation on the Internet, with many people incredulous that a woman with six children would try to have more — and that a doctor would help her do so. Some criticized the doctor and suggested that the mother would be overwhelmed trying to raise her brood and would end up relying on public support.

Jessica Zepeda, who identified herself as a friend of the mother, said the woman and family would have enough money to raise 14 children. “She is not on welfare,” Zepeda said. “She is an awesome mom, and will be able to take care of her babies.”

Several doctors said it is not their role to dictate family size.

“I am not a policeman for reproduction in the United States. My role is to educate patients,” said Dr. James Grifo, professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the New York University School of Medicine.

But Caplan said not enough attention is paid to the well-being of the children in high-multiple births. Such babies are often premature and underdeveloped, and are almost always found to have some health problem.

Caplan said everyone has a stake in mega-multiple births because they cause insurance premiums to rise when hospitals cannot get reimbursed for the huge costs such babies incur, and because those with disabilities typically require social services.

“To say all you need is cash and the will to have more kids should not be a sufficient standard to access services,” he said. “It is insufficient for adoption. It isn’t sufficient to be a foster parent. Why would it be sufficient to run down to the fertility clinic to get embryos transplanted or super-ovulated?”

A few years ago, Caplan and others did a survey of U.S. fertility clinics. They found few had policies for deciding whether to help a woman get pregnant. Most clinics said they had patients meet with financial coordinators, but only 18 percent had them see a social worker or psychologist.

With in vitro fertilization, doctors frequently implant more than one embryo to improve the odds that one will take. Mothers-to-be who are found to be pregnant with several babies are given the option of aborting some of them to increase the chances the others will survive.

The U.S. fertility industry has guidelines on how many embryos doctors can implant, with the number varying by age and other factors. The guidelines call for no more than one or two for a generally healthy woman under 35, and no more than three to five, depending on the embryos’ maturity, for women over 40.

If eight embryos were implanted at once, that is “well beyond our guidelines,” Dr. R. Dale McClure, president of the reproductive medicine society, said in a statement.

Clinics that clearly violate guidelines can be kicked out of another group, the Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology, which in turn affects whether insurance covers their services. But the guidelines do not have the force of law.


Thomas Watkinsreported from Whittier, while Medical Writer Lauran Neergaard reported from Washington. AP writers Alicia Chang and Jacob Adelman in Los Angeles and Medical Writer Maria Cheng in London contributed to this story.

I am trying to stay middle of the road on this event.  There are so many dynamics going on here and again it is so big I do not know who to give all the thumb’s down to, but I think that there needs to be a very big investigation by the State of California into the mother and her ability as well as means to care for 14 children. 

I also think a total psychiatric evaluation needs to be done, because this is not normal, not by any means.  Her own mother said she was “obsessed” about babies.  I know in this highly sophisticated world of laboratory assisted pregnancies that there is no perfect ethical answer – this will be discussed for a long time.  I do know there are other options that she could have explored.  There are many many women who cannot get pregnant who would have embraced the idea of having one of these embryos become a child of their own. 

I also know that in general our population doesn’t think about the embryos that do not get implanted-we don’t want to think about that.  We turn a blind eye.  I do not dispute her feelings about not wanting these embryos to be destroyed.   This is a very touchy subject and I believe many people used bad judgment.

And that’s a wrap!

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