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Two New Bills Quietly Slipping Through Congress That Will Give Big Pharma Unlimited Power & Zero Accountability

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If you’re hurt by a pharmaceutical, you can sue the company that made the drug, and be compensated for your losses, right? Most people assume that is the way the justice system works, but the reality is that it’s difficult, and in many cases impossible, for victims of pharmaceutical companies (and other big corporations/industries) to gain compensation or justice.

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There are many aspects of the current U.S. legal system that make getting compensation and justice for injuries caused by pharmaceutical drugs difficult, and there are two bills that are currently going through the U.S. House of Representatives (H.R. 985, the 2017 Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act and H.R. 1215, the Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017) that will make justice for victims of pharmaceuticals nearly impossible.

They Can Hurt You as Long as You Were Warned

Currently, people who are hurt by pharmaceuticals are in a legal catch-22 because victims of pharmaceuticals can’t sue drug companies for hurting them, they can only sue for failure to warn. So, if a pharmaceutical drug gives you cancer, you can’t sue the company that made the drug for the fact that it gave you cancer, you can only sue them for failing to warn you IF the warning label doesn’t contain information about the drug causing cancer. If the warning label says that the drug can cause cancer, you can’t sue, because “you were warned.” Even if you were never given the drug warning label, you “were warned” as far as the justice system is concerned — because the learned intermediary doctrine states that pharmaceutical manufacturers aren’t obligated to inform you, the consumer/patient/victim, they’re only obligated to inform the doctor, the “learned intermediary,” about the potential harm that the drug can cause.

If a pharmaceutical drug causes your cancer, but that isn’t noted on the pharmaceutical warning label, you’re not much better off, because proving that a pharmaceutical caused your cancer is near-impossible for a regular person. The only situation in which a person can sue a pharmaceutical drug company for the harm done by their products is when a drug warning label changes. If a pharmaceutical drug warning label changes, there is enough evidence that the drug did the harm, but people who took the drug prior to the warning label change weren’t properly warned, so there is a short window of opportunity for victims to sue and gain recourse/justice for the harm done to them. The inherently dangerous nature of pharmaceutical drugs, the warning labels that accompany them, and the way our justice system is structured, make it so that the vast majority of those who suffer harm from pharmaceutical drugs are unable to sue the maker of the drug(s) that hurt them.

Victims of Generic Pharmaceuticals Can’t Sue

On top of that, victims of generic pharmaceuticals are completely unable to sue the manufacturer of the pharmaceutical drug that hurt them. This is an absurd situation that is an extreme miscarriage of justice. You can read more about the inability of victims to sue makers of generic pharmaceuticals in the New York Times article “In 5-4 Ruling, Justices Say Generic Makers Are Not Liable for Design of Drugs” and the posts on HormonesMatter.com, “SCOTUS Decision on Medication Safety: No Product Liability” and “Hurt by a Generic Drug? Victims have no Recourse unless the FDA Changes Rules.” Basically, if you are hurt by a generic drug, you have no recourse because cannot sue a generic drug manufacturer. The FDA has the power to change this situation, but they have failed to do so over the 3+ years that they have been deliberating how they might address it.

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A poignant example of how this horrible rule can keep people from gaining justice is the tragic death of Chris Dannelly. Chris Dannelly was killed by generic Levaquin — levofloxacin — and neither his widow nor his children can sue the maker of the generic levofloxacin that killed him. Here is a newscast about Chris Dannelly’s death from levofloxacin:

Justice for the Rich

Justice is supposed to be blind, but your chances of getting compensated for your losses are significantly higher if you are wealthy. It is difficult to get a lawyer to take your medical harm case if the damages that you may be compensated for are less than a million dollars. According to the ProPublica article “Patient Harm: When An Attorney Won’t Take Your Case”:

But lawyers may have to invest $50,000 or more to pursue a case, and they usually only get paid if they win or settle. The payout is determined largely by economic damages – lost earnings, medical bills and future costs caused by the injury.  Those who don’t earn big paychecks – including children, the elderly and stay-at-home-moms – are the least likely to find an attorney, studies show.

If you can’t show that you suffered from millions of dollars in lost wages, and other damages, lawyers won’t take your case because it doesn’t make economic sense for them to do so. And, if you can’t find a lawyer to take your case, you cannot get justice.

In order to increase the potential payout of a lawsuit, to make it worth the upfront investment of a lawyers’ time, money, and effort, plaintiffs are lumped together in class-action lawsuits. Class-action lawsuits aren’t ideal, but they’re the only form of justice that most victims of pharmaceutical companies have, and, frankly, they’re better than nothing. Class-action lawsuits are often the only way that victims of pharmaceutical drugs can gain justice, and class-action lawsuits are currently under attack by the U.S. Congress.

H.R. 985 – Making Justice Even More Difficult for Victims

H.R. 985, the 2017 Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act, aims to put more obstacles in the way of plaintiffs/victims who seek justice. This justice-reform bill is a gift to the pharmaceutical industry, and other big corporations that hurt citizens (like big banks, big agriculture, big chemical, big oil etc.) from Congress men and women who receive millions of dollars in donations from those industries.

One of the most potentially damaging aspects of H.R. 985 is a provision that states that each plaintiff in a class-action lawsuit must “affirmatively demonstrate” that they “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative.” This means that all plaintiffs in a class-action lawsuit must have exactly the same injury. This provision will keep a large number of pharmaceutical class-action lawsuits from moving forward, and will rob the people who could otherwise be involved in a class-action lawsuit of justice.

Here is an example of how this provision in H.R. 985 could hurt people: The warning labels for fluoroquinolone antibiotics, including Cipro, Levaquin, and Avelox, have recently been updated to note that permanent peripheral neuropathy is a potential effect of those drugs. This opened the door to lawsuits, and many law firms are taking cases for those suffering from peripheral neuropathy caused by fluoroquinolones. Peripheral neuropathy is a broad diagnosis though, and it presents in many different ways. Some people with peripheral neuropathy may have pain that is debilitating, while others may have twitching muscles, others may experience numbness, others may have reduced balance or coordination, and others may have autonomic nervous system dysfunction that causes loss of digestive motility. H.R. 985 could make it so that those plaintiffs cannot join together in a class-action lawsuit because their symptoms present differently, and, as noted above, without the possibility of a class-action lawsuit, there is no possibility for justice for many victims of pharmaceutical industry crimes.

In “House Judiciary Committee Passes H.R. 985: Fairness in Class Action Litigation” the following example is given to illustrate how this provision could hurt those trying to sue a bank: “So if your bank steals a $5 overdraft fee, and $10 from your neighbor, a class action could be dismissed because your injuries were different. Even if you file a lawsuit and get your $5 back, your friend would not.

This provision of H.B. 985 would keep cases like that of the people of Hinkley, California versus Pacific Gas & Electric (PG&E), that was featured in the movie Erin Brockovich, from moving forward. The people of Hinkley “suffered cancers, mis carriages and digestive and skin disorders as a result of the company (PG&E) dumping contaminated waste into ponds that seeped into the town’s drinking water.” If they weren’t allowed to join together in a class-action lawsuit because they didn’t have the “same type and scope of injury as the named class representative,” they wouldn’t be able to gain justice.

When people are exposed to endocrine disrupting chemicals (whether those be industrial pollutants, pharmaceuticals, pesticides, herbicides, etc.), the health maladies that result vary from person to person. Some people may suffer from infertility, while others get cancer, and others develop an autoimmune disease. (For more information about the health effects of endocrine disrupting chemicals, read Our Stolen Future: Are We Threatening Our Fertility, Intelligence, and Survival?–A Scientific Detective Story  by Theo Colborn, Dianne Dumanoski, and John Peterson Myers.) The people in the industries producing endocrine-disrupting pollutants know this, and they lobby accordingly — hence this provision in H.B. 985.

If H.B. 985 passes into law with the provision that all plaintiffs must “affirmatively demonstrate” that they “suffered the same type and scope of injury as the named class representative,” bulldog lawyers hired by big pharma, big ag, big chemical, big oil, and other profit-at-all-cost motivated corporations, will tear apart all attempts of plaintiffs/citizens/victims to join together to fight for justice.

Plaintiff Lawyers Won’t Take Cases if They Can’t Get Paid

Another way that H.B. 985 will keep victims of corporate crimes from gaining justice is by limiting the amount of money attorneys can receive as compensation for representing class-action plaintiffs. This will interfere with the attorney/client contract and it will disincentivize attorneys from taking cases of those who have been victimized by big corporations.

In “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017: The Corporate Sweetheart Deal,” it is noted that:

Under this bill it is doubtful you would be able to find a lawyer to represent you unless you could afford to pay them hourly. Lawyers know that people who have been badly hurt often cannot afford to pay hefty hourly legal bills. Thus, lawyers often enter into a contingency contract with clients. The lawyer promises to work hard on the client’s behalf, and if the lawyer wins the case, the client pays them a portion of what was collected. This bill makes it nearly impossible for lawyers to make that agreement with their clients. This is a move by the federal government to directly interfere with and restrict negotiated contracts.

Victims of corporate crimes typically don’t have the money to pay attorneys upfront. The victim/plaintiff attorneys are paid out of the final settlement or award. If the amount that attorneys could possibly recoup is limited by Congress, this provides a serious disincentive for attorneys to take cases and to invest the time/money/effort into pursuing justice for victims.

H.R. 1215 Hurts Victims of Big Pharma

Another horrible bill that is going through the U.S. Congress is HR 1215 “Protecting Access to Care Act of 2017.” H.R. 1215 eliminates the rights of people harmed by medical professionals. It rigs the system, making it nearly impossible for injured victims to pursue lawsuits by imposing harsh time limits on lawsuits, denying the right to a trial by jury, limiting certain damages to $250,000 (even in states where such limits are unconstitutional), and protecting those who prescribe dangerous drugs and who hurt people with dangerous medical devices.

Corrupt Politicians Represent Big Business

H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215 are gifts to big corporations — big pharma, big ag, big chemical, big oil, and big banks — that prevent citizens who have been hurt by these corporations from gaining justice. The man who introduced H.R. 985, and who is ushering H.R. 1215 through the House Judiciary Committee, is Bob Goodlatte, a Republican from Virginia. During his time in Congress, Representative Goodlatte has received more that $2.1 million from agribusiness, almost $1.5 million from the finance, insurance, and real estate sector, more than $670,000 from the health sector (which includes pharmaceutical companies), and $1.3 million from miscellaneous business interests. Those industries have invested a lot of money in Goodlatte, and that investment is now paying off as he is now the chair of the House of Representatives Judiciary Committee, and has introduced a bill that will drastically limit the liability of large corporations. These corporations will be able to steal from and poison the American people, without consequence, if H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215 pass into law as they currently stand.

The Myth of the Frivolous Lawsuit

People like Representative Goodlatte claim that congressionally mandated judicial reform is necessary because there are too many frivolous lawsuits. This is a myth that has been repeated so many times that many, maybe even most, people think that it’s true. Of course, there are cases where an unscrupulous attorney or greedy plaintiff succeeds in getting a large payoff, but that situation is unusual, and it is far more common for legitimately injured people to be unable to gain justice (for the reasons described above) than it is for a frivolous lawsuit to move forward and win in court.

This skit from Adam Ruins Everything, though it is meant to be humorous, excellently explains how the myth of the frivolous lawsuit was started, perpetrated, and promoted by large corporations:

The case described in the video, that of Liebeck vs. McDonald’s, wasn’t frivolous, and neither are most lawsuits that individual citizens bring against large corporations.

Whenever someone tries to justify taking away your rights to a fair trial and your opportunities for recourse against a corporation that hurt you by claiming that “frivolous lawsuits” should be limited, be suspicious, question thoroughly, and understand that those people are trying to take away your rights to hold corporations that hurt people responsible for their crimes. When you hear the term “justice reform,” know that it is code for “politicians trying to take away your right to sue and chance of getting justice if a big corporation hurts you.” Fight not only for justice, but also for an honest and righteous conversation about the issues. The truth is that it is exceedingly difficult for legitimate victims to get justice and/or compensation for their losses. The truth is that the rights of citizens are being eroded and the rights of corporations are being elevated.

Welcome to the Corporatocracy

Through “judicial reform” bills like H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215, the  U.S. Congress is working with big corporations of all sorts to rob citizens of their ability to gain justice. These “Representatives” are not representatives of the people, they are representatives of the corporations that hurt the people. These corporations are, after all, who pay the politicians.

Though corporate interests are quickly supplanting individual rights, there are still some checks and balances left in the system. Democratically elected officials still can be held accountable by the people who elected them. I encourage everyone who wants to be able to hold corporate criminals responsible for hurting and murdering people to email, call, tweet, or otherwise reach out to every member of the U.S. House Judiciary Committee, and tell them to oppose both H.R. 985 and H.R. 1215. The coroporatocracy has the upper-hand right now, but maybe democracy isn’t entirely dead. Please take a few moments to reach out to the U.S. House Judiciary Committee – thank you.

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3 Powerful Tools to Help Overcome the Emotional Toll of the Pandemic

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

  • Reflect On:

    If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try these suggestions before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies.

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

The pandemic has had a significant effect on our lives. Possibly without realizing it, many are suffering from a form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Every news cycle paralyzes us with fear of a new variant. Some feel grief over who or what they have lost or continue to have feelings of social disconnectedness. Despite what we have all been through, we need to start moving forward with our lives and truly live again. We must recognize that we have more control over our physical and mental health than advertised. The truth is that there are many helpful things that we can do.

PTSD is a stress-related disorder that may develop after exposure to a traumatic event or ordeal in which death or severe physical harm was a threat or occurred. Those with PTSD may experience agitation, irritability, hostility, hypervigilance, self-destructive behavior, social isolation, flashbacks, fear, anxiety, depression, attention difficulty, loneliness, insomnia, or nightmares.

Trauma can lead to feelings of powerlessness, but powerlessness can also keep us trapped in a PTSD cycle. The psychological imprint of trauma rewires the brain. There’s an old saying in neuroscience: “neurons that fire together wire together.” Our brain neurons begin firing in the amygdala, the emotional part of our brains, during a traumatic event. People can get stuck in an emotional loop, and the rational voice in their heads does not weigh in. This looping can cause a person to respond disproportionately to stress – freezing, panicking, or acting out in anger. Some dissociate or enter a trance-like state. Maladaptive coping skills can sometimes develop. Cutting, burning, overeating, drinking, drugs, overspending, etc., is all an attempt to dampen our painful emotional feelings. So, to avoid getting stuck in a PTSD cycle, we must act and take our power back.

Time to seek out the most effective help so that we can feel calm and in control again. What can we do?

1. Boost Your Immune System

If you fear getting sick, it’s time to live a healthier lifestyle and boost your immune system. Sadly, we are taught (with the help of pharmaceutical dollars) that health comes from a needle or a pill. Our “experts” recommend masks, hand-washing, social distancing, and mRNA vaccines. Still, they seldom suggest a healthy diet, supplements, and other natural remedies to help improve our health and support the body to fight off illness and disease. Click here for my article that includes 16 Tips on Boosting Immunity.

2. Embrace Spirituality

Over the last 20 years, I have been honored to have worked with many great therapists, healers, spiritual leaders, and trauma survivors to witness the power of Spirituality in healing. Spirituality is an inner belief system providing an individual with meaning and purpose in life. Whether it involves a higher power, nature, religious rituals, meditation, mindfulness, or prayer, the premise is to stay connected to the core of who we are. That place of stillness within us holding the memory of wholeness, peace, inner strength, and balance – despite what has happened. A spiritual philosophy or practice can provide us with a bigger context for our experiences and clarify our purpose. Spiritual methods also connect us with a sense of community and support. Finding our tribe is essential in the face of trauma and loss. The spiritual journey often allows us to go inside ourselves and listen to our inner guidance and “knowingness.” The inner voice may know, for instance, that the virus will not hurt us, or what we are being told by the media is untrue. Spirituality also helps us shift our perspective from “why me” to “what can I do about it. It brings us a sense of power and control.

3. Guided Imagery & Bilateral Stimulation

Both tools are essential for the trauma therapy toolbox. They are noninvasive and helpful for overcoming the effects of trauma. Guided imagery can help us alter the negative or stressful pictures and thoughts in our minds and help us create new, more peaceful ones—a form of instilling positive affirmations. Before you read on, I thought you might like to download my 10-minute exercise. This science-based, comprehensive video will help you to cultivate a sense of inner peace and give you a way to help overcome the effects of this pandemic – GET IT HERE

Is There Science Behind This?

Science, yes. Magic, no. This method requires regular practice if you want to make lasting, long-term changes to the ways that you think and feel. The good news is that both guided imagery and bilateral stimulation are widely practiced and well-established practices. However, I recommend that if you are still struggling after repeated listening, you find a qualified trauma therapist to continue the work you have already started.

A Look At The Research

Guided imagery is a behavioral technique using a series of verbal suggestions to guide oneself or others in visualizing an image in the mind to bring a desired response in the way of a reduction in stress, anxiety, or pain. A growing list of empirical literature supports the use of these techniques in various physical and emotional conditions. Guided imagery resulted in a clinically significant reduction in PTSD and related symptoms in a returning, combat-exposed active-duty military population. Positive affirmations can positively affect the brain’s circuitry. There is MRI evidence suggesting that specific neural pathways are increased when people practice self-affirmation tasks.

Numerous research articles have established that bilateral stimulation is one of the most effective treatments for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Some therapists practice Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), a combination of psychotherapy and bilateral stimulation. EMDR is very effective for treating a wide range of mental health issues due to emotional and physical trauma. During bilateral stimulation, patients tend to “process” the memory in a way that leads to a peaceful resolution. And, often results in increased insight regarding both previously disturbing events and long-held negative thoughts about the self.

“Bilateral Stimulation induces a fundamental change in brain circuitry, similar to what happens in REM sleep. It allows the person undergoing treatment to process and incorporate traumatic memories into general association networks in the brain. This therapy helps the individual integrate and understand the memories within the larger context of their life experience.” – Robert Stickgold, Ph.D., Harvard Medical School

Takeaway

If you feel stressed or feel that you have PTSD resulting from this pandemic, try the above suggestions and download my helpful video before resorting to medication or maladaptive coping strategies. Also, you can discover the many mind-body practices you can do at home to help manage stress more successfully and so much more. SIGN UP HERE to receive your free download today. To purchase my book Healing Without Hurting, click here.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

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Boosting Your Mood and Improving Your Health With Vitamin D

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation.

  • Reflect On:

    Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? When is the last time you checked your Vitamin D levels?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

Are you or someone you love suffering from depression or an autoimmune disorder? It appears vitamin D deficiency may be to blame.

Vitamin D is essential for proper immune functioning and alleviation of inflammation. The beneficial effects of vitamin D on protective immunity are due in part to its impact on the innate immune system and has numerous effects on cells within the immune system. Vitamin D is also involved in maintaining the proper balance of several minerals in the body. And, it helps to ward off the flu and many viruses and treat them. The latest research links vitamin D deficiency to many disease states. These disease states include cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease, depression, arthritis, and just about every other degenerative disease.

 “Vitamin D reduces depression. In a randomized, double-blind study, People with depression who received vitamin D supplements noticed a marked improvement in their symptoms.” – Journal of Internal Medicine

According to the Nutrition Research Journal, as many as 80% of people are deficient in vitamin D. Inadequate exposure to sunshine, poor eating habits, malabsorption, the VDR genetic mutation, and accelerated catabolism due to certain medications, dark skin pigment color, and too much sunscreen can be to blame. 

A doctor can check vitamin D levels with a simple blood test. Many mainstream doctors will suggest that you are within normal limits if your levels are 20-30ng/mL. However, for optimal health, the Endocrine Society and many functional medicine M.D.s and naturopaths will recommend levels of between 40-70 ng/mL for both children and adults. These doctors will also recommend a more aggressive replenishment program. For example, at age five, my son’s level was 24. The pediatrician recommended 500iu daily of supplementation, while our naturopath recommended 5,000iu daily for six months before retesting. Six months later, his levels were almost normal. 

“Through several mechanisms, vitamin D can reduce risk of infections. Those mechanisms include inducing cathelicidins and defensins that can lower viral replication rates and reducing concentrations of pro-inflammatory cytokines that produce the inflammation that injures the lining of the lungs, leading to pneumonia, as well as increasing concentrations of anti-inflammatory cytokines” – PubMed

How to Increase Your Vitamin D Levels

Get enough sun. Vitamin D3, “the sunshine vitamin,” is the only vitamin your body that is made, with the help of the sun. So be sure to get enough sun exposure to help the body make this essential nutrient. Hold off trying to protect ourselves from the rays of the sun at every turn by slathering sunscreen. Allow yourself to play outside, garden, and enjoy the rays in moderation.

If you must use some sunscreen, avoid chemical sunscreens made with toxic chemicals that cause thyroid dysfunction, endocrine disruption, allergies, organ toxicity, reproductive toxicity, skin cancer, development, brain, and metabolism problems. Shop for natural mineral-zinc-based certified products instead. When exposed to scorching climates or in the sun for extended periods, we use sunscreens by Babyganics, Badger, Babo Botanicals, and Goddess Garden products.

Eat a well-balanced diet, with foods higher in vitamin D. Although it is believed that we only get twenty percent from the foods we eat. Some foods higher in D include cod liver oil, fish, oysters, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Get checked for the VDR mutation. A blood test will determine if you have mutations in the vitamin D receptor. The consequence can be lower vitamin D levels and the inability to absorb vitamin calcium and many other minerals properly. According to a 2020 scientific report, supplementation of vitamin D can help improve VDR gene expression, so more supplementation may be necessary if you have this mutation.

“Something so simple. Vitamin D supplementation could improve the health status of millions and so becomes an elegant solution to many of our health problems today.” – Carol L. Wagner, MD – Medical University of South Carolina

Supplementation 101. Supplementation is often critical if you cannot properly metabolize or absorb enough vitamin D or not get enough sunshine. In areas with long winters and specific populations of people with darker skin color, supplementation may be even more critical. There are many supplements on the market. However, many tablet forms are not as bioavailable and harder to absorb. Therefore, it has been recommended that liquid forms are better. In addition, liquid D is often suspended in olive oil, which helps the vitamins to absorb more easily since it is fat soluble. One of my favorite brands is by Seeking Health. It does not contain any impurities or allergy-inducing ingredients. 

Final Thoughts

Boosting the immune system naturally works on your body’s innate wisdom. It supports the body to operate like a well-oiled machine, protects it from unwanted pathogens and disease, and helps ensure a healthy body and mind.

To receive more info on how you and your family can overcome ADHD, apraxia, anxiety, and more without medication SIGN UP HERE or purchase my book Healing without Hurting.

Dive Deeper

Click below to watch a sneak peek of our brand new course!

Our new course is called 'Overcoming Bias & Improving Critical Thinking.' This 5 week course is instructed by Dr. Madhava Setty & Joe Martino

If you have been wanting to build your self awareness, improve your.critical thinking, become more heart centered and be more aware of bias, this is the perfect course!

Click here to check out a sneak peek and learn more.

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Awareness

Most Diabetic, Heart Disease & Alzheimer’s Deaths Categorized As “Covid” Deaths (UK)

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In Brief

  • The Facts:

    According to professor of evidence based medicine at Oxford Dr. Carl Heneghan , who is also an emergency GP, most diabetic, heart disease & alzheimer's deaths were categorized as COVID deaths in the United Kingdom.

  • Reflect On:

    How many deaths have actually been a result of COVID? Why is this pandemic surrounded with so much controversy? Why does mainstream media fail at having appropriate conversations about 'controversial' evidence/opinions?

Before you begin...

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Take a moment and breathe. Place your hand over your chest area, near your heart. Breathe slowly into the area for about a minute, focusing on a sense of ease entering your mind and body. Click here to learn why we suggest this.

 Dr. Carl Heneghan has an interesting view on the pandemic, not only is he a professor of evidence-based medicine at Oxford University, he also works Saturday shifts as an emergency GP. This allows him to see healthcare from both the academic perspective as well as the healthcare experience, more specifically, it allows him to see COVID from both perspectives.

What Happened: In a recent article he wrote for The Spectator, he writes the following,

It’s hard to imagine, let alone measures, the side effects of lockdowns. The risk with the government’s ‘fear’ messaging is that people become so worried about burdening the NHS that they avoid seeking medical help. Or by the time they do so, it can be too late. The big rise in at-home deaths (still ongoing) points to that. You will be familiar with the Covid death toll, updated in the papers every day. But did you know that since the pandemic, we’ve had 28,200 more deaths among diabetics that we’d normally expect? That’s not the kind of figure they show on a graph at No. 10 press conference. For people with heart disease, it’s 17,100. For dementia and Alzheimer’s, it’s 22,800. Most were categorised as Covid deaths: people can die with multiple conditions, so they can fall into more than one of these categories. It’s a complicated picture. But that’s the problem in assessing lockdown. you need to do a balance of risks.

Evidence-based medicine might sound like a tautology — what kind of medicine isn’t based on evidence? I’m afraid that you’d be surprised. Massive decisions are often taken on misleading, low-quality evidence. We see this all the time. In the last pandemic, the swine flu outbreak of 2009, I did some work asking why the government spent £500 million on Tamiflu: then hailed as a wonder drug. In fact, it proved to have a very limited effect. The debate then had many of the same cast of characters as today: Jonathan Van-Tam, Neil Ferguson and others. The big difference this time is the influence of social media, whose viciousness is something to behold. It’s easy to see why academics would self-censor and stay away from the debate, especially if it means challenging a consensus.

This is something that’s been a concern since the beginning of the pandemic. For example, a report published during the first wave in the British Medical Journal  titled Covid-19: “Staggering number” of extra deaths in community is not explained by covid-19″ has suggested that quarantine measures in the United Kingdom, as a result of the new coronavirus, may have already killed more UK seniors than the coronavirus has during the months of April and May.

According to the data, COVID-19, at the time of publication, only accounted for 10,000 of the 30,000 excess deaths that have been recorded in senior care facilities during the height of the pandemic. The article quotes British Health officials stating that these unexplained deaths may have occurred because quarantine measures have prevented seniors from accessing the health care that they need.

Fast forward to more recent research regarding lockdowns, and these concerns have grown. Professor Anna-Mia Ekström and Professor Stefan Swartling Peterson have gone through the data from UNICEF and UNAIDS, and came to the conclusion that at least as many people have died as a result of the restrictions to fight COVID as have died of COVID. You can read more about that here.

These are just a few of many examples. You can read more about the hypothesized “catastrophic” impacts of lockdown, here.

When it comes to what he mentions about academics shying away from debate, especially if their research goes against the grain, we’ve a seen a lot of that too. Here’s a great example you can read about from Sweden regarding zero deaths of school children during the first wave despite no masks mandates or lockdown measures. Jonas F Ludvigsson, a paediatrician at Örebro University Hospital and professor of clinical epidemiology at the Karolinska Institute is quitting his work on COVID-19 because of harassment from people who dislike what he has discovered.

Why This Is Important: Heneghan’s words are something that many people have been concerned about when it comes to the deaths that are attributed to COVID-19. How many of them are actually a result of COVID? The truth seems to be that we don’t really know. But one thing we do know is that total death toll caused by COVID doesn’t seem to be quite accurate.

That being said, we do know that people with comorbidities are more susceptible to illness and death from COVID, and that’s something to keep in mind. For people with underlying health conditions, covid, just like flu or pneumonia, can be fatal.

Ontario (Canada) Public Health has a page on their website titled “How Ontario is responding to COVID-19.” On it, they clearly state that deaths are being marked as COVID deaths and are being included in the COVID death count regardless of whether or not COVID actually contributed to or caused the death. They state the following:

Any case marked as “Fatal” is included in the deaths data. Deaths are included whether or not COVID-19 was determined to be a contributing or underlying cause of death…”

This statement from Ontario Public Health echoes statements made multiple times by Canadian public health agencies and personnel. According to Ontario Ministry Health Senior Communications Advisor Anna Miller:

As a result of how data is recorded by health units into public health information databases, the ministry is not able to accurately separate how many people died directly because of COVID versus those who died with a COVID infection.

In late June 2020, Toronto (Ontario, Canada) Public Health tweeted that:

“Individuals who have died with COVID-19, but not as a result of COVID-19 are included in the case counts for COVID-19 deaths in Toronto.”

It’s not just in Canada where we’ve seen these types of statements being made, it’s all over the world. There are multiple examples from the United States that we’ve covered since the start of the pandemic.

For example, Dr. Ngozi Ezike, Director of the Illinois Department of Public Health stated the following during the first wave of the pandemic:

If you were in hospice and had already been given a few weeks to live and then you were also found to have COVID, that would be counted as a COVID death, despite if you died of a clear alternative cause it’s still listed as a COVID death. So, everyone who is listed as a COVID death that doesn’t mean that was the cause of the death, but they had COVID at the time of death.

Also during the first wave, the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment had to announce a change to how it tallies coronavirus deaths due to complaints that it inflated the numbers.

As you can see, we’ve struggled to find an accurate way to go about tallying COVID deaths since the start, creating more fear and hysteria around total numbers that are plastered constantly in front of citizens by news stations. That being said, a lot of people who are dying of COVID do have co-morbidities as well. But as the professor says, “it’s a complicated picture” and hard to figure out, and probably something we will never figure out.

There’s been a lot of “fear mongering” by governments and mainstream media, and some believe that lockdowns and masks are simply being used as a psychological tool to keep that fear constant, which in turn makes it easier to control people and make them comply.

Meanwhile, there are a lot of experts in the field who are pointing to the fact that yes, COVID is dangerous, but it does not at all warrant the measures that are being taken, especially when the virus has a 99.95 percent survival rate for people over the age of 70. There are better ways to protect the vulnerable without creating even more chaos that lockdown measures have created, and are creating throughout this pandemic.

That said, it’s also important to note that some calls for lockdown measures are focused on stopping hospitals from becoming overwhelmed. Why do some places with very restrictions see no hospital capacity issues? Why do some places with a lot of restrictions see hospital capacity issues? Why do we also see the opposite for both in some areas? These questions appear to be unanswered still. That being said. Hospitals have always been overwhelmed. This is not a new phenomenon.

The main issue here is not who is right or wrong, it’s the censorship of data, science, and opinions of experts in the field. The censorship that has occurred during this pandemic has been unprecedented.

Science is being suppressed for political and financial gain. COVID-19 has unleashed state corruption on a grand scale, and it is harmful to public health. Politicians and industry are responsible for this opportunistic embezzlement. So too are scientists and health experts. The pandemic has revealed how the medical-political complex can be manipulated in an emergency—a time when it is even more important to safeguard science. –  Dr. Kamran Abbasi, recent executive editor of the prestigious British Medical Journal (source)

This censorship alone has been an excellent catalyst for people to question what we are constantly hearing from mainstream media, government, and political scientists. Any type of information that calls into question the recommendations or the information we are receiving from our government seems to be subjected to this type of censorship. Mainstream media has done a great job at not acknowledging many aspects of this pandemic, like clinically proven treatments other than a vaccine, and therefore the masses are completely unaware of it.

Is this what we would call ethical? When trying to explain this to a friend or family member, the fact that they are not aware of these other pieces of information, because they may be avid mainstream news watchers, has them in disbelief and perhaps even sometimes labelling such assertions as a “conspiracy theory.” This Brings me to my next point.

The Takeaway: As I’ve said in a number of articles before, society is failing to have conversations about “controversial” topics and viewpoints. This is in large part due to the fact that mainstream media does such a poor job at covering these viewpoints let alone acknowledging them. The fact that big media has such a stranglehold over the minds of many is also very concerning, because we are living in a time where independent research may be more useful. There seems to be massive conflicts of interest within mainstream media, and the fact that healthy conversation and debate is being shut down by mainstream media contributes to the fact that we can’t even have normal conversations about controversial topics in our everyday lives.

Why does this happen? Why can’t we see the perspective of another? To be honest, I still sometimes struggle with this. When it comes to COVID, things clearly aren’t as black and white as they’re being made out to be, and as I’ve said many times before when things aren’t clear, and when government mandates oppose the will of so many people, it reaches a point where they become authoritarian and overreaching.

In such circumstances I believe governments should simply be making recommendations and explaining why certain actions might be important, and then leave it to the people to decide for themselves what measures they’d like to take, if any. What do you think? One thing is for certain, COVID has been a catalyst for more and more people to question the world we live in, and why we live the way that we do.

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