About Me

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Deep South, United States
Consultant, inventor, mentor, chess coach,. Current projects involve No Till Farming and staving off blindness due to cataracts among other projects. I also do confidential ghost writing (without taking any published credit. My current blindness makes me put this on hold for a while. I should have one eye working again in about four months. Fact, fiction, all subjects considered. I have heard My daughter Jennifer is alive. I would love it if she were to contact me here. I understand she would like to know me. I have sent a message by circuitous route. I can only hope. My posted Email works as well. We have four decades to catch up on.

This blog has been up for more than a year. The intent was to generate dialogues about serious problems and ideas. It has been almost exclusively a monologue. I have not been looking for large numbers of participants.

I would be quite happy with a few dozen imaginative, creative, thoughtful and inventive people who wish to address serious problems and issues. If anyone has any ideas about how to attract such a talented group I will certainly pay attention. I am not as computer conversant as I would wish. Anyone who could help in this regard would find me receptive to sharing my skills in other areas.

Saturday, July 28, 2007

I Was Going To Talk About Eye Surgery..

In eye surgery, as in the other specialties in medicine, several languages and idioms are used. Doctors spend a great deal of time learning the esoteric terminology that allows them to communicate with one another and with other “experts” in the medical and pharmaceutical and insurance industries and to the exclusion and detriment of all but a small number of their patients.

For centuries, doctors have been using special abbreviations and Latin phrases not in common parlance, to keep their patients in the dark about what was going on. These were the secret codes to the pharmacists, chemists and barbers with whom the doctors were communicating.

Yes, barbers too. They used to be intimately involved with several important medical procedures, like bleeding patients. Somewhere along the line, the barbers were demoted out of their part of the medical profession. Now they are pretty much confined to cutting hair, the safety razor having pretty much taken care of the need for a barber to shave clients.

Throughout the centuries, doctors pretty successfully went after the white witches, who engaged in a great many of the medical activities not well handled by the medical profession, like taking care of people without the monetary resources the doctors preferred in their clientele, and the midwives, who were generally pretty expert in assisting women during childbirth, but who were seen during many periods, including recent times, as encroaching too deeply in the terrain of physicians.

The doctors had membership in very powerful “guilds,” which were in essence, unions with extremely powerful political lobbying skills. They are at their most powerful today, encompassing the government, insurance industries, and the international pharmaceutical industries seamlessly. Only the “defense industrial establishments and the military have more clout.

When I was a boy, doctors still made "housecalls" now and then. One could speak privately to one's doctor without an insurance company having the right to demand charted information. A few months ago I wrote my (potential) eye surgeon a letter. My printer was not functional. I called her office, wanting her Email address. It turns out that all E-mail goes through an office employee, that the doctor recieves no private E-mail. Exactly when did patient/doctor confidentaility, and the ability to speak frankly to the doctor directly, go out the window?

A lot of lip service is paid to "informed consent." What this means in practical terms is that the doctor needs to tell you somewhere along the line that bad things can happen and that operations don't always work out favorably for the patient. The doctor might cite a statistic like, nine out of ten people have an improvement in their eyesight after a cataract operation. But you really have to probe to find out that two out of three people will need another procedure later to deal with a second cataract in the posterior membrane of the lens cavity, and that procedure too has its' own complications. In my opinion, this does not amount to informed consent. It amounts to a sales job to convince you, that at least statisically speaking, you will probably be better off with the operation than if you do not have it.

As time goes on, and as I see some of the procedures, performed by various surgeons, using different tools and methodologies, I am less and less convinced as time goes on. The patient is kept in a position of ignorance of enough detail that he cannot make really informed decision. He must simply decide to have faith in a physician he may have known for all of twenty minutes, or not.

Well, I was going to talk about some of the things that are currently in vogue in eye surgery, and detail my concerns in greater detail. These operations net the surgery industry about seven billion dollars a year in the US.

Several of the procedural events don’t make a lot of sense to me. But, in spite of the millions of people who have cataract surgery every year, I do not currently see any evidence that the public is particularly interested. I guess I’ll go read a book.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Letter To Owner of Cambridge Institute

Mr. Martin Sussman
Cambridge Institute For Better Vision

Hello Mr. Sussman,

A number of months ago, I wrote a rather detailed letter to you expressing interest in sharing some of my ideas with you. I never got a direct response, but I did get some advertisements for Eye Max Plus from your company.

As it happens, aside from my blog, Eureka Ideas Unlimited at eurekaideasunlimited.blogspot.com I have also made more than 1100 posts on Skin Cell forum, some of them quite detailed and comprehensive on health issues, including cataracts and the state of the medical arts concerning them.

I have also read your book, The Program For Better vision. It is no longer a surprise to me that I have not yet gained an audience with an ophthalmologist on the breaking edge of current surgical procedures. They do, after all, keep themselves quite well insulated from those not initiated in their closed fraternity.

I expect that one day soon, I shall be reviewing your book, both on my blog and on Skin Cell Forum. Unlike my relatively new blog, the forum has a pretty large readership and I am certainly one of the most serious regular contributors there.I am known as Anthropositor.

Once again, I extend you the invitation to contact me, and/or to invite any surgeons you may know to review my various posts, and to contact me for a dialogue which could be of benefit to a great many people.

You sir, are not a member of the closed medical society. You have even shown some indication that you were prepared to break new ground here and there. Was it just to make some money? Or do your motivations run deeper? Please advise.

This invitation is also extended to anyone in or out of medicine with an interest in innovation in the field of cataracts. This medical problem is growing exponentially, and should not be left exclusively in the hands of complacent "experts."

H. C. Benson

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Innovative Eye Surgery For Cataracts

Those who have read some of my previous posts here at Eureka Ideas Unlimited and on Skin Cell Forum are already aware that I have an advanced nuclear cataract in my right eye and a developing one perhaps two years behind in my left eye.

Although I hadn’t been to a doctor for a few decades, this year I went first to an optometrist and then to an ophthalmologist and scheduled the removal of the right lens and surgical implantation of an intraocular lens.
I ultimately cancelled the surgery for a variety of reasons which I have already written about. Central among these reasons was the fact that I saw several of the procedures involving phaco emulsification of the opaque lens, the chopping of the lens into small pieces, and the removal of the pieces by suction, and the insertion and placement of the intraocular lens in the cavity left vacant.

I saw a variety of things in these procedures which gave me food for thought. To put it more succinctly, I thought better of the procedure. But one has a responsibility, if being critical of the way things are done, to give some notion how they should be done instead. So, for each part of the procedure that I thought could be improved on, I worked out some possible ways in which it could be done better.

For several months I talked about these possibilities on Skin Cell Forum. (some of the people on the forum are effectively blind, a few with exceedingly rare eye conditions requiring experimental surgery.) I am pretty confident that some of these experimental surgeons of these patients have heard about me. None, to date, has shown the slightest curiosity as to whether any of my ideas have merit. This points up, with great clarity, the ivory tower nature of the medical "community."

The surgeon who I went to, was not a “breaking edge” sort of girl. She wanted only “routine” cataract surgeries on her agenda. If any unusual incident arose, she would call in someone who could handle it. The last thing in her mind is to try anything new. And it became the last thing in mine to use her.

So, I haven’t been able to attract the attention of the pioneers, and I don’t want the journeymen surgeons. Quite a quandary. I have only personally performed one serious eye operation. The eye had been seriously damaged and was in front of the orbit, and therefore unblinkable. The patient was nearly dead, so the other traumatic injuries needed to be stabilized.

It was about a week before I was able to remove the eye safely. The only complication was some secondary infection, which I got under control in another few days. The patient made a full and uneventful recovery. I have had no training as a surgeon. Just emergencies in the field.

I really did have some hopes of finding an experienced surgeon with whom to discuss my ideas about changing the nature of cataract surgery. But the group is such an insular bunch that it is not really even a remotely likely prospect. and I won’t be engaging in the usual bureaucratic gauntlet of the hospitals and government agencies either. I’m also treating my blood pressure. Going through “channels” would not be productive in that regard. Currently my blood pressure is in better shape than my eye.

The good side is, I am learning a great deal more about eyes and vision and blood pressure as well. These are not inconsequential benefits from being more self-reliant. And if I can’t find a surgeon with whom to work out the new procedure, I’ll eventually sort out another means to restore my sight.

Irish Potato Famine and Today

This post was inspired by an essay on the Irish Potato Famine of the nineteenth century on http://aradicalwrites.blogspot.com/

I must say Sir, that this is quite a fine piece of scholarship! It is inexplicable to me that it would have received no comments.

A sad commentary on the oblivious lurkers that make up the vast majority of those on the web. One must hunt for a considerable time before finding a work written with as much care as this one was.

As an American of Anglo-Saxon and perhaps Irish lineage as well, I don't have a particular side to take in this debate. Yet, one thing has always seemed pretty clear to me; there is quite enough fault to go around.
I will comment on two things that I think were of paramount importance in exacerbating the disaster.

There was great reliance on the skills of the "experts" both governmental and scientific. This was clearly unwarranted by the facts. I mention this only because in many ways, history is now repeating itself.

(Global Warming, and the current ongoing mass extinction, previously never seen without a cataclysmic asteroid impact or similar disaster.)

But whatever the detailed reasons, it seems to me that the central issue here was dependence on a monoculture crop. A single staple food.
The emphasis was overwhelmingly on the potato, and not even a diverse variety of different tubers. When the blight struck, even with excellence in science and government (which was clearly lacking) the disaster could not have been diverted.

In most of the world today, we rely on very few food crops. But worse, we are DELIBERATELY REDUCING the genetic diversity of many of these important crops, for purely, industrial and profit oriented reasons.

I think I will transfer this comment to my blog as well, a fairly new blog which has not, as yet, generated too much dialogue. I have apparently, largely been talking to myself.

You are welcome to attend.

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