Monday, September 8, 2008

Hemlock: Biology, Shakespeare, Socrates, House, M.D.

I have noticed a flurry of activities in the British Medical Blogoshere on Hemlocks started by none other than our Jobbing Doctor.
The story has now been covered by Ward 87, Chez Sam, the Witch Doctor, Doctor Rant, NHS Exposed and Dr Grumble. Even Ireland joined in: Two weeks on a trolley. More today.
The Cockroach Catcher is known to have been saddened by the fact that many medical schools no longer require biology for entrance requirement. This coupled with the belief that everything natural must be good may have led to the so-called Hemlock poisoning.
Perhaps a bit of Shakespeare might have helped:
Third Witch
Scale of dragon, tooth of wolf,
Witches' mummy, maw and gulf
Of the ravin'd salt-sea shark,
Root of hemlock digg'd i' the dark,
Liver of blaspheming Jew,
Gall of goat, and slips of yew
Silver'd in the moon's eclipse,
Nose of Turk and Tartar's lips,
Finger of birth-strangled babe
Ditch-deliver'd by a drab,
Make the gruel thick and slab:
Add thereto a tiger's chaudron,
For the ingredients of our cauldron.
Macbeth: Act 4 Scene1

Or if they still teach poetry at school:

'My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains

my sense, as though some Hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drain...'
What about Socrates? Hemlock was used for citizen executions, and Socrates was said to have taken the cup and drank.
Medical bloggers are puzzled by the lack of mainstream media coverage as summarized by The Jobbing Doctor.
Hemlock was even mentioned in an episode of House, M.D. Perhaps House has a point (Ornithine Transcarbamylase Deficiency). Perhaps not! I thought I would try his approach though:
- What if it was not Hemlock at all? Two intelligent highly trained doctors cannot really be that stupid. After all they are responsible for other people’s lives and future training of doctors.
- What if they took something else? Doctors have access to all kinds. House should know, he is one of those addicted to pain killers.
- What would a suspicious psychiatrist think when a man and a woman went out on a long walk…..?
- How about a toxicology report from the hospital? That should be in the public domain as there is a serious question of public interest here. The public should learn from these two doctors and know what not to eat on long walks. What if the poison has long term effects including those that affect judgment?
When I was a medical student, I had great respect for our professors and teaching staff. I do feel sorry for the new generation of medical students and doctors as they have to read about their seniors in blogs.
My apologies.
Popular Posts:
Picasso and Tradition?
Teratoma: One Patient One Disease?
Teratoma: An Extract,
A Brief History of Time: CPR (Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation)
House M.D.: Modern Tyranny
House M.D. : 95% vs 5%

No comments: