Thursday, March 08, 2007

Environmental Health Radio Show

Check out this link to learn about a call-in radio show on environmental health issues, including Multiple Chemical Sensitivities. The program, hosted by Albert Robbins, D.O., is webcast weekly.

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Nurses Rule (Doctors Still Suck)

Despite controversy, "the patient's concerns should be heeded," says an article on Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) in the American Journal of Nursing. Carolyn Cooper is the author of the welcome paper, published in March's issue of the largest nursing journal. She advocates for protecting MCS patients from chemical exposures in the hospital--pretty much as they (we) see fit. She has compiled a list of specific accommodations and calls for more training of medical staff.

Poor Nurse Cooper gallantly strives to give what's considered a neutral report on the controversies surrounding MCS, including the one over its existence. However, it seems she hasn't felt the liberty, in practice, of sitting on the fence. She's had a job to do, namely taking care of a surgical patient, one Mr. Norris. Mr. Norris has brought a respirator mask to the hospital with him and his wife won't let anyone wearing perfume into his room.

Cooper consults the professional literature but finds little guidance there and, in the end, relies on instruction from Mr. Norris. What rare and admirable humility! She xeroxes a brochure he's got on MCS and places a copy in his chart. She bars her cologne-wearing nursing assistant from her patient's room. Perhaps she concludes that the professional literature is sorely in need of her contribution. (As she notes, "MCS afflicts millions of Americans.")

Why has Cooper become a champion for our side? She doesn't really say. No argument is made to justify her implicit recognition of MCS. She doesn't share her internal process in deciding to take Mr. Norris seriously. She does mention that in the absence of "evidence-based standards" she allows her "experience and clinical judgment" to inform her suggestions to the nursing community. That judgment apparently doesn't equate doing no harm with taking no action. Now we just need a few well-placed publishers with the M.D. cachet to listen to the nurses who are listening to the patients.