Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A "Penny Dreadful" Take on Health Reform

To the spouse's enduring disappointment, the Population Health Blog has been ensnared by the Showtime horror series Penny Dreadful.  Set in the 1890'sVictorian England, viewers can follow the derring-do of Dr. Frankenstein, Sir Malcolm Murray and Vanessa Ives as they quote Shelley and hunt for vampires.

The good news that even this corner of vacuous TV media, the PHB can find some lessons in health reform.

For example.....

Young Dr. Frankenstein creates a monster.  While that's what you get for stitching miscellaneous body parts together and zapping the corpse with life-giving electricity, Dr. Frankenstein should also know......

1) things would have been worse if he had installed electronic health record in his laboratory, and
2) that's what happens when docs are too morose and wear far too much mascara.
When a ship hailing from Egypt has been quarantined by the London authorities because of supposed plague, the intrepid Sir Malcolm shrewdly deduces it is ultimate source of all the recent "chicanery."  Since the ship is infested with lusty, blond and bloodthirsty vampire-vixens, his conclusion is correct. But, he should also be aware that....

1) the Veterans Administration has conducted an internal investigation and has found that no evidence that any patient has been harmed and,
2) he has given the PHB a reminder to use the word "chicanery" in a future blog post.
Dorian Gray is able to continue his dissolute libidinous lifestyle by standing in front of a painting and instantaneously curing his claw marks and, while he's at it, his probable sexually transmitted diseases.  The PHB wonders if this is the key to harnessing the life-prolonging potential of telomerases, but it also cautions....

1) that this should be ignored by the medical community until it has been subjected to repeated randomized clinical trials and approved by the FDA, and
2) the U.S. government's deficit won't be helped by subjecting the painting to a medical device tax.

Dr. Van Helsing quotes from a lurid penny novel to prove that vampires do exist.  This is an inspirational example of how early hematologists used disparate clues to arrive at obscure diagnoses. It is also....

1) a telling example of how doctors can quote from faux authoritative texts to support any predetermined medical conclusion.

After a long stay in a mental asylum for a "psychosexual disorder," Vanessa Ives is still prone to fits where her eyes turn white, she channels demons and she floats around the room.  This is evidence that she needs to return to the asylum stat, but is also

1) obviously why thorazine-loaded blow darts were invented
2) better than the any of her battle scenes from the movie 300 Rise of an Empire

1 comment: