Review 01: Bad Blood



Image credit: Amazon

I knew about Elizabeth Holmes back in 2014. She had just appeared on the cover on Forbes as the youngest self made billionaire. I was super proud of her and inspired as well. What made Elizabeth Holmes rich was the company she founded called Theranos. I’d also heard and read about the company about the same time, they supposedly developed a cool way to test blood within minutes.

This story piqued my interest for two main reasons. Back then, I’d been researching ways to combine my two passions and turn them into a lifelong career – Medicine and technology. I saw Theranos as a model company doing what I have always wanted to do – applying technology to medicine in order to improve the quality of lives. Theranos was labelled a Silicon Valley company and they were in Medicine. Eureka! I spent so much time reading every article about Holmes and her company and I became even more impressed as I read on.

Fast forward a couple years later and I now find myself fulfilling yet another passion and turning it into a career in management consulting – thinking up solutions and frameworks to help individuals and businesses. As you would imagine, my interest in Theranos waned as I got involved in the daily rigors of consulting. I didn’t keep in touch until some time in 2016 when I read an article saying Theranos had troubles with their technology and practice. I did not pay too much attention to it until 2018 when the story became fully blown. I still was never too invested, then came John Carreyrou’s book Bad Blood. It was the best seller everywhere.

It became the second book I’d read in 2019 (the first I’d finish). What follows in this book is a breathtaking nonstop tale of how Elizabeth defrauded the whole world (including me) through Theranos. The book offers an insider account of how the company failed and the lies it told and kept telling to deceive investors and the public. You can find bits of the Theranos story online (or get the book too!) but one of the major lessons from this book is how the hunger for fame can destroy you if your conscience is unchecked.

Elizabeth Holmes became consumed by her quest to become a star, a billionaire, she didn’t care what she lost or who she stepped on so long as she achieved her goal.  She now faces an FBI investigation and the prospect of up to a 20 year jail term. Power is very deceitful and blinding, this story is particularly pertinent within my country (Nigeria) as we hear tales every other day about how youths dabble into all sorts of online fraud and rituals just to make money. The insatiable quest to buy the next Benz and get the new iPhone has seen so many people get into all sorts of thing. You only need look at Elizabeth Holmes to see that ill gotten wealth can’t last forever, no matter how long you dance around, it will still catch up with you. It didn’t matter the amount of goodwill and magazine covers Elizabeth got, it eventually caught up with her, and it will with you too, if you continue.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch.

Making a case for Doctor’s Bad Handwriting

A reliable and acceptable research once carried out showed that quite a number of deaths can be attributed to the band handwriting of doctors. Patients have died because they couldn’t understand what the doctor prescribed and hence pharmacists give the wrong prescription. It is a well-known fact, as a matter of fact, doctors have become synonymous with illegible handwritings. Even those who seemingly have good handwritings seem to distort their writings just to fit in with the doctor stereotype there is.
This piece isn’t going to take sides, what we are going to do as usual is look at the problem from all angles and allow you derive your own conclusions.
To start with, I have to state my own displeasure at the paradox that is…why should doctors prescribe drugs? Isn’t that the job of the pharmacist? I’m not sure a pharmacist spent years in school just to dispense and produce drugs, I’m sure they must have studied some diseases too and they should be better placed to know what drug would cure whatever ailment there is. Doctors in my opinion should just treat patients (however) without prescribing drugs. There should be a pharmacist besides the doctor to monitor proceedings too when it comes to the health of a patient. Now that was a personal rant that I have harboured for so long…don’t get distracted.
So if the powers that be decide that doctors should prescribe drugs after all, why have they then decided to carry out that function with reckless abandon?! Why prescribe something that someone can’t read. A whooping 7000 deaths have been attributed to the illegible handwriting of doctors every year! I refused to accept that this is inborn, I refuse to accept that “doctors” have illegible handwriting because of the rigours of their job. That is not acceptable, you wouldn’t have passed through medical school if you handwriting was as illegible as it is right now. I’m not even talking about the case in India where a woman lost all she her including her family all because the doctor wrote something that was misinterpreted.
Doctors pride themselves these days in having a illegible handwriting, you hear them say things like “that’s why I’m a doctor, seriously???!
Like I said earlier, I’m not on anybody’s side, I’m only looking at the situation in view from the different angles possible. So if doctors have illegible handwritings and this illegible handwriting has resulted in deaths, more illness and the likes, why are prescriptions still handwritten? With all the strides technology has made in this era, why haven’t doctors figured out that they could do with a machine that prints whatever it is they tell it to?
Maybe, I understand the part where doctors are drained emotionally, psychologically and all that, I understand that most times, a handwriting is the least of their worries, I understand that their priority is to save lives too and since illegible handwritings lead to death, why haven’t they figured out another way to do this since in the long run, it will save lives too.
Why does a patient even need to go through the long process of getting repeated drug prescriptions, dispensed medications and repeating the whole process all over again? Are we trying to ensure pharmacists aren’t side-lined in the drug dispensing business? Don’t we know that most times a patient could be suffering from the placebo effect and what the person may need at that point isn’t really some biologically mixed powder? Must we always try to satisfy all aspects of our ecosystem at the continued detriment of the masses who are supposedly the majority who make it up?
Handwritten medical notes have slowly turned into a dinosaur long overdue for extinction, how come this particular dinosaur has refused to go extinct, we even forget to mention the stress other healthcare members go through trying to decipher what the doctor has written. You would even be shocked that doctors themselves find it hard trying to decipher what they have written.
So in essence, what have we tried to do in this piece? Nothing! We have just portrayed the issue at hand in these ramblings I like to call musings and believe you will come to your own conclusions, if you are a doctor, look at these things and think again, if you are a patient look at them and see if there be need for change.

Stay True!

Miracle Roch
Follow me on twitter @Mr_GudMan