As a medical professional, who was your most unforgettable patient?
He was a young Mexican man, just a kid really, nineteen years old and in the prime of life. He had come to the United States, running across the desert like a lot of guys his age, found a job, worked hard and had begun to achieve the American dream. He made enough money to send some home to his parents in some little town in Mexico every month and he had Sundays off so he could enjoy a game of soccer in the park. What more could a guy want? And there he was, not a care, not a worry. A perfect day. When it happened he wasn’t even moving, just standing there at the goal waiting for the ball. Then he went down. Brain aneurysm.Nobody knows for sure why aneurysms happen. They just do. Nature’s little time bomb, just waiting to explode. On that sunny Sunday when it seemed like nothing could go wrong, the young man’s life began to end as the part of his brain that made him be the guy his friends knew faded away. When we checked his pupils we saw they didn’t respond, they remained large and unchanged. His friends found it hard to understand. He had just been standing there and then, so fast, he was gone. It was too nice a day for that to happen. He hadn’t done anything wrong. He was just standing there.The first night in the hospital was terrible for everyone. The friends had all shown up with high hopes that sophisticated American doctors could save him. They didn’t have any idea as to what the outcome to this tragedy could be and we were too aware of what it would. For almost all intents and purposes, the young man had already died, yet he looked so peaceful. He just looked asleep. But his brain was dead.We had two good reasons to use all of our high tech machines to keep the rest of him alive. Both, in my opinion, very good reasons. It is in the best interests of the family to have a body to embrace and say good-bye to. There is a need for closure, especially when there has been a separation of time and space between loved ones.The second good reason we had to keep the patient alive was that he was the perfect organ donor. From the neck down, he was only nineteen years old and everything worked perfectly. Only his head was hurt and we couldn’t do anything about that. But if everything went well we could save his organs and give them to someone else.If we can get consent from the family, we call an agency called ROPA and they figure out who will match up with this person’s organs. Then the “harvesting” team flies in from different parts of the country, goes into the operating room and takes the parts they need. When they’re done they fly back to where they came from, straight to their own hospital, where an anxious patient is waiting for their lifesaving skills and a fresh organ.The nurse called me to the dying patient’s room when the father showed up late that night. I was in the middle of dinner and wasn’t looking forward to what I knew was going to be a difficult situation, having to face the father who hadn’t seen his son for three years and when he finally did it was only to watch machines breath for him until he died. It would be a sad good-bye and I would have to watch it.Medical ethics and the law say we have to approach every family of a dead or dying patient about the possibility of organ donation. There’s even a place on the paperwork to be completed for each death in the hospital. “Was the family approached about organ donation?” “If not, Why not?”There’s no place on the form to explain you just weren’t up to it or you had already done it enough that week and it was somebody else’s turn. There’s no place to write “I was afraid I’d start crying” or “The patient looked just like my brother or mother or father or someone else I love”. There was only a box to check. Sometimes life is just that simple. It doesn’t matter how you feel, only what you do. And that night, it was my turn to do.When I came into the room, the father’s pleading eyes caught mine and there was no place for either of us to hide. There was only that damn box to check. Did I do it or not? It didn't matter how I felt or what I wanted to do. There was no way around it, there was only through it. Everyone else in the patient’s existence until that time was about life. Not me, I was about death.We knew neither of us wanted to be there, that both of us wanted to go backwards in time and try the day again and have it turn out a different way. We knew we couldn’t. I could see the tears in his eyes and he could see the tears in mine. He didn’t want me to start and I didn’t want to start, this dance of death, this inevitable quest to check the right box, to save some lives and for him, to lose one.Slowly I explained what had happened. I told him death was imminent, that even with all our machines we could only keep his son alive a little bit longer. He seemed to understand that death would come no matter what we did and his face ever so slightly signaled acceptance. He quickly made his peace with death. And then he looked me in the eyes again as if to say, “Now what?”I had to check the box.“Mr. Lopez,” I said, “how would you feel about letting us take your son’s heart and lungs and some other important parts?”“What would you do with them?” he asked me.“Save lives,” I answered.I explained how that worked and he looked truly amazed. I could relate. I’ve been doing this for a long time and I am still truly amazed by the concept of organ transplantation. I could see from the way he held his chin in his hand, I was getting close to a yes and I could almost visualize myself putting that check in the right box. I knew he just needed some final piece of understanding, and after thirty years of traveling in Mexico, I knew exactly what it was. This man would not return to his little village in defeat, sad and grieving. He would go home the proud, respected father. We could make his son a hero and send him home in glory. So we talked.“When your son came to this country, he had dreams and plans. He wanted to be a success in America. He wanted to return to his village in triumph and make you proud of him. He wanted to come home a hero and a real hero is a man who doesn’t think of himself first. He is a man who is willing to make sacrifices. A hero is a man who will give up his own life so others may live. That is what a hero is.”The old man looked deep into my eyes.“I will tell you in the morning” he said and then he left.The next day when I went to meet with the old man he greeted me with an embrace. “Let us talk of heroes,” he said, “How many lives can my son save today?”“He can save two lives with his kidneys, two lives with his lungs and another with his heart. He can save a life with his liver and help a diabetic with his pancreas. With his skin we can heal the burns that otherwise would be forever painful and with his bones we can help many people walk. And with his eyes he will bring sight to two people who would be in darkness without him. He will save many lives and change many more,” I said.“Good, then we can put up a plaque in the church by the plaza so that everyone in the village can see. My son will come home a hero. I hope you will do our family the honor of coming to visit the plaque sometime and see the place where my son grew up.”That night when I filled out the death form, my tears fell on the part that asked if the family was approached about organ donation. I had never felt so good about putting an X in the right box. I had never felt better about what I do and who I am. It just doesn’t get any better than being on a team that saves lives and at the same time, helps ordinary people become heroes.Some day I’m going down to that place in Mexico. I’m going to see that plaque and meet that young man’s family. I need to tell them again what a hero he was. They all need to know he saved so many lives.from my blog My Life In The ER
Why is building a wall between the US and Mexico, like Trump proposes, a bad idea? Ignoring ethics, would such a wall reduce illegal border crossings?
This wall idea is a prime example of Trump's worst MO: he constantly makes bold assertions of what he will do about this issue or that, but he is notoriously vague on specifics. For starters, he says he's going to make Mexico pay for the wall. Yet, when he's been pressed as to how he'll accomplish this, he famously skirts the question, answering only that he'll do it, just wait and see, he makes deals like no one else can. That's his answer for everything. He fired blistering criticism at Pres. Obama for how he's handled some recent terrorist acts, identifying the problem as Obama being weak and unintimidating in front of the world. Yet, when asked what would he do under such circumstances, he replied "You don't want to know what I'd do!" Um, yes, Mr. Trump, I do want to know. Do tell us how you'll handle (and prevent, as you claim) global terrorism.He says he'll be the best for women, but when asked why, how he'll be the best, his only answer has been to mention his wife and daughter. They will see to it that he's great on woman's issues, but again, he doesn't say how. Then he says he "cherishes women". Um, Donald, lusting after women is not the same as cherishing women, understanding their needs or respecting their value in society.Donald Trump. Good ol' Mr. Big Talk. Fast and loose with the outrageous claims, but convenientically lacking in giving specifics.And about your question specifically, Trump’s premise about how immigrants without legal status get into the U.S. is totally off-base. Illegal border-crossers make up only a small fraction of immigrants living in the U.S. Illegally. The vast majority come to the U.S. with a proper visa, as a tourist, to study or possibly to work short-term. The problem occurs when the visas expire and the legal visitors remain illegally, slipping under the radar. The border is already well-protected and illegal crossings have been reduced dramatically. The wall idea is absurd and would accomplish little if it was built. Trump probably knows this, too, but is feeding less-knowledgeable Americans’ fears and misconceptions.
What will happen after we die? What about our thoughts?
Science can predict what happens after you die. First, as parts of your neural net starts to shut down due to oxygen deprivation, some zonal potential will start to decay. Random regions will fire due to inhibitory regions shutting down, while other networks resort to emergency prevention procedure. As death takes over more and more regions (assuming that the heart has stopped working for a while now) parts of the mind quickly transition between shock, quickly bypassed into euphoria as the body compensates for the shock by releasing all the enzymes and ions in a last ditch effort to function. It's literally trying to stimulate itself back to continued function. The effort is moot. As these final regions fire, memories and visions flood the mind in a deluge of noise as the last remaining sections attempt to rewire itself. Think of a city losing power and the inhabitants moving batteries around to try and keep the lights on. More and more of the individual fades into the deep silent sleep of death, returning once more to the blank nothingness that our consciousness came from before we were born, now quickly becoming unborn. If measured in an IQ sense, we quickly devolve into a primordial state where only basic senses and perception is present, and when those final flickers dwindle, only small static sparks of circuitry fire with nowhere to connect to. Does an earthworm care if it dies? Like a meaningless voice in a dark ocean. The silence finally claims those too. Then the chemicals begin to break down as decomposition and new microbe life takes over. We are no longer an organism and become an environment for life much smaller than our own. We become like the rocks and trees, and soon rejoin the Earth. Want to know what it's like to die? Ask dirt.Like the earthworm or an amoeba, it doesn't worry about dying, and neither will you. You, who cared so much about the afterlife, will soon no longer care about death. You, who a decade or two ago cared about certain TV shows or music, are a completely different person today. When you're an earthworm in terms of intelligence during death, you'll no longer care about death at all. Are you still you? What happened to the you that was a kid so long ago? Every cell in your body is replaced every 7 years, or so. Every neuron is replaced one ion and molecule at a time. That's nearly EVERY atom. You've died already, many times, constantly. You'll die again and again until you devolve into an earthworm, then into dirt. This is what death truly is. It is not kind, and it is not unkind, but it certainly isn't eternal torture of pain or pleasure. It is what it is. Why not just appreciate the beauty of life for what it is while we are who we think we are. Like a brush of paint on an epic painting, we started at some point, and ended at some other point. We existed, isn't that enough?On a related note. It is my opinion that death should remind us that we are not gods. By our definition, a god exists always, eternally. Scientists ask to know more and be more of a person and embrace more of the world while they exist, knowing that it all goes away at some point. Those who are religious seek to exist forever, to seek eternity, is to seek being like a god. Isn't that a bit pretentious? Maybe death is a reminder from eternal forces that we are not like them, that we are not gods. Maybe if we live a good life and be a good example, the universe will bestow a longer existence. Think of Jesus and Newton. They set an example, and in a way, parts of them lived on in their name. Perhaps that is the gift of living a good life to the best of our abilities, not some abstract promise to ease us in our fears.
Where do the birds go to die?
Despite that fact that birds come in large flocks, it is very rare for people to see dead birds out and about. Most birds die only from natural causes and therefore live for only a few years. Birds will usually seek out secluded areas because sick birds feel vulnerable and want to hide away, and therefore they just die there. But they usually won't be found there either. Carcasses can disappear pretty quickly in nature because of the food chain. Small birds are a vital part of the food chain and therefore, scavengers such as rats, wolves, cats, and foxes will seek out these hideouts that birds tend to die in and of course, consume them. They will even eat the alive ones, but those birds don't resist because they are too weak. Even if predators don't find them, they will be washed or blown into the gutters and then to the sewers. Birds also die at the wheels of automobiles and are often repeatedly run over by other cars until they are part into the pavement. Generally, dead birds are not found because of their small body mass which makes them vulnerable to any of the things mentioned above. I'm sure if you actively seek out dead birds in the bushes and the tree-holes, you'll have a better chance.
What do you think really happens after we die?
I've recently asked a similar question and was dismayed by how many people came back with”there is nothing after death but blackness”. It must be awful to feel this way. 6 weeks after my husband died in a car accident I decided to contact a spiritualist, as this had helped me when my father had died years before. I arranged a visit with her over the phone and just as I was about to put the phone down, she said “does your husband have a gold tooth?”. Now this was in the days before social media and the accident had only recieved very limited coverage in the local press, and they'd got my husbands name wrong. She didn't have mine or my husbands full name. I'd simply called her up and arranged an appointment..I was a bit shell shocked , but replied yes he did. She then went on to describe him in detail, his bright blue eyes, how his smile was crooked, how he put his hand over his mouth when he smiled as he was self conscious about his teeth, his height but that he stooped (he was 6′2″). She told me he had blonde hair and I said he used to but was bald at the time of the accident..she replied “well he's got his hair back..he's pleased about that”.She then described the accident we were both in (my husband died on impact and I was taken to hospital). She told me that after the accident he thought he'd been thrown clear of the car, as he was standing 10 feet away from it. It was only when he saw firemen removing his body from the car that he realised he was dead. He was also specific about his time of death: 7:44 pm. I was unaware of his exact time of death until I saw the coroners report months later.Immediately upon realising that he was dead, his maternal grandmother appeared next to him and said “you must come with me”. The spiritualist told me my husband had told his nana to eff off. Now anyone that knew my husband knew that he was a bit sweary. He turned and began to run down the road in the direction of his sisters house (12 miles away from the accident)..and immediately appeared in her front room.He tried to tell his sister what had happened, but obviously she couldn't hear him. He said that his sister was reading a book and watching a film at the same time. When I asked her about this she said she'd been reading lord of the rings and watching the Lord of the rings film. His grandmother appeared next to him, telling him he had to come with her.He refused again and turned to go to his mum's house, and landed in her hall way. She was listening to the radio and washing up..by now a pattern was emerging. My husband landing at different sites and his gran trying to persuade him to come with her.Over time I've recieved so much proof of life after death, much of it from my husband (who also believed there was nothing after death and thought spiritualism was for the gullible). It has brought me tremendous comfort knowing that he will come for me when I die and I'll see him again.
What will happen if all crude oil gets finished?
This is going to sound a little dark, but it's the scenario that I see if we don't get any kind of suitable alternative.The issue isn't about it running out. The issue is about it becoming too expensive, thanks to Energy returned on energy invested or EROEI. There may be a ton of oil in the ground, but it gets more expensive to extract. Gas is expensive today primarily because of that.What will slowly happen will be societal decay. We rely on oil for transportation, manufacturing, air conditioning, extraction of resources, and altogether making it so that one person can do more work. We stepped out of being a society of farmers primarily because tools like tractors made it so that one person can do 20 man-days' work in a few hours.As the energy and critical resource to doing such things becomes more expensive, we'll reallocate our resources to preserving the function of agricultural equipment. We'll quit driving so much because it will be too expensive to do so. The cost of growing and harvesting food will go up, so fewer people will be able to afford to simply buy it all the time. More people will have to learn to grow their own food, which incidentally will mean fewer people working doing other things.The last gallon of fuel oil will end up being used to power some kind of food-making equipment, probably a tractor.Then that's it. No more modern society.What's after that is a big question mark.A return to an agrarian society?Almost certainly. When it takes so much manpower just to grow and harvest food, that leaves not very many people to do other things.Return to a two-class society?Likely. It's either that or having no society at all outside of family/community groups. Cities will be abandoned since there's no point in living there since it's impossible to get food there.Return to slavery?Very possible. I don't believe we ended slavery because of a sudden moral awakening. Slavery had been viewed as evil for centuries. I believe we ended slavery because it became economical to do so as machinery became more commonplace -- that is, it ultimately became cheaper in the long run to buy an expensive machine and pay a few people to operate it than to house and feed dozens or hundreds of slaves.I don't see straight-up replacement as something that would be possible when the crunch hits. Part of why manufacturing solar panels, wind turbines and other energy generators is cheap is because energy is cheap. Try cheaply producing those things when energy is expensive. It won't happen.There are some very interesting ideas floating around, such as high temperature nuclear reactors being used first to generate energy, then the heat from them being used to drive a Fischer–Tropsch process to convert arbitrary carbon sources into liquid fuel.
What happens to human consciousness after death?
Death is to walk into a new life. If we think of death as an end it’s a huge mistake and that mentality will negatively impact our life in the world of dead and our next incarnation. We should think about life as a big circle of life and death in which there is time we live in this physical/visible world and there is time we live in the invisible world. Who we truly are is the soul (so called the Astral man) that live in the body that we normally think is “us”. We are not the body that contains that Astral man. When the Astral man who is our true self leaves the body, we “die”.Below is a short description of how a normal death happens as instructed from the high level in the universe.The death will take place from feet to head. The vital energy that used to radiate outwardly now emits inwardly. Therefore, both feet slowly become cold before both hands and then the heart. When death reached the jugular notch, everyone knows surely they are going to die.At this moment, the dead feel very calm, light, and free from material influence. When the soul finally arrives at the brain, it triggers past memories, and the entire lifetime starts to replay like a movie, exact to every minute of our life. This life time movie though only takes a very short time to finish. This phenomenon is known as 'memory projection'. The moment of the replay is extremely important because the 'memory projection' exerts a great effect on the life in the invisible world of the dead. At this time, when the soul is free from the body so it is not impacted by the physical senses of the material body, the soul can look at its whole life in an equanimous and objective attitude. It can learn exactly what good deed or bad deed it has committed in this life and will know how to self-improve during the time it will dwell in the invisible world (before next incarnation). At the same time, the silver string that connects the physical body to the soul will permanently break.Once this connection has vanished, the dead are completely in a coma and are unconscious so that the soul withdraws from the physical body. When the soul withdraws from his/her body through a secret point on the top of the head and out of the body, the person is completely dead.The soul now starts to live a new life in the correspondent level in the invisible world in accordance with the lightness and subtleness of its vibration. The lighter and more subtle it is, the higher level it reached. It also means that the higher the level the soul will dwell, the more advanced such soul is.Except for extremely cruel and terrible persons, the majority of the dead are awakened and dwelled in De level where they remain some desires, wants and passions that are not much different from those of the living world. At first, these souls feel strange and puzzled, but they gradually become familiar with it. Depending upon their sentiments and desires in the living world, they act accordingly. Normally, the soul will recognize that what they understand about death so far is so wrong. After a short time, they will feel extremely happy in the new world and feel like there is nice music enclosing and encouraging them.Within 3 days from the date of death, the soul will normally stay around the corpse or in their house around their family. After 3 days, the soul will have to meet a saint (the name of this saint is varied in different religions and cultures. However, basically they are the same deity who can be called an official deity working under the “government” of the Emperor of Heaven). This saint will “reconcile” the “plus” and “minus” point in the soul’s whole life. Plus is for a good deed done, minus is for a bad deed done. The result of the reconciliation will decide in which level the soul will dwell. If there is only plus point left, the soul will dwell in high level and vice versa. These plus and minus operate in accordance with the laws of cause and effect. (Read more about this law here The Law of Cause and Effect)
What is Quora's policy on accounts belonging to people who have died?
A goal of Quora is to act as a canonical tome of a certain type of knowledge that's somewhere between encyclopedic information and off-the-cuffs conversational Q&A (to produce actionable information instead of 'static' information).It goes without saying then that users' personal contributions--questions, answers, posts, votes and comments--should remain in place if the site is to remain perpetually useful. The issue then becomes how to preserve them without creeping others out (a user experience problem of sorts).As such, it's reasonable to expect Quora to "gray out" existing user elements in place. By this I mean that if you see all user links as "blue" now, they'll probably become a "hard gray" that's no longer hyperlinked.All votes should remain in place (they have to if worthy answers are to hold their weight over time).Profile pages could pose the only truly complicated preservation challenge. (from a non-technical standpoint, as in not having to do with the backend).On social networks like Facebook, user pages are either memorialized ("enshrined") or discarded entirely (family members can choose).On Quora, active users really pour their hearts out into a lot of questions and answers, eliciting the same emotional feedback as a Facebook profile page. Should Quora then allow similar memorialization functionality, or the option to choose that or total discarding? These are weighty issues the team will have to tackle in time.