GOOP’s misogynistic, mansplaining hit job

GOOP = Goliath (hello! this is Gwyneth Paltrow with her army of publicists and really, am I supposed to believe that her very polished, very merchandising blog does not even have one professional multimedia expert at the helm?),
Dr. Jen Gunter = David

goop.com = alternative facts,
drjengunter.wordpress.com = evidence based facts (or at least she is honest about where her claims come from; and I think honesty, above all else, should be the core value of every scientific endeavor)

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I am re-blogging this as my contribution to stopping the spread of pseudoscience and ridiculous ideas from people who think that they can away with it because they are Big Celebrity and have the advantage of multiple media platforms to infect others with their toxic memes*.

* “meme” is a very recently invented word, defined as “an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture” (Wikipedia). It was coined by Richard Dawkins in his book “The Selfish Gene”. Recently, the Internet has been the culprit of propagating highly infectious memes — goop being one of them.

Dr. Jen Gunter

GOOP and Gwyneth Paltrow have a case of GOOPitis, which according to Dr. Steve Gundry is due to my potty mouthed facts. Or tomato skins. Or something. I find it all very disjointed, inadequately researched, bloated, and mansplainy.

I first saw this GOOP letter thing on the train back from a wonderful day in Manchester visiting with family (I’m over in the U.K. on holiday) when my phone almost blew up with Twitter notifications, partly because GOOP dedicated their first ever fighting words to little old me (apparently I have some gall suggesting women should not listen to second hand health advice from a ghost) and partly because even High Priestess Paltrow herself had descended from her bespoke, wooden vagina steaming throne to tweet about it among the mortals.

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Apparently GOOP thinks I am a “third-party” who critiques them “to leverage that interest and bring attention to” myself. Thisopinion…

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Reading Lists & Random Musings

reading list

 

I have just finished  2 ebooks by Atul Gawande, an American surgeon who wrote memoirs in his  spare time. He had this writing style that gives one the impression of Malcolm-Gladwell-in-a-white-coat. “Complications” and “Better” were interesting and very relate-able to one working in the “healing profession”.  Gawande was living and describing the US healthcare system which my country borrowed, warts and all.

Next on my reading list is Sandeep Jauhar, still yet another American with Indian roots struggling to live the medical dream. I’m curious about his effort at describing the life of an, “Intern”; and I am anxious to know if he found that year of medical training  to be as horrible as I did. He also wrote “Doctored: The Disillusionment of an American Physician.”

Hmmm … if he is disillusioned, then  I wonder  what Chinese doctors in China must feel. 

I hope to find some of his books in Powerbooks or National Bookstore. Ebooks are ok and I love my Kindle … but there is just … something about the smell of paper and the weight of a paperback that does it for me. Maybe it’s a fetish.

 

***

When I was eight,  my greatest dream was to live near a bookstore. I realize now how terribly lacking in ambition I was at 8 (still am, actually). If I were more ambitious, I would have dreamed of owning a bookstore … or a bookstore chain … better yet, I should have dreamed of owning a publishing company … or owning Google!

But then, my idea of heaven was to be surrounded by stories and ideas and pictures … and to have the time and energy to absorb them all. I love that the Internet had been invented (again, thank you Tim Berners-Lee, for making the WorldWideWeb  possible). It’s like having a library without the shelves.

But still …  there is something about the smell of books …

 

***

girl after 20 plus years I used to see a lot of National Geographic magazines in Booksale. Not anymore. Is it because they have gone mainly digital? In any case, this is a picture in Nat Geo of an Afghan girl in 1985 and then 17 years later in 2002. Before and after the fall of the Berlin Wall. In 1985, her face was sad, beautiful and haunting. In 2002, she looked, sad, older, angry and tired.

 

She hardly knows how to read.

I was Minding my Own Business

When…

I read of it on Facebook. My FB friend angrily asks on her status update: “(name of hospital), are you really a hospital or a financial institution?”

That made me think. Because my FB friend (and other non-medical persons) seem to believe that one is either a hospital OR a  business. Not both. The reality, though, is in my crazy country, private hospitals are BOTH  – hospital AND business. They provide medical care and services AND they also have to make a profit.

As of 2009, a majority of hospital in my country are privately owned. Personally, I don’t agree with this state of affairs. I would prefer having a system like that of UKs National Health Service (NHS) which provides socialized healthcare from cradle to the grave. But at this moment, this is MY reality.

When I was still in training I often had to shell out money for my patients’s medical expenses (which was not done out of altruism, but that’s another story). I vowed to myself that after I graduate, I will not hand out my meager resources to strangers just because they need it. Sorry, but I am not Jesus, after all.

 

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“The triumph of Science Over Death” is a sculpture of a woman standing on top of a skull and holding a torch. It was made by Jose Rizal and seem to depict victory of medicine over infirmity, disease and death. I would disagree with perceiving medical science to have such broad powers.

Out of training, I realized that fuck! Most of medicine in MY country IS ABOUT  business. That really left a bad taste in my mouth, which is one of the reasons why I am disillusioned with private practice.

Of course, there is also public health as an alternative. And as I am currently in public health, I can honestly say that I am not impressed with the alternative.

Those in the US seem to be in a soul-searching mode as far as healthcare is concerned. And we should be too. But reading my Facebook feeds and the comments from the news article, I am left wondering if the level of discourse in my society is advanced enough for us to engage in meaningful discussions about healthcare. Of course this is a start. And perhaps I should take heart in that.

 

 

Interesting Stories

A poor patient with cervical cancer is writhing in  pain just outside the building of a big tertiary hospital. Her husband watches helplessly as she moans; all the while he was wondering when her (and his) suffering will end. They have 100 pesos with them and the wife needs at least 1500 pesos for her blood transfusion and a lot more than that for the chemotherapy.

The worst part about residency training is there came a point when the only way you can cope with all that suffering is to pretend you were a robot.

The worst part about residency training was there came a point when the only way you can cope with all that suffering is to pretend you were a robot.

 

Then comes the reporter. The reporter looks helpless and frustrated. She interviews the man and his wife. All the while, the woman was writhing in pain.

The reporter accompanies both to the heartless hospital that won’t admit them. The hospital, out of fear of negative media coverage, admits the patient and make her wait in the Admitting Section. They would still have to procure blood.

The secretary of health appears on the screen saying they are doing their best to achieve universal healthcare. A medical activist appears saying  that this is what happens when healthcare is privatized.

I haven’t heard from the doctor to whom the patient was decked.

But I imagine that this  must be his/her story:

Dr. Z has been on duty and without sleep for 48 hours. Technically, Dr. Z was on duty for 24 hours but the reality is Dr. Z has been staying in the hospital for three straight days because of complicated patients their team has to take care of. Dr. Z is  a resident-in-training and aside from taking care of the patients’s medical needs, Dr. Z has to take on the role of nurse, midwife, utility worker and social worker because the hospital lack the staff to provide adequate nursing, midwifery, janitorial and social work services to the patients. Now this cervical cancer patient comes in just as Dr.Z’s shift is about to end (the shift will end but the work will not). Dr. Z sighs and thinks, I will have to shell out the 1500 pesos for the blood, so that I can transfer her to the Oncology service, oh god 1500, I was planning to buy mommy her present, sorry mom, cervical cancer patient trumps your birthday any day, when I graduate, I am promptly going to another country, preferably first world where I don’t have to be a social worker and doctor at the same time, i am so sleepy, this day will never end .. lord please kill me now.

 

Surgeons

The thong about Grey's Anatomy is that it makes you believe that the guys and (girls) who cut you up are actually this good-looking. Nope -- not by a long shot :)

The thing about Grey’s Anatomy is that it makes you believe that the guys and (girls) who cut you up are actually this good-looking. Nope — not by a long shot 🙂

Yes, I still maintain that Surgery is an old boyfriend that I am extremely fond of, but was never passionately in love with.

In my opinion, the world of Medicine can be divided into the country of Surgeons and the country of Non-Surgeons.

There are those who straddle those 2 countries — call them “people with dual citizenships”. To this group belongs (among others) ophthalmologists, otorhinolaryngologists and dermatologists (who, recently have dared to go beyond injecting botox and have attempted “Aesthetic Surgery”, a current rage in my society).

I love McSteamy more than McDreamy. In my opinion, he's a more dashing surgeon in and out of the OR.

I love McSteamy more than McDreamy. In my opinion, he’s a more dashing surgeon in and out of the OR.

I can pass as a passable surgeon. The problem with me is I can easily sleep in the OR, which of course, is a no-no.

Despite my aversion to doing pelvic clean-up with lymph node dissection, omentectomy and random peritoneal sampling (believe me, I hated standing up for >3 hours straight and chasing after a rogue spurting artery), I can still say that …

 

 

There is Something About The OR Which I Love:

the adrenaline rush, the urgency

the hurriedness, harriedness, the life-and-deathness

the clear-cut white-and-blackness

of it all.

Scalpel slicing supple skin

laid down like sacrifice

amid sterling steel (table, bed, even the lights)

perfectly sterilized

immaculately sanitized,

just in case, one never knows

what it might meet on The Other Side.

Am I a butcher or a healer?

The intriguing question runs through and through my mind.

Not during, but after

a procedure — for the mind shuts during a surgery.

The brain functions like a warrior

bent on vanquishing that bleeder,

tumor, adhesion

with as much precision

as technology permits.

Ah, the OR, my battlefield, my theater, my basketball court.

All the mundane that I am is elevated to some degree of greatness

for 30 minutes to an hour.

Deep in that which passes for my heart, though, knows

that I am not a surgeon.

I couldn’t ward off sleep even during CS

(sometimes I doze over hys

or, god forbid,

while attempting pelvic clean-up)

Snoring over a woman with her abdomen open, uterus jutting out.

I zoned out at the blood bank while waiting

for rbc’s to arrive; to reprieve the coming

of that which

comes to us all.

I resented being responsible for a body that was not mine.

And for what compensation?

The bragging rights that one saved a live.

When one doesn’t care, not in her heart of hearts,

not at all.

Favor For A Friend

Friendships are important to me. I think that there is nothing sadder than dying alone and friendless. (http://m.guardian.co.uk/film/2011/oct/09/joyce-vincent-death-mystery-documentary)

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So as a favor to my friend, I am posting her article which some publication has not deemed fit for mass consumption (her words, not mine).

When Life Begins: Thoughts on the RH Law.

Two days ago, proponents and dissidents of the RH Law went head-to-head at the Supreme Court of the Philippines to air their respective thoughts on the Reproductive Health Law. The Pro’s wore purple, while the Anti’s wore red. The crux of the debate on that particular day was: when does life begin. The Anti-RH camp wants the Supreme Court to give a lawmaker’s definition of the beginning of life. SC Justice Ma. Lourdes Sereno put her foot down saying the SC won’t be making judgments on metaphysical matters.

That was just appropriate, I would think. I am a doctor. I spent 7 years of my life after high school studying the human body in all its pain and glory. I spent 4 years assisting women give birth. And two years treating children with reproductive tract problems. And I don’t have any idea when life begins!

You may ask the biologists. And I would bet my last centavo that the majority of them, or at least the ones who are intellectually honest, will tell you that they don’t know as well.

The problem is we can’t even define what Life is!

The Merriam & Webster’s Dictionary (as culled from Google) gave these definitions:

a : the quality that distinguishes a vital and functional being from a dead body

b : a principle or force that is considered to underlie the distinctive quality of animate beings

c : an organismic state characterized by capacity for metabolism, growth, reaction to stimuli, and reproduction

How can one possibly make a definition of human life (emphasis on human) based on these?

If it’s any of the above, then a sperm cell is human life. Henceforth, jacking off (masturbation) would be mortal sin. If Mr. Kit Tatad has never masturbated or had a wet dream his whole life, then he’s more God-like than I thought and is worthy of my eternal admiration.

What I learned in Embryology is that human life is a process. There are high-fallutin terms to describe the process – acrosomal reaction, fertilization, implantation, fetal development. Do we really have to pin down the essence of our humanity based on the definition of each stage of this process? I would think that to be human is to become more than the sum of sperm+egg or implantation/embryogenesis.

I would think being human is that woman I saw this morning, heaving and grunting to get her 4th offspring out into this world, an offspring that she claims she doesn’t want; but will love anyway. She has no choice but to have that offspring now, even when she is not ready, because she didn’t know what contraception meant.

I love Pope Francis and these are his words: the testimony of faith comes in very many forms, just as in a great fresco, there is a variety of colours and shades; yet they are all important, even those which do not stand out.In all probability, he was not referring to me. But I have faith in the RH Law. It may be flawed, as our science is flawed, but it is all we have for now.