The job I do in my evening hours involves reading health-related news, and every so often, I kick up a doozy. From Reuters:
The portrayal of coma and awakening from a coma is grossly inaccurate in major motion pictures, research shows, and many moviegoers are unable to tell fact from fiction.
Oh, get OUT. Really?
In a review of 30 movies from 1970 to 2004 with actors depicting prolonged coma, coma experts found that only two showed a “reasonably accurate” representation of coma.
That’s nothing. I once saw a telenovela in which a woman was having her bandages removed after eye surgery, apparently designed to restore her eyesight. (I base this not on my vast knowledge of Spanish, which is pretty much limited to “no mas margarita, por favor” and being able to count to eight, but on the fact I’ve seen the same scene in about eight million old movies.) Around and around her head the doctor unwound the gauze, until he got to the end, the bandages fell away and revealed — madre de dios! — two elaborately made-up eyes, including false lashes.
But back to comas. The problem is, of course, that people base their health-care decisions on something they saw on “ER,” and sometimes these people have influential columns in national newspapers and, well, they should know that problems with the depiction of coma included comatose patients, without feeding tubes, suddenly waking after years of being in a coma with no physical or mental problems and with a Sleeping Beauty-like appearance, as the story points out.
Well, I saw “Kill Bill,” too, and I never believed that stuff about Uma Thurman waking up after four years and being able to kick ass moments later. I’m such a skeptic.
But here’s the punchline:
One film showed a comatose person tapping out a message in Morse code with his finger. “We expected misrepresentation – not gross representation,” Eelco Wijdicks told Reuters Health.
Someone tell Peggy Noonan.
Speaking of health news, looks like my old congressman is up to his usual tricks, too:
The upcoming National STD Prevention Conference, sponsored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, among other groups, has just been given an unhealthy shot of ideology. The conference was supposed to include a symposium designed to explore how abstinence-only sex education may undermine other efforts to reduce STDs. The papers and panelists had gone through the customary vetting of peer review. But now the symposium has been abruptly retooled to include two proponents of abstinence programs—and to exclude a well-respected detractor. This is bad news, not only because abstinence-only work is scientifically unfounded but also because the switch represents a new level of government intrusion into the peer-review process of a major scientific meeting.
It’s from Slate. And it goes on:
So, who’s responsible for the switcheroo? Two senior scientists connected to the conference said they were told that Rep. Mark Souder, R-Ind., had intervened.
But of course. A guy who doesn’t believe in evolution would likely not be swayed by science, no matter what it has to say.
I have to stop torturing myself like this.
Yesterday’s day off gives way to today’s day on, so to speak. The good news: It involves a real grown-up lunch, which means I’d best go start the vast grooming process required, these days, to make me even remotely presentable. What makes your coma special? Discuss it in the comments.