Tony Deleo calls for more candidates for hospital board

In a strange turn of events, it appears that hospital commissioner Tony Deleo is not going quietly into his retirement. After announcing he isn’t going to run again, and a great candidate in Cheri Van Hoover, a midwife and health care educator stepped forward, we assumed that Tony would endorse her. Instead he writes a letter to the editor calling for others to run against her, and word on the street is that someone is planning on filing against her. If Tony was hoping to go out with a pat on the back for his service, I’m afraid this is not going to help. Why he is uncomfortable with Cheri’s candidacy should be explained to those of us who respect his service, but wonder what is his problem.

Tony has overseen a number of decades where we have built huge wings to the hospital while running a deficit in primary care physicians. Jefferson County residents are being told the waiting list is up to 9 months to see a primary care physician. (I have talked to two just in the last month). Who does Tony think is going to do a better job than Cheri in helping to drive a solution for this problem?  This is a real question and not just a criticism.

Hospital Commissioner Tony Deleo Retires

The Port Townsend Leader is reporting that Tony Deleo has decided to step down after 44 years as Jefferson County Hospital Commissioner. This paves the way for Cheri Van Hoover to run unchallenged, but the filing deadline is still a few weeks away.

Why is this important? Given the impending changes to the health care system under Trump and the Republicans an activist board member is needed now more than ever. While Tony has done a great job over his many terms, it seems that Cheri Van Hoover is a much better fit for the needs of the public of Jefferson County today.

Thank you Tony Deleo for your service to this county! We know that you did it for the good of the community.

Washington state awarded $11M to battle opioid epidemic – KREM and others

Thank you President Obama. It was his administration that set it in motion and Trumps can’t deny that there is an Opioid crisis. Now the problem is what are we going to use for the millions of people in real pain who now can’t get opioids?

WASHINGTON STATE – Washington state is set to receive $11 million to combat the state’s opioid epidemic.

The money comes from a grant, totaling $485 million, awarded to states and territories by the Trump Administration.

The funding will be provided through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis Grants administered by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.

State passes law giving credence to reflexology and somatic education

The Washington State legislature has updated it’s RCW 18.108 to reflect state credence of the massage techniques of reflexology and somatic education. Both these methods have no basis in proven scientific methods of treatment, and are considered by some in the medical profession to be nothing more than fake medicine. It is disheartening to see the State legislature taking steps to legitimize these massage techniques that come with little or no proof of their ability to treat patients other than that the industry has come up with educational programs to train people in these techniques. While there seems to be nothing more than hearsay to validate their techniques, the legislature abrogates it’s duty to protect the public from non-scientifically valid procedures, and work towards giving these techniques and their practitioners a cloak of medical respectability.

According to information on, the leading source for tracking non-scientific health claims in the US:

Many proponents claim that foot reflexology can cleanse the body of toxins, increase circulation, assist in weight loss, and improve the health of organs throughout the body. Others have reported success in treating earaches, anemia, bedwetting, bronchitis, convulsions in an infant, hemorrhoids, hiccups, deafness, hair loss, emphysema, prostate trouble, heart disease, overactive thyroid gland, kidney stones, liver trouble, rectal prolapse, undescended testicles, intestinal paralysis, cataracts, and hydrocephalus (a condition in which an excess of fluid surrounding the brain can cause pressure that damages the brain). Some claim to “balance energy and enhance healing elsewhere in the body.” [2] One practitioner has even claimed to have lengthened a leg that was an inch shorter than the other. There is no scientific support for these assertions.

Reflexology was introduced into the United States in 1913 by William H. Fitzgerald, M.D. (1872-1942), an ear, nose, and throat specialist who called it “zone therapy.” Eunice D. Ingham (1899-1974) further developed reflexology in the 1930s and 1940s, concentrating on the feet [3] Mildred Carter, a former student of Ingham, subsequently promoted foot reflexology as a miraculous health method [4-6]. A 1993 mailing from her publisher stated:

Not only does new Body Reflexology let you cure the worst illnesses safely and permanently, it can even work to reverse the aging process, Carter says. Say goodbye to age lines, dry skin, brown spots, blemishes—with Body Reflexology you can actually give yourself an at-home facelift with no discomfort or disfiguring surgery [7].

You can read the whole overview by Dr. Barrett along with research studies that have been done that conclude that reflexology has no legitimate scientific standing.

Dr. Barrett’s conclusion: “Reflexology is based on an absurd theory and has not been demonstrated to influence the course of any illness. Done gently, reflexology is a form of foot massage that may help people relax temporarily. Whether that is worth $35 to $100 per session or is more effective than ordinary (noncommercial) foot massage is a matter of individual choice. Claims that reflexology is effective for diagnosing or treating disease should be ignored. Such claims could lead to delay of necessary medical care or to unnecessary medical testing of people who are worried about reflexology findings.”

Also from Dr. Barrett’s web site, the definition of “Somatic Therapy” that the state is tacitly supporting:

somatic therapy (somatic disciplines, somatic methods, somatics, somatic techniques, somatic therapies): Field that encompasses aikido, the Alexander Technique, applied kinesiology, Arica, Aston-Patterning, Awareness Through Movement, bioenergetics, Body-Mind Centering®, “Capoeria,” “Continuum,” CranioSacral Therapy, Eutony, Focusing, Functional Integration, Hakomi, Hellerwork, judo, karate, kundalini yoga, kung fu, “Lomi” (see “lomi-lomi” and “Lomi work”), “Oki yoga” (see “Oki-Do”), Process-Oriented Psychotherapy (process psychology), rebirthing, reflexology, Resonant Kinesiology, Rolfing, “Rosen work” (see “Rosen Method”), “sensory awareness,” SHEN, somasynthesis, tai chi, Touch for Health, Trager, “Trans Fiber,” yoga therapy, and Zero Balancing. “Subtle-energy elements” are a commonality of somatic therapies. Thomas Hanna, founder of the journal Somatics, coined the word “somatics.”

While I have no doubt that some of these techniques, such as Capoeria, Akidido, etc. are good exercise and lead to relaxation, by turning these into some kind of pseudo medical technique leads to people thinking it’s a treatment for a disease or condition that should be treated with proven medical techniques. It’s disappointing to see the Washington State Legislature give validity to these marketing tactics for these  techniques.

We can hope the Governor chooses to not sign this update to the RCW.

Top neurosurgeon Johnny Delashaw resigns from Swedish – Seattle Times

The final fallout of a sordid tale of money over the patients quality of life. Or even their lives.

Dr. Johnny Delashaw resigned less than three weeks after he was prominently featured in a Seattle Times investigation.


EPA denies antifluoridationists’ petition

We still have an EPA for a little while. Scary to think what may happen as the Republicans begin gutting it.

From Quackwatch:

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has denied a petition filed in November 2016 by the Fluoride Action Network (FAN), Food & Water Watch, the Organic Consumers Association, the American Academy of Environmental Medicine, the International Academy of Oral Medicine and Toxicology, and several individuals. The petition asked the EPA to ban fluoridation based on claims that it can damage to the nervous system. But the agency concluded that fluoridation is safe and effective:

The petition has not set forth a scientifically defensible basis to conclude that any persons have suffered neurotoxic harm as a result of exposure to fluoride in the U.S. through the purposeful addition of fluoridation chemicals to drinking water or otherwise from fluoride exposure in the U.S. Still less has the petition set forth a scientifically defensible basis to estimate an aggregate loss of IQ points in the U.S, attributable to this use of fluoridation chemicals. As noted previously, EPA has determined the petition did not establish that fluoridation chemicals present an unreasonable risk of injury to health or the environment, arising from these chemical substances’ use to fluoridate drinking water. The fact that a purported risk relates to a large population is not a basis to relax otherwise applicable scientific standards in evaluating the evidence of that purported risk. EPA and other authoritative bodies have previously reviewed many of the studies cited as evidence of neurotoxic effects of fluoride in humans and found significant limitations in using them to draw conclusions on whether neurotoxicity is associated with fluoridation of drinking water. In contrast, the benefits of community water fluoridation have been demonstrated to reduce dental caries, which is one of the most common childhood diseases and continues to be problematic in all age groups. Left untreated, decay can cause pain, school absences, difficulty concentrating, and poor appearance, all contributing to decreased quality of life and ability to succeed.