It’s been a while since I’ve done this, but this is me cheerleading for the best blog posts and articles in March 2014.
Health and disability news
“If a wheelchair user can’t play Beyoncé then Beyoncé can’t play a wheelchair user”
Maysoon Zayid, comedian and actor – brilliant TED talk on Hollywood and disability
“The diagnosis at the time was anxiety and/or depression. And while I was both anxious and depressed, this was due to the increasingly disabling symptoms that my doctor kept insisting were purely psychological.”
The case of Justina Pelletier
Justina Pelletier was diagnosed with mitochondrial disease, an unusual (physical) illness which affects many organs of the body. Acting on their doctor’s instructions, her parents sought the expertise of a gastroenterologist at Boston Children’s Hospital to deal with Justina’s digestive issues. But while she was in hospital she was seen by a Neurologist and psychiatrist who didn’t ‘believe in’ mitochondrial disease, and instead thought that she had a somatoform condition (where mental trauma manifests as physical symptoms). They thought that the gastroenterologist tests were ‘invasive’ and would amount to ‘medical abuse’. Understandably, the parents objected to this diagnosis and refused to go along with it. So the hospital locked Justina in a children’s psychiatric ward for the past 14 months, where she had very restricted access to her parents.
The judge ruled on 25 March 2014 that Justina has a somatoform illness (accepting the diagnosis given by hospital psychiatrists), and that despite there being no evidence of harm by the parents, custody of Justina is being awarded to the state of Massachusetts. Nothing was said about the significant deterioration in Justina’s condition since she has been in the psychiatric hospital. In 2012 she is pictured ice skating happily, now she is immobile and in a wheelchair. She has not received treatment for mitochondrial disease for the past year.
I am dismayed at the judge’s ruling, and concerned by the power of psychiatrists to overturn a medical diagnosis by another doctor. I am hoping that by keeping this in the public consciousness that the state will see sense and overrule. Thank you for listening. Read more here. #freejustina
On spirituality and suffering
“Depression seems to be the demon that continuously haunts me.”.
Alison Luna for Leanne Penny (and check out the whole excellent ‘Love Shows up’ series) :
When love drives you home
On Christianity and Social Justice
“We can stop seeing our material wealth as “blessing” or “providence” and start seeing it for what it is: plunder.”
Luke Harms (not strictly speaking March, but so good I’m including it anyway) – When the word returns empty
Over to you: