Many things in our society lead to teaching moments and the recent Ashley Madison website hacking scandal poses one of those moments.
Unless you are totally unconnected, you have probably heard about the Ashley Madison website hacking, but for those who do not know; Ashley Madison (www.ashleymadison.com) is a website that allows, or used to allow, its members to select partners for explicit extra-marital affairs. Its claim to fame was being “the most famous name in infidelity” whose slogan is, “Life is short. Have an affair.” Recently the website was hacked and the personal information on the accounts of up to 37 million users was released to the ‘dark’ recesses of the internet.
This hack is one of the largest data breaches of its kind and the fallout is tremendous. According to the AP the societal fall out has led to extortion, divorces, ruined lives, lost jobs, and even suicides. In a twist of irony lawyers are already lining up to sue on behalf of the victims (cheaters), with two law firms already filing a $578 million dollar lawsuit on behalf of the cheaters! In addition, the media coverage has been astronomical.
According to the AP the world is caught somewhere between fascination and repulsion with the Ashley Madison scandal. Whatever your take on Ashley Madison, whether it be repulsion, fascination, or just plain indifference, one thing is for certain, it got the world’s attention.
Let me let you in on another dirty little secret, one much worse than Ashley Madison. In fact it’s really not a secret at all but is treated like one by our society, namely our medical establishment. It too, like the Ashley Madison hacking, has damaged careers, ruined lives, caused divorces and driven individuals to suicide. But, where Ashley Madison stops, this one continues and has caused an untold number of direct deaths and disabilities.
This dirty secret is Fluoroquinolone toxicity.
Fluoroquinolone toxicity hides in plain sight. It has the ability to immediately devastate an individual or put in place the mechanism to create problems later on in life. It masquerades as other chronic health problem that often is not connected with the drug by both the doctor and the patient. It is assumed safe but is actually a wolf in sheep’s clothing.
The FDA does a poor job of tracking adverse drug events and admittedly only captures about one to ten percent of the actual number of adverse events. Given that, the Fluoroquinolones have caused between 2,107,050 and 21,070,500 adverse events between Nov. 1, 1997 and Feb. 3, 2001. This does not even include the whole family of Fluoroquinolones, it just focuses on the top three prescribed; Levaquin, Cipro and Avelox.
Even worse, it is estimated that during the same time frame the same three Fluoroquinolones caused between 29,910 and 299,100 deaths!
Adding insult to injury most victims are totally innocent people who were doing nothing considered morally repugnant, and yet are often treated with dismissal, indifference, and outright discrimination by the medical profession and in some cases by those they once called friends, family, and acquaintances.
So considering that up to 21 million adverse events and 300,000 deaths (more if you factor in the entire family of Fluoroquinolone antibiotics) where is the worldwide media attention?
Where are the lawyers screaming for justice filing substantial lawsuits that equate to the actual level of pain and suffering of the victims? (I consider trial lawyers who file class actions suits that line their pockets but results in dismal payouts to FQ victims as further victimizing the community not helping it).
Where is the FDA, which is shirking its legal responsibilities to ensure the safety of the public?
Where are our elected officials who have been made aware of this situation yet turn a blind eye?
There are some reading about this subject for the first time and thinking that I am delusional or over exaggerating. Please don’t believe me as the facts are there for the checking. Do you know of a loved one, a friend, a co-worker, or someone else who suffers from a health problem of mysterious origin or one that defies diagnosis? Chances are that you do. If so, ask them to do some detective work to find out if they have had Fluoroquinolone usage in their past, and not necessarily their immediate past. Maybe they will connect the dots.
Alas, for now, Fluoroquinolone Toxicity will remain a dirty little secret that will not obtain the attention that the Ashley Madison scandal has obtained even though the outcome is much more tragic.
Our slogan should read “Life is Short, Don’t Take A Fluoroquinolone.”