Fooled by Randomness-Egregious Errors Example, and Morality of Private Medicine

There is some cardiologist who is trying to say that switching the clock to daylight savings time leads to increased risk of heart attack. He has all the "Data" to prove this.

The sad  thing is is that this guy probably makes hundreds of thousands of dollars cutting open people, doing angioplasties, open heart surgeries, etc..and has no idea about false correlations.

If he tried to correlate his increase in heart attacks with the size of the left kidney of the patient, or the amount of coca cola someone drinks per day, etc. etc. He will see some other pattern. After seeing the pattern, he will come up with an explanation, a story, a scientific explanation he would call it-to make us understand why there is an increase of heart attacks, for example, after drinking 1 liter of coca cola per day.

His basic assertion is "Sandhu examined about 42,000 hospital admissions in Michigan, and found that an average of 32 patients had heart attacks on any given Monday. But on the Monday immediately after springing the clock forward, there were an average of eight additional heart attacks, he said."

News report  here
and
Here

He even suggest doing further research in Hawaii and Arizona, which do not shift the clock for daylight savings time,  to confirm his findings-leaving open the field for more fools to follow his footsteps. The research was presented at some American College of Cardiology conference.

My rule is to  stay away from novel, cutting edge procedures in medicine. Something which has not been around for more than 30 or 50 years, please don't trust it at all. These guys are experimenting on you, and you pay them for it! Worse still, there is no money-back guarantee in medicine-if things go bad they still keep the money. And the worst part-you sign a document saying you cannot even sue them for damages if things go wrong.

The medicine monopoly is the most organized mafia scheme in the world (where private medicine is allowed). The patient has no rights, no promises-they only pay money and hope that they are cured. The other side, the medics-have a free ride on the rest of humanity.

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The moral hazards of private medicine are further shown by the recent controversy of Gilead's new pill for Hepatitis C. The treatment is going to cost US $ 84,000! Click  here for details.  No one is able to see the inhuman part  about this-how can you stiff someone of so much money when they have a severe health problem? Isn't society there to help the poor and needy? Or the Government?

The argument given by these pharma companies is that they need the money to continue innovation and science. Bollocks! They are doing this to establish their monopoly. The Governments and even the Courts fall for this logic (in a previous post I covered how Monsanto does this the Justice system of all countries)..and everyone wants to pay these pharma companies to do more top-notch research, science, innovation etc.

Instead of preventing the formation of monopolies, the Governments and Courts end up assisting them. Such are the wily arguments of the merchants, Smith would say...and the monopoly spirit of these mercantile companies continues 200 years after Smith published  the Wealth of Nations. As covered before, all patents and exclusive FDA approvals do this-establish the monopoly of these companies, at the expense of the citizens, who are stuck with paying $84K for a drug, or simply carrying around the illness with them forever.

And no-one seems to see the inhumanity in Gilead's asking this exorbitant amount of money. If a man is dying, he will pay $100K for a drink of water, and that's what these people are doing. They are trying to charge the dying man $100K for a drink of water, and the Goverment, Patent and Court system is actively supporting this charge, in the name of increasing innovation and science (a spurious argument, as I have already shown in a previous post).

For these cardiologists, and all these people who look for data and causes of things, Taleb's Fooled by Randomness should be mandatory reading. In fact it should be mandatory reading for  everyone in University-so they don't mistake correlations for causality. The sheer volume of possible correlations confuses them into thinking they are on to something-they are all children of randomness. They underestimate the power of chance.

Sanjay