Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

20 Tammuz 5765 - July 27, 2005 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly










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Home and Family

Your Medical Questions Answered!
by Joseph B. Leibman, MD

Director, Emergency Services, Bikur Cholim Hospital

I have been writing this column for seven years, and it has changed much over the years. First, we have been very fortunate to have sponsorship for this column and Glaxo's support of this venture has led to increasing the medical knowledge base of us all. I remind you all to think of this when you need medication. Glaxo has a wide line of OTC products that are available without a prescription (Zovirax Cream for Cold Sores, Oxy for Acne, and Tums for heartburn). Glaxo has shown they care for us, and we should return the favor.

Also, in all these years, I occasionally got controversial, like the epidural article, but this has been rare. I had a meeting with Ezer Mitzion and was made aware I might have ruffled some feathers there with what I wrote a few years back, and I must say the following. This organization does tremendous work, and I did not go into enough depth to make the comments that I did about them. I respect their work greatly and will be working, hopefully, together with them on some upcoming projects.

The tone of the articles has changed. In the past we tackled a topic and wrote all about it. Recently, my mailbag has been bursting at the seams, so the columns are basically answering reader's questions, which was our intention in the first place.

By the time you read this, I will have already spoken in Ramot. I am thankful for the opportunity, and remind you all that I will speak to your group as well. Bikur Cholim will often sponsor these talks. Someone mentioned that a book of medicine for laymen that encompasses my columns and is written for religious people may be a good idea. What do you think?

Well let's speak a little medicine in the column. Someone sent me a scandal about blood transfusions in Canada, where people got AIDS and Hepatitis C. When I was training, we only had Hepatitis A and B. Since then we have discovered many more forms of this debilitating disease, and there may be other hidden diseases in blood as well. So take this as a guideline. Bleeding patients whose lives are in danger must receive blood. People who are going for operations that may require a transfusion should donate their own blood beforehand or use that of a close relative's known to be disease-free. People who are elderly are unlikely to develop some of these the diseases that blood transfusions can cause because they take many years to develop.

I want to make it clear, however, the chance of disease from the blood supply is very minimal. Nonetheless, unnecessary transfusions should be avoided. Write me in care of the Yated.

A message from GlaxoSmithKline, sponsor of this column. By the way, while we already wrote about Glaxo in this column, I will just add that Hepatitis A and B do have a vaccine and the one against A — which is a serious problem in Israel — is made by Glaxo.


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