A month ago I had an email from Ben Fox of firstname.lastname@example.org – a new venture looking to promote books in a new way. See Shepherd.com.
The idea is to feature a book by an author and then get her or him to list five books that have particularly influenced them – centered on a topic of their choosing and linked into their work. Newspapers have been doing this for decades – they figure readers will think that if an author endorses something it must be pretty good.
A month later The Best Books on Medical Treatments Gone Wrong – a list I was seduced into preparing – appeared. Its very attractively done.
It features five books. There are lots more that could have been included. I’d welcome suggestions on others that should be in there and maybe we can run another list here.
Some of these books have featured before in posts on davidhealy.org or RxISK – see below. I have thrown in some new comments on the The Best Books post above and am adding more here.
The choice of books was shaped almost literally by books I had in my hand when the original email arrived from Ben Fox. Dear Luise was actually in my hand and I was vividly remembering crying when reading it and in a still emotional state giving copies to people I worked with and others. Peter Goetzsche was the person who drew it to my attention and the email from Peter hinted that he had been reduced to tears as well. I usually resist Peter’s suggestions – it was probably the emotional factor that overcame my resistance.
Dorrit Cato has written a post on Dear Luise that featured on davidhealy.org in 2014. This was part of a Doctor Munchausen series that had posts about other books like Dying for a Cure that could have featured on this list.
I was about to add that if you want read more about a book that makes grown men cry, you should read Dorrit’s post. I clicked on the post and found the many comments after it equally compelling most of which came from angry women rather than crying men.
The Pill that Steals Live
I didn’t cry all the way through Katinka’s book because I knew she had survived. She found me after she had emerged from a beyond grim ordeal. She was possessed to do something about what had happened her and has been trying to save others from a similar fate ever since.
One of the ideas that came to her was to write a book. She wanted me to check things over for her which I agreed to do but there was nothing that needed checking or changing. It just tumbled out of her and was close to word perfect from the get go.
This should have been a book that changed everything – ending with a successfull lawsuit and plans for the movie. The fact that this hasn’t happened just shows what people are up against.
And things have got worse. Katinka could write a book that sold well and remains in print. Anyone trying to do the same for a vaccine injury risks having their book burned, any social media accounts shut down, will not be able to get a lawyer to even think about an action, and will be deemed an Enemy of the People by the very people they tried to protect by getting vaccinated.
I never met or had any dealings with Thomas Maeder. No one else I know has read this book or heard of him. But it made me cry. No-one could read the story of the father and son this book opens with and not be moved. Maeder writes an extraordinary account of an antibiotic induced injury and then goes on to show how, in a triumph of the human spirit, the father helped create a recognition of the need for adverse event reporting systems.
Maeder then deftly shows how Parke-Davis, at the time the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world, now part of Pfizer, worked out how to sabotage efforts to keep us safe and even use our efforts to raise the profile of harms in order to make treatments safe to increase sales of their drug.
This book was written over three decades ago – what would Maeder make of a world in which harms no longer exist. Where everyone agrees if someone thinks they have been harmed by a drug or vaccine that they are mentally ill.
The Zyprexa Papers
I have a conflict of interest with Jim Gottstein’s The Zyprexa Papers. It was published just before Samizdat was born and led me to gnash my teeth rather than cry. This was and is the perfect Samizdat book. It would make a marvellous movie. I persuaded Jim to join us which he has done
The Zyprexa Papers tells a story that featured widely in the New York times, and on lots of websites at the time, covering Jim’s efforts to get a bunch of Eli Lilly company documents into the public domain and the consequenes for him. The documents reveal a beyond cynical marketing of this drug – to hell with the consequences for those affected. This was close to evil incarnate (In the Aquinas sense of the word).
It also brings the people affected into the frame, most notably Bill Bigley. This is done in just the right way. Those who don’t know the mental health system can only take a small amount of reality and Jim gets this right. People not already involved are not likely to get involved, but they need to know this Gulag exists, where lives are terminated much earlier than they should be by Zyprexa and its clones.
The Thalidomide Catastrophe
For someone like me who clearly cries at the drop of hat, the surprise behind the thalidomide story is that its not a weepy. Meeting thalidomiders changes everything, or did so for me. They are the most extraordinary people. Maybe not absolutely perfect in all respects but they change the meaning of the word people. What they lack in arms and legs, they possess in something else – that feels more valuable.
This is one of the most extraordinary stories of all time. Mythic. The origins of thalidomide are shrouded in mystery still, as are the mechanisms by which it causes the problems it causes. There are tantalising overlaps with SSRIs and isotretinoin in terms of birth defects, suicidality and sexual dysfunction . It would be wonderful to see some answers in the lifetime of the dwindling numbers of thalidomiders.
In this world no-one can claim to deserve answers but there are some pretty egregious events right out there in the public domain that key players could answer. Players like Pope Francis – why did he make Michael Wirz, then the owner of the company responsible for thalidomide, a Papal Knight? How is it possible to be a Catholic and accept this without an explanation? But then Francis mandated vaccines without anyone being able to access the data underpinning them and had refused to support anyone trying to gain access since.
The question that arises again and again reading any of these books is – Why?
People Acknowledgement © Nina Otulakowski April 2022
RxISK acknowledges that the experiences of those who have been harmed by medical treatments are the cornerstone on which it is built. This cornerstone has been rejected by a set of invaders who now claim control over our healing spaces. These invaders pose a threat to our spirits and our bodies.