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The Great Brain Robbery

Economic espionage sponsored by the Chinese government is costing U.S. corporations hundreds of billions of dollars and more than two million jobs

  • 2016, Jan 17
  • CORRESPONDENT, Lesley Stahl
    Source: 60 Minutes

Editor’s Note: The author of the original article “A Harsh Winter for Sinovel and China’s Wind Industry,” which was later attached to the phishing email in this video, wishes it known that he was not involved in a cyberattack against American Superconductor.


The following is a script from “The Great Brain Robbery” which aired on Jan. 17, 2016. Lesley Stahl is the correspondent. Rich Bonin, producer.

If spying is the world’s second oldest profession, the government of China has given it a new, modern-day twist, enlisting an army of spies not to steal military secrets but the trade secrets and intellectual property of American companies. It’s being called “the great brain robbery of America.”

The Justice Department says that the scale of China’s corporate espionage is so vast it constitutes a national security emergency, with China targeting virtually every sector of the U.S. economy, and costing American companies hundreds of billions of dollars in losses — and more than two million jobs.

John Carlin: They’re targeting our private companies. And it’s not a fair fight. A private company can’t compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world.

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Lesley Stahl and John Carlin, assistant attorney general for National Security  CBS NEWS
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

John Carlin is the assistant attorney general for National Security with responsibility for counterterrorism, cyberattacks and increasingly economic espionage.

“A private company can’t compete against the resources of the second largest economy in the world.”

John Carlin: This is a serious threat to our national security. I mean, our economy depends on the ability to innovate. And if there’s a dedicated nation state who’s using its intelligence apparatus to steal day in and day out what we’re trying to develop, that poses a serious threat to our country.

Lesley Stahl: What is their ultimate goal, the Chinese government’s ultimate goal?

John Carlin: They want to develop certain segments of industry and instead of trying to out-innovate, out-research, out-develop, they’re choosing to do it through theft.

All you have to do, he says, is look at the economic plans published periodically by the Chinese Politburo. They are, according to this recent report by the technology research firm INVNT/IP, in effect, blueprints of what industries and what companies will be targeted for theft.

John Carlin: We see them put out the strategic plan, and then we see actions follow that plan. We see intrusion after intrusion on U.S. companies.

Lesley Stahl: Do you have a number of U.S. companies that have been hit?

John Carlin: It’s thousands of actually companies have been hit.

Lesley Stahl: Thousands of U.S. companies?

John Carlin: Of U.S. companies.

But getting CEOs from those companies to talk is nearly impossible because most of them still have business in China and don’t want to be cut out of its huge market. Daniel McGahn, the head of American Superconductor, is an exception. His firm spent years and millions of dollars developing advanced computer software for wind turbines that McGahn says China looted, nearly putting him out of business. He’s talking because he wants to fight back.

Daniel McGahn: I’m personally never gonna give this up. Too many lives were affected, too many families were damaged through this. We can never give up on this.

Lesley Stahl: You had to fire 600 people.

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: Out of how many jobs?

Daniel McGahn: At the time we were almost 900.

Lesley Stahl: So how much did you lose in share value?

Daniel McGahn: Total loss is well over a billion dollars.

Today, his factory floor is largely silent, a shadow of this once thriving company.

Daniel McGahn: I think part of the strategy in all this was to kill us. So–

Lesley Stahl: They set out to kill you.

Daniel McGahn: To kill the company.

How can he be so sure? Well, his story begins when China passed a clean energy law in 2005, calling for the creation of mega-wind farms throughout the country.

The law made China the hottest wind power market in the world. So McGahn partnered with a small Chinese firm called Sinovel which was partly owned by the government. Sinovel made the skeletons of the turbines, and his company, American Superconductor, the sophisticated gadgetry and computer code to run them.

Lesley Stahl: They actually built the turbines.

Daniel McGahn: They make the turbine, we make the controls.

Lesley Stahl: And did they make these turbines with your brains in them for the entire country of China?

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

When he went into business there, China was already notorious for poaching American intellectual property. So he says he did everything he could think of to protect his technology from being stolen.

Daniel McGahn: We made sure that any software or any pieces of the code were restricted and used, were able to be accessed, only by a few people within the company.

Lesley Stahl: Once they got everything over there couldn’t they reverse-engineer it?

Daniel McGahn: We believe that’s what they tried to do. And what they learned was this encrypted protocol was in the way. They didn’t quite understand how it worked. And they couldn’t reverse-engineer it

Lesley Stahl: Everybody knows if it’s on the Internet, some brilliant hacker can get at it.

Daniel McGahn: It wasn’t accessible through the Internet.

Lesley Stahl: You kept it off the Internet?

Daniel McGahn: Yes.

Lesley Stahl: It sounds like you built a little fortress around your, your precious codes.

Daniel McGahn: We certainly tried.

Initially, business boomed in China for American Superconductor, with sales skyrocketing from $50 million-a-year to nearly half a billion.

Daniel McGahn: We were going through exponential growth. It’s what every technology company wants to get to, is this high level of growth. We were there.

Then, in 2011, his engineers were testing the next-generation software in China on Sinovel’s turbines. The software had been programmed to shut down after the test but the blades didn’t shut down. They never stopped spinning.

Daniel McGahn: So we said why. We didn’t really know. So the team looked at the turbine and saw running on our hardware a version of software that had not been released yet.

Lesley Stahl: That’s when you realized.

Daniel McGahn: Realized something’s wrong. So then we had to figure out how did, how could this have happened?

To find out, he launched an internal investigation and narrowed it down to this man, Dejan Karabasevic, an employee of American Superconductor based in Austria. He was one of the few people in the company with access to its proprietary software. He also spent a lot of time in China working with Sinovel.

Daniel McGahn: And what they did is they used Cold War-era spycraft to be able to turn him.

Lesley Stahl: They turned him.

Daniel McGahn: And make him into an agent for them.

Lesley Stahl: Do you know any specifics of what they offered him?

Daniel McGahn: They offered him women. They offered him an apartment. They offered him money. They offered him a new life.

The arrangement included a $1.7 million contract that was spelled out in emails and instant messages that McGahn’s investigation found on Dejan’s company computer. In this one, from him to a Sinovel executive, Dejan lays out the quid pro quo, “All girls need money. I need girls. Sinovel needs me.” Sinovel executives showered him with flattery and encouragement: you are the, quote, “best man, like superman.”

Lesley Stahl: And did they say, “We want the– the source codes”?

Daniel McGahn: It was almost like a grocery list. “Can you get us A? Can you get us B? Can you get us C?”

Lesley Stahl: I’ve seen one of the messages, the text message, in which Dejan says, “I will send the full code of course.”

Daniel McGahn: That’s the full code for operating their wind turbine.

Dejan eventually confessed to authorities in Austria and spent a year in jail. Not surprisingly, the Chinese authorities refused to investigate, so Daniel McGahn filed suit in civil court — in China, suing Sinovel for $1.2 billion. But he suspected that China was still spying on his company, and that Beijing had switched from Cold War to cutting-edge espionage.

Lesley Stahl: So why were you brought in?

Dmitri Alperovitch: We were brought in because the attacks now continued in cyberspace.

McGahn hired Dmitri Alperovitch and George Kurtz, cofounders of a computer security firm called CrowdStrike, to investigate. They zeroed in on a suspicious email purportedly sent by a board member to 13 people in the company.

Dmitri Alperovitch: It had an attachment. A few people clicked on an attachment and that let the Chinese in. It was sort of like opening the front door.

Lesley Stahl: What do you mean they were in?

Dmitri Alperovitch: Once they clicked on that email and they opened up the attachment, malicious codes started executing on their machine and it beaconed out to the Chinese and basically let them right in to the company.

From that point they can hop to any machine and take any file that they wanted from that network.

By analyzing who the email was sent to, they were able to infer that the Chinese were after more than just computer codes.

Dmitri Alperovitch: They also wanted to figure out the legal strategy of the company now that they were suing Sinovel for $1.2 billion.

George Kurtz: Whenever there’s a big lawsuit we’ll see the Chinese government actually break into that company, break into the legal department and figure out what’s going on behind the scenes so they can better deal with that lawsuit.

Lesley Stahl: Now did you know at that time who had perpetrated the hack?

Dmitri Alperovitch: We were able to determine with great confidence that this was Unit 61398, part of the Chinese military that was responsible for this attack.

Unit 61398 is believed to be based in this nondescript building in Shanghai. It’s part of the People’s Liberation Army. And it’s charged with spying on North American corporations.

Dmitri Alperovitch: We estimate that there are several thousand people in this unit alone, this one unit.

Lesley Stahl: How active is this unit?

George Kurtz: It’s one of the most prolific groups that we’ve tracked coming out of the Chinese government. It’s unbelievable what they’ve been able to steal over the last decade.

Lesley Stahl: Like what? Give us a sense of the scope.

George Kurtz: Every industry, engineering documents, manufacturing processes, chip designs, telecommunications, pharmaceutical, you name it it’s been stolen.

In 2014, five military officers in the unit were criminally charged with economic espionage by John Carlin’s National Security division at the Justice Department.

John Carlin: These were officers in uniform and their day job was to get up, go to work, log on, and steal from a range of American companies. And you would watch, as we put in an exhibit in the case, the activity would spike around 9:00 in the morning. They get into work, turn on their computers, and start hacking into American companies. Then it calms down a little bit from about 12:00 to 1:00 where they take a lunch break.

Lesley Stahl: God.

John Carlin: And then it continues until the end of the day, 5 or 6 o’clock–

Lesley Stahl: And then they go home.

John Carlin: –at night. And then they go home, and it decreases ’till the next morning.

China has always denied that it conducts or condones economic espionage.

But in September during a visit to Washington, President Xi Jinping pledged for the first time that China would not engage or knowingly support cybertheft of intellectual property for commercial gain.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Barack Obama  CBS NEWS
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

Dmitri Alperovitch: It’s the first time ever they’ve admitted that economic espionage should be off-limits and that they will not conduct it. Unfortunately, what we saw is that the very next day, the day after they were in the Rose Garden shaking hands, the intrusions continued.

Lesley Stahl: Wait, wait, wait, stop. The hacking has not stopped.

Dmitri Alperovitch: The hacking has not stopped. But one of the things that has happened is that the military units that have been responsible for these hacks have actually had their mission taken away from them and it was given to the Ministry of State Security, their version of the CIA. So, in effect, they said, “You guys are incompetent. You got caught. We’ll give it to the guys that know better.”

The director of the National Counterintelligence and Security Center confirms that there is no evidence China has curtailed its economic espionage.

Lesley Stahl: There’s a lotta criticism out there among businessmen, and some people in the government, who complain that President Obama wags his finger at the Chinese but he doesn’t do anything.

John Carlin: Well I think it’s important that we do take, that we do take action. If we don’t do things like bring the indictment then we would be a paper, a paper tiger.

Lesley Stahl: You know, it feels like a pinprick, your indictment. They’re never going to be extradited. Is there talk of putting any sanctions on the way we did with Russia when they went into the Ukraine?

John Carlin: The bottom line I think has to be that we continue to increase the costs until the behavior changes. If it doesn’t change, then we need to keep thinking of additional actions, whether they’re trade actions or sanctions that change the behavior.

The government of China declined our request for an interview, but sent us this comment: “China has long suffered from massive cyber attacks …(and) firmly opposes and combats all forms of cyber attacks in accordance with law… groundless speculation, accusation or hyping up is not helpful…”

In Massachusetts, Daniel McGahn is rebuilding with much of his business now shifted to India. But adding insult to injury, Sinovel is now exporting wind turbines with his stolen technology, including one purchased by the state of Massachusetts using federal stimulus funds.

Daniel McGahn: So the U.S. government facilitated bringing the stolen goods into the U.S.

Lesley Stahl: And they’re here now?

Daniel McGahn: And they’re here now and it’s part of a–

Lesley Stahl: Up and running?

Daniel McGahn: Up and running.

Lesley Stahl: So Sinovel using the stolen source codes has sold wind turbines here in Massachusetts using to–

Daniel McGahn: –to the government of Massachusetts funded by the federal government of the United States of America.© 2016 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

  • Lesley Stahl Lesley StahlOne of America’s most recognized and experienced broadcast journalists, Lesley Stahl has been a 60 Minutes correspondent since 1991.

What prevents China from hacking you and other individuals? How do you protect yourself against brain hacking? How do you prevent unauthorized brain chip implants that make brain hacking possible?

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The Misuse of a Biblical Doctrine

Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The History of Christian Counseling and General Revelation

Samuel Stephens
Feb 23, 2018
Source: Biblical Counseling

Introduction

A movement cannot be rightly understood unless it is placed in the context in which it began and how it progressed – what we call history. History allows us to trace threads of ideas and themes through time. Within the movement and practice of Christian Counseling, a line of division surfaces as we look at sources of authority upon which counselors have depended through the years. This division occurs between biblical conviction and counseling practice. In this essay, I suggest that the integrative model of counseling, namely Christian Counseling, misses the mark concerning the search and identification of truth by abusing the biblical doctrine of general revelation. The field of Christian Counseling has consistently demonstrated a historical misrepresentation and biblical misapplication of this doctrine in an effort to provide a justification for the utilization of secular psychology.

What is Christian Counseling?

It is important to note that as a label Christian Counseling can refer to a wide spectrum of counseling approaches.1 A unifying drive of this counseling approach, however, is the effort “to integrate psychology and Christian theology.”2Everett Worthington defined Christian Counseling as:

[An] explicit or implicit agreement between a counselor who is a Christian and a client for the provision of help for the client, in which the counselor not only has at heart the client’s psychological welfare but also the Christian spiritual welfare.3

As a formative influence in the Christian Counseling movement, Clyde Narramore noted that “wise counseling requires that evangelical faith be carefully integrated with the theories, therapeutic methods and professional roles of the modern psychologies [emphasis added].”4 In his book Psychology and Theology, Gary Collins added, “The Christian who wants to understand and help change human behavior must have a good understanding of psychological techniques and knowledge in areas such as biological, cognitive, affective, social, and individual bases of behavior [emphasis added].”5 A theme found throughout Christian Counseling literature is an emphasis on the importance of professional credentials, the reliance upon social science, and a focus on assisting clients in overcoming spiritual maladjustments on their own.6

Integration: An Idea and Process

Christian Counseling cannot be fully understood without highlighting the concept and method of integration. According to John Carter and Bruce Narramore, Christian social scientists who study human behavior through the scientific method use the term integration to show a correlation between professional and scientific fields with Christian theology. They stated, “Most of these efforts are based on one essential philosophical underpinning—the belief that all truth is God’s truth, wherever it is found. This proposition is frequently referred to as ‘the unity of truth.’”7

Collins defined truth as “an abstract idea, a universal reality that exists and can be grasped by analysis or experimentation.”8 In the inaugural edition of the Journal of Psychology and Theology, Bruce Narramore argued that “the minister and psychologist are not the only ones caught up in this conflict. The theologian, the physician and the student of psychology and scripture all share concerns for the whole man. They know they cannot minister effectively if they neglect the contributions of related disciplines.”9 Within Christian Counseling, integration provided a clear path to discovering truth in which psychological science, in conjunction with Scripture, could present a “cohesive approach to the problems that confront us.”10

The Doctrine of General Revelation

Within the context of the broader Christian Counseling movement, general revelation has been used in such a way as to make available “pieces of truth that cannot be found in the Bible.”11 According to Bruce Demarest, general revelation had traditionally been “mediated through nature, conscience, and the providential ordering of history” for the sole purpose of providing “a universal witness to God’s existence and character.”12 Demarest continued, “Through the modalities of general revelation, man at large knows both that there is a God and in broad outline what He is like” (14). In the first volume of his Systematic Theology, James Leo Garett clarified, “‘General’ revelation is that disclosure of God that is available to all human beings through the created universe (nature) and in the inner nature of human beings (conscience).”13

Christianity has been recognized as a revelatory religion and some have gone as far as to say that Christian faith necessitates revelation. The doctrine of revelation distinguishes Christianity from pseudo-religions which have more in common with pagan philosophies.14The very concept of revelation also assumes the sinfulness of man and the fact that man is in spiritual bondage apart from God’s activity and self-disclosure. In Revelation and Reason, his landmark treatment on this subject, Emil Brunner noted that biblical revelation, both general and special, did not disclose “facts” or “something” but it unveiled and disclosed God himself.15

A Brief Biblical Witness

Psalm 19 and Romans 1 demonstrate the doctrinal significance of general revelation.16 In Psalm 19, King David exclaimed, “The heavens are telling of the glory of God; And their expanse is declaring the work of his hands” (Psalm 19:1).17In his commentary on this psalm, John Calvin noted:

Scripture, indeed makes known to us the time and manner of the creation; but the heavens themselves, although God should say nothing on the subject, proclaim loudly and distinctly enough that they have been fashioned by his hands: and this of itself abundantly suffices to bear testimony to men of his glory.18

Not only did the heavens and sun address the glory of God, but each also revealed truth (Psalm 19:3). Peter Craigie noted that “as mankind reflects upon the vast expanse of heaven, with its light by day and its intimation of a greater universe by night, that reflection may open up an awareness and knowledge of God, the Creator, who by his hands created by glory beyond the comprehension of the human mind.”19

The New Testament contains a biblical witness to the doctrine of general revelation as well. Thomas Oden stated that a majority of theologians in the early years of Christianity agreed with the concept of general revelation as seen from the perspective of Paul in Romans 1­­–3 as the “universal revelation in the cosmos and human nature—along with a corresponding affirmation of human suppression of this revelation.”20 Romans 1:20 states that God’s divine characteristics “have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made . . . .”21See W. E. Vine and F. F. Bruce, Vine’s Expository Dictionary of Old and New Testament Words (Old Tappan, New Jersey: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1971), 168. According to Vine, the Greek word translated understood (νοέω noeō) meant “to perceive with the mind, as distinct from perception by feeling.” The emphasis on understanding with the mind seems to demonstrate the clarity and purposefulness of God within the revelation of himself vis-à-vis creation.In his explanation of this verse, Dunn expounded upon the potential influences on Paul’s observations regarding revelation and truth:

[Paul] draws principally on influential Stoic ideas: that there is an innate rapport between the divine and the human because the divine logos immanent throughout the world is immanent also in man as the power of reason . . . however, it is Paul’s more Jewish perception of this divine relation which remains primary: what is known is an act of revelation personally willed by God (v.19b) in relation to a created order (v.20); and man is recognized as a responsible agent in face of this revelation . . . .22

Another New Testament scholar, Douglas Moo, generally agrees with Dunn’s assessment that general revelation was directed by God, revealed by God, and purposed to convey the glory and power of God. However, he viewed Paul’s presentation of truth in this passage, while derived from general revelation and accessible to both Jews and Gentiles alike, was still limited in scope. In itself, general revelation cannot provide salvation to sinners.23

Historical Perspective of General Revelation

The doctrine of general revelation has undergone scrutiny, served as the topic of debate, and has been used as a foundation for other church teachings.24Originating with Thomas Aquinas, theology came to be known as the queen of the sciences. Millard Erickson noted, “Until the thirteenth century, the term science was not applied to theology. Augustine preferred the term sapientia (wisdom) to scientia (knowledge).”25 As a scholastic theologian, Aquinas focused much of his philosophical musings on the idea of truth and knowledge, which included its definition, source, and purpose. He categorized truth in two realms one lower (nature) and one higher (grace). During the medieval period the church was in a unique dilemma where paganism and secularism, threatened the status of Christianity in the eyes of the common man. Instead of relying on Scripture as the authority of what is necessary for faith and practice, Aquinas chose instead to appeal to reason for an adequate defense of Christianity.26

From this effort, Aquinas formulated the concept of natural theology, which he later refined in his Summa Theologica. As defined, natural theology “is the attempt to attain an understanding of God and his relationship with the universe by means of rational reflection, without appealing to special revelation such as the self-revelation of God in Christ and in Scripture.”27Aquinas’ conclusion concerning natural theology was essentially a misguided attempt to create an apologetic from general revelation. This effect led the Catholic Church to place “Scripture and tradition next to each other” instead of recognizing the different natures, yet identical purposes, of special and general revelation.28Aquinas’ emphasis on the capability of man’s reason led theologians to view revelation as only necessary to explain “what is above reason.”29Therefore, Aquinas’ re-tooling of general revelation rested on two assumptions: first, that nature was wholly intact and yet only partially marred by the Fall of man (Genesis 3), and secondly that people had retained an integrity of reason and perception untouched by sin.

The Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century brought more developments to the doctrine of general revelation. However, instead of the parameters of this doctrine being expanded, it was narrowed. There was general consensus among Protestant theologians that man’s reasoning abilities were tainted and skewed by sin and thus were susceptible to error.30As early at 1524 A.D., Balthasar Hubmaier, a German Anabaptist theologian, published Eighteen Dissertations in which he included a section refuting a widely accepted view of general revelation. He wrote, “All teachings that are not from God are in vain and shall be rooted up. Here perish the disciples of Aristotle, as well as the Thomists, the Scotists, Bonaventure, and Occam, and all teaching that does not proceed from God’s word.”31This bold representation of general revelation was echoed by another well-known reformer, John Calvin. Calvin’s doctrine of sin, like that of Hubmaier, was sophisticated and took “into account that sinful men corrupt the gifts of understanding and scholarship God gives.”32The rationalism of natural theology committed error in that it denied man’s “dependence in our present state of sin upon God’s past revelations of himself.”33

While the Protestant Reformation brought about many positive changes, the adverse impact of natural theology continued on through the nineteenth century. In 1870 the Catholic Church “announced that God could be known with certainty from that which had been created through the natural light of reason.”34 The modern era of theological deliberation, from the late eighteenth century through the mid-twentieth century, was characterized as having combined the man-centered philosophies of the previous century with a broad interpretation of general revelation.

Theological Implications of General Revelation

The first theological implication regarding general revelation is in the categorization of theology as a “spiritual science” as opposed to a man-centered social science. By the late nineteenth century, the definition of science began to shift from an orderly, systematic study of a particular topic to becoming almost synonymous with the discovery of truth. Writing prolifically on the topic of science and spirituality, Abraham Kuyper noted that due to man’s sinful nature, the scientific method imposed upon the study of theology would invariably lead to error. In his Principles of Sacred Theology, he wrote:

Science is entirely different from truth. If you imagine our human development without  sin, the impulse to know and understand the cosmos, and by knowledge to govern it, would have been the same; but there would have been no search after truth, simply because there could have been no danger of relying upon falsehood as a result of investigation.35

Kuyper defended an idea of truth that inherently pointed to non-truth, while modern science depicted a “thirst after knowledge” which attempted to know everything that existed.36 Commenting nearly a century later on this topic, Carl F.H. Henry noted that it is hypocritical for modern science to demand that religion fall in line when the hard and social sciences constantly re-evaluate and re-assess the veracity of previous conclusions. A consistent characteristic of modern science is that it was always “subject to ongoing revision of its judgments.”37 Erickson agreed with Henry that sciences not based on biblical revelation could indeed err. As such, general revelation can only be accurately understood when held in distinction from man-centered disciplines. Millard Erickson stated, “In an attempt to be regarded as scientific, disciplines dealing with humanity [e.g. psychology] have tended to become behavioristic, basing their method, objects, and conclusions upon what is observable, measurable, and testable, rather than on what can be known introspectively.”38

A second theological implication behind general revelation is that it is distinct from the process and idea of scientific discovery. The Greek word ἀποκάλυψις (apokalypsis) is used throughout Scripture and is most often translated as revelation, which denotes “an ‘unveiling’ and hence a disclosure.”39 Despite this connection, general revelation has been consistently subsumed under the pursuits of modern scientific exploration. Regarding the use of general revelation by the Christian counselor and psychologist, Gary Collins stated, “He [God] has revealed this truth through the Bible, God’s written Word to human beings, but he also has permitted us to discover truth [emphasis added] through experience, through research investigation, and through the insights that come through reflection, observation, and the words of books and sermons.”40 David Penley disagrees with Collins’ conclusions citing that this is an inaccurate view of general revelation. Christians cannot justify utilizing the social sciences by claiming they fall under the category of general revelation. He noted, “General revelation is not God revealing new things to us. He is revealing things about Himself that He also has revealed through special revelation in the Scriptures.”41 A correct understanding of general revelation precludes that God is infinite and man is not. To know God, He must make himself known.42

Christian Counseling: Context and Ideology

In one of the most comprehensive texts in the field of Christian Counseling, Gary Collins mentioned that man’s discoveries of “truth” in general revelation must be consistent with the Bible as revealed truth; however, he did not concede that psychological theory and methodology were based on anti-biblical presuppositions. He further concluded that counseling becomes ineffective and limited when counselors “pretend that the discoveries of psychology, neuropsychology, psychobiology, human genetics, and related fields have nothing to contribute to the understanding and solutions of problems.”43In this final section of the essay, it will be demonstrated that Christian Counseling has adopted an unbiblical concept of general revelation in order to justify attempts at integrating secular psychological models with Christian theological approaches to soul care.

A Modern Approach to Soul Care

The endeavors of philosophy and psychology have, in many ways, intersected with theology and the Christian church regarding the dealings, purposes, nature, and solution to the “basic problems of human nature.”44The early integration of philosophy with theology culminated in pastoral counseling becoming dominated by a scientific and psychological model. Modern trends in pastoral counseling have set it apart from its foundation as the biblical care of souls. In 1956, William Hulme stated, “In former days, the pastor’s counseling was oriented in pastoral theology [anchored in Scripture]; today it centers on pastoral psychology. The impetus for this new movement has come more from the laboratories of the psychological sciences than from the scholarship of theologians.”45

Among Protestants, practical theology no longer covered matters related to soul care and counseling but focused only on topics including preaching, missions, evangelism, and church government. When faced with issues that practical theology did not answer, pastors referred their congregants to the “secular experts” for help and counsel.46Carter and Narramore noted that while liberal pastors functionally abandoned theology for psychology in this area of ministry, conservative pastoral counselors, who were in the minority, were unaware of “the contributions of psychology to the understanding of personality” and therefore lagged behind their counterparts.47 Soon a small number of Christian psychologists began calling all evangelical pastors and counselors to embrace one another’s methods, both biblical and psychological, in an effort to construct a holistic integrative approach to soul care that would be acceptable to clinical psychologists and psychiatrists, efficacious to patients who were emotionally, mentally, and spiritually ill, while still remaining unapologetically Christian.48 Eric Johnson considered the 1960s and 1970s the “golden age of integration” where many Christian psychologists, mental health workers, and counselors largely favored the integration of faith and psychology. The key figures at the forefront of the Christian counseling movement held to a strong conceptual view of integration. Johnson noted that the task of what he labeled as interdisciplinary integration “ostensibly involves reflection of the propositions of modern psychology and the propositions of theology (and the Bible) in order for Christians to end up with discourse that includes both theological and psychological propositions and that is logically consistent with Christian faith.”49In an attempt to integrate, those who held to this approach divided the “revelations” of the Christian faith into two distinct categories. Special revelation involved theology as disclosed in Scripture while general revelation allowed for the study of sociology and psychology by humans in order to “discover” truth.50. Others affirmed that psychology, as a “scientific discipline,” not only had more impact on the church than any other theory, except perhaps Darwinian evolution, but that as a human-centered field of study similar to theology, psychology could “offer a great deal toward an understanding of the human race.”51 In identifying the objective of Christian counseling, Collins stated, “As a counselor, you are a change specialist. Your job is to help people deal with the changes that come into their lives and make changes that will improve their lives.”52However, this change is inconsistent to the concept of “change” as presented within the Bible.

The Search for Truth

The question of the nature of truth serves as the impetus behind the psychologically-informed Christian Counseling movement. The goals and methods of Christian Counseling are concerned with both psychological and spiritual matters. Christian counselors and psychologists hold that the Bible, however useful for spiritual matters, never claims “to be a textbook on counseling” and “never was meant to be God’s sole revelation about people-healing.”53The logical conclusion of this claim on the nature and source of truth was expressed by Stanton Jones when he suggested that Christian counselors had a duty to their clients to share any knowledge of psychological theory they had in their possession. He also seemed to suggest that to withhold such knowledge would make the counselor not only irresponsible, but even negligent.54

Two related assumptions are shared by those who engage the integrationist approach to Christian Counseling. The first assumption is that God is the source of all truth. Carter and Narramore defend this assertion by stating that all disciplines share a basic unity of truth and this unity serves as the legitimate basis for all attempts at integrating the Christian faith with professional, clinical, and theoretical psychology. The view that Christian theology shares subject matter and philosophic jurisdiction with secular psychology leads them to conclude that God is the source of the truth found in these two often opposing sources. They claimed, “If we believe that God is the source of all truth, we assume that there is no inherent conflict between the facts of psychology and the data of Scripture [emphasis mine].”55

The second assumption generally held within Christian Counseling is that man is able to know/discover all truth. According to Collins, science serves as the vehicle for studying and making sense of the natural world (via general revelation). In essence scientific methodology provides an illumination into the teachings and truths of Scripture in a way that man can grasp. A Christian psychologist must be a solid student of both general and special revelation and “continually test his scientifically derived facts against the revealed truth of the Bible.”56 Larry Crabb conceded this point by stating, “The Two-Book View (which is the implicit view behind much current thinking on integration) elevates the conclusions of empirical research to the same level of decisiveness as the conclusions of biblical study.”57

Historical Misrepresentation

Christian Counseling perpetuates the historical misrepresentation of general revelation by equating scientific studies and empirical data with God-given revelation. Concerning the use of general revelation in related literature, Deinhardt noted:

The importance and theological soundness of the stance taken on it is virtually ignored in the Christian counselling [sic] literature, in spite of the fact that it has a key role in determining what materials are to be included in theories of counselling [sic] and what methodologies will be employed in counselling [sic]. Moreover, to the extent it is mentioned, it is typically done so in a manner not representative of traditional evangelical theology. Instead, “all truth is God’s truth” is often used as a theological catch clause so-to-speak whereby one can uphold biblical authority, while in good conscience adding in whatever other “truths” one might deem worthy from other sources.58

In agreement with this assessment, Jim Owen stated, “Although ‘Christian’ psychology claims to integrate Scriptural truth with ‘discovered’ (i.e., scientific) truth, integration is not occurring; Integration is virtually impossible. ‘Christian’ psychology sets aside the historical-grammatical method of interpreting Scripture and replaces it with a hermeneutic centered on pathology.”59Jones views special revelation as an exalted gift; however, it is insufficient in providing what counselors need to fully understand human beings. Modern psychology, provided to man through general revelation, offers “legitimate and strategic” aid in helping the Christian therapist better understand human nature.60

Admitting that not all Christian Counselors and integrationists have adequately represented general revelation, Mark McMinn and Clark Campbell stated that this doctrine was “more authoritative on issues left unaddressed in the Bible” including examples given such as “constructing microprocessors or treating bacterial pneumonia.”61However, general revelation, as previously mentioned, is never referred to as an ambiguous truth that was to be discovered by “reasonable” men.62 General revelation was provided to man by God for the purpose of revealing man’s inherent sin, guilt, and need for reconciliation to His Creator. Scripture, as special revelation, brings explicit clarity to this relationship.63Henry, Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought, 19. See also, Packer, Ferguson, and Wright, New Dictionary of Theology. Pinnock stated, “The two species of revelation stand together in a complementary relationship. We should not forget that God is the source of revelation in both cases, and that two types of revelation work together to the same goal” (585).

Theological Misapplication

Collins reimagines not only the historical but the biblical definition of revelation. His model “begins with the assumption that God exists and is the source of all truth. This truth is revealed through the Bible (disclosed truth) and nature (discovered truth).”64The biblical definition of truth is re-framed by Collins and Crabb in the form of expanded empiricism. Collins noted, “I would agree with Crabb that the Bible is our primary source . . . But the Bible does not claim to be a textbook on psychology. We can and must draw from nonbiblical sources if we want to intervene to bring about maximum change through counseling.”65

In his book, Psychological Seduction, sociologist William Kirk Kilpatrick argues that the good intentions of Christian integrationists often leads to the secular overtaking the sacred. He stated, “True Christianity does not mix well with psychology. When you try to mix them, you often end up with a watered-down Christianity instead of a Christianized psychology.”66 In differentiating Christian counseling from biblical counselors, Ed Bulkley noted that the “controversy centers on the issues of authority and the source of truth.”67 As has been shown, the misapplication of general revelation in order to affirm extra-biblical sources of truth is not a new concept when the Christian counseling movement was first conceived; regardless, as a movement, this approach was widely applied.68 Years earlier, Abraham Kuyper noted that truth that is scientifically established has come to be known as universally valid. However, Scripture never presents truth as a force that depends upon corporate agreement in order to retain its validity.69

Conclusion

While it is a vitally important biblical doctrine, general revelation has been at the center of theological debate throughout church history. Unfortunately, this doctrine has been often misrepresented leading to error regarding the nature, source, and application of truth itself. Through this essay, I have argued that those adhering to an integrationist approach to Christian Counseling have perpetuated an incorrect understanding of general revelation in an effort to utilize both secular psychology and Christian Scripture. Ultimately, integrative counseling functionally identifies and utilizes two different types of wisdom: one found in the Bible and one found in secular psychology.70 At the same time, modern soul care practices pay lip-service to the sufficiency of Scripture while simultaneously denigrating the inherent authority of the Word of God. A proper historical and theological understanding of general revelation recognizes not only its place as subservient to special revelation, but also that revelation is not synonymous with empirical inquiry, incidental discovery, or truth-making but instead demonstrates an active and purposeful unveiling of God’s nature and plan to those who are made in His image.

<a href="https://biblicalcounseling.com/multi_author/samuel-stephens/">Samuel Stephens</a>
Samuel Stephens

Samuel Stephens serves as the Director of Training Center Certification at ACBC.

How does one achieve true healing? How is “medicine” / drugs apart of healing? Or are drugs apart of addiction cultivation?

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Hacking Humans: How Neuralink May Give AI The Keys To Our Brains

Nov 18, 2020,07:40am EST

Jason Lau
Forbes Technology Council
Source: Forbes
Photo Source: Forbes

Chief Information Security Officer at Crypto.com, overseeing the company’s global cybersecurity and data privacy strategy. 

human brain and artificial intelligence concept
GETTY
Source: Forbes
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

When Elon Musk gave the world a demo in August of his latest endeavor, the brain-computer interface (BCI) Neuralink, he reminded us that the lines between brain and machine are blurring quickly.

Though Neuralink and BCIs alike are still likely many years away from widespread implementation, their potential benefits and use cases are tantalizing, especially as the technology eventually evolves from stage 1 applications, such as helping those with spinal cord injuries, to more complex ones, such as controlling multiple devices.

It bears remembering, however, that Neuralink is, at its core, a computer — and as with all computing advancements in human history, the more complex and smart computers become, the more attractive targets they become for hackers.

To be sure, the consequences of high-level hacking today are severe, but we’ve never before had computers linked to our brains, which seems a hacker’s ultimate prey.

Our brains hold information computers don’t have. A brain linked to a computer/AI such as a BCI removes that barrier to the brain, potentially allowing hackers to rush in and cause problems we can’t even fathom today. Might hacking humans via BCI be the next major evolution in hacking, carried out through a dangerous combination of past hacking methods?

To better understand how hacking the brain could happen, let’s first examine how the relationship between humans, computers and hacking has evolved over time.

1980s To Mid-1990s: Hacking Tech To Get Human Data

Though hacking has been around since the 1960s, the modern age started in the 1980s when personal computers — and then hackers — made their way into homes.

Hacking took advantage of new and emerging technology that was easily manipulated. Hackers’ treasure during this time was mainly personal and financial information, such as credit card details, and they leveraged technology to get it.

The 1992 film Sneakers — about a black box capable of breaking any encryption code, ensuring there were “no more secrets” — helped popularize and reveal some of the hacking techniques used at the time, such as infiltration, physical intrusion and backdoor access. During this time, computers were the conduit to human data.

Mid-1990s To Today: Hacking Tech Via Humans

As technology became more accessible, humans began storing more of their private, sensitive information within technology, which now held the keys to hackers’ treasure.

While the core theme of Sneakers was to use a black box to cryptographically decipher systems, social engineering was heavily used to gain access to the box — a tactic that has grown exponentially as hackers shift their approach. Instead of breaking into the technology itself, hackers began preying on the vulnerabilities of human behavior (the weakest link) to get into the tech we rely on to store our vital information.

This period has been dominated by phishing and all forms of social engineering — hackers’ psychological manipulation of humans to persuade them into doing the hackers’ bidding. During this period, humans have been the conduit to technology.

The Future: Hacking Humans Via Tech

Previous eras were defined by obstacles between hackers and their targets, which were in place due to the inherent physical disconnect between humans and technology. However, what happens when that disconnect between humans and tech is blurred? When they’re essentially one and the same?

This is a top security concern of BCI tech like Neuralink. The technology’s core promise — enabling the brain to communicate directly with computers — might also turn out to be its biggest security flaw. There would no longer be a separation between humans and computers that requires some form of authentication and judgment.

Should a computing device literally connected to the brain, as Neuralink is, become hacked, the consequences could be catastrophic, giving hackers ultimate control over someone.

If Neuralink penetrates deep into the human brain with high fidelity, what might hacking a human look like? Following traditional patterns, hackers would likely target individuals with high net worths and perhaps attempt to manipulate them into wiring millions of dollars to a hacker’s offshore bank account. Executives in boardrooms could be hacked into making decisions, resulting in significant financial consequences.

In a more alarming scenario, should a hacker take control of a large population of people, they could manipulate them to vote for a certain candidate, party or issue, covertly toppling governments and entire state infrastructures. And in the most severe scenario, hacking a Neuralink-like device could turn “hosts” into programmable drone armies capable of doing anything their “master” wanted. Autopilot software features in cars have already resulted in deaths; imagine what a hacked army of sentient beings could do.

Some Perspective

Though the above scenarios are far-fetched, and Neuralink may still be far off, it’s never too early to examine how the inevitable hacking could play out. Some experts believe that the singularity — the point at which artificial intelligence reaches that of human intelligence — will happen by 2045. And, as cybersecurity professionals know all too well, hackers are usually one step ahead of security protocols, so it’s not a matter of “if” but “when” they will attack a Neuralink-type device.

To be clear, technological progress is fundamental to human progress. It always has and always will be. BCIs hold tremendous potential for good. However, technological progress must be done thoughtfully, keeping in mind one critical aspect of the “human element” of security — ethics. I’m reminded of one of Sun Tzu’s strategic tenants, “悬权而动,” which says you should always “think deep and carefully deliberate” before you make your strategic move. Now is the time to develop a robust set of responsible big data, AI ethical frameworks and governance that companies must follow when developing such intrusive technology like BCIs.

Finally, for those aspiring to venture into the BCI space, I would like to leave you with some powerful words from chess grandmaster Garry Kasparov, who has had much of his career challenged by machines and AI: “We have free will, our machines do not. … We have to have human accountability, human ethics, built in from the start.”

Jason Lau, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Hong Kong
Jason Lau, Chief Information Security Officer (CISO), Hong Kong

Jason Lau is currently the Chief Information Security Officer (CISO) at Crypto.com where he drives the global cybersecurity and information privacy strategy. Jason led his team to become the first cryptocurrency company in the world to have company-wide certifications in ISO 27001:2013, ISO 27701:2019, PCI:DSS 3.2.1 and to conform with the Cryptocurrency Security Standard (CCSS) and meeting the highest “Adaptive” tier of the NIST Cybersecurity Framework and NIST Privacy Framework. Prior to this, Jason was a regional Cybersecurity Advisor at Microsoft, leading Microsoft’s cybersecurity and GDPR initiatives in Asia Pacific. Jason holds the title of Adjunct Professor of cybersecurity and data privacy at one of Asia’s leading business schools, and the regional lead, advisory board, co-chair and faculty member of the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP). Jason also sits on the advisory board of Tencent’s Finance Academy, advising on FinTech and cybersecurity ecosystem development in the region. Jason has over 20 years in consulting experience for Fortune 500 companies in the fields of management consulting, cybersecurity, IT governance, privacy and risk management, and holds certifications such as CISSP, CDPSE, CGEIT, CISA, CISM, CRISC, CIPP/E, CIPM, CIPT, CEH, CNDA, CSM, HCISPP and more. Jason was one of the first worldwide to achieve ISO27701:2019 Senior Lead Auditor and Senior Lead Implementer status, and is a ISO27001:2013 Lead Auditor a Fellow of Information Privacy (FIP) and Fellow of the Hong Kong Institute of Directors (FHKIoD). Jason has won multiple awards including the “Cybersecurity Professional Award”, and “Outstanding Financial Technologist of the Year (Data Privacy)”, and voted a “Top 50 global thought leader and influencer on cybersecurity”, selected by industry peers into the “Global CISO 100” and most recently, Hong Kong Business Magazine Executive of the Year for Cybersecurity. Jason also sits on industry advisory groups and participates on various global security and privacy think tanks like the World Economic Forum’s Expert Network, Centre for Information Policy Leadership (CIPL) and the Standing Committee on Technological Developments for the Privacy Commissioner for Personal Data, Hong Kong. Jason has over a decade in the Healthcare industry across 5 continents safeguarding highly sensitive Protected Health Information (PHI) for hospitals and healthcare providers, and is a certified HealthCare Information Security and Privacy Professional (HCISPP). Jason also sits on various industry committees on the ethical use of Big Data and Artificial Intelligence. Jason holds a bachelor degree in engineering (Honors) and bachelor degree in commerce, and completed executive programs at Stanford and Harvard.

How do chips and brain hacking change the way we see intellectual property and personal privacy? Technology, medical marvels, machinery and human are increasingly blending and blurring lines. How do you impact the way you define humanity? What permissions are a must?

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BRAINJACKING: A NEW CYBERTHREAT TARGETING BRAIN IMPLANTS

CYBERSECURITYLATEST NEWS
by Preetipadma
August 28, 2020
Source: Analytics Insight

How can brain implants act as viable hotspots for hackers and cybercriminals?

Tech entrepreneur Elon Musk recently spoke about the possibility of a future where man has brain implants to various reasons ranging from augmenting his memory to listen to music. His Neuralink computer chip brain implant promises to demonstrate linking the body’s muscles with a machine, with the goal of treating neurological injuries and trauma. Though this tech sounds intriguing, it also raises some concerns. Experts believe that bio-implants are more likely to be prone to malicious cyber-attacks and become a new sport for hackers. This is the reason why the former Vice president of USA Dick Cheney had disabled wireless telemetry on his implantable cardioverter-defibrillator during his time in office for fear of political assassination. In 2016 Johnson and Johnson had warned patients that the company had discovered a security vulnerability in its insulin pumps, which might allow cybercriminals to alter their dosages remotely. As the human brain is the CPU of human bodies and thoughts-action process, scientists fear that attack and corruption of brain implants, also called brainjacking, can shoot up in the coming years.

As we live in a hyper-connected world, where every connected end-device is hackable, brainjacking poses a severe threat to people even before brain implants have hit the commercial markets. In 2016, a group of researchers, neurosurgeons, and doctors of philosophy from Oxford Functional Neurosurgery and several Oxford University departments published a paper exploring the issue of brainjacking. Even in 2018, scientists in Belgium have found that neurostimulator, a wireless brain implant can be hacked using off-the-shelf materials. They discovered that by utilizing remote exploitation, hackers could make voltage changes that can result in sensory denial, disability, or even death. These research studies highlight how cybercriminals can weaponize a simple brain implant for malicious purposes.

Laurie Pycroft, a doctoral candidate at Oxford’s Nuffield Department of Surgical Sciences, who headed the Oxford study, says that the most common type of brain implant is the deep brain stimulation (DBS) system. It consists of implanted electrodes positioned deep inside the brain connected to wires running under the skin, which carry signals from an implanted stimulator. This DBS can feed tiny, precision jolts of electricity into ones’ brain to control epilepsy or Parkinson’s tremors, dystonia (muscle spasms), and severe chronic pain. It has also been in trial for conditions like depression and Tourette’s syndrome. The neurosurgeons use it to map and target various regions of the brain using different stimulation parameters to have precise control over the human brain.

However, Pycroft fears that such precise control of the brain, coupled with the wireless control of stimulators, paves the way for hackers to attack the brain implants. For instance, an attacker could potentially induce behavioral changes like hypersexuality or pathological gambling, or even exert a limited form of control over the patient’s behavior by stimulating parts of the brain involved with reward learning to reinforce certain actions. The criminal perpetrators can cause blind attacks like cessation of stimulation, draining implant batteries, inducing tissue damage, and information theft, and targeted attacks like impairment of motor function, alteration of impulse control, modification of emotions or affect, induction of pain, and modulation of the reward system. Pycroft says although these hacks would be hard to achieve as they would require a high level of technological competence and the ability to monitor the victim, a sufficiently determined attacker could manage it.

While the scope of brain implants looks extremely promising, a single brainjacking incident can malign their reputation and raise questions of its safety and usability. This is why it is important to address this issue before the chips hit the mainstream market. Kaspersky has collaborated with the University of Oxford researchers on a project to map the potential threats and means of attack concerning these emerging technologies. Further, we need reinforced cybersecurity measures, which include encryption, identity and access management, patching, and updating the security of these brain implants to minimize instances of brainjacking. Clinicians and patients need to be educated on how to take precautions against these attacks.

You can read the research by the University of Oxford here.

You can read the research by Belgian researchers here.

How can you take precautions against brain implant hack attacks? How can you take precautions against unauthorized brain chip implants? What legislation would you like to see? Brain, body chips and DNA manipulation like Doly the clone is already here. What will you do now?

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7 of the Most Outrageous Medical Treatments in History

UPDATED:APR 1, 2019
ORIGINAL:SEP 5, 2017

Why were parents giving their children heroin in the 1880s?
BRYNN HOLLAND
Source: History
Photos Source: History

It’s hard to keep up with the treatment recommendations coming out of the medical community. One day something is good for you, and the next day it’s deadly and should be avoided. Addictive drugs like heroin were given to kids to cure coughs, electric shock therapy has been a long used treatment for impotence, and “miracle” diet pills were handed out like candy. Below are seven of the most shocking treatments recommended by doctors.

1. Snake Oil—Salesmen and Doctors

Collection of elixirs. (Credit: Efrain Padro/Alamy Stock Photo)
Collection of elixirs. (Credit: Efrain Padro/Alamy Stock Photo)

While today a “snake oil salesman” is someone who knowingly sells fraudulent goods, the use of snake oil has real, medicinal routes. Extracted from the oil of Chinese water snakes, it likely arrived in the United States in the 1800s, with the influx of Chinese workers toiling on the Transcontinental Railroad. Rich in omega-3 acids, it was used to reduce inflammation and treat arthritis and bursitis, and was rubbed on the workers’ joints after a long day of working on the railroad.Enter Clark Stanley, “The Rattlesnake King.” Originally a cowboy, Stanley claimed to have studied with a Hopi medicine man who turned him on to the healing powers of snake oil. He took this new found “knowledge” on the road, performing a show-stopping act at the Chicago World’s Fair in 1893, where he reached into a bag, grabbed a rattlesnake, cut it open, and squeezed it. He labeled the extract snake oil, even though the FDA later confirmed that his products didn’t contain any kind of snake oil, rattlesnake or otherwise. That didn’t stop other unscrupulous doctors and fraudulent salesmen, who also started traveling the American West, peddling bottles of fake snake oil, giving the truly beneficial medical treatment a bad name.

2. Cocaine—The Wonder Drug

Advertisement for Cocaine Toothache Drops,1890. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Credit: Smith Collection/Getty Images).
Advertisement for Cocaine Toothache Drops,1890. Courtesy National Library of Medicine. (Credit: Smith Collection/Getty Images).

Around the mid 1880s, scientists were able to isolate the active ingredient of the coca leaf, Erthroxlyn coca (later known as cocaine). Pharmaceutical companies loved this new, fast-acting and relatively-inexpensive stimulant.

In 1884, an Australian ophthalmologist, Carol Koller, discovered that a few drops of cocaine solution put on a patient’s cornea acted as a topical anesthetic. It made the eye immobile and de-sensitized to pain, and caused less bleeding at the site of incision—making eye surgery much less risky. News of this discovery spread, and soon cocaine was being used in both eye and sinus surgeries. Marketed as a treatment for toothaches, depression, sinusitis, lethargy, alcoholism, and impotence, cocaine was soon being sold as a tonic, lozenge, powder and even used in cigarettes. It even appeared in Sears Roebuck catalogues. Popular home remedies, such as Allen’s Cocaine Tablets, could be purchased for just 50 cents a box and offered relief for everything from hay fever, catarrh, throat troubles, nervousness, headaches, and sleeplessness. In reality, the side effects of cocaine actually caused many of the ailments it claimed to cure—causing lack of sleep, eating problems, depression, and even hallucinations.

You didn’t need a doctor’s prescription to purchase it. Some states sold cocaine at bars, and it was, famously, one of the key ingredients in the soon-to-be ubiquitous Coca-Cola soft drink. By 1902, there were an estimated 200,000 cocaine addicts in the U.S. alone. In 1914, the Harrison Narcotic Act outlawed the production, importation, and distribution of cocaine.

3. Vibrators—Cure Your Hysteria

Handheld electric vibrator, 1909. (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)
Handheld electric vibrator, 1909. (Credit: SSPL/Getty Images)

We have 19th-century doctors to thank for the introduction of the vibrator, which was first advertised as a cure for a catch-all, female “disease” known as hysteria. Hysteria was believed to cause any number of maladies, including anxiety, irritability, sexual desire, insomnia, faintness, and a bloated stomach—so almost every woman showed some symptoms. The condition traced its roots back to ancient medical theories about “wandering wombs,” where a displaced (and discontented) uterus caused female ill health.

The treatment? A “pelvic massage” that would induce “hysterical paroxysm”—commonly known as an orgasm. This job lay with Victorian doctors who manually massaged women. In an effort to spare the doctors this work, one ingenious practitioner named Dr. Joseph Mortimer Granville created a steam-powered, “electromechanical medical instrument.” Nicknamed the “Manipulator,” the device allowed women to give themselves home massages, allowing them to cure their “wandering wombs.”

4. Fen-Phen—A Miracle Pill for Weight Loss

Bottles of Phentermine and Fenfluramine, commonly known as Phen-Fen.  (Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)
Bottles of Phentermine and Fenfluramine, commonly known as Phen-Fen. (Credit: Yvonne Hemsey/Getty Images)

Today’s weight-loss industry is an estimated $60 billion business, a large portion of which is spent on diet pills. And while the first fat-busting pills went on the market in the late 1880s, no other pills have had quite the speedy rise and fall as Fen-Phen did in the 1990s.Originally released into the market as two separate drugs—the appetite suppressant Fenfluramine and the amphetamine Phentermine—they were marketed as short-term diet aids, but proved largely ineffective on their own. In the late 1970s, however, the two products were combined by Dr. Michael Weintraub to create what became known as Fen-Phen. Weintraub conducted a single study with 121 patients over the course of four years. The patients, two-thirds of which were women, lost an average of 30 pounds with seemingly no side effects—but Weintraub’s study didn’t monitor the patients’ hearts. The new miracle drug was first introduced into the market in 1992, and people could not get enough of it. Some doctors, looking for a quick way to make cash, operated “fen-phen mills,” where desperate patients looking to shed excess weight would pay anything for the pills. Soon, some 6 million Americans were using it.

In April 1996, after a contentious debate, the FDA agreed to approve the drug, pending a one-year trial. Almost immediately, reports of grave side effects started pouring in. That July, the Mayo Clinic said that 24 women taking fen-phen had developed serious heart valve abnormalities. Hundreds of more cases were reported, and by September 1997 the FDA had officially pulled fen-phen. In 1999, the American Home Products Corporation (the producers of fen-phen) agreed to pay a $3.75 billion settlement to those injured by taking the drug. More than 50,000 liability lawsuits were filed in the years following its withdrawal from the market, and patients are still able to file injury claims.

5. Heroin—The Cure for a Cough

Pharmaceutical advertisement from a 1900 magazine, promoting the use of heroin for a cough. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Pharmaceutical advertisement from a 1900 magazine, promoting the use of heroin for a cough. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

How do you cure one drug epidemic? Create a new drug. That’s what happened in the late 1880s, when heroin was introduced as a safe and non-addictive substitute for morphine. Known as diamorphine, it was created by an English chemical researcher named C.R. Alder Wright in the 1870s, but it wasn’t until a chemist working for Bayer pharmaceuticals discovered Wright’s paper in 1895 that the drug came to market.

Finding it to be five times more effective—and supposedly less addictive—than morphine, Bayer began advertising a heroin-laced aspirin in 1898, which they marketed towards children suffering from sore throats, coughs, and cold. Some bottles depicted children eagerly reaching for the medicine, with moms giving their sick kids heroin on a spoon. Doctors started to have an inkling that heroin may not be as non-addictive as it seemed when patients began coming back for bottle after bottle. Despite the pushback from physicians and negative stories about heroin’s side effects pilling up, Bayer continued to market and produce their product until 1913. Eleven years later, the FDA banned heroin altogether.

6. Lobotomies—Hacking Away Troubled Brains

Dr. Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)
Dr. Walter Freeman performing a lobotomy. (Credit: Bettmann/Getty Images)

Walter Freeman thought he’d found a way to alleviate the pain and distress of the mentally and emotionally ill. Instead, he created one of history’s most horrific medical treatments. Freeman developed his procedure, which became known as a prefrontal lobotomy, based on earlier research by a Portuguese neurologist. Early versions of Freeman’s “cure” involved drilling holes in the top of his patients’ skulls, and later evolved into hammering an ice pick-like instrument through their eye sockets, to sever the connections between the frontal lobes and the thalamus, which he believed to be the part of the brain that dealt with human emotion.Freeman soon teamed up with James Watts, and after practicing on cadavers, they performed their first procedure on a live patient in 1936, a woman who suffered from agitated depression and sleeplessness. It was deemed a success. But subsequent surgeries were not. Patients were often left in a vegetative state, experienced relapses, and regressed physically and emotionally. As many as 15 percent died. One of the most infamous victims was Rosemary Kennedy, the sister of future President John F. Kennedy, who was left incapacitated and spent the rest of her life needing full-time care.

Freeman was as much a showman as he was a doctor, traveling to 23 states to demonstrate his miracle cure. In all, he performed some 3,439 lobotomies—some on patients not yet in their teens. And despite the obvious risks and lack of concrete success rates, hospitals willingly let Freeman continue, perhaps because lobotomized patients were considered “easier” to deal with. Everything changed in 1967, when Freeman performed a lobotomy on one of his original patients, a housewife living in Berkeley, California. This time, he severed a blood vessel and Mortenson died of a brain hemorrhage—finally putting an end to Freeman’s haphazard brain hacking.

7. Shock Treatments—The Cure for Impotence

Electric belts featured in a Sears catalog, 1900.
Electric belts featured in a Sears catalog, 1900.

The medical profession has had varying opinions on the causes, and possible cures, for impotence. The repressive Victorians honed in on a man’s “moral weakness” as the cause for genital dysfunction, and by the 19th century impotence was thought to be caused by either an excess of sex or masturbation, or too little of it. As surgeon Samuel W. Gross noted in his book, Practical Treatise on Impotence, Sterility, and Allied Disorders of the Male Sexual Organs, “masturbation, gonorrhea, sexual excesses, and constant excitement of the genital organs without gratification,” would lead to impotence.

Some doctors introduced “galvanic baths,” or bathtubs filled with electrodes, which were supposed to restore sexual desire in just six sessions. Others took an even more localized approach, where rods with currents running through them were placed inside the man’s urethra. The treatment would last for five to eight minutes and would be repeated once or twice a week. This was thought to be particularly helpful for those with significant atrophy to the genital area.

Where a buck can be made off an insecure customer, then quack doctors and unsavory businessmen are sure to follow. By the late 1800s ads were running for “electropathic belts” or “electric belts” aimed at “weak men.” They claimed to help cure kidney pains, sciatic nerve issues, backaches, headaches, and nervous exhaustion—but the underlying message was they could cure men’s sexual problems.

While today, impotence is seen as a blend of physical and mental issues, the belief that electric shock therapy is a useful cure for impotence still persists. Studies coming out of Haifa, Israel (2009) and San Francisco, California (2016) both claim there are merits to low-energy shock wave therapy to cure erectile dysfunction.

A man once made a comment after a baseless hospital visit made without permission following an auto accident, “that’s why they call it practicing medicine”. Highlighting the many factless and baseless activities in the medical industry resulting in poor health outcomes and sometimes death. Infact, little has changed from the times of the medical treatments History highlights for us. The major difference is that marketing firms promote these products as appose to a traveling sells-man. What medicines do you take? Why? How effective are they really? Has your health improved or declined? Where did the assumption come from that in order to heal or cure oneself that a drug is needed. “medicines” are DRUGS. When is the next drug epidemic coming from and from what doctors offices>

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Therapist found guilty of sexually assaulting Marlington student

Ed Balint The Repository
Source: Canton Rep

John Sohar, 52, of Lexington Township, reacts to a guilty verdict late Friday afternoon in his sexual battery trial in Stark County Common Pleas Court. Jurors convicted Sohar of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl in his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High in 2019.
Source: Canton Rep
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

CANTON John Sohar bowed his head in visible anguish when he learned jurors had found him guilty of sexually assaulting a 14-year-old girl during his job as a school-based therapist at Marlington High last year. 

A jury of seven women and five men took roughly 90 minutes to reach the verdict late Friday afternoon on a third-degree felony count of sexual battery.

The charge stemmed from sexual touching and conduct the student said occurred during multiple counseling sessions at the school office Sohar kept while employed as a counselor for an outside agency.

The girl, huddled in the back of the courtroom, and her parents shared hugs and expressed quiet emotion following the verdict in Stark County Common Pleas Court.

Judge Chryssa Hartnett scheduled Sohar’s sentencing for 11 a.m. Tuesday. The 52-year-old Lexington Township man faces up to five years in prison.

Testimony ended earlier Friday with Sohar repeatedly denying he sexually assaulted the girl or convinced her the sexual conduct was part of her therapy.

Defendant’s words

Sohar testified his frequent and sometimes two to three-hour counseling sessions and repeated text messages and phone calls with the girl were an effort to help her cope with depression and mental health issues and not hurt herself.

Sohar’s testimony, coming the day after his accuser took the witness stand, preceded closing arguments.

“My goal was always the same,” Sohar said. “To keep my clients alive.”

And under intense questioning from Stark County Assistant Prosecutor Daniel Petricini, Sohar continued his denials.

Petricini had told jurors Thursday that Sohar manipulated a “lonely teenage girl” who had become infatuated with him. 

The girl had pre-existing mental health issues and a strained relationship with her mother prior to enrolling in therapy, he said during closing arguments Friday.

Petricini asked Sohar if it was proper for a therapist to exchange more than 300 text messages over the course of three days with a student client outside of their regular therapy sessions.

The defendant admitted he communicated with the girl “above and beyond” what he did with other patients.

Closing arguments

Following Sohar’s denials, the prosecution and defense made impassioned arguments to jurors.

Citing the earlier testimony of Carrie Schnirring, a mental health professional with Lighthouse Family Center, Petricini said the girl’s testimony was convincing because of details unique to the sexual abuse from Sohar.

Petricini called Schnirring as a witness in making pyschological asessments of children who make allegations of sex abuse. 

He said the details and sequence of events were consistently told by the girl multiple times and were not “the things you would expect from someone making up a story.”

Schnirring testified Friday that following multiple sessions with the girl, she found her account to be credible.

Petricini said that during her testimony on Thursday the girl sometimes took deep breaths, closed her eyes and paused to recall details of the sex abuse as if she was reliving it in her mind.

Petricini said the girl’s testimony, phone call and text records and Schnirring’s testimony combined to give jurors ample evidence to convict.

Defense attorney George Urban, however, told jurors Sohar was a professional, dedicated and caring therapist who didn’t stop trying to help the girl when regular therapy sessions were over.

Urban emphasized the student had twice become upset when Sohar stopped being her therapist, referring to it as “detachment.”

And although the prosecution cited records of more than 300 text messages between the student and Sohar over the course of a few days, Urban said that only about 10 or 12 texts were produced at trial through cellphone screen photos the mother had taken.

“He’s no groomer,” Urban said of Sohar. “He’s trying to help this young girl. As repayment for that — here we are.”

Prosecution questioning

Sohar was not an employee of the Marlington district; at the time of the allegations in the fall of 2019, he was an employee of Child & Adolescent Behavioral Health, also referred to during testimony as Child & Adolescent Services.

Asked by Urban about the amount of time he spent texting and talking on the phone with the student outside of scheduled counseling sessions, Sohar responded: “It’s difficult to put a timeline on trying to save someone’s life.”

During testimony, he usually spoke in a firm, direct voice but displayed visible emotion when telling his attorney that three of his clients over the years had committed suicide.

In October 2019, the girl wrote a 12-page letter in which she described Sohar’s sexual misconduct, prompting an investigation by the Stark County Sheriff’s Office.

The girl had given the letter to Sohar at school in front of another counselor, according to testimony. Petricini told the defendant that Sohar had turned over the letter only because the school employee inquired about it.

Sohar denied that was the case.

Urban said in the letter the girl sought revenge because she didn’t want Sohar to stop being her counselor permanently. “She wanted to zing Mr. Sohar,” he said in closing arguments. “This was her way.”

Petricini said that Schnirring found the letter not to be written by someone seeking revenge.

“She blames herself,” the assistant prosecutor said, referring to the writings in the pages of her school notebook as a love letter from a girl infatuated with the adult counselor. “This is a cry for help,” he said.

Petricini told jurors Sohar clearly groomed the girl for his own sexual gratification, playing on her vulnerabilities, gaining her trust and pitting the teenager and mother against one another.

He cited the girl’s testimony of how Sohar began by rubbing her shoulders during a therapy session before fondling and sexually assaulting her at later appointments.

More testimony

Under direct questioning, Sohar described the girl’s letter as “the ramblings of someone with some serious mental health issues.”

He also said he still wanted the girl to receive the mental health help she needed.

The student also testified on Thursday that she had seen two tattoos on Sohar’s body during therapy, a cross on his chest and song lyrics on his stomach area.

The defendant said on Friday that his tattoos would have been known to some of his clients, including high school students.

Petricini countered that the defendant’s explanation was not believable, calling it “totally inappropriate to talk about your body tattoos to relate to your teenage clients.”

Also during his testimony Friday, when explaining his educational background and employment history in counseling, Sohar noted that in addition to having a degree in pastoral counseling, he’s a former councilman and mayor of the village of Marshallville in Wayne County.

Reach Ed at 330-580-8315 and ebalint@gannett.com

On Twitter @ebaintREP

Would you recognize healthcare abuse and fraud when you see it? What does it look like? What should you do?

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HIPAA, Google, and Article III Standing, With a Nod to Kim Kardashian

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Saad GulMichael Slipsky, Poyner Spruill LLP+ Follow 
Source: JDSPURA

In a ruling that could have broad ramifications for health data sharing, a federal judge has ruled that a patient complaining about a hospital sharing his health data without permission lacked standing because he suffered no loss.

The case arose out of University of Chicago Medical Center patient Matt Dinerstein’s concerns about the hospital’s arrangement with Google. The hospital and Google partnered to share thousands of de-identified patient records. At the heart of the initiative was a machine learning project using Google’s electronic medical records data. The objective was to improve healthcare outcomes, for instance reducing care complications.

In a suit filed last June, Dinerstein argued the arrangement violated HIPAA. The partners had not obtained consent to share data. Nor had they informed patients that they would be sharing their data.

A federal judge dismissed the suit last week. The court rejected Dinersteins arguments that his medical records had commercial value, and their appropriation was theft. Both the University of Chicago and Google argued that their data sharing practices were HIPAA compliant. And they contended that Dinerstein’s allegations of fraud and deceptive business practices were meritless since he had voluntarily shared his medical data.

The gist of the defendants’ argument was that Dinerstein offered no contractual or Common Law authority to support his contention that he had a legal interest in his personal health information (PHI). But even if he had, he could not show that their actions had diminished the value of any property interest. And finally, he had shown no pecuniary damages stemming from the alleged contractual breach.

Critics complained that the partnership enabled Google to access mammoth amounts of PHI without patient consent. The partners argued that the material was deidentified data. Critics countered that the ostensibly deidentified data contained physician notes and dates, thereby nullifying any deidentification. The issue implicated partnerships other than the one with University of Chicago. Google has similar arrangements with other partners.

It has consistently maintained that its partnerships adhere to HIPAA mandates. The sole objective was to improve healthcare. Even so, unease with the practice has prompted Congress to query if it is time to update HIPAA in an age of Big Data and corona.

The court ultimately determined that the defendants had the better argument on procedural grounds. Without monetary harm, breach of contract would not confer standing.

“The alleged invasion of Plaintiff’s privacy is an injury in fact that can support his claim of intrusion upon seclusion,” the court suggested. “Dinerstein seems to suggest that the statutes at issue here—HIPAA and the MPRA—also create a legal interest in his health information… [but] has cited no authority supporting the proposition that HIPAA or the MPRA creates a property interest in health data.”

The court stressed that Congress had not created a private right of action for HIPAA. Dinerstein could not sidestep this by pursuing it as a breach of contract claim.

The decision raises three interesting implications for the future

First, it ignores that personal data is bought and sold. A marketplace reflects value. And that is regular citizen PHI. Celebrities from Kim Kardashian to Prince have long dealt with insiders selling their PHI. UCLA paid $856,000 to resolve allegations that personnel sold Kardashian data. Other high profile individuals such as Britney Spears, George Clooney, Farrah Fawcett, Drew Barrymore, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Tom Hanks, and Leonardo DiCaprio have also had their PHI sold.

Second, the court’s reasoning that PHI’s lack of economic value translates to the absence of Article III standing means that HIPAA violators are accountable only to regulators.

Third, the decision went against a state court trend we have previously analyzed: the principle that HIPAA sets the standard of care for privacy. Like any other tort claim, deviation from this standard of care that results in a loss of privacy is a cognizable injury that gives rise to a claim.

Only time will tell if the decision is an outlier or a harbinger of future HIPAA or privacy holdings. If federal and state courts adhere to their current courses, the outcomes of privacy lawsuits will hinge on the forum rather than the facts or legal theories presented.

How are your medical records being shared? Do you know? How would you prefer your medical records to be shared? Do you doctors know? How can this impact the care they give you? How can a breach or sharing of your medical records impact your health outcomes?

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HHS: More than 2M patients affected by breaches reported in October

The data comes amidst new reports that cybercriminals are using industry-standard encryption methods to enact attacks that bypass detection.
By Kat Jercich
November 16, 2020 09:58 AM
Source: Healthcare IT News

A person stands with a laptop in a room with technology
Source: Healthcare IT News
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released a snapshot this past week detailing breaches reported to the Office of Civil Rights in October.

In total, more than 2 million individuals had their records exposed by the 58 reported breaches, though it is possible that the same patients were affected by multiple incidents.  

It’s worth noting that the Secretary must, by law, post breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 or more individuals – meaning breaches affecting fewer than that were not listed.   

WHY IT MATTERS  

According to HHS, slightly more than a third of the breaches reported in October took place over email, and about 40% took place over a network server.  

Three of the breaches occurred within an electronic medical record – including an incident at the Mayo Clinic involving a now-fired employee inappropriately accessing reportedly sensitive photographs.   

Although the breaches were all reported in October, they did not all take place last month. The largest breach – affecting more than 800,000 patients of Luxottica of America Inc., which operates vision care facilities – appears to have occurred in August, according to suits filed against the company.

More details about each breach were not included in the HHS list. However, a 2020 State of Encrypted Attacks report published by the Zscaler ThreatLabZ research team this past week found that cybercriminals are using industry-standard encryption methods, paired with malware, to enact attacks that bypass detection.

“Cybercriminals have created sophisticated attack chains that start with an innocent-looking phishing email containing an exploit or hidden malware. If an unsuspecting user clicks, then the attack moves into the malware installation phase, and ultimately to the exfiltration of valuable corporate data,” wrote report authors.  

The team found a whopping 260% increase in SSL-based threats in the last nine months, with 1.6 billion identified and blocked threats specifically targeting the healthcare industry.

More than 30% of SSL-based attacks hide in collaboration services such as Google Drive of Dropbox. And ransomware is on the rise: the Zscaler team reports a 500% increase in ransomware attacks over encrypted channels since March 2020.  

“A notable change in many of these ransomware family variants during the past year has been the addition of a data exfiltration feature. This new feature allows ransomware gangs to exfiltrate sensitive data from victims before encrypting the data. This exfiltrated data is like an insurance policy for attackers: even if the victim organization has good backups, they’ll pay the ransom to avoid having their data exposed,” wrote the report authors.

THE LARGER TREND  

Cybercrime has taken on a renewed danger in the COVID-19 era, with already-strained hospital employees vulnerable to making mistakes such as clicking on phishing links in emails. 

Meanwhile, HHS, along with the Federal Bureau of Investigations and the Cybersecurity Infrastructure and Security Agency, issued a bulletin late last month warning of “increased and imminent” cyber threats to hospitals.

“Ransomware attacks on our healthcare system may be the most dangerous cybersecurity threat we’ve ever seen in the United States,” said Charles Carmakal, chief technology officer of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, in a press statement.

ON THE RECORD  

“The consequences [of a cyberattack] can be grave. If an attack happens in the middle of a surgery, whatever machines are being used could go down, forcing medical staff to fall back on manual methods,” said Juta Gurinaviciute, chief technology officer at NordVPN Teams, in a statement.

“MRI machines, ventilators, and some types of microscopes are computers too. Just like our laptops, those computers come with software that the developers have to support,” said Gurinaviciute. “When the machines become old and outdated, the people who made them might stop supporting them. That means that old software can become vulnerable to attacks.”

Kat Jercich is senior editor of Healthcare IT News.
Twitter: @kjercich
Email: kjercich@himss.org
Healthcare IT News is a HIMSS Media publication.

What are your thoughts on this article? How has it changed the way you manage your healthcare records? Why? Why not?

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McKinsey to pay $573 million to settle claims over opioid crisis role: source

FEBRUARY 3, 20218:33 PM
By Nate Raymond
Source: Reuters

(Reuters) – Consulting firm McKinsey & Co has agreed to pay at least $573 million to resolve claims by 40-plus U.S. states related to its role in the opioid epidemic and advice it gave to OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma, according to a person familiar with the matter.Slideshow ( 2 images )

The settlement is with 43 states, the District of Columbia and three territories, the person said on Wednesday. Several attorneys general said they planned announcements on the opioid epidemic on Thursday.

They included Vermont’s attorney general, T.J. Donovan, whose office said it would announce its participation in the first multi-state opioid settlement “to result in substantial payment to the states to address the epidemic.”

Washington Attorney General Bob Ferguson said he had reached a separate, $13 million settlement with McKinsey that was on top of the reported multi-state agreement.

McKinsey did not respond to requests for comment.

McKinsey previously came under scrutiny for its role advising Purdue Pharma and the wealth Sackler family that owns the drugmaker.

A lawsuit by Massachusetts Attorney General Maura Healey alleged McKinsey advised the Sacklers on how to “turbocharge” opioid sales.

Purdue filed for bankruptcy in 2019 as part of a proposed settlement it valued at $10 billion to resolve lawsuits alleging its painkiller marketing helped fuel the epidemic.

More than 3,200 lawsuits are pending, seeking to hold drug makers, distributors and pharmacies responsible for an opioid addiction epidemic that according to U.S. government data resulted in 450,000 overdose deaths from 1999 to 2018.

The lawsuits accuse drugmakers of deceptively marketing opioids and distributors of ignoring red flags indicating the prescription painkillers were being diverted for improper uses. They deny wrongdoing.

The states and local governments have been also in negotiations for settlements with drug distributors Cardinal Health Inc, McKesson Corp and Amerisourcebergen Corp and drugmaker Johnson & Johnson.

Reporting by Nate Raymond, Rama Venkat and Eric Beech; Editing by Leslie Adler and Raju Gopalakrishnan

Indeed we have heard many stories of patients being mis-prescribed and over-prescribed leading to poor health outcomes and in this case a crisis of addiction and the surrounding poor health outcomes that ensue often because of health care fraud. Do you know someone struggling with an addition? How did they become addicted? What are your perceptions and why? Would you recognize health care fraud if you saw it?

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Doctors Are Calling It Quits Under Stress of the Pandemic

Source: The New York Times
Thousands of medical practices are closing, as doctors and nurses decide to retire early or shift to less intense jobs.

Dr. Kelly McGregory had to close down her private pediatric practice outside Minneapolis because of the pandemic. “It was devastating,” she said. “That was my baby.”
Dr. Kelly McGregory had to close down her private pediatric practice outside Minneapolis because of the pandemic. “It was devastating,” she said. “That was my baby.”Credit…Jenn Ackerman for The New York Times
Shidonna Raven Garden and Cook
Reed Abelson

By Reed Abelson

  • Published Nov. 15, 2020Updated Nov. 25, 2020

Two years ago, Dr. Kelly McGregory opened her own pediatric practice just outside Minneapolis, where she could spend as much time as she wanted with patients and parents could get all of their questions answered.

But just as her practice was beginning to thrive, the coronavirus hit the United States and began spreading across the country.

“As an independent practice with no real connection to a big health system, it was awful,” Dr. McGregory said. At one point, she had only three surgical masks left and worried that she could no longer safely treat patients.

Families were also staying away, concerned about catching the virus. “I did some telemedicine, but it wasn’t enough volume to really replace what I was doing in the clinic,” she said.

After her husband found a new job in a different state, Dr. McGregory, 49, made the difficult decision to close her practice in August. “It was devastating,” she said. “That was my baby.”

Many other doctors are also calling it quits. Thousands of medical practices have closed during the pandemic, according to a July survey of 3,500 doctors by the Physicians Foundation, a nonprofit group. About 8 percent of the doctors reported closing their offices in recent months, which the foundation estimated could equal some 16,000 practices. Another 4 percent said they planned to shutter within the next year.

Other doctors and nurses are retiring early or leaving their jobs. Some worry about their own health because of age or a medical condition that puts them at high risk. Others stopped practicing during the worst of the outbreaks and don’t have the energy to start again. Some simply need a break from the toll that the pandemic has taken among their ranks and their patients.

Another analysis, from the Larry A. Green Center with the Primary Care Collaborative, a nonprofit group, found similar patterns. Nearly a fifth of primary care clinicians surveyed in September say someone in their practice plans to retire early or has already retired because of Covid-19, and 15 percent say someone has left or plans to leave the practice.

The clinicians also painted a grim picture of their lives, as the pandemic enters a newly robust phase with record case counts in the United States. About half already said their mental exhaustion was at an all-time high. Many worried about keeping their doors open: about 7 percent said they were not sure they could remain open past December without financial help.

For some, family obligations left them no choice.

“Honestly, if it hadn’t been for the pandemic, I would have still been working because it was not my plan to retire at that point,” said Dr. Joan Benca, 65, who worked as an anesthesiologist in Madison, Wis.

But her daughter and son-in-law hold administrative positions in a hospital intensive care unit, treating the sickest Covid patients, and they have two small children. When cases climbed in the spring, their day care center closed, and Dr. Benca’s daughter desperately needed someone she trusted to look after the children.

“It wasn’t the way I wanted to end my career,” Dr. Benca said. “I think for most of us, we would say, you would fall on your sword for your family but not for your job,” she said, adding that she knows other female colleagues who have stayed home to care for children or older relatives.

“It was not my plan to retire,” said Dr. Joan Benca of Madison, Wis.
“It was not my plan to retire,” said Dr. Joan Benca of Madison, Wis.Credit…Lauren Justice for The New York Times
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Dr. Michael Peck, 66, an anesthesiologist in Rockville, Md., decided to leave after working in April in the hospital’s intensive care unit, intubating critically ill patients, and worrying about his own health. “When the day was over, I just said, ‘I think I’m done’ — I want to live my life, and I don’t want to get ill,” said Dr. Peck, who had already been cutting back his hours.The Coronavirus Outbreak ›

He is now spending a few hours a day as the chief medical officer for a start-up.

Still, most practices have proved resilient. The Paycheck Protection Program — authorized by Congress to help businesses, including medical practices, with the economic fallout of the pandemic — helped many doctors remain afloat. That money “kind of made me solid,” said Dr. Ripley Hollister, a family physician in Colorado Springs who serves as chairman of the research committee for the Physicians Foundation. The volume now “is really coming back,” he said.

But, depending on the future course of the pandemic, Dr. Lisa Bielamowicz, a co-founder of Gist Healthcare, a consulting firm, predicts “another wave of financial stress hitting practices.” Many doctors’ groups will seek a buyer, whether a hospital, an insurance company or a private equity firm that plans to roll up practices into a larger business.

One doctor, who asked not to be identified because the discussions are confidential, said she and her partner had already been talking with the nearby hospital nearby about buying their pediatric practice before the pandemic arrived in the United States.

Although federal aid has helped, patient visits are still 15 percent below normal, she said, and they are continually worried about making payroll and having enough doctors and staff to see patients. As the number of virus cases balloons in the Midwest, her employees must deal with increasingly agitated parents.

“They’re yelling and cussing at my staff,” she said. Working for a telemedicine firm might be an alternative, she added. “It’s a hard job to begin with, to own your own business,” she said.

The coronavirus crisis has amplified problems that doctors were already facing, whether they own their practice or are employed. “A lot of physicians were hanging on by a thread from burnout before the pandemic even started,” said Dr. Susan R. Bailey, the president of the American Medical Association.

In particular, smaller practices continue to have difficulty finding sufficient personal protective equipment, like gloves and masks. “The big hospitals and health care systems have pretty well-established systems of P.P.E.,” she said, but smaller outfits might not have a reliable source. “I was literally on eBay looking for masks,” she said. The cost of these supplies has also become a significant financial issue for some practices.

Doctors are also stressed by the never-ending need to keep safe. “There is a hunker-down mentality now,” Dr. Bailey said. She is concerned that some doctors will develop PTSD from the chronic stress of caring for patients during the pandemic.

Even those who are not responsible for running their own practices are leaving. Courtney Barry, 40, a family nurse practitioner at a rural health clinic in Soledad, Calif., watched the cases of coronavirus finally ebb in her area, only to see wildfires break out. Many of her patients are farmworkers and work outside, and they became ill from the smoke.

In 14 years as a nurse, Ms. Barry has never experienced anything “like this that is just such a high level of stress and just keeps going,” she said, adding, “The other hard part is there’s no end in sight.”

She tried working fewer days but decided eventually that she would stop altogether for several months beginning in early December. Ms. Barry hasn’t figured out what’s next for her.

“My intention is to stay in medicine, although I would not be totally opposed to doing something in a totally different area, which is something that I would not have said in the past,” she said.

And patients have indeed felt the effects. The pandemic has developed into “a really huge disruption,” said Dr. Hollister, the family physician, who thinks closed practices are likely to result in “a significant impairment to patients’ access to medical care.” In his community, where both specialists and primary care doctors are leaving, he is tending to more patients who no longer have a doctor.

It is an issue that Dr. McGregory, who took a job at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health in Madison, worries about. There were some families in her practice whom she could not convince to find another pediatrician immediately. She said they “are waiting, which I discouraged, because I think every child should have a medical home.”

When is the last time you have seen a doctor? How has the pandemic? Why? Why not?

Share your comments with the community by posting them below. Share the wealth of health with your friends and family by sharing this article with 3 people today. As always you are the best part of what we do. Keep sharing!

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