Laura Was…

When I’m reading a news story online I rarely look at the column of other stories that run down the right side of the screen.

But one headline caught my eye – it contained the words  “surgery,” “life support,” and “Mexico.”

Headline

I knew this story was going to have a bad ending.

And it does.

A woman – and it seems these stories are always about women – goes under the knife for cosmetic plastic surgery.

not good enough_01I’ll never know this woman’s reasons.  But I think women undergo cosmetic surgery because they believe they’re not “good enough.”

They want a “better” nose or breasts or thighs or butt or upper arms or chin or face or eyes or ears or lips…

And then – what?

She’ll be “good enough”?

She’ll be “happy”?

I have never met a woman who was happy with how she looked.  When I compliment a woman, her response usually sounds like this:

My compliment:  “What a great picture of you!”

Her response:  “Are you kidding?  Look at my thighs.”

I don’t know how Laura Avila, a 36-year-old realtor in Dallas, TX responded to compliments, but apparently she believed she wasn’t “good enough.”

So she decided to get some parts of herself “fixed.”

In my opinion, Laura was already a very attractive woman:

laura_01 laura and fiance_01

Laura, before surgery

Laura and fiancé Enrique Cruz

Laura scheduled “cosmetic surgeries” including “a nose job and breast implant replacement” at a RinoCenter in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico:

RinoCenter

Americans traveling to foreign countries for medical procedures is a common story.  This process even has its own name – “medical tourism” – and according to The American Journal of Medicine, in 2017 more than 1.4 million Americans sought health care in a medical tourismvariety of countries around the world.

Cost is almost always a factor, and in Mexico procedures can cost anywhere between 40 and 65 percent less than in the U.S.

And Mexico wasn’t “foreign” to Laura and her family – when she was growing up, they traveled there often from El Paso to see relatives.  “To us, it’s home, it’s familiar,” said Laura’s sister, Angie Avila.

And Laura’s fiancé, Enrique Cruz, had researched the RinoCenter clinic and found positive reviews online.

I have so many issues here.  First, I think reading online reviews is a good idea – for restaurants and hair salons and movies.

But for surgery?  Life-threatening surgery, which means any surgery that involves anesthesia?

Second, instead of looking online for clinics for Laura’s surgery, why wasn’t fiancé Enrique saying, “Sweetheart, you look great and I love you just the way you are”?

Third, why wasn’t Laura’s family saying, “Laura, you look great and we love you just the way you are”?

you-re-fat-you-re-ugly- croppedFourth, when will society and advertisers and loved ones and the world stop sending women the message that “You’re not beautiful enough, thin enough, young enough, good enough?”

And when will woman stop listening that message?

Laura and Enrique traveled to Ciudad Juarez for her October 30 procedures.

But the surgery didn’t happen.  According to Enrique, eight hours after the procedure started, doctors told him there was a problem.  They’d taken Laura to a hospital because “the anesthesia wasn’t wearing off and they didn’t know why.”

Heart Monitor Flat Line DeathDoctors at the Mexican hospital where Laura was transferred told Angie that the clinic had put the anesthesia in the wrong place in Laura’s spine.  Her brain swelled, her kidneys failed, and she went into cardiac arrest.

Laura is now in an El Paso hospital and, according to doctors there, Laura’s brain damage means “she is not going to be able to eat by herself, or talk, or walk or even taste food,” said Enrique. “She might be able to hear what we’re saying, maybe blink.  But as far as being any kind of normal, they don’t see her doing that.”

Here’s the most recent picture of Laura:

laura hospital

According to a November 19 story, Laura was breathing on her own.  She has no insurance, so the family has started a GoFundMe page.  Mexican authorities raided the clinic and are investigating:

Clinic Partial Close Headline.jpg

There’s talk of the family suing.  “As long as my heart is beating, I will make sure they pay for what they did and this can’t happen to anybody else,” said Angie.

This is where Laura’s quest for “better” – better nose and breasts and who knows what other procedures – has brought her.

If only the people who love her had told her.

If only Laura could have been at peace with who she was.

Laura’s story has dropped off the news cycle.  We’ve all moved on, all except for Laura and her family.

They’re left with a bad ending.

Update:

As of this morning, Laura’s profile is still on her employer’s website, where it details her background and interests:

laura realtor page underline.jpg

They should take down Laura’s profile – she won’t be helping anyone find their “dream home.”

Laura died November 24.

Not Their Finest Moment In America’s Finest City

When:  December 14, 2017, around 9pmfinest_02

Where:  San Diego, America’s Finest City

It was that time of year when for many people, thoughts are turned to the holidays, and Christmas shopping.

Two of those folks were Stephanie Majsterski, 26, and James Graham, 41.  Steph and Jim were strolling around the Pacific Beach area, a nice neighborhood with a boardwalk lined with trendy hotel bars and casual cafés.

It was a cool, crisp evening, and Steph had added a blue jacket to her ensemble (see above image).  Jim had forgone the jacket, possibly to better display an impressive set of arm common_01tattoos.

The couple was no doubt chatting – they did have so much in common, after all:

Steph was on probation for DUI and resisting arrest, and Jim was on parole – he’d had 10 robbery convictions going back to 2008.

However and whenever they met, clearly it was kismet.

It seems likely that holiday shopping was on their minds, too, when they walked into an apartment and demanded the occupant’s money and her car.  Why else would they want money and a car except to hit the pre-holiday sales at the nearest mall?

However and whyever they chose that apartment is unknown.

But that may have been a teensy-weensy mistake; breaking into an occupied residence hot prowl_01 croppedtransitioned their act from a plain old burglary to something called a “hot prowl.”

Judges and juries tend to frown on burglaries, a “hot prowl” even more so.

Judges and juries tend to really frown when the occupant is a woman, alone, and seven months pregnant.

The victim, Caroline Souza, told Steph and Jim that she didn’t have any money, and here the couple showed some nimble thinking:  Jim grabbed a wallet, laptop and some other items off a table.

While Jim did this, Steph stood blocking the front door, in case Souza tried to escape.  Clearly Steph and Jim were in sync – simultaneously grabbing and blocking, all hand in hand_03bases covered.

Then the couple left the apartment, walking “hand-in-hand,” according to Deputy District Attorney Lucy Yturralde.

Coverage of the story isn’t clear on who notified the police, but when police arrived the couple ran in different directions.  See?  There’s that in-sync thing again.

Jim was quickly caught – perhaps weighed down by that wallet and laptop and stuff – and Steph got away.

But Steph must have circled back, because the next thing she did was steal a police carsdp  at the scene of the crime.

Steal a police car.  Wow, talk about nimble thinking!

(Later, a San Diego police officer said he left the keys in his cruiser while he and his partner chased Steph and Jim.)

Steph hopped on the freeway, headed south at 90mph to Fiesta Island and then crashed into Mission Bay:

Map Final_01 with path.jpg

Showing even more of that nimble thinking, Steph jumped out of the cruiser and into another car, this one occupied, and asked the driver for a ride.

In a clear demonstration that chivalry is not dead, he apparently agreed, but policebusted_02 stopped the car and after a struggle, Steph was arrested.

In August Steph pleaded guilty to robbery, burglary, false imprisonment, theft of a patrol car and two counts of resisting arrest.  In late September she was sentenced to five years in state prison.

Jim faces trial December 4 on charges of robbery, burglary, false imprisonment and resisting arrest.

Goodbye JimNow, Steph is only 26 so five years puts her release at age 31, assuming all goes well.

Jim, however, at 41, is looking at 55 years to life, says Yturralde.

No Christmas shopping for him for a long time.

But once he’s out, this hand-in-hand couple?

They’ll have even more in common.

hand in hand_04

Book Review: “Dear Mrs. Bird” Is A Bit Of Alright

Publication date:  July 2018

Review, short version:  Four roses out of four.

Review, long version:anglophile-

I am an Anglophile:

I love many things British.

I love British history, British royalty, the history of British royalty, British castles and churches, colloquialisms and accents, and exports, like the Beatles.

I don’t love all things British – mushy peas, for one:

mushy_02 croppedMushy peas are dried marrowfat peas which are first soaked overnight in water with sodium bicarbonate, then rinsed in fresh water and simmered with a little sugar and salt until they form a thick green lumpy mash.

Eewwww.

A new British export I love is Dear Mrs. Bird, by AJ Pearce.  Pearce was born in England, and this book, her first, begins in London, December 1940.  World War II had started in September 1939, and the “Blitz” – the German bombing offensive all over England – began in September 1940.

blitz_04
A daily scene during the London Blitz.

So our narrator of Dear Mrs. Bird, 22-year-old Emmy Lake, is in the thick of Hitler’s bombardment of London, and Germany was relentless:  attacks mostly at night but also during the day, on industrial areas, government buildings, military targets, and on civilians – not accidentally, but deliberately.

Thousands of Londoners killed or injured, homes and businesses destroyed, life uncertain except for the certainty of more bombs, deaths and destruction.

Emmy’s parents live outside London, in a safer (though not safe) area.  Emmy says,

“Mother always worried about how we kept going.  I had no idea.  We just did.”

blitz-03
Londoner having a nice cuppa tea, surveying her former home.

And Pearce puts us right there with Emmy who keeps going, like most people in England:  determined to be brave, continue on with her life, and never, ever allow Hitler to defeat her, military-wise or morale-wise.

Emmy goes to work, volunteers for the Fire Brigade, hangs out with her best friend Bunty, and meets a nice, young man, Charles.  The English are known for their stiff-upper-lip outlook, and also for their understatements, and here’s a perfect example, as Charles and Emmy head out one evening to the cinema.  In reference to the bombings Charles’ brother says,

“You know it could be a heavy night, don’t you?”

“That’s all right,” says Emmy.  “We know all the [bomb] shelters on the way home…And I reckon you may as well be a moving duck as a sitting one.”

jolly_01 croppedStiff upper lip.  Good show.

When Charles calls Emmy the morning after another bombing:

“Charles said how pleased he was that I had been all right during last night’s raid and I said it wasn’t that bad really and didn’t mention seeing two children and a Fire Brigade nearly get squashed to death in the street.”

Understatement, yes?

Another delightful aspect of Dear Mrs. Bird is the characters’ so-very-English colloquialisms:

Colloquialism

Translation

“Really does take the biscuit.” Someone has done something you find very annoying or surprising.
“I’ll have his guts for bloody garters.” A threat of a serious reprisal.
“Make not too bad a fist of the thing.” Try not to mess up too badly.
“I was a pretty thin show.” I messed up badly.
“In the bag, sir.” It’s handled.

At this point I realize I haven’t said much about the plot of Dear Mrs. Bird, why thebook book is called that, who Mrs. Bird is, and what she and the war and all the rest have to do with Emmy.

And I haven’t conveyed the full horror of the Blitz, its impact, and the astounding courage, fortitude, and “just carry on” attitude of the people during this terrible time.

But Emmy does all that, and it’s a bit of alright.

Dear Mrs. Bird may not turn you into an Anglophile, but don’t be surprised if at some point you find yourself saying,

Bobs-Your-Uncle-3 cropped

Movie Review: This Movie Is A Riddle Wrapped In A Mystery, Inside An Enigma

Release date:  June 2018

NatashaJ osefowitz
Josefowitz – “peripheral person” or collaborator?

Review, short version:  Thumbs up for the story; thumbs down for the perpetrators.

Review, long version:

In the documentary Three Identical Strangers we meet her at her apartment – petite, silver haired, and gracious, everyone’s dream grandma or, at 91, great grandma – offering coffee before conversation.

She obviously enjoys walking her visitors through her photo gallery of “buddies,” as she calls them – pictures of herself with “Michelle Obama, Barack Obama, Robert Redford, Al Gore, Errol Flynn, Picasso.”

She is Natasha Josefowitz, Ph.D., an internationally recognized poet and lecturer, author of 17 books, inducted into the San Diego County Women’s Hall of Fame in 2015 for her dedication to empowering women.

Louise-Wise-Services-e1535574312199-768x430Unfortunately, she apparently wasn’t interested in empowering a small group of women back in the 1960s and 1970s, when she was part of a secret scientific study that deliberately separated multiple-birth children who’d been put up for adoption by the Louise Wise Services agency.

That group was up to a dozen unmarried birth mothers who didn’t know that their twins – and in one case – triplets – had been separated.  The adoptive mothers (and fathers) didn’t know, either.

peter neubauer
Neubauer, mastermind of the secret study.

Josefowitz is adamant about distancing herself from the study, conducted by psychiatrist/psychoanalyst Peter Neubauer.  She was a “peripheral person,” she insists.  She was “not part of the team.”  “I was in the office,” she shrugs.

She makes excuses for Neubauer’s years-long plan of studying the nature vs. nurture debate, portrays it as benign, calls it “an exciting time.”  Calls him “Sexy.  Nice looking.  Interesting.”

triplets_01
The triplets discover each other…

I call Josefowitz a damn liar, a hypocrite, and a collaborator in what one of the adoptees angrily described as, “This is like Nazi shit.  They studied us like lab rats!”

That adoptee is Bobby Shafran, and he was one of not the twins, but one of the triplets, separated shortly after they were born in 1961 and adopted by three different families.

Three Identical Strangers is the story of how Bobby and his brothers, Eddy Galland and David Kellman, found each other 19 years later, after growing up within 100 miles of each other in New York.

triplets with brokaw
Then the media discovers the triplets.  With Tom Brokaw, soon after their story went “viral.”

The brothers bonded instantly, became inseparable, and became the focus of massive media attention, the 1980 version of “viral” – newspapers, national magazines and network television, the triplets’ every outfit, word and gesture (many of which were often identical) admired and exclaimed over.

It was a fairy tale, and no one – including the brothers – spent much time wondering why they’d been separated 19 years earlier.

triplets at restaurant
The triplets at Triplets restaurant.

No one except their angry adoptive parents.

The six parents asked for a meeting with representatives from Louise Wise Services, “the pre-eminent adoption agency on the East Coast, for Jewish babies in particular.”  They were lied to, told that no adoptive family wanted multiple children.  The parents went home, unsatisfied and still angry.

But Bobby, Eddy and David were having the time of their lives.  They opened a restaurant in New York, named – of course – Triplets, in 1988, described as “wildly successful.”  They married and started families.

They also met their birth mother but, sadly, didn’t connect.  It was a “prom night knock-up type of thing,” says David.  But “it was OK.”

There’s much more to Three Identical Strangers including reporter Lawrence Wright’s movieinvestigation into the triplets’ story, where he learned a lot about the Louise Wise agency’s cooperation with Neubauer.  But Wright ran into a stone wall:  Neubauer’s nature vs. nurture study was never published, and on his death in 2008, Neubauer’s papers were placed at Yale University, sealed in a vault until 2065.

What conceivable reason could there have been for that, other than to conceal the secrecy – and the separations?

By 2065 all those twins – and the Three Identical Strangers – would be dead, and couldn’t cause trouble.

In a June 2018 interview with the San Diego Union-Tribune Josefowitz continued to insist she wasn’t a part of Neubauer’s study.  She was “unhappy” that the documentary suggests a conspiracy between Neubauer and the adoption agency.  She was “saddened” that information is locked away.

Perhaps Josefowitz could ask for assistance from some of her highly placed “buddies” in getting that information unsealed.

Before she, too, is dead.

David and Bobby cropped
David and Bobby today.  Eddy committed suicide in 1995.

This Could Happen To You…Your Child…And…

At first, exploding toilet sounded funny.

A joke, at about the level of whoopee cushions and plastic vomit.

There’s even a name for it:  Bathroom humor.

Funny, at first.

But then, as the story continued, I pictured myself with an exploding toilet and it quickly went from funny to unfunny.

Let’s say it happened when I wasn’t home.  Imagine the mess I’d come home to.  Like a exploding toilet aftermathbomb went off in my bathroom.  Where do you start cleaning up a mess like that?

Or suppose I was home.  Even if I’d had the TV on or the earbuds in, I would have heard something very damn scary.  Was someone breaking into my house?  Had my house been hit by something falling out of the sky?

Then I’d discover, no – no break-in, no meteorite.  But what a mess.

But then suppose – suppose I’d been in the bathroom when the toilet exploded.  I’m picturing sharp, lethal shards of porcelain and metal flying everywhere, including at – and into – me.

And according to the stories, that has happened:  at last count 23 people injured, one requiring surgery.

Close to $1 million in property damage.

Not funny at all.exploding toilet aftermath-01 cropped

It turns out that the exploders are pressure-flush toilets, vs. the gravity-flush toilets that we’re more familiar with, the latter having been around for more than a century.

The pressure-flush toilets are the Flushmate II 501-B, which Flushmate discontinued in 2013.  The company says it’s received 1,453 reports in the U.S. and Canada of the units bursting.

I can’t help but wonder how long those reports have been coming in – and why we’re only now hearing about it.

But wait – we’re not only now hearing about this.  Check out these headlines from 2012…

2012 Headline

2014…

2014 Headline

2016…

2016 Headline

Oh, yeah.  Flushmate has been having serious problems for years, and so have its victims.

So serious that in 2014 Flushmate “agreed to pay $18 million to resolve multiple class action lawsuits”:

Class Action

And I have to believe the company knew about the issues with the Flushmate II 501-B, since they stopped making it in 2013.

cpscWe have a government agency, the Consumer Protection Safety Commission (CPSC), that’s “charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of types of consumer products under the agency’s jurisdiction.  Deaths, injuries, and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $1 trillion annually.”

And CPSC has dutifully posted a Flushmate recall notice on their website, dated October 18, 2018:

CPSC Recall Notice
Note in the lower right:  “The series 503 Flushmate III was previously recalled in June 2012, January 2014, and July 2016.”  Hello?  Is anyone at CPSC reading what’s on their own #%&!#* website?

Considering the injuries that have happened since 2012, and the potential for more “unreasonable risks of injury or death,” wouldn’t you think maybe just one of the 500 CPSC employees might pick up the phone, call the company and say, “Flushmate, we have a problem”?

toilet explodingI realize the CPSC’s budget is only a measly $123 million, but hey – Flushmate has a toll-free number (844-621-7538) so the call is free.

So here’s where we are:

Flushmate estimates there are almost 1.5 million Flushmate II 501-B exploders – I mean systems – in the U.S. and Canada, and the company is telling people to “turn off the water supply to the toilet and flush the toilet to release any internal pressure.”

And then, says Flushmate, “We are communicating with customers who may still own the product to offer a free Flushmate replacement unit and installation by a technician.”

So if I have a Flushmate II 501-B system, I’m supposed to go toilet-less until their technician shows up?

I’m supposed to smile and agree that, yes, I want a replacement, and a technician, from a company that’s had recalls of their systems in 2012, 2014, 2016 and now in 2018?

Fortunately, there are no Flushmates in my home.

What about you?

What’s in your bathroom?

recall

Americans Invent, Then Invent Some More, Part II

Back in May I wrote about the inventiveness of Americans, specifically, how we invent something…

MY15-POLARIS-SNOWAnd then invent a crime to go with it.

One example I cited was the snowmobile.  Some creative American invented it, then another one stole it and rode off into the sunset.

Voila!  The new crime of snowmobile theft.

Now let’s get current.

In November 2017 Kate McClure was driving into Philadelphia.  She ran out of gas, pulled over, and started walking to a gas station.

Johnny Bobbitt, a homeless man and Marine veteran, approached McClure and told her to get back in her car and lock the doors – he’d get the gasoline for her.  A few minutes later he returned with a full can of gas.  He said he’d used his last $20 to pay for it.

McClure was so touched, she started a GoFundMe page to raise money to help Bobbitt get back onto a better path.  The goals in the story she posted on GoFundMe included a new home for Bobbitt, his dream truck, and two trusts, one for daily expenses and one for retirement.  Kate’s goal was $10,000.

Go fraud me Bobbit page

McClure’s post went viral, and therein lay the magic:  More than 14,000 people were touched by Bobbitt’s situation and his gallantry in rescuing McClure, and they responded with donations totaling more than $400,000.  It looked like Bobbitt’s random act of kindness was going to lead him to a better life.

Bobbitt and Couple cropped
(Left to right) Bobbitt, D’Amico and McClure.

Only, it hasn’t.

Bobbitt is suing McClure and her partner, Mark D’Amico, because the $400,000 is gone.  Bobbitt says he did receive about $75,000, which he used to buy a camper and SUV – both of which he no longer has.  He also, sadly, bought drugs.

As of early September:

  • Bobbitt was entering a 30-day residential treatment program.
  • Authorities had executed a search warrant at McClure and D’Amico’s home, towed a BMW off of the property and removed boxes presumed to contain evidence.
  • McClure and D’Amico were asked by a judge to appear and explain what
    kate bmw_01
    Towed Beemer – Bummer.

    happened to the money. Their lawyer said they are “unable to defend themselves or respond in any meaningful way” to requests for financial statements made by Bobbitt’s lawyers because the couple no longer had access to the records.

  • The judge postponed legal action in the case until December 7.  Maybe between now and then McClure and D’Amico can raise more money on GoFundMe defray lawyer expenses?
  • GoFundMe has promised that Bobbitt will receive the rest of his $400,000, so perhaps this Good Samaritan’s cloud will have a silver lining, after all.

People who commit fraud are scum.  People who defraud a veteran are…

super scum cropped

OK, I realize that McClure and D’Amico are innocent until proven guilty.  But it sure looks like American inventiveness at work again:

  1. Americans invented GoFundMe.
  2. Then we invented a name for it:  Crowdfunding.
  3. Americans invented GoFundMe fraud.
  4. Then we invented a name for it:  Crowdfrauding.

Crowdfrauding is so egregious that in 2016, freelance financial reporter Adrienne Gonzalez started GoFraudMe.com where she writes about fraud occurring on GoFundMe.

Go Fraud Me home pge.jpg

In the GoFraudMe.com FAQs Gonzalez says, “You really have no way of knowing which fundraisers are legit and which are cooked up by modern-day robbers using technology rather than guns.”

And the variety of those modern-day robbers is staggering – here are just a few recent headlines from Gonzalez’s GoFraudMe site:

  • Prosecutors:  Mom Who Stabbed Two Sons to Death Hoped for Lucrative GoFundMe Payday
  • GoFundMe For Georgia Widow Removed After the Woman is Charged in Husband’s Murder
  • Marine Scams Fellow Marine Into Starting a GoFundMe for Him, Fails to Mention He’s Facing Several Drug Felonies

Go Fraud Me Headlines

And the really bizarre thing about GoFundMe is, it appears that someone you know – or don’t – can set up a fundraising page on your behalf, for a real or fraudulent reason, collect the money.  And vanish – without ever meeting you.

Here’s the story that motivated Gonzalez to start GoFraudMe:

In Florida in early 2015, Bart the cat was hit by a car. His owner, thinking Bart had died, buried him in the backyard.  Five days later, the cat rose from the dead and crawled back to the house.  The story about the zombie cat spread far and wide, and someone quickly set up a page on GoFundMe to pay Bart’s mounting medical bills.

bart

Except there were no bills to pay.

According to Gonzalez’s reporting, Bart’s medical bills were being paid for by the Humane Society, and the cash from GoFundMe was being collected by a neighbor.  Despite Gonzalez’s best efforts, GoFundMe did not take down the campaign.  It ended up raising more than $6,000.

I don’t know what prompts people to donate to GoFundMe but a lot of them do; according to the website, “more than 50 million donors…helped organizers raise over $5 billion.” 

And I don’t know how people decide which plea to respond to – the parents who need help paying for their baby’s cancer treatment?  The family in need of funds to bury a loved one?  Another veteran, like Bobbitt, who served his/her country and has been abandoned by the VA?

I do know that I believe the two guys who started GoFundMe back in 2010 did it with the best of intentions, including making money, which is, after all, the American dream.go fund me scam

I believe McClure and D’Amico started the GoFundMe for Johnny Bobbitt with the best of intentions, but that $400,000 was just too tempting.

And…I believe Americans will go on inventing, and Americans will go on creating new crimes as new inventions come along.

As I said back in May:

What a country!

Headline Indictment

Update:

I wrote this blog when the lawsuit story appeared in September, but hadn’t posted it yet.

At the time, I easily believed that Bobbitt was the victim of two scammers, and the generous people who had donated to the GoFundMe campaign were victims, too.

Now it appears that the whole world was scammed by McClure, D’Amico and Bobbitt.

On November 15 this story appeared:

Headline

The irony is, if Bobbitt hadn’t sued McClure and D’Amico over the money, the three apparent scammers could have gotten away with this.

So how do I feel?  Duped.  Naïve.  Sad.

And if it turns out that Bobbitt, McClure and D’Amico are scammers…

I’m hoping all three go to prison for a very long time.

fool me shame on you twice_01 cropped

Find The Story, Then…

Here’s the headline:

Headline

Here’s the name of this new addition to our family of opioids:  Dsuvia.

dsuvia logo

As I read the article I had two questions:

First:  Why does this country need with another opioid?  Especially when there are nearly 400 opioids currently on the market, including brand name and generic drugs.

Especially in a country where opiod-related overdoses killed 49,000 people in 2017?

Second:  I wonder who owns AcelRx – the company that makes the just-approved Dsuvia – and could it possibly be a bunch of rich guys who will get richer from this?

acelrxRich guys who smiled on October 10, when it looked like Dsuvia was on its way to approval and AcelRx stock skyrocketed nearly 36%?

Rich guys who smiled even more when they heard that AcelRx projects $1.1 billion in annual sales of Dsuvia?

Could rich guys have anything to do with the FDA approving yet another opioid?

So who owns AcelRx?

According to CNN Business, here are the top five of the top 10 owners of AcelRx:

Top Ten

Here’s how Nasdaq slices the owners’ piece of the pie:

Pie Chart

To get an idea of the value of these top five, I had to learn about something called AUM – Assets Under Management:

AUM is the total market value of assets that an investment company or financial institution manages on behalf of investors.

Now that I knew what to look for, I spent a fair amount of time looking at (rich) pale males in gray suits.

Here are some of the key people at those top five owners of AcelRx, and each company’s AUM:

#1:

The Vanguard Group, Inc. Vanguard F William McNabb III

F. William McNabb III, Chairman

AUM:  $5.1 trillion in 2018 Vanguard Tim Buckley

Tim Buckley, President & CEO

#2:

 

Blackrock Fund Advisors

Blackrock Larry Fink.jpg

Larry Fink, Chairman & CEO

 

AUM:  $6.3 trillion in 2018

Blackrock robert kapito

Robert Kapito, President

#3:

Renaissance Technologies Renaissance James Simons

James H. Simons, Co-founder
& Board Chair

 

AUM:  $84 billion in 2018

Renaissance howard-morgan-w800

Howard L. Morgan, Co-founder

#4:

Fidelity Management & Research Fidelity Morrison

Charles Morrison, President

 

AUM:  $219B in 2018

Fidelity McGraw-Gerry-1-500x500-c-default

Gerard McGraw, CFO, Director

#5:

 

Geode Capital Management

 

Geode Gubitosi

Vince Gubitosi, President

 

AUM:  $84 billion in 2018

Geode Miller_

Jeffrey S. Miller, COO

But Dsuvia isn’t just for rich investors – the Pentagon has spent millions of dollars helping to fund AcelRx’s research, and where does the Pentagon get its money?

From us taxpayers.  So you, too – willingly or otherwise – had a hand in bringing a new fda_approval croppedopioid to our nation.

And there you have it.  With all the readily available opioids in this country, and with all the opioid-related deaths, our FDA saw fit to give yet another opioid the nod.

Is there a connection between that FDA approval, and the owners of AcelRx making more money?

You connect the dots, and then you tell me.

In closing, here’s an old melody, What The World Needs Now, with new lyrics written especially for this occasion:

 

What the world needs now

Is drugs, more drugs.

It’s the only thing

That we’ve just too little of.

 

used needles
 

What the world needs now

Is more opioid drugs.

No, not just for some

But for everyone.

 

pills and u.s. map
 

Doc, I don’t need another aspirin.

I’ve got Advil and Motrin and Tylenol.

I need real stuff, the hard stuff

That gets me high, the stuff that kills,

If you want to know.

 

no aspirin
 

What the world needs now

Is more opioid drugs.

New one just approved

Catchy name:  “Dsuvia.”

 

dsuvia logo
 

Just a tiny pill

Slides right under my tongue.

No needles for me –

Got Dsuvia.

 

dsuvia under tongue
 

Doc, can I have some more Dsuvia?

Cause my knees hurt, my back hurts, they’re really bad.

Please just write a prescription, and no more pain.

I’ll never feel…

Anything again.

 

Dsuvia with applicator
 

 

What the world needs now…

 

 

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