The other night, I watched Panorama on BBC.
They did a programme from Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool on what they called ‘preventable illnesses’.
It was pretty scary stuff. We heard about thirteen year old girls regularly being carted in unconscious after drinking themselves into oblivion. We saw a five year old slug who is so obese that his mother has to follow him around with a wheelchair as he is too fat to walk far. We saw three year old kids on the operating table having all their rotten teeth removed.
The strange thing about the parents was that not one seemed to realise that she was in any way responsible. The three year old with the rotten teeth “Just had to have her lollipops, starting with one first thing in the morning”. The mother of a fourteen year old who drank a bottle of vodka a week just couldn’t connect this with the fact that she gave the son cash whenever he asked for it. The mother of the slug insisted her son’s obesity was genetic, and had nothing to do with giving him dinner portions that would suit a Sumo Wrestler.
There was one group though where the parents weren’t to blame, yet they were the only ones that were actively and loudly blamed for their children’s malaise. The were the Glue Ear crowd.
For those of you who aren’t doctor, Glue Ear is a condition of the middle ear which is temporary and not serious. It causes some hearing impairment and usually clears without treatment. What causes it? Even the NHS doesn’t know. I quote from another medical site I found –
The cause is probably due to the Eustachian tube not working properly. The balance of fluid and air in the middle ear may become altered if the Eustachian tube is narrow, blocked, or does not open properly. Air in the middle ear may gradually pass into the nearby cells if it is not replaced by air coming up the Eustachian tube. A vacuum may then develop in the middle ear. This may cause fluid to seep into the middle ear from the nearby cells.
Some children develop glue ear after a cough, cold, or ear infection when extra mucus is made. The mucus may build up in the middle ear and not drain well down the Eustachian tube. However, in many cases glue ear does not begin with an ear infection.
Now, the doctor who was featured treating these kids was fucking unbelievable. She was convinced that every single case was caused by the parents smoking. Do you see any mention of smoking in the extract above? I don’t. This cow however was the type of Nazi that would blame an ingrown toenail on smoking and she was determined to have her way.
She would examine the child’s ear. First question to the parents? “Do either of you smoke?” If the answer was yes, she would sit back smugly and announce that this was the cause. In a couple of cases the smokers insisted that they smoked outdoors. “Oh!” says this fucking expert, “that doesn’t making any difference. The fumes you carry in on your skin are just as dangerous as cigarette smoke and that’s what’s causing the Glue Ear”. What a fucking twat!
At one stage, she turned to the camera. “I always know when there is a smoker around the child, because I can see the yellowish tinge to the inside of the ear”. What was so appalling was that this cow – a doctor – actually seemed to believe this tripe. Any fucking dickhead can tell you that earwax has a natural yellowish tinge and has fuck all to do with cigarettes.
At the end of the programme, they did a revisit, to see how the children were coping. I was interested in the Glue Ear parents.
One father had given up smoking ‘for the sake of his son’ and was having a miserable time.
Another father was happily puffing away on his fag as he was interviewed. “No” says he. “Why should I give up? Most of these doctors are just talking a load of bull about cigarettes. Most of the stuff we hear about cigarettes is rubbish, and I don’t believe I’m harming my son.”
There’s hope for the world yet.