Friday, January 16, 2015

Remembering Dr. Mayer Eisenstein

Remembering Dr. Mayer Eisenstein

We Joyfully Remember Dr. Mayer Eisenstein
by Phillip C. DeMio, MD
dr. Mayer Eisenstein
The news recently came to us, in late December, that our friend Dr. Mayer Eisenstein had suddenly died. If you knew him like we did you are sure he is looking over us with a warm reassuring smile saying, "Don't worry, it's all right," though we are shocked & saddened at the loss of such a fine man and doctor just the same. This comes at the end of a year, 2014, where we had already seen the passing of two leaders who helped those persons disabilities: Louis J. Joyce who was one of the very first if not the first special education teacher for children in the U.S. (having been helping and believing in the educational potential of challenged kids & adults in Ohio by the early 1960's), and Dr. Jaquelyn McCandless (author of Children with Starving Brains, who helped to spread information worldwide about those affected with spectrum disorders). We will miss them all, with the loss of Dr. Eisenstein being the most recent.
Mayer Eisenstein was born in China after his family left Europe after WW II. His family later moved to the US, where he eventually became a physician. From that moment he continued a life of helping people. Along the way, though, he also became a lawyer and a master of public health, and he drew from these skills to help his patients on a daily basis. He was intelligent, informed, well-spoken, and a very staunch supporter of patients' rights to be informed & to have choices in care. Somehow there's where Mayer Eisenstein, MD, JD, MPH was viewed as controversial simply for standing up as a doctor for patients' rights & choices when they sought care for their loved ones. People took shots at him, all because he wanted you to know your rights.
Dr. Eisenstein wanted you to have access to information about choices in healthcare, with him as a physician guiding you along. His 40 plus years of practice, just taken at face value, had a minimum if any severe or chronic disease, with virtually little to no asthma nor autism in the many babies he delivered at home. Dr Eisenstein's tireless devotion to his patients led him on the four decade trek to helping people day in & day out, not just by being their good doctor. He also knew he had to assure that their right to choice in health care, based on the right in turn of patients & families, to be truly informed so they could make a real choice.
It is distressingly often that we are at a medical encounter where a stack of consent forms are pushed at us and, whereby many persons are unknowingly put through a mill without ever having truly been informed at all. A person cannot at all agree to the surgery, the drug or even a test in such a setting, unless we are guided to information. That's why you bring yourself or your loved one to see a physician. Dr. Eisenstein knew, and practiced this every day and with every breath. He continually stood up for patients and their families to medically get what they wanted & needed. I saw it in action.
On one occasion another physician voiced the opinion to put patients second and essentially to sell out to the power structures, leaving patients defenseless. Dr. Eisenstein responded swiftly and effectively with a fury and eloquent and informed argument effectively squashing the other doctor's proposal. The very idea was anathema to Dr. Eisenstein. His knowledge and incontrovertible statements once again protected patients. We always have been, and we still are energized by his dedication, his energy, his warmth, and his caring demeanor.
Rest in peace Mayer. Somehow, though, I think you've taken that magical energy of yours to a higher place where it belonged all along. I am proud to have called Mayer Eisenstein my friend, and we will all miss him very much.
Phillip C DeMio, MD
US Asperger & Autism Association, Chief Medical Officer

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Prescription Drug Labeling to Aid the Blind and Visually-Impaired Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Senator Markey Queries Pharmacies on Prescription Drug Labeling to Aid the Blind and Visually-Impaired Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Commends CVS for new “talking” prescription labels

– Senator Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) today sent letters to a dozen pharmacies requesting information on their efforts to make prescription drug label information accessible to patients who are blind, visually-impaired or elderly with deteriorating vision. There are at least 20.6 million Americans who experience vision loss preventing them from reading important prescription drug label information independently. In his letters, Senator Markey asks the twelve pharmacies what steps they have taken to adopt or implement best practices for blind or visually-impaired individuals, including providing information in braille or large print, offering audible devices to deliver information, and any costs for making drug labeling information available. Earlier this week, CVS announced it is now offering its mail service customers talking prescription labels through its “ScripTalk” system, as well as braille and large print labels for free its customers who are blind or visually-impaired.

“Pharmacies are important partners in empowering our visually impaired citizens to take full control of their health,” said Senator Markey. “Putting health and prescription drug information into the hands and ears of patients who are blind or visually-impaired is critical to ensuring safety and promoting independence.

“I commend CVS for providing options for those who are visually impaired, and I encourage all pharmacies to adopt policies, technologies and services that are readily available and will help promote and protect the health of all customers.”

A copy of the letters to the pharmacies can be found HERE. Senator Markey sent letters to CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid, Wal-Mart, Express Scripts, Target, Safeway, Kroger, UnitedHealth Group, Sears/Kmart, Costco, and Medicine Shoppe International.

In 2012, Senator Markey’s “Prescription Drug Labeling Promotion Act” was passed as part of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Safety and Innovation Act, ensuring that the blind and visually-impaired have safe and independent access to the information on prescription drug labels. The law established a working group of pharmacists, patient advocates, and federal regulators that issued recommendations of best practices for pharmacies to ensure that people who are blind or visually-impaired have access to prescription drug labeling. The law also instructs the Government Accountability Office to analyze the degree to which pharmacists are adhering to the law and whether there continues to be a lack of access to prescription drug labeling for the blind and visually-impaired.

Eric Bridges
American Council of the Blind
Director of External Relations and Policy