Letters to the Editor

Letters: Readers discuss Trump administration defectors and steroids for back pain

Scurrying away

It’s rather clear what’s going on in Washington, D.C.: The rats are leaving a sinking ship — our ship of state that has hit an iceberg. We’re sinking fast. We have no rudder or lifeboats, only a babbling captain who doesn’t know up from down. We might as well be called the Titanic.

Let’s hope it isn’t too late for the next captain to save us.

Hugh Taylor

Overland Park

Don’t shoot me

There are 10 million steroid injections per year for back pain, partly because insurance companies insist on them before authorizing surgery. They are not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. In fact, the FDA has warned they could cause low vision, strokes, paralysis or even death, and there is no research evidence of their efficacy.

I am a candidate for back surgery, having failed physical therapy twice, along with six other “conservative” treatments. My MRI shows three areas of stenosis, which is the likely source of my pain and disability in my left leg. I was told by a pain specialist I would need four steroid injections a year. The research shows a brief, short-term benefit, but no longer-term superiority of the drug over placebo saline injections.

I would self-pay for the surgery, but this was disallowed (probably because of my surgeon’s contract with the insurance company).

Research also indicates that steroids impair brain function, and I tend to like my brain the way it is. Steroid injections and many other “standards of care treatment” are unfortunately based on physician belief and not science.

Leslie “Les” Ruthven

Wichita, Kansas