Some Reflections

Monday Musings, for Monday June 16, 2014

Volume IV, No. 23/180


Poem by a Cary Academy Rising 9th Grader.  Reflections on Fracking and The NC Medical Examiner System

By Assad Meymandi, MD, PhD, DLFAPA*

(Editor’s Note: Graduation time brought many an excitement to families .Granddaughter, Margaret Elise Meymandi finished 8thgrade at Cary Academy. She takes us on a poetic tour of the alimentary canal. This is her third published piece)

We start our trip at the oral cavity

The teeth and the tongue live here with alchemy

We then travel to the salivary gland

Where the breakdown of polysaccharides has began

Saliva attaches to the food to be digested

To make sure it’s the nutrients stay well rested


Down the pharynx our trip continues

The esophagus is next on our menu

We run into the epiglottis on the way

It directs us away from the lungs so we do not astray

As we get to the esophagus, muscles are moving us

Do not worry though; peristalsis is just doing what it must!


We run into the stomach and protein breakdown begins

Gastric juices are secreted such as hydrochloric acid and pepsin

So the acids do not get too ruthless

The walls are lined with mucous

If too little mucous is produced

Gastric ulcers could be on the loose


The duodenum is next

And the rest of the small intestine is on deck!

Many biochemicals such as disaccharidases and aminopeptidase are secreted

Until the breakdown of proteins is completed

Th rest of the small intestine is lined with villi and microvilli

So none of the nutrients just pass on by

After the nutrients have been absorbed

Don’t worry, the rest aren’t ignored


The large intestine reabsorbs the water

So the feces doesn’t come out any odder

In the rectum is where the feces is held

Until it is ready to come out with a smell.


In regards to the N&O, May 21 news article “Panels vote to hasten fracking.” I submit that we should not be hasty. Some reflection:

Fracking is a process by which gas from underground layers shale is extracted. The process involves pumping water and chemical with high pressure through underground pipes to push the gas out. The environmentalists argue that fracking is detrimental to our water supply, and carries with it the possibility of contamination and health hazard. The politicians (and industrialists) who urgently wish to create jobs claim that the process is safe. I have been looking and wondering about another issue which thus far has remained unexamined, and that is the ethics of fracking. I consider fracking a violation of mother earth. It is very much like the criminal act of rape, using force and violence to victimize a subject and gratify one’s ugly needs.  It is narcissistic, violent, self-serving and inconsiderate.

Where are the theologians, bioethicists, and ecologists when you need them?  They should step forward and expound the evil of raping mother earth.  And if I am wrong, I will listen and learn.


NC Medical Examiner

Some 50 years ago, when I was practicing in Fayetteville, Cumberland County, NC, there was a barber who had the duties of the coroner. They found a body which the coroner had signed off as suicide. The prosecutor asked me for a consult since I had some forensic training. I did. In my brief report, I stated that I found three bullets entering the body including one in the skull. “It was the worst case of suicide I have ever seen…” I wrote. Reading the commendable and thorough five part series about NC Medical Examiner system in N&O, I see that after 50 years things have not changed much!



*The writer is Adjunct Professor of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina School of Medicine at Chapel Hill, Distinguished Life fellow American Psychiatric Association, and Founding Editor and Editor-in-Chief, Wake County Physician Magazine (1995-2012). He serves as a Visiting Scholar and lecturer on Medicine, the Arts and Humanities at his alma mater the George Washington University School of Medicine and Health.


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