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Family Claims Wide-Awake Surgery Led to Minister's Suicide

CHARLESTON, W.Va. – In the last two weeks of his life, Sherman Sizemore felt like people were trying to bury him alive.

Now, more than a year later, members of his family say the horrifying experience of being conscious during surgery but unable to move or speak led directly to the Beckley minister's suicide — perhaps the first such case in the country.

Advocates say Sizemore's death should draw attention to a little-discussed phenomenon called anesthesia awareness that could happen to between 20,000 and 40,000 people a year in America.

In some instances, patients might be conscious for only a few seconds, but cases like Sizemore's, where people remain conscious for most of their surgery, can lead to post-traumatic stress, experts say.

"It's the first time I know of anyone succeeding in taking their own lives because of this, but suicidal thoughts are not all that uncommon," said Carol Weihrer, president of the Virginia-based Anesthesia Awareness Campaign, which she founded after her own experience with anesthesia awareness.

Sizemore, a former coal miner and Baptist minister, was admitted to Raleigh General Hospital on Jan. 19, 2006, for surgery aimed at diagnosing the cause of abdominal pain, according to a lawsuit filed March 13 in Raleigh County Circuit Court.

An anesthesiologist and nurse anesthetist who worked for Raleigh Anesthesia Associates gave Sizemore paralyzing drugs to prevent his muscles from jerking and twitching during the surgery, the complaint alleges. But it says they failed to give him general anesthesia to render him unconscious until 29 minutes into the procedure — 16 minutes after the first cut into his abdomen.

Sizemore was awake for the procedure, but couldn't speak or move. Worse, the complaint charges, Sizemore was never told that he hadn't been properly anesthetized, and was tormented by doubts about whether his memories were real.

The lawsuit, filed against Raleigh Anesthesia Associates by two of his daughters, goes on to say that in the two weeks after his surgery, Sizemore became a different person. He couldn't sleep, refused to be left alone, suffered nightmares and complained people were trying to bury him alive.

On Feb. 2, 2006, Sizemore killed himself. His family says he had no history of psychological distress before his surgery.

"Being helpless and being in that situation can obviously be tough on people's psychological well-being," said Tony O'Dell, a Charleston lawyer who filed the complaint, which seeks unspecified damages.

Calls to Raleigh Anesthesia Associates were referred to Charleston lawyer Bill Foster, who said he wouldn't comment until he had more time to study the complaint.

Anesthesia awareness — also called unintended intraoperative awareness — happens when a patient who should be under general anesthesia is aware of some or all of a surgical procedure. Causes can include doctor errors, faulty equipment or patients who can't take a deep level of anesthesia, as with some trauma cases or emergency heart surgeries.

The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations cites studies that show anesthesia awareness could happen in 0.1 to 0.2 percent of surgeries involving general anesthesia in this country — or between 20,000 and 40,000 a year. Patients who have experienced it often report sensations of not being able to breathe and feeling pain. Half of all patients also report mental distress after the surgery, including post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2005, the American Society of Anesthesiologists adopted guidelines calling for doctors to follow a checklist protocol for anesthesia equipment to make sure proper doses are being delivered. However, the ASA stopped short of endorsing brain-monitoring equipment as a standard of care, saying doctors should decide on a case-by-case basis whether such machines are necessary.

"It could be that some day everybody who gets anesthesia will have a brain-wave monitor," said Dr. Robert Johnstone, a professor of anesthesiology at the West Virginia University School of Medicine.

Johnstone says such monitors are used at WVU, but in conjunction with a range of other equipment anesthesiologists use to measure everything from blood pressure to body temperature. When such monitors and tests are used properly, he said, the chance of someone being awake for a lengthy surgery is slim.

It was not clear whether Raleigh General uses such monitors. Calls to the hospital were not immediately returned Monday.

"The incidence of unintended awareness is rare," said Lisa Thiemann, director of practice for the American Association of Nurse Anesthetists. But she said the organization is concerned enough about it to adopt its own guidelines, including calls for hospitals to conduct post-surgery interviews with patients to learn whether they were awake during surgery.

Weihrer said that recognition of the experience and proper psychological counseling is often the only thing patients want.

"The reason people sue is because they want to be acknowledged," said Weihrer, who won an out-of-court settlement after her anesthesia failed during a five-hour eye surgery in 1998. "They don't want to be told 'you weren't awake, it was a dream.' I hate the word 'dream."'

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5 Rules to becoming 'clitrate' and giving her the best orgasm ever

It's sad but true. More than half of 18- to 35-year-old women don't orgasm during sex, and, even worse, only four percent of women say they reach orgasm when having first-time hookup sex. That's not good.

In the following excerpt from from her new book BECOMING CLITERATE: Why Orgasm Equality Matters—And How to Get It, psychology professor and human sexuality expert Dr. Laurie Mintz gives Maxim an exclusive look at her five simple-but-surefire rules for making sure your partner has mind-blowing orgasms.

Don't be afraid to take notes.

Rule #1: Forget Everything You've Learned about Thrusting Hard and Lasting Long

You don't have to look far to find the message that the size of your penis—and your ability to last long and thrust hard—are the key to a woman's pleasure. This message is inherent in jokes about penis size and images of women having fast and fabulous orgasms from thrusting alone. Well, the first thing you need to do to make sure your partner has an orgasm is to know that your penis is essential to your orgasm, but not to hers. In study after study, women say that penis size doesn't matter to their pleasure. In fact, the only women who say they care about penis size are the approximately 5% of women who orgasm from intercourse alone. Yep, that's right. The vast majority of women don't orgasm from intercourse alone. Instead, as many as 95% need clitoral stimulation, either alone or coupled with intercourse. The clit is key—which leads to rule #2.

Rule #2: Educate Yourself on Female Anatomy and Pleasure. Become Cliterate.

A recent study found that 25% of men couldn't locate the clitoris on a diagram. Don't be one of them. Learn about the clitoris and her other pleasurable "down there." Here are a few fun facts to get you started.

The clitoris is a large internal and external organ and just like your penis, it’s chock full of erectile tissue. The parts that you can see—the clitoral glans and hood—can be found above her vaginal opening where her inner lips meet. In some women, the clit is close to the vaginal opening and in others, it can be more than an inch away.

To understand her clitoral glans, imagine all of the nerve endings of your penis poured into an area the size of a pea. Wow! That's why most women find that having their glans touched is too intense. Instead, many women like to rub the hood that covers the glans, round and round, bringing pleasure to the glans beneath. Some women like to have their clitorises stimulated even less directly, such as through their panties or by the indirect stimulation that occurs when you rub or gently pull on their inner lips, which actually connect to the clit in two places. Importantly, the inner lips are made of the same tissue as the head of your penis. No wonder they love some attention!

Rule #3: Ask For Directions "Down There"

You've probably also heard jokes about men not asking for directions and as a result, getting hopelessly lost. Well, if you want to be that guy when driving someplace new, so be it. But, please, don't be that guy when you’re getting it on with a woman, be that a long-term partner or a first-time hookup partner. Instead, ask for directions. Ask her how she likes to be pleasured.

What every woman needs to orgasm is unique to her. Making things even more complicated, what one woman needs can differ from one encounter to the other. So, the key to female orgasm lies (no pun intended) in the two C's: Clitoris and Communication. In fact, pounding the point home further (this time, pun intended), in a recent survey of over 3,000 women, almost all said that good sexual communication is much more important than penis size.

So, be a good sexual communicator. Here's a starter sentence that guaranteed to get her hot: "I want to please you. Tell me what you like." Or, try putting her hand over yours and say, "Show me what you like."

Rule #4: Be Patient with Her Pussy

Earlier I told you to forget all the junk you've learned about lasting long during intercourse. But, here is when you do need to last long: when you're pleasuring her with your fingers, your mouth, or her vibrator. Speaking of vibrators, here's another scientific finding for her sexual pleasure: Women's orgasmic capacity is related to her partner's comfort with using a vibrator. So, ask if she has a favorite toy and tell her you'd love to use it to pleasure her.

Now, back to the time issue. The average guy takes anywhere from 2 to 4 minutes from when he puts his penis in a vagina until when he ejaculates. The average woman needs about 20 minutes of external, clitoral stimulation to orgasm. In fact, Ian Kerner, author of She Comes First, tells readers that if they spend twenty or more minutes on clitoral stimulation, about 92% of female partners will orgasm. As Ian says, that's "a shift of tectonic proportions" – with the orgasm rate going from two of every three women saying they don't orgasm during partner sex to nine out of ten reaching orgasm.

So, along with telling her you want to know how to please her, let her know you are willing to take your time. Say, "Take as long as you like. I'm enjoying pleasuring you." Women often worry that they take too long to orgasm and no one can orgasm while worrying. So, reassure your partner that you want to play with her pussy until she purrs with delight. Believe me, she will.

Rule #5: Pussy Play Isn't Just a Prelude

In our culture, sex follows a typical sequence, akin to a scripted play: foreplay to get her ready for intercourse, intercourse, and game over. During this sequence, the man usually orgasms during intercourse and sadly, that is when as many as 67% of women admit to faking orgasm. To make sure your partner has a real rather than a faked orgasm, you need new scripts for your sex "play"—ones in which her orgasm is a central to the climax of the play as yours.

Let's briefly go through four new plays that you can incorporate in your sex life:

In the play titled "She Comes First," you could give her oral sex until she orgasms, followed by intercourse during which you orgasm.

Likewise, here's an example of a script for the play titled "She Comes Second": pleasure her until she's ready for intercourse, making sure to actually ask if she is, because having intercourse before she’s aroused enough can cause her pain. Then, have intercourse during which you orgasm. When you're done, use her vibrator to bring her to orgasm.

Alternatively, you could try the play where "You Come Together"—but not in those fake ways where both of you orgasm from thrusting alone that we did away with in Rule #1. Instead, for example, you could wear a cock ring with a clitoral vibrator attached (google "Vibrating Cock Ring") or she could touch herself during intercourse. (No, it's not a lesser form of sex—for some women, it's the only way).

Finally, there's a play where "Only One of You Comes." Before you say this sounds strange, recall it's what is often happening in countless "illcliterate" sexual encounters where only the man comes. Instead, in this new play, you could pleasure her to orgasm and ask nothing in return, or she could do the same for you. This may not be something you choose as the main course of your sex life, but it can be loads of fun as an occasional side dish.

The bottom line is if she's going to have mind-blowing orgasms, you've got to let go of the false stories about your penis and her pleasure. You’ve got to become cliterate instead.

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Cary Grant was one of the first to benefit from LSD therapy

Today, research on the effects of psychedelics is one of the most exciting fields of psychology. The US Food and Drug Administration recently approved a clinical trial to test if the psychedelic compound in ecstasy can treat PTSD; psilocybin, the key ingredient in magic mushrooms is now considered a promising treatment for depression; and studies suggest that LSD could help combat alcoholism. There’s still plenty of red tape and skepticism, but it feels like scientists are well on their way to establishing the health benefits of these powerful drugs.

It feels terribly cutting edge, but such research is, in fact, old. Before LSD became a party drug, it was used to treat conditions like alcoholism, PTSD, and depression. And, as a new documentary on Cary Grant explores, the actor was one of the first to experience LSD in a psychiatric setting.

According to the film, Becoming Cary Grant, the actor first tried LSD at the Psychiatric Institute of Beverly Hills in 1958 and took the drug 100 times over the following three years. He was effusive about the results, as Vanity Fair reports, telling Look magazine in 1959, “at last, I am close to happiness.” He viewed the treatment as a way of resolving childhood trauma and coming to terms with the ends of difficult marriages; after starting his LSD treatment, Grant realized, “all my life, I’ve been going around in a fog.”

Though LSD had been used as treatment for a few years previously, Grant’s enthusiasm helped popularize the then-little-known drug. In total, from 1950-1965, around 40,000 patients were prescribed LSD to treat a variety of conditions. The drug was little known at first but gradually increased in popularity before US drug safety regulations began to restrict its use in 1962. In 1966, possession of the drug was made illegal in the US.

The backlash against LSD—partly attributed to negative experiences of the drug, or bad trips, and partly to its association with the political counterculture of the time—was closely linked not just to its recreational use, but also the lack of rigor around psychological research at the time. Timothy Leary, a Harvard psychologist who was studying the psychological effects of psychedelics in the late 1950s and early 1960s, was not allowed to continue working at the university in 1963, in part due to his sloppy research. Leary was accused of giving psychedelics to undergraduates without medical supervision and, after leaving academia, went on to promote psychedelics with the phrase, “Turn on, tune in, drop out.” Then-president Richard Nixon reportedly called him “the most dangerous man in America.”

But though early research in LSD as therapy has a decidedly mixed reputation, Robin Carhart-Harris, head of Psychedelic Research at Imperial College London, says that much of the work undertaken in the 1950s and ‘60s was actually quite strong.

“It’s easy for us to be derogatory about the old research but they were asking all the questions we’re asking now,” he says, “Perhaps the methods weren’t as tight as they are today but, even so, there was a fair amount of good work.”

Today, he says researchers are “more privileged.” Brain imaging has been instrumental in navigating the effects of psychedelics and there are now standard rating scales for measuring depression, for example, as well as careful placebo control procedures and a greater awareness of biases.

Carhart-Harris says he and his colleagues occasionally read through older literature. It can feel reassuring, he says, to see that the effects they’re finding today were also noted decades ago.

“In a way we’re re-inventing the wheel, but we’re doing it with the knowledge and methods we have now,” he says. “You can think of the old literature as being quite extensive and rich but also a little loose and quite poetic.”

Herbert Kleber, professor of psychiatry and substance-abuse researcher at Columbia University, notes that the smaller doses used today are far safer than in previous decades. While working on narcotics addiction at the US Public Health Service Hospital in Lexington, Kentucky (now called the Federal Medical Center) in 1965, Kleber conducted research into LSD’s potential as a treatment treatment for addiction.

He did not get far in his research, and though he believed there were early signs that the drug could be useful for breaking addiction cycles, he also saw plenty of bad trips. “I remember there was a painting on the wall and under the influence of LSD, one patient [in the study] saw the painting come off the wall and chase him around the room,” he says. “Another one tried to break down a door because he was convinced his wife was on the other side and we were keeping her from him.” Kleber was interested in testing the drug at a lower dose, he says, but LSD was banned soon after.

Despite the downsides, researchers were uncovering the potential value of LSD. Carhart-Harris points out that prominent figures such as senator Robert F. Kennedy were supportive of the research, and went to bat for LSD in Washington, DC. “If they [LSD experiments] were worthwhile six months ago, why aren’t they worthwhile now?” Kennedy asked the FDA in 1966, after research on the drug was banned. “Perhaps to some extent we have lost sight of the fact that [LSD] can be very, very helpful in our society if used properly.”

But research into the medical benefits of psychedelics stalled in the late 1960s. “[Cultural attitudes] are very powerful and they stick,” says Carhart-Harris. “We’re the victims of that, and so are patients to some extent—victims of this stigma and misinformation.” As a result, there are no approved medicinal uses for LSD, but both Kleber and Carhart-Harris agree there’s evidence the research should continue. “If you have a compound that seems to be beneficial, works in a novel way, and does something different than currently available treatments, then you could really question the ethics of withholding funding,” says Carhart-Harris.

The good news is that, thanks in part to tighter research methods, government agencies are starting to loosen up restrictions on studying psychedelics. Psychologists are now picking up a decades old experiment. “We’re both catching up and advancing,” adds Carhart-Harris.

But there’s no guarantee that the trend will hold. “I don’t want to be too naive and say, ‘it’s just not going to happen this time because we’ve learnt from the mistakes of the past,’” says Carhart-Harris. After all, he adds, in politics, “anything can happen.”

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Sexual enhancement products confiscated

Wewak Urban LLG acting manageress, Winnie Sagiu, confirmed confiscation of these enhancement products at Tang Mow Department Store.

Sagiu, in an official letter to the store management, police and local and provincial government hierarchy,confirmed the confiscation of six of these illegal products, which are now placed in the care in the care of Customs PNG.

She stated that the products are to stimulate the male sex organs during sexual intercourse.

Sagiu, who is also a Health Extension Officer, said the products increase the risk of getting sexual transmitted infections due to having multiple partners.

The store manager were tight lipped when questioned by authorities.

The store manager said the products were bought from the street sellers and sold in their shop.

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Products seized from Toronto sex shops may pose health risks

Toronto police are searching for the driver after an early-morning crash.

It appears a white vehicle slammed into a bus shelter on Davenport Road at Caledonia Park Road, just west of Lansdowne Avenue, around 3:30 a.m. on Monday. The driver then ran away.

The bus shelter was heavily damaged.

No one else was hurt.

Health Canada is warning that some products seized from two Toronto sex shops may pose serious health risks.

Health Canada says it seized a variety of items from the two stores.

They include poppers and products promoted for sexual enhancement.

Health Canada say the items contain ingredients that could pose a danger to users.

The agency says those who have used the product should consult a doctor if they’ve had any health problems.

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