Posts Tagged Hepatitis B

Fiona Ma (Assemblywoman & Campaigner against Hepatitis B) to speak at Health Technology Forum Conference

Hepatitis B Virus

Hepatitis B Virus (Photo credit: AJC1)

Hepatitis B (HBV) virus is a very common virus worldwide.   Approximately, 1.2 million people in the United States are affected by this virus.  Almost 350 million people worldwide, are living with Hepatitis B.  Many people with Hepatitis B are likely to be infected at birth or in early childhood, and due to lack of immediate attention, have developed a lifelong chronic infection.   Hepatitis B is a contagious liver disease that is commonly spread through blood, semen, or other body fluids.  Most people do not experience symptoms until it is too late.  The virus causes 80% of all liver cancers, if left untreated.  Hepatitis B can be prevented with vaccination.  And with immediate attention and monitoring with nutrition, fluids, and medical supervision, acute Hep B can also be effectively treated.

Fiona Ma, incumbent democratic candidate for State Board of Equalization, a reputed politician and a former member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors, California State Assembly, is a tireless campaigner and spokesperson for “San Francisco Hepatitis B Free” campaign.  San Francisco has the highest concentration of Hep B in the country.  Ma herself learned that she had Hep B, when she was 22.  She acquired it from her mother, who had acquired it from her mother.  About 1 in every 10 Asian Americans, is infected with the virus.  Ma’s mother had developed liver scars and having caught that early, had it removed.

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma

English: California State Assemblywoman Fiona Ma (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Fiona Ma will be giving keynote address at Health Technology Innovation Forum annual conference on May, 20 at Parc 55, Wyndham Hotel, SF.  The conference is focused on exploring pathways to sustainable health through various means including “best practices for globally underserved”, through “gamification” and “patient engagement”, and through “building resilient communities for better outcomes”.  Traditionally, this conference is heavily attended by physicians from UCSF, as well as entrepreneurs focused on healthcare breakthroughs.  Please register for the conference at , as my friend, with the discount code “HTF14-FriendOfOrganizer” and send me your first & last name at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com, to get $150 off the price of the ticket.


Please note other upcoming events below – dates & deadlines.

1) Register for #TiEcon at link  as my guest & enter promo code tievalue to get $100 discount. If you are an entrepreneur, I would say this is the conference, you don’t want to miss.  Check out great agenda, top notch speakers & panelists on #IoT, #bigdata, #cloud, and #Healthcare tracks at

3) Feel free to send me an email for any of these events at wd_darshana at hotmail dot com and you can follow my updates on Twitter @DarshanaN.  Also, do check out (in JOBS category on this blog), my job opportunities that include many Quality Engineering jobs in CA and MA and hot Software Embedded Engineer job and more.

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Cutting for Stone by Abraham Verghese – Book Review

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Haile Selassie, Emperor...

Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. Haile Selassie, Emperor of Ethiopia, in his study at the palace CALL NUMBER: LC-USW33- 019078-C (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Verghese’s book Cutting for Stone was a feast for the mind at many levels, for me.  It took me down the memory lane, of growing up in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, born of immigrant parents like the main characters Shiva and Marion, twin brothers born from a union between Indian nun and an Indian born British surgeon.  I re-lived the years spent in Addis, the stories I heard growing up there, and the true home it is in my heart, through the names and descriptions, history and events related to the Emperor Haile Selassie; the coup, the Eritrean Freedom movement; through the events related to the city, the ululation when the Emperor drove through the city streets, the highjacking of Ethiopian Airlines plane; the locations, the Kerchele, the Merakto (where my father had his shop), Churchill Road (where we lived) Sodere and Woliso  (where we vacationed), Piasa, Cinema Adowa (where I saw my first movie in a theater), Bole Airport (the restaurant there served the best lasagna, and also surrounding regions and countries where my parents and other relatives lived and where we visited, Harrar, Djibouti, Aden, Nairobi, Mogadishu, Asmara.   Senses were stirred with the mention of buna coffee at buna-bet and of course Anjira and Wot, the best food I knew in the world.  What a feast!

English: Picture of a rectobladder neck fistula

English: Picture of a rectobladder neck fistula (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The book is a marvel in stirring the senses at other levels as well.  I learned more about medicine from reading this book then from attending tons of medical conferences.  I learned, not about the cognitive dry aspects of medicine but rich, vivid description about healthcare and surgical and non surgical treatments that interact with the human body in intended and unintended ways and the emotional impact of various treatments on the patients and their loved ones.  Where could I have ever learned about things like vasectomy, but from the vivid description here, narrated with bedside humor, by Ghosh.  Ghose is the most loving and insightful character, full of wise, simple quotes for living life.  Nor could one learn elsewhere in a manner one would never forget, about the barbaric custom of female genital cutting or about fistula, hole often caused from prolonged severe labor, frequently in child brides whose bodies are simply not developed enough for a passageway wide enough for birthing, or about lice fever, or about Hepatitis B.  But most interesting is the entire lesson one gets about liver disease and live organ liver transplant.  All students of medicine should be required to read this book.  It simply is not the same as reading this kind of information in medical books or on the internet.  Various diseases are described in vivid detail in this book, where the cognitive and theoretical aspects of diseases, disease progression, treatments, and medicine are discussed along with emotional aspects of patients’ experiences.  Clinicians’ relationship to the diseases with cut and dry (pun intended) medical treatment of diseases like aneurysms, cancers, and syphilis interjects with the turbulence and turmoil of patients’ lives, caused by the diseases.  

As if the book did not already deliver hundred times its value, the story is beautifully told.  It is full of wisdom and rich metaphors like “life, too is like that.  You live it forward, but understand it backward.  It is only when you stop and look to the rear that you see the corpse caught under your wheel” and about knowing when to accept the finality of the end “Thou shall not operate on the day of a patient’s death”.  Or, the one I relate to “geography is destiny”; I am always thankful for where I ended up – geographically speaking.  Here is another nice quote, “if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans”; another funny one. “Flatus, Fluid, Feces, Foreign Body, and Fetus feel better out than in”.  There are scores of them and you have to read the book to truly get the richness of the language and to get the wisdom inherent in living a life where challenges are tackled head on.  But here is one more I can’t pass up without sharing “Wasn’t that the definition of home?  Not where you are from, but where you are wanted?”  With my book club choosing books like these, I feel I have arrived.




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