The Ebola epidemic that has struck mainly in Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea of West Africa and threatens the entire world has killed thousands of people and caused panic to millions of others. As high level officials of the World Health Organization confess, the epidemic has severely expanded over the last weeks and 70% of the people affected die because of the lack of proper healthcare facilities. This epidemic brings in the forefront in the most tragic way the chronic and deep wounds in the African Continent by colonialism, by the continuous plundering of the wealth-producing resources and by the high public debts that keep African states and their economies enslaved to the IMF, the World Bank and monopolies cartels.
In a press release published by National Nurses United on October 3rd a survey of American nurses displayed only 20% of U.S. hospitals were prepared to handle an Ebola outbreak or an Ebola patient. Yesterday, President Obama said federal authorities must: “Take immediate additional steps to ensure hospitals and healthcare providers nationwide are prepared to follow protocols should they encounter an Ebola patient.” Mind you, this comes twelve days after Thomas E. Duncan tested positive for the Ebola virus in Dallas; four days after his death. Mr. President, nearly two thousand nurses from hundreds of U.S. hospitals in 46 states expressed that only 1 in 5 U.S. hospitals are prepared for the Ebola virus. Why would it take you nine days to ensure hospitals nationwide are prepared to follow CDC protocol in handling an outbreak of this stature? Ebola is now a national security threat!
Climate change does much more than exacerbate environmental health risks already familiar to clinicians—it plays a central role in the emergence and spread of infectious diseases, like malaria and most recently the Ebola virus. These outbreaks occur through many mechanisms, including shifts in the migration patterns of animals that carry disease. With changing environmental temperatures affecting ecosystems worldwide, and the encroachment of humans deeper into forests, with deforestation, mining, and conflict, it is a set up for more outbreaks. The JAMA article concludes with an appeal to healthcare providers and organized medicine to take their knowledge of the health effects of climate change to the public. This article does not represent ‘new science’ but 20 years of widely accepted facts that have already established humanity’s role in climate change and its current and future impact on population health.
Like generations of doctors before us, when each of us graduated from medical school, we were asked to raise our hand and recite the Hippocratic Oath. This was a defining moment in many of our lives. Reciting the words carried great weight and purpose: “I will apply all measures for the benefit of the sick according to my ability and judgment; I will keep them from harm and injustice.” It is through the prism of these words that I watch you appearing in advertisements against Proposition 45 and react in horror. Dr. Amy Nguyen Howell, Dr. Marshall Morgan, and Dr. John Maa, I believe you are betraying your Hippocratic Oaths, and Registered Nurse Candace Campbell, I believe you are betraying the Nightingale Pledge. In fact, in your roles advocating against Prop 45, you are spreading lies designed to mislead and scare the public — our patients — in order to protect the insurance industry. It is unconscionable.
“I know I don’t fit into their boxes so I have to adjust my answers to fit into their boxes, which makes me feel like I’m lying,” Johnson sighs. “And it’s only going to get worse. They are now talking about introducing a new system where you are assessed online without ever seeing a real person!” So what does this very public failure say about the future of the main source of increasingly privatized healthcare, the National Health Service? John Lippetz of the Keep Our NHS Public campaign, says, “Atos, Serco, G4S – all these types of organizations have been proved to be inadequate in many ways. The outsourcing that goes on to these types of organizations is there to provide them with profit. That’s all they’re interested in.”
Tonight from North Salt Lake City’s, community of Foxboro we bring you a tale of medical waste madness so horrid and sketchy, that at times, it takes on a resemblance the likes of a Quentin Tarantino movie to coin the words of our own Executive Editor Emerson Urry. The emissions from medical waste incineration contain, and create as byproducts, some of the most dangerous and deadly substances on the planet. Dioxin, furan, mercury, lead, cadmium, hydrogen sulfide gas, diseased cadaver parts, virus-tainted blood, aborted fetuses, cancerous tumors, narcotic and pharmaceutical drugs and radioactive cancer treatment byproducts are just for starters when discussing this disease-causing cocktail — and when it comes to the straight burning of this incredibly lethal and carcinogenic brew, few companies come to mind before Illinois-based medical waste giant Stericycle.
About 200 people marched Monday morning to the state Capitol to garner support of a program that would allow Arkansas to move about 2,900 people with developmental disabilities off a waiting list for home-based services. Members of ADAPT, a national grass-roots disability rights group, met around 9:30 a.m. along Broadway to begin their walk toward Gov. Mike Beebe’s office, where they asked him to consider the Community First Choice Option for the state. The option, established under the Affordable Care Act of 2010, provides a 6-percent increase in federal funding to state Medicaid programs for home- and community-based attendant services, according to medicaid.gov. It would also give Arkansans who qualify for institutional placement the choice of community support rather than institutionalization.
The United States has failed to make sufficient progress in addressing racial and gender disparities in access to health care, according to new concluding observations (attached) from the UN Committee on Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD). The Committee undertook its review of the U.S.’s record on eliminating racial discrimination in policy and practice to meet the government’s international human rights commitments on August 13-14 in Geneva, Switzerland. Today’s recommendations echo recommendations provided in a new report focused on how racial discrimination in law and practice interferes with women’s fundamental human right to health, with a particular focus on the maternal health of Black women in the South and immigrant women’s access to reproductive health care. The report—titled Reproductive Injustice: Racial and Gender Discrimination in US Health Care—was issued earlier this month by the Center for Reproductive Rights, SisterSong Women of Color Reproductive Justice Collective and the National Latina Institute for Reproductive Health. Said Katrina Anderson,senior human rights counsel at the Center for Reproductive Rights: “Today the UN Committee rightfully recognized the wide disparities in sexual and reproductive health that exist in the United States for what it is: racial discrimination and a human rights violation that demands government accountability and swift action.
“What once was maybe a Christian-Fascist movement against women’s right to abortion really got elevated and brought into the halls of power,” says Sunsara Taylor of Stop Patriarchy. “Starting with Ronald Reagan, continuing under Bush, escalating Bill Clinton (quiet as it is kept: Bill Clinton who signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which became the foundation for the recent Hobby Lobby decision).”
Texas Governor Rick Perry is on the record with his objective to “make abortion a thing of the past.” Looking at the evidence, it is hard not to come to any other conclusion than the war on women is being won by a radical and regressively religious agenda. Six states in the nation have only a single abortion clinic left. By September 1st of this year, Texas is likely to have only six abortion clinics operating. The group End Pornography and Patriarchy: The Enslavement and Degradation of Women is embarking on an Abortion Rights Freedom Ride across the state of Texas this August, and the freedom ride has set high expectations for itself, including: 1. To forge a national strategic counter-offensive to what is a national war on women. 2. Radically reset the political, moral, and ideological terms of this fight so that millions understand that this fight is about women’s liberation or women’s enslavement and; 3. Mobilize all people of conscience to wage massive, independent, political resistance. Relying on politicians, and the courts, has not halted the barrage of attacks. Not all pro-choice advocates are warming to the idea of Stop Patriarchy non-violent, yet highly dramatic and confrontational style and their oft-repeated slogan “Abortion on Demand and Without Apology.”
This is the first time I realized I had a real battle on my hands — not only to fight to save my own life but also the lives of tens of millions of other Americans who are experiencing the same injustice. We have been made to feel so desperate for health care in this country, because of the actions of Big Insurance, or “the Health Insurance Industry,” in collusion with the U.S. government. I mean, we have literally had to watch our children die, when methods and doctors were standing by that could have saved their lives, all because an insurance company decided that it did not want to take the financial loss to pay for our health care. Because that is what our health care needs are to Big Insurance — a loss to their bottom line, to their profits. And Obamacare puts this industry, by law, between us and our doctors.
When you go through the military’s Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape (SERE) School there are a number of things that are literally beaten into you. You are hit in the face and slammed against walls. Rifle butts and barrels strike you in the head. You are placed in small wooden boxes and deprived of food and sleep, and some of you are water-boarded (yes, it is torture). But the most important and beneficial aspects of the training are the psychological pressures and forces you are subjected to. You are taught what you should expect and what it is you should do to mentally survive captivity as a prisoner of war. You learn through practice to depend on your fellow prisoners and, most importantly, to hold fast in your faith and the knowledge your country will never forget you and the United States will always come for you.
Since the publication of my report, Sticker Shock, in 2010 on non-profit hospital accounting detailing the abusive accounting mechanisms in place (read: policies) which reward a select few at the top with outrageous salaries, bonuses, first-class travel, golf club memberships, housing allowances, personal loans, chauffer-driven limousines, tax indemnifications, specially funded split-dollar life insurance policies, and deferred compensation packages in the millions at the expense of pursuing the poor, un, and under-insured to the point of inflicting stress, bankruptcy, wage garnishment, further illness, and death for payment of hospital bills puffed up by as much as 1,500%, things have gotten much worse for people needing medical care. The breaking point for me was the story of Wesley Warren, Jr., a 45 year old man from Las Vegas with a 132 pound scrotum (roughly the size of 8 bowling balls). Here was a guy, who for four years dressed his engorged ball in an upside down zip-up hoodie because it couldn’t fit into his pants and carted this enormous appendage around in a wheelbarrow just to go to the store for milk and coffee.
We have heard the promises as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was being sold to the public, including — you can keep your doctor and insurance if you like it. We now know those promises to be mostly false as the ACA enters its fifth year of implementation. Under the guise of “competition” and “efficiency,” the ACA has unleashed a new round of disruption throughout the health care system. We are seeing further fragmentation of care, with less continuity of care with patients’ physicians. The physician-patient relationship itself is at risk in a “system” increasingly headed for strangers taking care of strangers. More than one-half of U.S. physicians are no longer self-employed and now work for organizations, mostly growing hospital systems but also some insurers that are moving into the delivery side of health care. Two examples illustrate the new landscape: • Several hundred patients at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center (UPMC) recently received certified letters informing them that they could no longer see their physicians. The reason: their insurance, Community Blue, sold by Highmark, is now both a rival hospital system and an insurer. Patients were cut off from their UPMC physicians even in the middle of cancer therapy. (1)
It has been nine days since I updated my numbers of health care dead and broke. Who noticed? Well, I am sure the dead and the broke did. The profit-first, greedy health care system in the U.S. continues its march toward ever increasing profits for those who are already wealthy. Disclaimer: I am not against being wealthy, making money or enjoying whatever the finer things in life are to each person. I rather like money and having enough of it not to worry about paying the bills. I do object to profiting off the suffering of others or as a friend of mine used to describe it, “bartering human life for money.” And our health care system has become so dysfunctional that most of us just accept that we must wade through the mess in order to receive the care needed. For the past several years, I have fought to change this system to an improved and expanded Medicare for all for life system. Fighting this fight has been enlightening in that even within the social justice movements their is a sort of hierarchy of power, wealth and leadership, and sometimes those powers and leaders are distracted.