Monday, December 31, 2007

Wise Men in Soleil

A couple of weeks ago, before Christmas, my father-in-law and I spent some time working in Cite Soleil.

One day we were at a medical clinic/school and witnessed the following scene:

About 50 uniformed kindergarten aged children were at the end of a courtyard and huddled around three other children. One of the three children was a little boy lying motionless on a dirty piece of cardboard. His face appeared quite serious as he stared ahead. He obviously had wet his pants but it sure didn’t seem to bother him.

Kneeling next to him was one boy and one girl.

The teachers were coaxing three little boys as they ambled towards the child on the cardboard.

These Soleil kids were obviously practicing for a Christmas play regarding the Nativity and the wise mens' visit to the newborn Messiah.

Was Jesus birth manger 2000 years ago as horrible as this fetid corner of Soleil?

Most likely none of these children received any toys for Christmas. However, Christmas for these children in Soleil occurs every day when they come to school because they get a big hot metal plate of rice, covered by red bean sauce, meat, and vegetables. This is their only nutritious meal of the day.

Most Soleil children have no Christmas all year long for many reasons. And most children are not in school. Conditions in Soleil should be an aberration and not the rule. All children everywhere deserve to eat every day.

Soleil needs many more wise men (and women) to work out the problems. The best gift for Soleil is justice.

Will OSF Let Katina Die?

Two Haitian Hearts Patients

The last two Haitian Hearts patients for 2007 arrived in the United States for heart surgery two weeks ago.

Pictured above is Jhiny holding her little sister. Pictured below is Christelle in the arms of her father.

OSF, the Media, and the Carroll Family

The media in Peoria make sure that OSF looks good.

The Peoria Journal Star supports OSF and their 500 million dollar Milestone project. This project has been covered extensively in the newspaper. However, much of OSF’s immoral behavior never reaches the pages of the Journal.

OSF does a good job in many areas. But they should. That is the function of a not-for-profit Catholic medical center. However, the Carroll family knows they could and should do much better and we intimately know how OSF works behind the scenes. Most people do not have our perspective, and the people that do know what has happened are shocked.

However, OSF may not want to admit this, but many people speak in hushed voices in disdain of OSF's actions. People are very fearful of the power of OSF...and they should be. They don’t know where to turn. Many know their jobs (and health insurance) are most likely linked in some fashion to pleasing OSF and so they are quiet.

The Ethics Committees at OSF have no real teeth and neither does Bishop Jenky regarding key Catholic OSF policies. This is a problem. The Diocesan Ethics Committee regarding health care will not address OSF's medical negligence of Haitian children.

Respect for life should include Haitian lives. Early in 2007, Haitian Hearts’ Maxime Petion died. He was not accepted back at OSF for medical care even though he had been operated at OSF-SFMC in the 90’s.

OSF continues to deny former Haitian Hearts’ patients medical care. Other medical centers around the United States do not want OSF’s “problems” and are concerned about OSF’s negligence. As OSF ignores their own mission philosophy and the Catholic Ethical and Religious Directives regarding health care, more young Haitians will likely die.

The Carroll family was treated poorly by OSF in multiple ways. Medical care was obstructed and unethical things were said and done to us by the largest downstate medical center in Illinois. Why would OSF have this intense reaction against a small family who only wants honesty, accountability and transparency by the Catholic medical center that states they embody these qualities?

Keith Steffen is responsible for what happens at OSF-SFMC. I am sure he has been scolded by OSF Corporate and other people when he and his robotic staff have gone over the edge, but OSF will allow him to continue his ways until they are done with him. He is carrying out the dirty work for OSF. He knows it as do the Sisters and Catholic Diocese of Peoria.

Even though it is not politically correct in Peoria to scrutinize the Sisters, it is up to them to make sure that their philosophy is practiced and not scandalized. They have surrounded themselves with people that do not have the OSF mission philosophy at heart. As a result, all people that OSF should serve in central Illinois and in Haiti are not being treated in a consistent Catholic fashion.

OSF will change for the better. It probably won’t be soon, but it will happen.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Maxime's Anniversary

One year ago Maxime was fighting for his life.

Maxime now rests over the Illinois River from his vantage point that watches OSF's new 500 million dollar expansion develop.

The world's best medical technology did not help Maxime. The human heart in Peoria that controls the lives of Maxime and many others simply does not care.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Leaving Soleil

The International Herald reports that Doctors Without Borders (MSF) are leaving Cite Soleil at the end of December.

Because "violence" is down and the need for trauma surgery has decreased, MSF is leaving the one and only functional hospital in Soleil. The hospital is tiny, pathetic Saint Catherine Laboure.

However, structural violence is still at an all time high in Soleil. The children are literally starving to death and their immune systems are rendered impotent. Diseases such as pneumonia and meningitis fill the overcrowed pediatric hospital wards.

Newborn premature babies lie in over-sized metal cribs up stairs. A few of these babies have tiny IV's placed by the excellent Haitian nurses. Antibiotics slowly drip in. No ventilators are present to help the newborns' immature lungs search for oxygen. The babies grandmothers gently coax the babies to take a few drops of powdered milk, and when their tiny grandchildren decide to sleep, the grandmothers lie on the floor under their cribs and sleep too.

Numerous children are abandoned in the hospital. They are too much of a financial burden for their famlies. A doctor visit at Saint Catherine's costs 75 cents and admission to the hospital costs a grand total of a couple of dollars US.

The beautiful baby girl pictured above is one of the abandoned. The nurses plead for help for her. All the mothers in the ward care about this little one, but they have their own problems. All eyes are on the blan...but they shouldn't be.

Saint Catherine's patients need Doctors Without Borders. Saint Catherine's needs very active participation from the State of Haiti and the world needs to know that the population of Soleil should not be treated in this despicable fashion.

The "violence" in Haiti is alive and well at the end of 2007. The war in Soleil continues.

Displaced in Soleil

The young mom's mother-in-law beats her up and throws her in the street of Soleil.

The baby's father has another girlfriend.

This baby girl is swollen from head to toe lacking protein in her diet. She is the picture of kwashiorkor...a displaced child.

The young mother sobs, but the Brazilian Sister stops the tears quickly and gives her hope.

The baby sips fortified milk and quietly joins the malnutrition club in the back of the slum...

Monday, December 3, 2007

Haitian Hearts 2007

Revolution of the Heart

"The greatest challenge of the day is: how to bring about a revolution of the heart, a revolution which has to start with each one of us?"

Dorothy Day

Saturday, December 1, 2007

Another Reason ER Overcrowding is Wrong...

ED Length of Stay for Non-STEMI Patients: How Long Is Too Long?

Patients boarded in the ED for longer than 8 hours were less likely to receive guideline-recommended therapies and had increased rates of recurrent MI.

Boarding of admitted patients in the emergency department contributes to ED crowding and ambulance diversion and might adversely affect patient care. Researchers used data from a prospective study of 42,780 patients who presented to 550 U.S EDs with non–ST-segment-elevation myocardial infarction to evaluate how ED length of stay is associated with adherence to evidence-based guidelines for acute administration of five medications (aspirin, β-blockers, heparin, glycoprotein IIb/IIIa inhibitors, and clopidogrel) and with in-hospital adverse events (death and recurrent MI).

The mean ED stay was 8.9 hours, and the median stay was 4.3 hours; 45% of patients had short stays (<4 hours), 40% had average stays (4–8 hours), and 15% had long stays (>8 hours). After adjustment for confounders, patients with long stays were significantly less likely than those with short or average stays to receive each of the five medications within 24 hours after presentation; the greatest difference was noted for aspirin (odds ratio, 0.76 compared with short stay and 0.74 compared with average stay). Rates of in-hospital death did not differ among the three groups. However, patients with long stays were significantly more likely to have recurrent in-hospital MI than those with average (but not short) stays (OR, 1.23). Demographic factors associated with long stays were female sex, nonwhite race, and not having HMO or private insurance.

Comment: The issues contributing to ED crowding and ED boarding are complex and symptomatic of an overburdened system. Although this study suffered from significant methodological flaws, it nonetheless adds to the growing body of evidence suggesting that boarding inpatients in the ED is not just uncomfortable for patients and families but also associated with substandard care.

— Richard D. Zane, MD, FAAEM

Published in Journal Watch Emergency Medicine November 30, 2007