Saturday, April 26, 2008

Death Zone

The New York Times recently ran an article regarding Haiti’s food crisis. As the author walked through Cite Soleil he noted people making mud patties to eat. He noted that most of the “poorest of the poor suffer silently, too weak for activism or too busy raising the next generation of hungry”. The Times article ended with a young mother from Soleil offered one of her five children to the author and said, “Take one. You pick. Just feed them.”

After working in Haiti since 1981, being offered a child is almost an everyday experience. When I tell people at home that Haitian women frequently attempt to give their babies away, it is hard to believe. The quality of the Haitian mother can be questioned by people that have not been in Cite Soleil, but her offer of her child is a real act of love. She is willing to make the ultimate sacrifice. She wants the child to live and is willing to give her child to someone she doesn't know while realizing that she will never see her child again.

Who can blame her?

Haitians have been hungry and malnourished for along time. With the recent press of Haitians eating mud patties and the food riots last week, the world has focused on Haiti and many other countries suffering similar circumstances—high food prices and not enough money.

The United States started selling Haiti rice in the mid 1980’s at prices much less than the Haitian farmer could sell his rice. So the Haitian farmer went out of business as irrigation systems became dysfunctional, fertilization of land became problematic, and the once rich Haitian countryside was allowed to deteriorate. It became necessary for Haiti to import 80% of its rice.

Farmers in the United States are making a huge surplus of rice today. But the price of rice has gone up for all of us, including Haitians, because of energy reasons. It costs more to get the rice from the U.S. to the hungry mouths waiting for it in Haiti. And Haitians can’t afford much.

To work in Haiti is truly an embarrassment for me. The vast majority of diseases that I see are brought on by poverty. And when people are poor, their water and food supply is inadequate. Parents have very little to give to their children. And their children become malnourished and enter the downward spiral…

With this latest crisis in Haiti, hundreds of people are fleeing Haiti’s shores for the United States. According to the Washington Post, the U.S. State Department warns Americans who are visiting Haiti about the “chronic danger of violent crime,” all the while repatriating Haitians to a “death zone”. President Preval of Haiti recently requested Temporary Protected Status (TPS) for Haitians who are unlawfully in the United States. TPS designations have been given to Somalia, Burundi, El Salvador, Nicaragua, Honduras and Sudan. The last time Haiti applied for TPS was in 2004 and was denied for undisclosed reasons.

Obviously Haiti has to begin to produce enough of its own food again. President Rene Preval has lowered the price of “Miami” rice. The Haitian farmer needs a good price for fertilizer. Poor Haitians in the province need to be put to work repairing the irrigation systems. This would improve the fields, rice and other foods would grow, and Haitian women wouldn't be offering their starving babies to strangers.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Photo Essay

Go to Dying in Haiti to see photo essay of beautiful Haitian people.

We Starve 'Em and then Drown 'Em

20 Bodies Found in Sea Near Bahamas
Filed at 12:31 p.m. ET

NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) -- The bodies of 20 Haitians have been recovered from the sea near the Bahamas after their boat capsized, the U.S. Coast Guard said Monday as it searched for survivors.

Three survivors -- two Haitians and one Honduran -- have been found, said Barry Bena, a Coast Guard spokesman in Miami. Coast Guard Petty Officer Jennifer Johnson said all 20 whose bodies were recovered were Haitian, correcting an initial report that one was Honduran.

The survivors said their boat was carrying 24 people when it capsized around 10 p.m. Saturday, according to another Coast Guard spokesman, Luis Diaz.
The search-and-rescue mission began Sunday after fishermen heard people screaming in the water before dawn.

The accident happened about 15 miles (25 kilometers) northwest of Nassau, Bahamas, according to the Coast Guard. A cutter, helicopter and a jet from the Coast Guard and two Bahamas military vessels continued searching the area Monday.
Diaz said the Bahamian government was holding the survivors.

Every year, thousands of Haitians try to leave the Western Hemisphere's poorest country aboard rickety, overloaded boats for other islands or the United States.
Soaring food prices have pushed many into abject poverty and triggered riots earlier this month in Haiti, but this has not translated so far into a spike in the number of migrants.

Last year a migrant boat capsized near the Turks and Caicos islands, pitching Haitians into shark-infested waters. At least 61 people died.

Pope Challenges Catholics (and Catholic Bishops Too)

Pope Benedict came to the United States last week as a quiet but forceful critic of "an increasingly secular and materialistic culture". Almost any American who paid attention had to be uncomfortable because all of us are shaped by the very forces he was criticizing.

Benedict directly challenged an assumption that so many Americans make about religion: that it is a matter of private devotion with few public implications.

Not true, said the pope. "Any tendency to treat religion as a private matter must be resisted," he told the country's Catholic bishops. "Only when their faith permeates every aspect of their lives do Christians become truly open to the transforming power of the Gospel."

Was Bishop Jenky listening when Benedict asked a pointed question: "Is it consistent for practicing Catholics to ignore or exploit the poor and the marginalized, to promote sexual behavior contrary to Catholic moral teaching, or to adopt positions that contadict the right to life of every human being from conception to natural death?"

A few years ago Bishop Jenky did ignore poor Haitians with heart problems and allowed OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria to dismiss Haitian Hearts. My brother asked Bishop Jenky (with Sister Judith Ann present at the same meeting) if I could go to Haiti and bring back a few kids for cardiac surgery. He replied no, Sister Judith Ann made no response, and then at a different meeting, Bishop Jenky told me that I would be responsible for the deaths of Haitian children if I petitioned for a Tribunal (Canon Law) Court against OSF regarding their medical negligence in several areas. Bishop Jenky simply concluded that he would not "judge against OSF" in a Tribunal Court.

I think that Bishop Jenky feared the "secular and materialistic culture" in Peoria and what they would do to the Catholic Diocese of Peoria if he challenged OSF in any way. I believe Bishop Jenky disagrees with much of what OSF does, but fears them greatly. So he decided that Haitian kids would take the heat and hardly any one up here would really know or care.

Since that time, a number of Haitian kids with heart defects have died, many are suffering and slowly dying now, and Haitians en masse are starving and drowning at sea when they attempt to escape Haiti's misery.

I doubt Benedict would be pleased with Bishop Jenky or our large opulent Catholic medical center in Peoria and their "Catholic culture" regarding Haiti's poor.

(From E.J.Dionne's editorial with my interposed comments. Picture of Jackson Jean-Baptiste in cardiogenic shock. Jackson had heart surgery at OSF, returned to Haiti, became ill in Haiti, and was refused further care by OSF. Jackson died seven weeks after photo at the age of 21.)

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Haiti's Suffering, Washington's Shame

Ben Terrall wrote a superb article regarding Haiti's latest woes. A UN soldier referred to Haiti's biggest enemy as "poverty" and said that only the fight against that will bring peace.

In this article Mr. Terrall quotes from an e mail he received from Father Gerry Jean-Juste:

"Some Haitians and foreigners are swimming in wealth while the poor ones are down deep in the pit of misery. A near famine situation reduces many people in skin and bone. As thousands of needy ones could not take it anymore they took the streets and let out their anger. I wish the wealthy ones in Haiti could accept to share and stop looking down at the lowly ones. We are all God's children. Exclusion of a majority in dire need is not the answer. A policy of inclusion and sharing is the answer."

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Jhiny and Cristelle

Jhiny and Cristelle both had successful surgery at Cardinal Glennon in Saint Louis. Both will be headed back to their families in Haiti soon.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Effect of ED Expansion

This article states that the entire hospital has to change to prevent ED overcrowding and ambulance diversion.

OSF built an observation area for ER patients, but will that be enough? Again, quality of patient care needs to be more important than the financial bottom line. And that concept has to start with OSF's Administration.

The Effect of Emergency Department Expansion on Emergency Department Overcrowding

Han JH, Zhou C, France DJ, et al (Vanderbilt Univ, Nashville, TM) Acad Emerg Med. 2007;14:338-343.

Objectives: To examine the effects of emergency department (ED) expansion on ambulance diversion at an urban, academic Level 1 trauma center.

Methods: This was a pre-post study performed using administrative data from the ED and hospital electronic information systems. On April 19, 2005, the adult ED expanded from 28 to 53 licensed beds. Data from a 5-month pre-expansion period (November 1, 2004, to March 1, 2005) and a 5-month postexpansion period (June 1, 2005, to October 31, 2005) were included for this analysis. ED and waiting room statistics as well as diversion status were obtained. Total ED length of stay (LOS) was defined as the time from patient registration to the time leaving the ED. Admission hold LOS was defined as the time from the inpatient bed request to the time leaving the ED for admitted patients. Mean differences (95% confidence interval [CI]) in total time spent on ambulance diversion per month, diversion episodes per month, and duration per diversion episode were calculated. An accelerated failure time model was performed to test if ED expansion was associated with a reduction in ambulance diversion while adjusting for potential confounders.

Results: From pre-expansion to postexpansion, daily patient volume increased but ED occupancy decreased. There was no significant change in the time spent on ambulance diversion per month (mean difference, 10.9 hours; 95% CI = −74.0 to 95.8), ambulance diversion episodes per month (two episodes per month; 95% CI = −4.2 to 8.2), and duration of ambulance diversion per episode (0.3 hours; 95% CI = −4.0 to 3.5). Mean (+/−SD) total LOS increased from 4.6 (+/−1.9) to 5.6(+/−2.3) hours, and mean (+/−SD) admission hold LOS also increased from 3.0 (+/−0.2) to 4.1 (+/−0.2) hours. The proportion of patients who left without being seen was 3.5% and 2.7% (p = 0.06) in the pre-expansion and postexpansion periods, respectively. In the accelerated failure time model, ED expansion did not affect the time to the next ambulance diversion episode.

Conclusions: An increase in ED bed capacity did not affect ambulance diversion. Instead, total and admission hold LOS increased. As a result, ED expansion appears to be an insufficient solution to improve diversion without addressing other bottlenecks in the hospital.

Comment:If you build it, they will come. But, once they come, will you have anywhere to put them? This study is additional proof to the concept that ED overcrowding is a multi-factorial problem with no simple solution. And, it is likely that the weight of the contributing factors varies between EDs and hospitals. As the population ages, ED overcrowding will likely become a greater problem. Solutions will need to include increases in the ready availability of inpatient beds and staffing, alternatives to admission (for example, cardiac CTs rather than admission for a rule out and stress test in low risk chest pain), and mechanisms to divert patients with non-urgent care needs from the ED when it is busy. In addition, there is a great need for development of models to identify when an ED/Hospital is nearing the point of requiring diversion so that measures like calling in additional ED/inpatient staffing, prompting early discharges, etc, can be implemented before the ED is in crisis mode.

S. L. Werner, MD

Word From the Ground in Haiti

Here is an e mail received today from Frandy in Carrefour describing this week in Haiti.

Also, Haiti's Prime Minister was "ousted" today.

Frandy's e mail:

The situation is better today.Yesterday i went out cuz i was really in needed.I walked along side Carrefour Boulevard by looking for a Western Union bureau, just to pick up some money from my dear friend Helen Quade who lives in St Louis (Missouri).Therefore i was also a witness of what was happening in Carrefour especially on the Boulevard way.It was very riscked for me, but i was obliged because i did not have nothing to eat at home.I tchecked up 9 Western Union offices infact all of them were closed.The streets were stuffed with a lot of people and the majority of them was young.They manifested against the rising of the prices (Expensive life) and placed some baricades, they even reposted to the UN forces, because UN troops attacked them before by shooting tear gas and plastic boullets.The demonstrators thrown stones and bottles on the UN forces.For the demonstrators UN and the Governement are their worst enemy of the moment, MINUSTAH transformed the situation as bottlefield by using weapon against the people.The situation was awful yesterday.I am not agaist the strike, so i rather dislike some of the demonstraters who looted the Stores, Banks and gasoline stations etc. Although the Nation is suffering, the governement does not care about us.I tried to understand the speech of the president, i think a national production program would be better for the country, but when it will start Mr President? and what do you pretend to do as an emergency plan in this famine situation? I heard the demonstrators saying "We are hungry, if they shoot us we will put fire".UN are not a force of peacekeepers, they are a group of criminal.Now the situation is calm, there is circulation of cars and people are able to move.Most of the businesses are working.I hope to go back to school next week "Monday".I have a program to follow at school, i am praying just to have chance to attend my school.The hunger pains name clorox.The rise of the prices cause me hungry, i want to have a low price for the groceries.The country is needing an emergency plan not promess.I am asking everyone a hand for this beautiful Nation, Haiti needs the world now.There are thousands children who are suffering with sicknesses and starving problems.Thanks for all who are helping Haiti.


Haitians Starve While OSF Continues Hypocrisy

In todays Peoria Journal Star on page A8 is an article with a title "Haitians' Struggles for Food Worsen". Immediately below this article is an advertisement by OSF with the title "85 Doctors Redefining Healthcare".

This past week in Haiti has been terrible. Food riots gripped Haiti. There were strikes, violence, and chaos. The Haitian people are very hungry. Can you imagine how Americans would act under similar circumstances?

As the Journal reports, "Hunger has long been a fact of life in the overcrowded slums that rim the Haitian capital, but soaring food prices have made the struggles of Haiti's poor unbearable. The price of rice has doubled and the violence has only made things worse.

"Globally, food prices have risen 40 percent since mid-2007. Haiti, where most people live on less than $2 a day, is particularly affected because it imports nearly all of its food, including more than 80 percent of its rice.

"Much of Haiti's once-productive farmland has been abandonded as farmers struggle to grow crops in soil decimated by erosion, deforestation, flooding and tropical storms. To make a profit, the farms that remain often price their crops sharply higher than imported American products, which benefit from generous U.S. government subsidies".

And OSF's advertisement is an embarrasment. It states "one patient at a time" and calls itself an "outstanding healthcare system dedicated on one thing...serving you with the greatest care and love."

In a society that can't feed its population, safe heart surgery is impossible.
Jackson and Maxime are both dead. They were not taken care of with "the greatest care and love". Other Haitian Hearts patients are slowly dying as OSF builds new multi-million dollar buildings and looks the other way. These Haitians are being neglected by OSF when they need OSF's skilled doctors and nurses to stay alive.

Haiti is suffering through its worst days in its history. And so is OSF in Peoria.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Governor Blagojevich, Rezko, Levine, and the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board

It seems that Stuart Levine is pointing his finger at Tony Rezko. Levine is the star witness in Rezko's fraud trial.

Levine says Rezko--who raised more than $1.6 million for Gov. Rod Blagojevich--used his political clout to engineer corruption on two state boards with millions of dollars riding on their decisions. One of the boards is the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board. This Board determines when hospitals are built, expanded, MRI's are purchased, etc.

OSF-SFMC in Peoria is well into the construction of its $500 million medical campus expansion. OSF-SFMC was approved to expand by the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board in 2006. Governor Blagojevich announced his support for OSF-SFMC with a September 4, 2007 release that showed his respect for the medical community of central Illinois. This press release also described the $460 million bond financing OSF-SFMC received from the Illinois Finance Authority(IFA). This was IFA's second largest financing in its history.

Governor Blagojevich really must think alot of Peoria and OSF-SFMC.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Institutional Malpractice?

Emergency Medicine News (March, 2008) has an article “Holding ICU Admits in the ED Increases Mortality 35%.” It is written by Richard Bukata, M.D.

In September 2001, I wrote a letter to Keith Steffen regarding overcrowding in the Emergency Department (ED) at OSF-SFMC in Peoria. Mr. Steffen is Administrator at OSF. I thought that we were endangering the lives of ED patients at OSF-SFMC.

The next day I was placed on probation for six months. A few months later I was fired.

Dr. Bukata’s main points from his article (some written in his own words) and some of my comments:

1. Although reasonable solutions to the problem of overcrowding and keeping patients in the ED for too long have been suggested, most administrators have chosen not to contaminate the rest of the hospital with these excess patients but rather hold them in the ED where they make the department malfunction substantially. Their reasoning: It may offend the medical staff, patients’ families, and hospital floor staff. The philosophy is to sacrifice the ED and its patients for the sake of the rest of the hospital.

2. In my opinion this was the case at OSF-SFMC. I did not think that the leadership in the ED was prepared to handle this ED problem. Doctors George Hevesy and Rick Miller were too tied in with Administration in many ways. Thus, I wrote my letter to Mr. Steffen. (I also copied my letter to all the ED attending staff and other administrators because I considered ED overcrowding at OSF-SFMC to be a “systemic hospital-wide” problem.) When I mentioned to Mr. Steffen “institutional malpractice” (making ED patients wait too long), he asked me what I meant by that. I think he knew what that meant.

3. The ED staff at OSF-SFMC and other ED’s all over the U.S. become frustrated and exasperated because it seems they are powerless. When I took on the problem, I was slapped down right away. The concept that excess patients are, in reality, a hospital challenge rather than simply an ED challenge has been a tough sell when you look at the typically impotent actions taken to address the problem.

4. We need aggressive medical staff leadership driving lengths of stay, we need administrators willing to close the hospital to elective surgery when the ED has no place to put its patients.

5. It would be interesting to review the elective surgical admissions by OSF-SFMC during those years. Was the hospital scheduling too many surgeries for financial reasons and keeping ED patients in the ED too long? The crowded ED is a blatant patient safety issue. It is a matter of life and death for the ED patients. But who will look at OSF-SFMC's “dirty laundry”. JCAHO? Or the ethics committee at OSF-SFMC? I don’t think so.

6. It is obviously dangerous to be working in an environment that is substantially over capacity. It is obviously a problem when ED patients wait hours to see a doctor.

7. Dr. Bukata writes, “Why not offer incentives? If the CEO’s annual bonus were linked to ED patient throughput, it is guaranteed that most hospitals would see their problem solved. This may sound like an inflammatory statement, but truly, the only one who can fix the “ED problem” is the CEO. It is a top down initiative. Driven by money or fear, it can be fixed.” And Mr. Steffen told me that fear amongst employees at OSF-SFMC was a good thing.

8. A study in 2007 showed that the mortality of ICU patients boarded in the ED for six or more hours was 17.4% vs. 12.9% for those boarded less than six hours (a 35% relative increase. ED boarding of patients for six hours or longer was an independent predictor of decreased survival. For every 20 ICU patients boarded in the ED for more than six or more hours, one will die (the ultimate harm).

Illinois is Corrupt

State Seems Corrupt to the Core
(Peoria Journal Star Editorial)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

It has become difficult to keep count of all the parties on trial in the Tony Rezko corruption case, though the latter is the only one in immediate jeopardy.

Certainly there is the governor, Rod Blagojevich, for whom Rezko was a fund-raiser, confidant and pal. Stuart Levine, the federal government's already convicted star witness, has said under oath that pay-to-play is the operative pattern in this administration, with him and Rezko, among others - Springfield-based power broker William Cellini is an "unindicted co-conspirator" - being among the primary benefactors. They demanded bribes from companies looking to do business with the state, packing regulatory boards - through the governor whose ear they had - with their accomplices, Levine testified.

"Stick with us and you will do very well for yourself," Levine recalls a Blagojevich he perceived as his meal ticket telling him.

The governor, through spokespeople, has denied all of this, though he is at the center, as "Public Official A," of U.S. Attorney Patrick Fitzgerald's ongoing probe into state government corruption.

Maybe Blagojevich - also known as "the big guy" or "the G," we've learned through testimony - really is innocent of any abuses of the public trust. He has not been charged with anything. But if what has been alleged is true, he certainly is guilty of incredibly poor judgment in his evaluation of people as it relates to choosing some members of his inner circle.

Seriously, who reappoints to two powerful state boards someone like Levine, a self-confessed "con man," "liar," "thief," drug abuser and Republican who contributed heavily to this Democratic governor's two previous GOP opponents? (In fairness, Levine also hoodwinked two previous governors into appointments.) What leader worthy of the title counts among his closest advisers two guys like Rezko and Christopher Kelly, both under indictment?

Illinois is a state where terms like fraud, extortion, insider contracts and kickbacks have become part of the everyday vernacular of government. Blagojevich, remember, campaigned as a reformer who would end "business as usual" in Illinois. Sounds like the bipartisan business as usual has been kicked up a notch.

Meanwhile, also on trial, though not in any formal sense, are the agencies that reportedly were so easily manipulated by the likes of Rezko, Levine, Cellini, et al.

Retired teachers downstate ought to be livid that such games were allegedly being played with their $40 billion pension portfolio at the Teachers Retirement System. As for the Illinois Health Facilities Planning Board, which has life-and-death control over hospital construction projects, it has for years been hounded by accusations of waste, incompetence and now corruption. If what Levine says is so, have there been other hospitals, besides the one in Crystal Lake that landed him and Rezko in trouble, that have been shaken down for bribes? Now we're forced to wonder. What constructive purpose does this board serve? Why should it even exist?

Anybody in and around state government who's pushed the ethical envelope at all should be scared senseless right now. The last governor is in federal prison, and this Rezko trial is placing an uncomfortable spotlight on the current one. Illinoisans can be forgiven for believing their state government is corrupt to its very core.

We're not sure how long prosecutor Fitzgerald plans on sticking around, but it may be a while before he can consider his job done.


We are Spending 10 Billion Dollars Each Month in Iraq

E-mail received today from a friend in Haiti describing the situation and how their patient population is affected. The real problem is not enough food in people's stomachs have pushed them to this madness.

April 7, 2008

Dear Friends and Supporters,

Please pray for us today. There have been widespread rioting in Haiti as
well as all major and many minor roads blocked with burning tires, broken
glass, etc. Yesterday, there were armed men at the gas station so that no
one could fill up. The demonstrations all broke up around 4-5 pm so we were
able to get a gravely ill man to Port au Prince after that and fortunately
fill our gas tank which was near empty.

There is no diesel for the generator today so unless God provides a miracle
we may not have electric in the clinic.

Jim had no docs yesterday because they live in Port and could not get
through. We had 4 other patients besides the one that should have been
hospitalized but were unable to. One motorcycle accident included in that
bunch. We worked late and finally got all but 5 seen. Mary (name changed by me)
arrived here to go to Jacmel early this AM but the roads were all blocked by
6:30 AM. So she will be joining us in the clinic today.

This morning we have a woman in active labor at the clinic awaiting us
because her car was bombarded by rocks when she tried to get to the

Things should clear up tomorrow as the nation really cannot afford to not
work for many more days.

Thank you for your prayers for us today.

Striking for Food in Haiti

I received this e mail a few minutes ago from a Haitian Hearts patient. Frandy is 19 years old and lives with his mom and brothers. He describes the dire situation in Haiti this morning (April 6, 2008).

His ideas are his ideas and every "expert" on Haiti may not agree with everything Frandy writes. But Frandy is the hungry one, living in Carrefour, and trying to survive each day.

See Brian Concannon's excellent article regarding Haiti's food situation.

Date: Mon, Apr 7, 2008 at 10:32 AM
Subject: strike in Haiti, thousands people are walking on food


How are you doing? I hope that everything is fine with you.Today we wake up with a strike in our country, and there are a lots of people who walk on foot in the streets because there are no cars.People are protested against the expensive life.This is a hunger crisis, the activities are paralised.I don't go to school today from that protestation fact, my school does work and it is the same thing for the others.

Currently i should get $ 225 HT to buy a bag of Rice that contains 8 canisters of Rice and the other stuffs are very expensive, the governement does not care about us, this morning there was an exchange between police and people.Some of the people who protest were thrown stones on a group of police officers and they reposted to the people with guns and gas.

I am not against the strike, we need an answer from our governement because food is unaccessible to buy such as it is expensive.We are having an expensive life, the president is remaining unmobil without saying what he's going to do or pretend to do.

Our goverment is not a serious gov and rather be a group of stealers.We are sufferring with an expensive life since a long while and we don't know how long we are going to stay with this problem.This is a worse period for this country that called during a certain time Beauty Of the West Indies ( the caraibe).

The prices are raised up everyday, we don't know what to do as a solution.We have different bad stuff in our system.If i had power to get the Media, i would talk against of this crazy governement cuz in this case i am very radical.I am working hard just to get out of this country, i beleive the solution of Haiti depends on God not Human being.I don't know for tomorrow if i will go to church, i hope all the students will have chance to go to school tomorrow.Things are fuzy to see.

My mom said hello to you.
Thank you very much.
Talk to you soon.
God bless you.




1 Killed in Haiti Food Protests
By JONATHAN M. KATZ – April 6, 2008

PORT-AU-PRINCE, Haiti (AP) — Protesters angered by high food prices flooded the streets of Haiti's capital Monday, forcing businesses and schools to close as unrest spread from the countryside.

Witnesses said at least one person was killed by hotel security guards during a protest in the southern city of Les Cayes, where at least three people were killed Friday in food riots and clashes with U.N. peacekeepers. Police said they were investigating.

Thousands of people marched mostly peacefully past the National Palace in Port-au-Prince. "We're hungry," some called out. Others carried posters reading "Down with the expensive life!"

Haitians are particularly affected by food prices that are rising worldwide. Eighty percent of the population lives on less than US$2 (euro1.27) a day. The cost of staples such as rice, beans, fruit and condensed milk has gone up 50 percent in the past year, while the cost of pasta has doubled.

"Some can't take the hunger anymore," the Rev. Gerard Jean-Juste told The Associated Press. "As a priest, I encourage all government officials to do their best to find ways to solve the near-famine situation."

The U.N. World Food Program made an urgent appeal for donations Monday to support its operations in Haiti, the poorest nation in the Western Hemisphere. U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned last week that the food crisis could threaten Haiti's already fragile security.

Copyright © 2008 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

Saturday, April 5, 2008


"The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much, it is whether we provide enough for those who have little."

Franklin D. Roosevelt

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Ideas for Gobal Health

"Innovation frequently arises from the lessons of repeated failure, so if we are not willing to take risks and fail often, we will miss many opportunities to capture novel approaches that can transform a field. Above all, unfortunately, peer review can kill truly novel ideas because they are, by definition, peerless."

Tadataka Yayada, M.D.
New England Journal of Medicine, March 27, 2008

Advertisements in Peoria

On March 30, 2008 the Peoria Journal Star ran a two page advertisement that stated “April is Child Abuse Prevention Month”. The advertisement was supporting the Pediatric Resource Center. The Pediatric Resource Center is run by OSF-Children’s Hospital of Illinois.

The ad was paid for by Children’s Hospital of Illinois and the University of Illinois College of Medicine in Peoria.

Several years ago when the Executive Director of Children’s Hospital of Illinois delayed the surgery of a Haitian Hearts child in Peoria, I reported this to the Pediatric Resource Center. Within several hours, after multiple people were notified of this negligence, the child was placed on the cardiac catheterization schedule and was subsequently operated.

The Pediatric Resource Center does excellent work for children in Peoria. How unfortunate that they had to take action against their own Executive Director.

This incredible event, of course, never was exposed by the local media.