Let's Talk About Health Care
Just How Much Should Health Care Cost?
Sadly, true cost is not all in money.
Medical Mistakes Cause 440,000 deaths annually!It's not my numbers, read the story at CNBC.
Recently I visited with a woman I have known for several years. She works for the Veterans Hospital. I don't see her often, but she has always been the happiest person. Visiting this time, June 2016, I found her still grieving over the loss of her "beautiful husband." He was taken from her prematurely because of a botched liver surgery. Her loss is not public. He was not added to a body count on the nightly news so that others could be warned to watch for signs of possible medical mistakes.
I made this connection because I'd just been watching the news and had been saddened by the obvious grief of those who had lost their loved ones at the hands of a wild, crazy shooter. My acquaintance's grief is as sad and real as the grief of loved ones, friends and colleagues affected by the "mass" shootings that we see sensationalized on the TV. Yes, even just TV viewers like me are affected.
We are shocked by gun violence because it is put in our face by our TV media which often makes it the focus of our day, for many days in a row.
Wouldn't we be just as sad, if we were presented with the grief of family members who have lost the life of their loved one because of a medical mistake? I think it would affect us all, if it were presented in the same manner as the shooting tragedies.
Only individuals that know her will experience her loss. In this respect, she is not alone. A huge number of people are affected by losing their loved ones in a hospital setting. Many die needlessly, others are left with lifetime injuries, but there is no sensationalized news on the TV about them. Sometimes a story comes up, but it doesn't stay on the news radar. We don't hear hours of assessment of why, how and who else is involved. The most notable demonstration of this sort of loss is displayed at televised sports games.
As the camera pans across the stadium, think of all the people who stand up with cards saying who they have lost to cancer. It seems to be nearly everyone. Reasons come to mind why these may intertwine ~ medical errors and cancer are connected ~ but that will require more examination and another story. The answers are out there on the Internet.
So, I want to know. Where is the public outrage about the thousands who die EVERY DAY from medical mistakes? We already know that thousands go bankrupt because of medical bills, and those costs are horrendous, tragic, and needless as well as shameful. CNBC again has the news on this issue.
But don't take my word for it. Google it. I did, before I wrote this article. One of the web sites that stood out from the others with some of the best data, is this one: Your place to go for a Safety Score on your hospital, 2013Other interesting sources:
Your Health Care May Kill You: Medical Errors NPR: Medical Errors Are No. 3 Cause Of U.S Deaths, Researchers Say Letter from John Hopkins, Surgery Dept. Requesting Change in Data Collection Method to CDC, May 2016
Bridget E. Smith, editor, 6.22.2016/edited 2.19.2018, 10.8.2018, 1.3.2020, 2.15.2020
Artwork provided by Historical Gazette Data Archives
We posted the above story on our Press Room page in February 2020 with no knowledge of the upcoming Covid-19 Pandemic. We never imagined that a new SARS type of virus was coming that could potentially infect us all. Purportedly it was set loose from bats in China. It's up for debate as to whether or not it was a lab's doing or the WuHan wet market's fault. Whatever the case, it's become a world wide tragedy.
I still don't understand the numbers that I'm faced with each time I turn on the TV for my daily diet of Corona news. Are these numbers ABOVE the usual mortality numbers that we face each year? Would many of the most frail elderly have died anyway? These are tough questions to consider.
Or, are they quoting numbers that reflect ONLY those who have died of the virus? I think that people would be more believing if our "leaders" didn't sound so conflicted. And, if they would give us more numbers. No one seems to agree on much of anything. The TV press shows us many reasons to fear opening up the country again. Our daily briefings show much to be alarmed about if we do that prematurely.
What a pickle we're in. It's deep do-do and no one seems to have any quick answers. Probably, there isn't one. Vaccines take time. Lots of people have reasons to fear having those shots. We're all being asked to: Wait it out. One thing I do agree with: Testing. Testing. Testing! Test EVERY ONE! As often as they need it.
AND, do NOT charge any one for it. All this must happen soon. We need a cheap, reliable test ~ we have pregnancy tests that can tell immediately! So, then we can rest easier. All this has pointed toward the most logical thing in the world. Health Care for ALL. If we would only agree that all US People have Health Care as good as Congress gets, then, that would help keep us all a much safer, healthier society.
We MUST STOP making our impoverish pay for medical care. Right now, that means nearly everyone. Not only is it not the fair and humane thing to do; if we don't take care of everyone it can be deadly for US All. People who won't, or can't, go be tested because of money may be the person who infects you at the grocery store. Make Health Care Priority One. Then, something will get done.
Meanwhile.... the same sad saga continues... Every one still has all these old problems plus many are out of jobs for the first time in their lives, seeking food at the local food bank. . . Pandemic Planet. We're all caught up in a world wide virus: Fighting for our lives. 16 April 2020.
Now, August 25, 2020, it's obvious that every day means another invisible germ is infecting our country. Ingrained Racism. It's a mental defect that has infected our country, nay, our Planet for nearly all times. People call upon their Holy Book as a reasoning that it's okay to look down upon another human. I say that making slaves of others is a custom of power and that this custom should have stopped long ago. It's inhumane and cruel. Our country's laws demand that we give justice to All. Our country's morals demand it. If you don't believe this way, please don't profess to be Christian.
As a child, I was taught and sang many times: "Jesus loves the little children, red and yellow, black and white, they are precious in his sight..." I believed it then, I believe it now and my mind will not let me judge a person by the color of their skin. It is a person's character that brings forth a judgement. I have Citizen Rules on that, too. It isn't the right of the law man on the street to execute a person without a day in court. RIP George Floyd, 25May2020. Black Lives Matter. Staying with the narrative helps, too. People become easily manipulated in the face of injustice and hatred. Poverty makes People more easily manipulated. Hunger makes People more easily angered. And, so on, until love has fled the scene and reasoning is not possible.
The right to execute on the street doesn't exist in our Constitution. That is my Holy Book. I swore to it, on it and it means more to me than life itself. Because I felt that way early in life and because I wanted a job that paid me the same as my male counterparts, I joined the Legion, willing to lay my body down should it need me. I sit here knowing that truthful words have had people hung in the past, or beheaded in other nations. Today, some are poisoned for challenging those in power.
If we don't stand up for what we believe in, what then?
If we don't speak our passion, who will?
If we don't fight for our rights, no one else will.
Women would never have gained the right to vote in this country without the struggles against the powerful status quo.
Actions on our streets look like war has come to town. Really, it's time for big change. Let's make those changes be good ones. --Bridget E. Smith, editor
Extra credit reading assignments:https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/mar/15/america-public-health-system-coronavirus-trump https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/apr/09/america-inequality-laid-bare-coronavirus https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2020/apr/12/coronavirus-us-deep-south-poverty-race-perfect-storm
25 August 2020 -- Updated and Reposted from our Press Room page.
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When injustice begins to rule, it's time to pick up the pen to work for Justice for All.