Saturday, December 17, 2005

Jean-Baptiste's Last Christmas?

Dear Sister, Keith, and Paul,Today is day #16 that my wife and I have had Jackson in our room with us in Port-au-Prince. His last two nights have been bad with shortness of breath and a lot of vomiting last night. His mitral valve is tight, as you know, which is his main problem. I am doing what I can for him with medications. Have not been able to get any lab work or a CXR on him in two weeks due to his condition and the violence in the streets. We leave Jackson when we go to work in the clinic during the weekdays and hope he is there when we get back were scheduled to fly back to Peoria this morning but have let the tickets lapse and will stay with Jackson until the end. That is the only reasonable choice. He doesn't trust the Haitian hospitals and for good reason. He doesn't understand OSF either. Amazingly, Jackson still does not have an answer from any of you as to whether you will accept him. Please tell Jackson yes or no. Keith and Paul, that is what you are paid the big bucks make the big decisions, like whether a 21 year old young man will live or die. It shouldn't be a big decision, but you are dragging it out for months and months. Jackson's suffering is inhumane at present. If you were here the last two weeks holding his head and watching his heart beat through his chest wall, you would decide "yes" immediately (I would think). Just think if Jackson were one of your boys when they were that age. You would demand that they get the care they needed. (Keith, on one occasion years ago, you asked me to suture the face of someone close to you, while you cut in front of others to get this done.) But you are not here and never will be, so go on faith and the mission statements of the Sisters. I appeal with you again to do the right thing. Contrary to what your legal counsel implied last year, it is not easy to find hospitals for Haitian kids because of the corporate greed in the US. When hospital corporate leaders are paid enormous salaries and live in huge houses on the north side of Peoria, this isn't exactly living how St. Francis would have advised. So something has to give. What is giving are the Jackson Jean-Baptiste's of the world, not the corporate leaders or administrative life styles. You will all have a "good" Christmas. Jackson's Christmas will be a different type of "good" than yours. The poor really require so little to keep them fairly functional. However, when their infrastructure and technology sink totally below human levels, a few places like Haiti exist, and the Jackson Jean-Baptiste's suffer immensely. They live in "poverty without dignity". We can't keep turning our back on these people. Aside from the moral reasons that just get in the way sometimes, they do the jobs the developed world needs done and for smaller wages, and, for example, can "supply" their nurses to our dwindling supply in the developed world when hospital corporations go recruiting. It would be to your benefit to keep these countries viable to a point...Haiti is off the curve now and is so dysfunctional, it is hard for us to take advantage of the "business opportunities" they would normally offer if they were just a little better off. Jackson is OSF's patient. You never turn away anyone over their race, religion, or inability to pay. Plus, someone is paying for Jackson. The doctors want him in Peoria, even though they are afraid to say due to that fear factor thing. Medtronics will donate the St. Jude's valve, and the perfusionist will do all his work for free as usual.Please accept Jackson at OSF and give him another Christmas.Sincerely,Dr. JohnJackson, is writing a letter to you now. I will e mail it when he is done.

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