About 100 years ago Finley Peter Dunne stated, “The job of a newspaper is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.” In this case Haitian children who desperately need heart surgery need to be comforted, and Peoria’s OSF, our one billion dollar health care industry, needs to be afflicted.
Haitian Hearts is in Haiti now, and we are caring for a 21-year-old young man named Jean-Baptiste. He was operated on at OSF 6 years ago when, he underwent a successful valve repair. He presented to us 10 days ago in acute congestive heart failure. His entire body was swollen with excess fluid, and each breath was difficult for him. Jean Baptiste couldn’t eat, sleep, or walk and stared at us with scared yellow eyes.
Jean-Baptiste needs a new heart valve. I have pleaded with OSF since May to accept him again and have offered OSF Administration $20,000 for his care. (Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 million dollars for Haitian children’s’ surgeries in the past.) Many people in the Peoria area, including his previous host family, have attempted to contact OSF during the last week to advocate for Jean-Baptiste. All of our efforts have resulted in no official answer from OSF regarding their patient. (Other medical centers shy away from patients like Jean-Baptiste because he has been operated on in the past and is more complicated because of his previous surgery.)
The main reason that Jean-Baptiste and other OSF Haitian Hearts patients are being abandoned by OSF’s Administration and legal team is due to my public stance criticizing OSF and its dangerous conflict of interest with Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) in Peoria. They are monopolizing emergency care when someone calls 911. With OSF’s total support, AMT is the only agency that can give advanced life support and transport emergency patients in Peoria. I would think that if OSF and its political and business supporters in the area did not feel challenged by my allegations, OSF would be more than happy to accept Haitian Hearts money and appear to be following the Sister’s philosophy that insists that no one is turned away…not even Haitians.
My hope for the Journal Star is no different than Mr. Dunne’s. The afflicted may someday be their own family members after a bungled response to a 911 call in Peoria. And for Jean-Baptiste, his discomfort is inhuman, and OSF’s refusal to treat him needs to be investigated and exposed by the Journal Star.