Sunday, January 29, 2006

Father Jean-Juste Released

Fr. Gerry Released!
-----Original Message-----From: BrianhaitiSent: Sun, 29 Jan 2006 12:18:51 PM Eastern Standard TimeSubject: Fr. Gerry Released!Fr. Gerry Released!January 29, Noon ETWe have great news: Political prisoner Fr. Gerard-Jean-Juste, "Fr. Gerry" is right now on a plane in the air from Port-au-Prince to Miami. A cancer center in Florida has agreed to treat his leukemia, so he will get immediate attention for the cancer, as well as for the pneumonia he contracted this week.Fr. Gerry was granted a provisional release, which requires him to return to Haiti after the treatment to face the charges still pending against him. The current charges against him are as baseless as the other charges which have been dismissed. Fr. Gerry's lawyers at the Bureau des Avocats Internationaux (BAI) have filed an appeal, asking for the charges to be dismissed. The appeals court can rule on the appeal without Fr. Gerry's presence, so it is possible that the case will be dismissed without requiring him to return to court. If he is forced to return to court, the BAI lawyers will continue to fight the charges.In the meantime, Fr. Gerry will be relatively safe, and will have his leukemia treated. Doctors who have examined him are hopeful that his disease is at a stage where it can be successfully treated, but they cannot be certain without more tests.Today's victory proves the Haitian proverb, "men anpil, chay pa lou-: many hands makes the load light. This mobilization has been by far the strongest and most persistent Haiti advocacy effort in the ten years that I have been involved in Haiti work. Everyone who called, faxed, wrote or emailed Haitian and US officials, everyone who signed a petition, everyone who forwarded information about Fr. Gerry to their church, their friends, and their family, should be proud. Close to a dozen human rights groups, over 50 members of the US Congress, and hundreds of religious, political and human rights leaders from all over the world joined together to make this moment possible.Together we demonstrated that the world does care, that justice is possible, and that collective action does work. No small accomplishment.Fr. Gerry said in a letter from prison on Friday: "understand that I wish you all to extendyour support not only to me but to as many political prisoners as possible wherever on planet earth. Probably, you are aware that there are quite a number of political prisoners around the world. Think of them and keep them in your heart.. I am very grateful to Amnesty International and to all of you for helping fight for the human rights of all political prisoners, here in Haiti and across the world. Let's keep the momentum on for justice, peace, love, and sharing to prevail all over the world as God wants it."Today we should all take the time to pat ourselves on the back. But tomorrow we need to get back to work, to help the political prisoners that Fr. Gerry left behind in Haiti.Peace, BrianBrian Concannon Jr., Esq.DirectorInstitute for Justice & Democracy in HaitiPO Box 745Joseph, OR 97846541-432-0597

Jackson Jean-Baptiste and the Steffens

Date: Sun Jan 29 16:07:13 2006From: "Realname" To: keith.e.steffen@osfhealthcare.orgCC: sisterjudithann@osfhealthcare.orgSubject: Jackson Jean-Baptiste and You

Dear Keith,

We buried Jackson Jean-Baptiste yesterday in the Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Congerville. Many people attended the ceremony and were saddened that he did not receive the treatment he needed from OSF.

Ironically, Jackson will now be eternally surrounded by Steffens that preceded him in death and are buried close to him at this beautiful site overlooking the valley.

I am sure Jackson forgave you before he died and he and all the Steffens that preceded him in death will do whatever saints do to help all of us join them some day in Heaven.

John Carroll

Friday, January 27, 2006

Father Jean-Juste Has Pneumonia

Date: Thu, 26 Jan 2006 09:55:24 -0800 (PST)From: bill quigley Reply-To: bill quigley To: "" Subject: URGENT: Fr. Gerry has pneumonia
ACTION STEPS: call 1) Haiti's Ambassador to the U.S. Ray Joseph (202 332 4090), 2) U.S. State Dept Haiti Desk Officer Daniel Stewart (202 647-4755), 3) and the Human Rights Officer in the US Embassy in Haiti, Dana Banks, (011-509-223-0707 ext, 8270, or 011 509 222 0200),'s report TODAY 1.26.06: "marked deterioration of his condition since I last saw him two weeks ago." "his health has steadily deteriorated. Over the last four days he has had a fever and cough, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. His blood cell counts have dropped markedly due to the leukemia, and he appears extremely pale, fatigued, and with visible skin bruises due to his rapidly advancing disease.", "Father Jean-Juste requires immediate hospital-level care for this deteriorating condition. Further, given his precipitously low blood cell counts?significantly worse than two weeks ago?it is imperative that he also receives immediate treatment for his leukemia. Without this treatment he will die in prison."26 January 2006Mr. Brian ConcannonInstitute for Justice and Democracy in HaitiP.O. Box 745Joseph, OR 97846Fax: +1-541-432-0264Re: Health of Gerard Jean-JusteDear Mr. Concannon,I am writing because I am deeply concerned about the health of Father Gerard Jean-Juste. I am currently in Port-au-Prince, where I have just examined Father Jean-Juste and am alarmed at the marked deterioration of his condition since I last saw him two weeks ago.As you know, Father Jean-Juste was diagnosed with leukemia a few weeks ago. This diagnosis was confirmed by Haitian physicians two weeks ago. Since that time, his health has steadily deteriorated. Over the last four days he has had a fever and cough, and was diagnosed with pneumonia. His blood cell counts have dropped markedly due to the leukemia, and he appears extremely pale, fatigued, and with visible skin bruises due to his rapidly advancing disease.While he has received some antibiotics in prison for the pneumonia, Father Jean-Juste requires immediate hospital-level care for this deteriorating condition. Further, given his precipitously low blood cell counts?significantly worse than two weeks ago?it is imperative that he also receives immediate treatment for his leukemia. Without this treatment he will die in prison. There is no time to waste.Thank you for any assistance you can provide for Father Jean-Juste.Sincerely,Jennifer Furin, MD, PhDHarvard Medical SchoolACTION STEPS: call 1) Haiti's Ambassador to the U.S. Ray Joseph (202 332 4090), 2) U.S. State Dept Haiti Desk Officer Daniel Stewart (202 647-4755), 3) and the Human Rights Officer in the US Embassy in Haiti, Dana Banks, (011-509-223-0707 ext, 8270, or 011 509 222 0200),

Jackson's Obituary

Tuesday, January 24, 2006 5:01 PMSubject: Fw: Jackson Jean-Baptiste Obit and Photo----- Original Message JACKSON JEAN-BAPTISTEGoodfield - Jackson Jean - Baptiste, 21 years old, from La Boul, Haiti, formerly living with host parents in Goodfield, died at 12:30 AM on January 21, 2006 in Cleveland, Ohio. He was born on August 1, 1984 in Petion-Ville, Haiti to Maxil and Rosette Jean-Baptiste.He is survived by his mother, Rosette, and one sister, Nadia in Haiti. His father and 2 brothers preceded him in death.Funeral mass will be held at 10:00 am on Friday January 17, 2006 at St. Joseph Catholic Church, formerly St. Martin de Porres Catholic Church, in Peoria. Visitation will be held from 6-8 pm on Thursday at Argo-Ruestman-Harris Funeral Home in Eureka. A grave side service will be held at 10 am on Saturday at the Goodfield-Congerville Apostolic Christian Cemetery in Congerville.Jackson attended school in Haiti for 9 years that was interrupted frequently by heart problems caused by rheumatic heart disease. He was brought to the United States by Haitian Hearts in 2001 for heart surgery in Peoria. In May, 2005 Jackson was diagnosed with a recurrent heart problem and brought to Cleveland Clinic on December 27 where he was treated.During his stay in central Illinois, he stayed with loving host families in the area and attended school at Eureka Middle School. Jackson was very intelligent and spoke French, English, and his native Haitian Creole.During the last six months of his life, Jackson suffered tremendously due to his heart problems. He was a victim of poverty and greed that sustains and propagates the degrading conditions in which he and his family lived in Haiti. Jackson was very independent and strong and fought to keep himself alive and deserved much more dignity as a human being than he was given.Jackson's mother has now lost her main source of strength. He will greatly be missed by his Haitian family and his host families in Illinois. Online condolence will be received at and will be forwarded to Jackson's mother in Haiti.Donations can be made to Rosette, his mother, through Haitian Hearts PO Box 2363 East Peoria, IL 61611.

Jackson Dies

On January 21, 2006, Jackson was pronounced dead at Cleveland Clinic. Maria and I were at his bedside in intensive care when he died.

Jackson had struggled the last few days of his life and a heroic procedeure was attempted by the interventional cardiologist to bypass his sick mitral valve. His heart just didn't respond to this intervention.

Jackson touched a lot of people's lives at Cleveland Clinic. Many nurses came to visit him when he would move from one floor to another.

Jackson's past and present illnesses and death were all preventable. We all needed to try harder for Jackson.

Jackson Jean-Baptiste's Autopsy

Date: 24 Jan 2006 22:17:21 -0000From: "Realname" To:,,,,

Dear Bishop Jenky, Sister Judith Ann, Keith, Paul, Gerry, Joe, and Doug Marshall,

We were present on Friday morning when Jean-Baptiste died just a few minutes after midnight. His death was slow and painful over the last several months. However, the last few days were his worst and his screams would bring him out of his low flow slumber. I will spare you further details of his last several hours understanding why none of you would have wanted to witness it. If Jean-Baptiste would just have slipped away silently in his cinder block house in the mountains of Haiti as designed, it would have been much easier on all of us. I was able to participate in Jean-Baptiste's autopsy yesterday morning. As I entered the pathology room, I saw his body lying on the second silver stainless steel table. There were various obnoxious appearing tubes and catheters protruding from it. They were all clogged, cold, and useless as was the body from which they came. However, the pathologist and technician treated Jean-Baptiste with more sensitivity and care than he had received during most of his 21 years of life in Haiti. They carefully and meticulously removed his heart, lungs, liver, and brain.Jean-Baptiste's heart was enlarged and muscular due to all the extra work it had to do to keep him alive since a "disease of antiquity", rheumatic fever, had destroyed his valves a decade ago. A white fibrous scar tissue was abundant and stuck on the front side of his heart due to his previous surgery and the inflammation that the merciless rheumatic fever rendered. I introduced my left index finger into the superior vein leading into his heart which immediately entered a vacuous right atrium. With little effort my finger slipped through his incompetent tricuspid valve into his massive right ventricle. Using my right index finger and thumb to palpate, the left ventricle felt thick and very strong.An incision was then made through the left atrium which allowed us to stare down at his rock-hard mitral valve. All three leaflets were calcificed and immobile when tapped with a scissors. This valve was the anatomic culprit behind Jean-Baptiste's suffering. It would not let his blood flow to where it wanted but reversed it and flooded his congested and blue lungs and liver. The doctors in Peoria had seen this problem last spring and wanted to fix it. But unfortunatley, you didn't give them and Jean-Baptiste the chance. Jean-Baptiste's perfect brain weighed 1,150 grams. I guess his brain bothered me the most because it was indeed perfect. This beautiful gray organ had guided him his entire life and had no blod clots, was not atrophied, and had no tangles or plaques confusing his thinking. As I looked at it, I wondered which part controlled Jean-Baptiste's will to live, his independence, and his ability to speak three languages. Which lobe allowed him to forgive? I knew that he wouldn't tell me now, even if he could, how he rationalized his deplorable life which was devoid of dignity which should be "usual and customary" for human beings.The official autopsy report won't be out for five weeks. The attending pathologist is excellent; however his report will most likely be incomplete. Causes of death probably won't include poverty without dignity and abandonment. As the first part of the autopsy concluded, I felt very guilty as I looked at the remains of Jean-Baptiste. To have sent him back to Haiti after his surgery was my mistake. To have believed in you and trusted was a serious miscalculation on my part which helped to shorten the life of our young friend. I did not anticipate and would not have believed your silence as this innocent pleaded for your help.Jean-Baptiste's death explicitly reveals the ugly underside to the corporate Catholic "health care system", formerly known as Catholic hospitals. Multiple biblical passages mentioning the poor, a large litany of Catholic social justice teachings, and the OSF mission statements all supported helping Jean-Baptiste when he needed it. He certainly didn't need an attorney to advocate for him. His defense had been written years ago. Unfortunately, you all failed him as you ignored central teachings of the faith. A few more years of soccer games and Dairy Queens wouldn't have hurt Jean-Baptiste and definitely would have helped all of us. I was finally able to talk with Jackson's Haitian mountain family on the phone yesterday. His 18 year old sister Nadia cheerfully answered the phone. She had brought Jean-Baptiste mangoes in Haiti during his sickest days in December, while many people frantically searched for a medical center to accept him in the United States. I told her Jean-Baptiste died and heard her shriek uncontrollably as the line went dead.

John Carroll, MD.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

Martin Luther King Day in Haiti's Prison

------ Forwarded MessageFrom: Brian Date: Tue, 17 Jan 2006 08:32:39 -0800To: Subject: [Lethaitilive] MLK Day in Port au Prince Prison with Fr. Jean-JusteMLK Day in Port au Prince Prison with Fr. Jean-Juste by Bill Quigley writing from Port au Prince. We ended our prison visit in Haiti on Martin Luther King, Jr. day with Fr. Jean-Juste by standing hand in hand and singing "We Shall Overcome." Fr. Jean-Juste has been in prison since July on sham charges in order to silence his life long voice for justice for the poor and democracy for all. Amnesty International has designated him a prisoner of conscience . Many other human rights organizations have taken up his cause (see Scores of Congressional representatives have called for his release . Hundreds of religious leaders have signed letters to the President of the US and to the unelected leaders of Haiti calling for his freedom. This visit, we have brought an additional 2000 letters from around the world to Fr. Gerry. In the prison in Port au Prince, Fr. Jean-Juste was in great spirits, frequently laughing. Headmitted his neck and underarms ached from the cancer that threatens his life . He knows he is one serious infection away from death. But he remains unbowed. "It is now a matter of life or death," he told us. "Life if the de facto government allows me to leave and receive medical treatment for the cancer. Death if the de facto officials remain deaf and stubborn, offering no humane treatment." "I am happy to continue living as a member of our great team of freedom and justice lovers worldwide. But I am happy also in case I shall depart for the final voyage. I would happily enter, by the grace of God, enter heaven to see parents, friends, militants, ancestors, apostles, angels, archangels and be part of the great dynamic mosaic that God has created." "I thank all who have worked so hard on my behalf. There are so many supporters, friends, doctors, benefactors and militants working for me and the rest of the political prisoners here. It is unusual to be on this side of the work. Usually I am one of the ones trying to fight for freedom and democracy. Even here I try to work with the other prisoners to keep their spirits up and to get them in shape for freedom. Freedom is coming, I tell them. We must be ready so we can help free the rest of the people who are unjustly in prison here and around the world." As it grew dark, it was time for us to leave. We stood up before the barred windows and joined hands in a circle. First a religious song in creole. Then he prayed for all the prisoners and all the people without food and shelter in Haiti and beyond. Then the "Our Father." Finally he led us in a loud and spirited "we shall overcome" that echoed off the concrete prison walls. "And deep in my heart, I do believe, We shall overcome one day." After I hugged Fr. Jean-Juste, some of his spirit of resistance infected me. And as I walked past the mounted machine guns on the UN jeep, I must admit, I do believe. We shall overcome one day. Bill Quigley is a professor at Loyola Law School in New Orleans. Bill is a volunteer lawyer for Fr.Jean-Juste, assisting Mario Joseph of BAI and the Institute for Justice and Democracy in Haiti ( Brian Concannon Jr.Director, Institute for Justice & Democracy in PO Box 745Joseph, OR, 79846 USA541-432-0597

Washing Jean-Baptiste's Feet

Dear Bishop Jenky, Sister Judith Ann, Joe, Gerry, Keith, Paul, and Doug

As you may know, Jean-Baptiste is a patient at Cleveland Clinic. I never
received a meaningful response from any of you regarding helping Jean-
Baptiste when I mailed you repeatedly asking for your help since the
spring of 2005. Many people from Peoria have driven the 8 hours to
Cleveland to visit Jean-Baptiste. They are very sad to see him in the
condition he is in and feel bad that OSF would not accept him or even
answer their e mails regarding Jean-Baptiste.

A couple of days ago my niece and I watched a nurse's aide wash Jean-
Baptiste's feet. He sat in a chair at bedside as she carefully and gently
washed his feet and toes and put cream on them. Most of his life he didn't
even have shoes. She commented how nice his feet were. She doesn't wash
many 21 year old's feet because she cares for Americans who are much older
with this degree of heart failure due to valve dysfunction.

Jean-Baptiste's illiterate mother who lives in a cinder block house
without water or electricity on a mountain side over looking Port-au-
Prince, has lost 3 males in her family including her husband and is about
ready to lose the fourth. We have no way to contact her about her son's

A physician from Doctors Without Borders recently wrote that silence
breeds injustice. I would respectfully advise all of you to travel to
Cleveland with one of the former host families when they visit Jean-
Baptiste and explain to them and to Jean-Baptiste your motivation for your
silence and abandonment of him. Wash his feet, like the nurse's aide did,
and tell him you are sorry.


John Carroll

Monday, January 16, 2006



Posted on Thu, Dec. 29, 2005

Doctor: Jailed priest has developed leukemia
A Harvard doctor said Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a former Miami activist now in jail in Haiti, has leukemia and needs immediate treatment.

Gerard Jean-Juste, a Haitian priest whose continued imprisonment in Port-au-Prince has become a cause célebre for political allies and human-rights advocates, has developed an early stage of leukemia, according to a prominent U.S. physician who runs hospitals in Haiti.

Dr. Paul Farmer, a friend and supporter of Jean-Juste, says the jailed priest has chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), a form of the blood and marrow disease that progresses slowly but can develop into a more virulent strain of cancer.

In several e-mails and a telephone interview from Rwanda, where he is working this week, Farmer explained that he examined Jean-Juste without guards' knowledge on Dec. 23. He drew blood and brought it to Miami, where it was analyzed by a University of Miami hematologist.

''I can assure you he has leukemia,'' Farmer wrote to The Miami Herald on Wednesday.

Jean-Juste, known as ''Father Gerry'' when he lived in Miami and led the nation's most powerful Haitian rights group, was arrested July 21 for alleged involvement in the kidnapping and murder of Haitian journalist Jacques Roche.

He and his supporters vehemently deny the allegations. Many observers have expressed concerns that his detention is simply a move to silence Jean-Juste. Amnesty International calls him a ''prisoner of conscience'' and 42 members of the U.S. Congress signed a letter demanding his release.

Since an armed rebellion ousted President JeanBertrand Aristide in February 2004, Jean-Juste has become a potent critic of the U.S.-backed transitional government. Police arrested him in Oct. 2004 for inciting violence, but he was released seven weeks later after a judge found the allegation baseless.

Many of the urban poor see Jean-Juste as a natural successor to Aristide, a former slum priest himself, and his Lavalas political movement.

After Jean-Juste's second arrest on July 21, Lavalas leaders tried to register him as a presidential candidate for elections tentatively scheduled for next month. But the electoral council rejected the application because the imprisoned Jean-Juste did not show up to register in person.

Earlier this month, more than 1,000 people marched through Miami to protest his incarceration.

''It's an outrage,'' said Steve Forester, a Miami attorney who has been organizing the campaign to free Jean-Juste. ``He's a nonviolent priest. He's a prisoner of conscience. And if the Bush administration wanted him out, they'd get him out.''

``This is about saving his life.''

Farmer, a Harvard professor and expert in infectious diseases, wrote that ``Father Gerry's in serious trouble if he isn't released from jail for proper work-up in the States.''

He said the priest, at the very least, needs a CT scan and a bone marrow biopsy -- procedures Jean-Juste does not trust doctors commissioned by the Haitian government to perform.

Farmer said the University of Miami blood specialist told him that the cancer is progressing rapidly and could turn into a more virulent form of leukemia. Because of the unorthodox circumstances in which the blood was drawn, Farmer said the hematologist did not want to be named.

Their findings support those of another U.S. doctor, John Carroll, who examined Jean-Juste earlier in the month and reported finding enlarged lymph nodes and abnormal white blood cell counts.

Haitian officials have countered that their own doctors examined Jean-Juste and found no sign of cancer, according to The Associated Press. A government spokesman could not be reached for comment Wednesday.

Farmer said the cancer itself is not likely an immediate threat to Jean-Juste's life, but because it weakens his immune system, an infection could be fatal.


© 2005 and wire service sources. All Rights Reserved.

Abandonded in Haiti

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.



At Grace Children’s Hospital a baby with orange hair peered at me through the iron slats of her crib. Her name is Rebekka and she is 16 months old but appears like she is more like 8 months. She is calm and her eyes move from me to her grandmother who is standing at her side. The rails of her crib are up.

An IV solution hangs in a lonely fashion from a steel IV pole at the end of her crib. The IV tubing is not connected to the baby. A four foot green oxygen tank stands at the head of the crib like an old soldier. No oxygen tubing is hooked up to the tank leading to the baby.

At the foot of the mattress is the Bible called ‘Bib la” in Haitian creole. Rebekka’s grandmother is praying over her. She stands with a blue t shirt on and a pink slip. She has black flip flops on her feet. Over her head is a washcloth that Haitians all seem to carry to wipe their brows. At her left foot is the black plastic garbage sack that is ubiquitous among Haiti’s poor that serve as their Gucci bags in their world.

One can see that grandmother is in a different world. Her eyes are closed and her arms extended in front of her with her palms pointed up. She is praying out loud but is not obnoxious with her demands from God. She sways back and forth as she prays for Rebekka’s life. Rebekka glances up at her at times with a look of respect and gratitude for her grandma’s efforts. At times, grandma pronates her forearms and her hands wave palm down over the baby in a gentle rhythmic fashion trying to erase the disease that is eating at her. Rebekka seems to understand…

Grandma is quite proud of Rebekka. The baby just hasn’t had enough to eat and has had diarrhea for 4 months. They live several hours out in the province and getting into Port-au-Prince is very difficult for many reasons.

She is happy that Rebekka has a chance now. She respects the IV solution even though Rebekka’s IV has infiltrated and knows the oxygen might help if it were hooked up. But what Grandma really trusts is her God. She tells me she is Protestant and prays with complete confidence in her private world of faith.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Peoria Journal Star Forum

Wednesday, January 4, 2006

Dr. John Carroll (Dec. 21 Forum, "Haitian needing new heart valve not getting help here") is again trying to lay a guilt trip on OSF and the Peoria area.
I am sorry his patient has acute congestive heart failure. I applaud OSF for its cooperation six years ago, even though I am sure a portion of my OSF bills went to this program.

But why do these cases take priority over the needs of people in the Peoria area? Why do these cases take priority over the ongoing medical and family support needs of injured solders?

Many people in New Orleans died in their wheelchairs with no medical assistance. Why do our citizens in need rate so low on his priority list?

I suspect the reason is that it is tough, dirty work and that the low visibility does not satisfy Carroll's ego. Flying air ambulances around the world to transport critically ill patients to Peoria is an exciting, high-visibility business, but the benefit per dollar spent is extremely low.

If Dr. Carroll is convinced his program must go on, then he should fund it himself and set up a clinic in Haiti.

Paul Cobb

Germantown Hills


What's At Stake?
Jailed Haitian Priest Diagnosed with Leukemia: Your Support Urgently Needed

Father Gerard Jean-Juste, a human rights activist and Catholic priest from
Haiti, founded the Haitian Refugee Center in Miami, Florida in the 1970s,
and served as its Executive Director for more than a decade. During that
time, he worked closely with Human Rights First and others to help
refugees fleeing persecution under the Duvalier regime. He returned to
Haiti in 1991, where he became parish priest at the Sainte Claire Catholic

After an armed rebellion ousted former President Jean-Bertrand Aristide on
February 29, 2004, Father Jean-Juste became an outspoken critic of human
rights abuses perpetrated by armed forces with ties to the interim
government, led by Prime Minister Gerard Latortue. As a result of his
activism, Father Jean-Juste has endured several arrests and imprisonment
on trumped up charges.

On October 13, 2004 on the heels of an upsurge of violence by armed
supporters of both the interim government and former President Aristide,
Father Jean-Juste was arrested by masked members of the Haitian National
Police while running a soup kitchen at the Sainte Claire Catholic Church
in Port-au-Prince. In an interview with reporters, Interim Prime Minister
Gerard Latortue explained the arrest by saying that Jean-Juste's name had
become "associated with" people suspected of organizing against the

Father Jean-Juste was jailed for almost five weeks before he was brought
before a judge on November 12. The judge dismissed all charges against
the priest and ordered his release, but authorities did not release Father
Jean-Juste for another 17 days. His lawyers credited his eventual release
to pressure by the international community and human rights groups,
including Human Rights First, placed on the Haitian government to treat
Father Jean-Juste with fairness and accord him due process.

In July 2005, Father Jean-Juste again found himself the target of
harassment, arrest, and detention by the interim government of Haiti. On
July 15, Father Jean-Juste was stopped at the airport in Port-au-Prince
upon returning from Miami, Florida. He was taken to Judicial Police
Headquarters and held for questioning for some hours before being released
on condition that he return for further questioning the following Monday.
When Father Jean-Juste complied, he was asked no questions and allowed to

He then received a summons to appear before a judge on July 20 to answer
to the charge of "plotting against state security," a charge which many
political dissidents have faced. The summons stated that the alleged
crime took place on October 18, 2004, when Father Jean-Juste was behind
bars. Father Jean-Juste and his lawyers appeared before the judge as
required and answered a series of questions about his political opinions.
The judge did not issue a decision and allowed Father Jean-Juste to return
to his parish.

On July 21, Father Jean-Juste was attacked while serving as one among
seven priests to proffer blessings at the funeral of his cousin, Haitian
journalist Jacques Roche, who was killed while Jean-Juste was traveling in
Miami. When he emerged among the seven priests gathered to bless the
coffin, funeral attendees began yelling "assasin," "criminal," and "arrest
and kill the rat." The crowd physically attacked Father Jean-Juste,
punching him and spitting on him. Since Roche has been identified as a
supporter of those who overthrew the government of former President
Aristide, some have blamed his death on members of former President
Aristide's political party, Lavalas, of which Father Jean-Juste is a
supporter. After UN peacekeepers were able to disperse the crowd, police
indicated they would take Father Jean-Juste to the police station for his
own safety.

Father Jean-Juste waited at the police station with his lawyers for
approximately eight hours while the UN and Haitian police discussed
whether to release him. Finally, several Haitian officers produced a
piece of paper they claimed was an official complaint against Father Jean-
Juste accusing him of assassinating Jacques Roche. The complaint was
based on "public clamor" at the funeral accusing him of murdering Roche.
It was their obligation, they said, to investigate this public clamor
identifying him as the murderer. He was locked into a jail cell with 40
other people and no beds, no running water, and just one toilet.

On Friday, July 22, after a brief meeting with a justice of the peace,
over a dozen masked police officers with machine guns forced a handcuffed
Father Jean-Juste into a police van and sped away to an undisclosed
location. It was later learned that Father Jean-Juste is being held in
solitary confinement at the Haitian National Penitentiary. Initially, he
had difficulty gaining access to his lawyers and is apparently facing new
charges: "public denunciation" and "inciting to violence." The former
prime minister of Haiti, Yvon Neptune, who has been in prison for almost
two years without trial, is also imprisoned under the charge of "inciting
to violence." Some speculate that Father Jean-Juste is likely to remain
in prison until after elections take place in 2006.

While in prison, Father Jean-Juste has been suffering from health
problems. He was examined by U.S. doctor John Carroll in early December,
who detected swellings in Father Jean-Juste's throat and underarms. After
finding an abnormally low white blood cell count, Dr. Carroll warned that
Father Jean-Juste may have a serious - and possibly cancerous -
condition. Father Jean-Juste then received a visit from Dr. Paul Farmer,
a Harvard professor and expert in infectious diseases. Dr. Farmer took a
sample of Father Jean-Juste's blood to a laboratory in Miami and confirmed
that the priest has leukemia. Haitian government officials claim that
they have run their own tests, and that Father Jean-Juste is in fine

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Sunday, January 01, 2006

Peoria Journal Star Forum

Haitian needing new heart valve not getting help help here

Wednesday, December 21, 2005
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 $1 billion health-care industry, needs to be afflicted.
Haitian Hearts is in Haiti now, and we are caring for a 21-year-old man named Jean-Baptiste. He was operated on at OSF six years ago when he underwent a successful valve repair. He presented to us 16 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. He stared at us with scared yellow eyes.
Jean-Baptiste needs a new heart valve. I have pleaded with OSF since May to accept him and have offered $20,000 for his care. Many people in the Peoria area, including his previous host family, have attempted to contact OSF to advocate for Jean-Baptiste.
I believe the main reason Jean-Baptiste and other Haitian Hearts patients are being abandoned by OSF is because of my public criticism of OSF and its dangerous conflict of interest with Advanced Medical Transport (AMT) in Peoria. They are monopolizing emergency care when someone calls 911.
I would think that if OSF did not feel challenged by my allegations, the hospital would be more than happy to follow the Sisters' philosophy that no one is turned away . . . not even Haitians.
Dr. John A. Carroll

Jean-Baptiste Update

Date: 30 Dec 2005 01:31:56 -0000From: "Realname" To: drjohn@mtco.comSubject: Jean Baptiste
Dear Everybody,This is a summary of Jackson's last 48 hours. It is Thursday night now andwe are in Cleveland.At 6:30 AM on Tuesday morning we went to downtown PAP to the Haitianimmigrations office and renewed Jackson's passport. It was to expire inMay, 06. We needed to carry Jackson down the street and in the buildingbecause he was to weak to walk over a few steps. The Haitian authoritieswere very gracious and extended his passport very quickly. We met a motherand baby with congenital heart disease at the passport agency. We hadexamined the baby early in December and she has tetrology of fallot. Motherwas attempting to get an urgent passport and when she saw us she broke outcrying because she knew were leaving with Jackson for the States and leavingher baby behind. she knew she wouldn't have the baby's passport it time. Wetold her we would be back for her baby on another trip which didn't consoleher too much.We then headed for the American Consulate where they fingerprinted Jacksonafter we filled out the visa application, could see how sick he was, andgranted the visa in 30 minutes.We then were at the PAP airport by 1 PM and the plane was 1 and one halfhours late leaving. Got to Cleveland at midnight and Jackson was stillhanging in there. We stayed at a guest house at the Cleveland Clinic andtook Jackson to the clinic yesterday morning where he was made a direct admit. An IV was started within 10 minutes and a bedside echo done within 30minutes which confirmed the findings in Haiti. Today Jackson had a transesophageal echo and a right heart catheterization.He was moved to the heart failure ICU immediately afterwards. He is doingwell tonight.His data show that he has a very tight mitral valve and a tricuspid valvethat doesn't close at all so his blood goes in the reverse fashion to alarge extent. He has a very low cardiac output bordering on shock all ofthe time due to his heart valves and their poor function. His leftventricle squeezes very well but his right heart does not because of themitral stenosis and tricuspid regurgitation. His pulmonary artery pressuresare a little high, but could be much worse. The plan is still surgery. TheCleveland Clinic docs are trying to "buff him up" some before surgery. Theydo not know how he is still alive with the numbers that were uncovered todayat his cath procedeure. Cleveland Clinic is the number one heart hospital in the United States. Jackson will be a challenge even for them due to his long standing disease.We will be very fortunate if he does well and continue to need your prayers.Everyone here has been great. There are 26,000 employees at the CC with2,300 doctors. There are over 30 buildings including the satellite clinics.We are staying at the Ronald McDonald house across the street from theClinic. On Tuesday another Haitian Hearts patient, Emmanual, is coming to ClevelandClinic for his preop workup. (He is in Lima, Ohio right now.) He is 15months old and weighs 10 lbs. He has a ventricular septal defect. We spokewith the doctor who is in charge of the Pediatric Cardiac Surgery departmenthere today (Dr. Duncan), and thanked him for accepting Emmanual and twoother Haitian babies later in January. (There is a great book out in thelast couple of years about pediatric heart surgery called "Walk on Water"based on the Cleveland Clinic Peds CV program.)We will keep you informed how these kids do.Sincerely,John and Maria