Sunday, November 30, 2008

Young Haitian Women Travel to States for Heart Surgery

Dear Readers,

Both Heureuse and Mirterlande are now being "worked up" for cardiac surgery here in the USA.

Thank you for your support and prayers.

(Heureuse top picture and Mirterlande bottom picture.)

OSF and Peoria Catholic Diocese View Humanae Vitae and Haitians the Same

OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria are hypocritical.

Their actions do not seem to respect life at conception or the lives of Haitian children.

Both OSF Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione and the former Catholic Diocese Vicar-General Monsignor Steven Rohlfs helped design the OSF contraceptive policy and both men helped destroy Haitian Hearts in Peoria.

Does not sound Catholic to me.

Below is a Peoria Journal Star Forum article written by my brother Tom and me regarding OSF and the Catholic Diocese of Peoria's describing OSF's way of getting around Humanae Vitae.

Forum: OSF Contraceptives Policy is at Odds with Catholic Doctrine

Journal Star
Posted Nov 07, 2008

Re. Oct. 18 story by Gary Panetta, "Catholics & Contraception":

Panetta correctly points out that the Catholic Church's policy regarding artificial contraception is "maligned and misunderstood." Sadly, much of that is due to inconsistent teachings and actions from Catholic leaders.

In the mid 1990s, OSF and Bishop John Myers implemented a policy that allowed OSF physicians to write prescriptions for oral contraceptives on OSF property. This policy, still in place today, was created so OSF could stay competitive in the medical marketplace.

This flies in the face of the church's consistent position that it is a serious sin to prescribe or use contraceptives.

The loopholes used by OSF to justify this policy are known as "Limited Private Practice" and "Third-Party Payer." The idea that OSF physician employees are suddenly transformed into "non-employees" for the few seconds it takes to prescribe an oral contraceptive would be laughable if it were not so obviously wrong. And sorry, but using a "third party payer" to administer payouts for contraceptives doesn't change the fact that OSF HealthPlans covered them. Long before HealthPlans was sold to Humana, contraceptives were listed by brand name on the plan's Web site of preferred drugs.

Perception is very important. What are people to believe about the Catholic doctrine of Humane Vitae when they can go to an OSF office and come out with a prescription for birth control pills?

OSF Corporate Ethicist Joe Piccione stated that the "policies were approved by our local bishops." Therefore, we ask Catholics in the Peoria Diocese to petition Bishop Daniel Jenky to change a policy that is so obviously against the teachings of the Catholic Church.

Tom Carroll

John Carroll, M.D.
West Peoria

Copyright © 2008 GateHouse Media, Inc. Some Rights Reserved.
Original content available for non-commercial use under a Creative Commons license, except where noted.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Haiti and Tonya

An article by Tonya Sneed published in the Peoria Journal Star, November 21, 2008.

PEORIA — On Thanksgiving, while Americans raise their cholesterol feasting on hormone-fed turkeys raised in horrendous conditions, another atrocity is taking place. Children in Baie d'Orange, Haiti, are starving.

It's official that at least 26 children have died from severe malnutrition, a direct result of the four tropical storms and hurricanes that ravaged Haiti in August and September.

Their deaths are connected to us in ways too numerous to count. As one of many examples, consider that the U.S. government has in recent years "liberalized" Haiti's trade. Just a few decades ago, almost all the rice purchased and sold in Haiti was grown there. Now more than 80 percent of the rice purchased and sold in Haiti was grown in the U.S. Through the dumping of our heavily subsidized rice into their market, we have destroyed Haiti's food security and have run an untold number of peasant farmers out of business.

In short, we have made Haitians more hungry, not less, and have forced them to rely on the whims of the international markets.

Consider global warming. The experts agree that global warming won't necessarily cause more hurricanes, but the hurricanes themselves will come with greater intensity. That seems to be the case. My friends in Jacmel, near Baie d'Orange, have never seen such devastation. It's a cruel irony that the poorest of the poor, who don't eat much meat and who don't drive cars - things that contribute substantially to global warming - are the ones who are suffering the most as a result of the changes in global temperatures.

Consider the elephant in the room: our despicable use of public funds. We spend more than $1 billion every day on the wars and the Pentagon's budget, and yet give Haiti pennies in aid. If we could take one day off from this insanity, no one would need to starve. A billion dollars would make all the difference in the world to the people of Baie d'Orange and to all of Haiti.

But there isn't any profit for Blackwater, KBR and the other war profiteers in feeding Venecia Lonis, a 4-year-old from Baie d'Orange whose tiny body is so miserably emaciated that even our mainstream media could no longer ignore her. Perhaps the only real hope for Venecia is that this Thanksgiving we Americans open our eyes to the harsh and bitter realities of this world, especially those that are of our government's making, and demand change.

Tonya Sneed


Comments (14)



How much are you sending to the starving Haitians? You can afford to send half your income, right? Maybe they would have a better chance at survival if you joined the Peace Corps and relocated. Is the foreign aid we send them helping or have you twisted that into a negative as well?


Even after years of receiving considerable foreign aid, Haiti remains an impoverished, tremendously fragile state. Over a span of ten years, the United States spent over $4 billion in aid to Haiti, yet the average Haitian still has to survive on one dollar a day. Why has assistance been so ineffectual, and what can we learn from Haitis plight about foreign aid in general? - Brookings Institution

Does the term political corruption account for anything? Whata ya bet their leaders drive Cadys?

Sherman Potter

I don't like to hear of any kids starving or without medical car. But good grief, there are kids and families in dire straits probably less than 10 miles from each of our homes.

Excellent post bornhere.

Let's take care of those in our own backyard first for a change.

Sherm - Let's find a way to make American citizens take care of their own rather than you and I being on the hook. I could only afford 2 children........that's all we had. No one paid me monthly to support them. What the hell is the government doing paying people to have more kids.


Good post bornhere , there's also a doctors program for Haitis children , they get free healthcare yet American children can't get it ..............



Great article. The truth that you document is painful to read.

I am in Haiti now.

The four tropical storms that hit Haiti in August and September did incredible damage to this fragile country.

There is a famine in southern Haiti and people are starving everyday. And we are only 90 minutes by air from Miami.

Over 250 children and their mothers show up at 5 AM for medical clinic. They are suffering from malnutrition and water-borne diseases.

And Haitians still make their way to the collapsed school that fell a few weeks killing about 100 students. They stare down and wonder. A sign hangs above the street in front of the crumbled fragments of cement that says: 'In memory of the teachers and students who fell to the politics of the bourgeois and businessman.'

John A. Carroll, M.D.


Hey Jon - Spend some time in any ER, say around 8:00 P.M. and you will see how the poor, and helpless are turned away......not! If you have health insurance, your fees will be high enough to cover some of these folks who pay nothing.

Sherman Potter

A tragic story indeed, Dr. Carroll. But what about the kids in the good ol USA? Why are they not a priority? We still have families reeling from Hurricane Katrina, do they not deserve food,shelter and healthcare?

The painful part of the article is that Peorians are encouraged to put on the blinders as they drive to the airport for their Haitian flight and ignore those in need RIGHT HERE, RIGHT NOW.

I think it comes down to what will get more media attention, helping a families in the tri-county area, or an international journey?

Think of the $4 BILLION in aid that was sent, and did nothing. If you put half of that here you would already see results. Plus according to Tonya, we blew the Haitian rice farmers out of the water, and have actually made them more hungry. Why in the world would they want us back?

These countries are always thrown in our face as if it's America's problem. I get very tired of that.

Let Americans help Americans FIRST. Call the UN and spread out the tasks accordingly amongst the other countries. I'm tired of Uncle Sam being the food stamp distributor to the world while our own are in need.

Sherman Potter


I'm with ya. No one paid me to support my kids, I GOT A SECOND JOB. And sometimes another one after that.


I'm all for helping haiti, just as soon as they apply for statehood.

Does it have to be 8;00 Pm ?


If you want to see the bulk of the crowd, it always seems to begin around that time. Feel free to check it out anytime.

Some comments on the comments:

1. Yes, the families displaced by Hurricane Katrina deserve food, shelter, and healthcare.

2. The infant mortality rate in Peoria is 7/1000. The infant mortality rate in Haiti is 80/1000.

3. 25% of Haitian children are malnourished. Childhood obesity is a major health concern in Peoria.

4. In the United States we spend $5,267 per person each year for health care. Haiti spends $11 per person each year for health care.

5. The median life expectancy in Peoria is about 80 years. The median life expectancy in Haiti is about 50 years.

John A. Carroll, M.D.


Yes, children in the US have problems accessing health care. And I agree that that is a crime.

But in the US, most of those children live in a house with a roof, a floor and windows. Many children in Haiti have NONE of those things. Let alone a television set, or a car, or aspirin to help with minor pains, or any kind of nutrition (ie garlic or chicken soup) to help fend off minor illnesses. They have, literally, NOTHING.

You cannot spare $5 to help children who eat mud cakes to fill up their bellies when there is no food? Children whose parents cannot get jobs because there are NO jobs. They don't have factories or stores or schools or offices to choose not to work in. There are NONE of those things where they are. They are subsistence farmers, because that's what everyone in their village is. They grow what they eat and do what they can to keep a house around them. That is their life.

But US and Global market influences have gone to Haiti, with rice and grains grown by subsidized farmers, far cheaper than the rice and grain that was grown by Haitian farmers. And the corrupt government bought the cheap grain and put Haitian farmers out of business. The poor of Haiti, who comprise the vast majority of the Haitian population, have, literally, nothing! No where to go, no car to get there, and four serious hurricanes have made that pretty much less than nothing!

Please, this Thanksgiving, take a little time, and maybe send $5 or 10 bucks to Konpay, and appreciate how every single person in the United States has it 10 times better than most Haitian people. And stop whining.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

Heureuse Survives

A very well-meaning missionary with tired eyes brought her to me.

When I first met Heureuse in Haiti in the early 2000’s she was the same petite and polite woman that she is today.

With my stethoscope placed over Heureuse’s heart, I could hear a loud gushing noise coming from her diseased aortic valve. A hole in her heart was nestled just below the bad valve.

Heureuse needed heart surgery to stay alive.

Heureuse’s sister Eva had kept her alive while Heureuse’s body was all bloated with fluid. Eva had even made tapes for her. When Eva was in the capital, and Heureuse was lying on her mat in her home in the coastal village of Bainet, Eva’s recorded voice would tell Heureuse to stay alive.

Heureuse did stay alive, got out of Haiti, and survived major heart surgery performed by a large medical center in the United States.

But this year Heureuse has become real sick again and now the large medical center does not want Heureuse back for repeat surgery. It seems they are comfortable letting Heureuse the survivor silently slip away in Haiti.

Incredibly, last week, Heureuse was accepted by another excellent medical center in the United States for surgery.

So what exactly has Heureuse survived?

She survived dark lonely breathless nights in a slum of Port-au-Prince. Her family was far away.

She survived the powerful macrostructures far from Haiti which control her world and influence her misery.

She survived the rich and powerful of her own government and business community that don’t view her as human, let alone a human with dignity.

She survived the kidnapping business in Haiti and the haphazard bullets of the Blue Helmets.

She survived four tropical storms--- Ike, Gustav, Hannah, and Fay. She survived the subsequent brown mud and sewage that ripped down the mountain into her slum and shanty.

She survived the loss of her children’s father as he vomited blood and moaned as he died.

She survived giving away her children this year as she prepared to die.

She survived the disappearance of Eva in the Dominican Republic.

She survived heart failure as the operative repair she had done at the big medical center fell apart.

She survived the painful memory of the United States and all of its rich food and clean water. She survived the memory of the blan that cared for her then…

She survived the silence and abandonment of people at the large medical center that should have said something, should have done something, as she was being led to the gallows.

She survived the silence of the Bishops and Monsignors and Sisters and medical center chaplains who should control and influence the true philosophy of the medical center.

Heureuse has survived total despair.

She needs to survive a few more days.

E Mail to Pekin City Council Member and OSF Foundation Director

Sue Ann Kortkamp is Executive Director of Saint Francis Medical Center Foundation.

She seemed to be an able leader but I think she was caught in a tough spot at OSF.

For example, Paul Kramer, Executive Director of Children's Hospital of Illinois, asked one of Sue Ann's employees at Foundation to divert money from Rotary Club North to Children's Hospital of Illinois. The money that Rotary collected was to go to Haitian Hearts directly---not Children's Hospital.

Sue Ann must have been cringing.

Also, Mr. Kramer did all he could to get his hands on $180,000 dollars raised by Haitian Hearts volunteers when we built and sold a new home in East Peoria in 2002. Mr. Kramer told the the Haitian Hearts people that constructed the house that "there is no such thing as Haitian Hearts". (Mr. Kramer also asked Jim Sullivan of Community Foundation which was holding the house money for Haitian Hearts, to release the money to Children's Hospital. Mr. Sullivan flatly refused. Haitian Hearts donated the entire sum to Children's at the end of 2002, right before Mr. Kramer called the American Consulate in Haiti.)

Again, Sue Ann must have felt bad to see this happen.

And a physician at OSF made very generous contributions to Haitian Hearts that never made it to Foundation (according to Sue Ann and her secretary) and Haitian Hearts was never credited with the physican's gift.

Haitian Hearts received no evidence from Foundation that people had donated significant monies to Haitian Hearts in late 2003. We pressed the issue and asked Foundation many questions...finally, after multiple attempts on our part, at the end of 2003, Keith Steffen signed a check over to Haitian Hearts of donations that had come in for Haitian Hearts patients in 2003. Haitian Hearts doubted that we would have ever received that check from OSF if we had not pressed Foundation to pressure OSF Administration to give us money that was donated to Haitian Hearts.

Sue Ann may have wondered where Caterpillar, Inc. donation to Haitian Hearts went in 2001. Caterpillar Inc. was donating $10,000 dollars a year for Haitian Hearts to go directly to Children's Hospital of Illinois. (Paul Kramer told me in his office that Haitian Hearts was becoming too much competition for Children's Hospital.) However in 2001, the computer printout revealed that Caterpillar Inc. had donated only $500 dollars to Haitian Hearts. In other words, Haitian Hearts would only have been credited with a $500 dollar donation to Children's Hospital of Illinois. I wonder where the other $9,500 dollars of Caterpillar money went?

And during the late 90's and early 2000's Haitian Hearts donated over 1.1 MILLION dollars to Children's Hospital of Illinois. We were honest amidst the dishonesty that was surrounding us at OSF.

A spokesperson for Attorney General Lisa Madigan told me that OSF had "done Haitian Hearts wrong."

Sadly, Sue Ann had to watch as OSF turned their back on dying Haitian Hearts patients in Haiti that had been operated at OSF. She watched as Paul Kramer told the pediatric cardiology group to cancel an important test on one of the Haitian children in Peoria. She watched as Paul Kramer notified the American Consulate in Haiti to stop the kids from attaining non-immigrant visas to come to Peoria for heart surgery.

Sue Ann could not have been happy with OSF at that point. But what could she do? OSF is her boss.

Sue Ann sits on the Pekin City Council. She will vote regarding AMT becoming the exclusive provider of ambulance care in Pekin.

I sent her the following e mail the other day:

Dear Sue,

As a council person in Pekin, you have the most first hand information how OSF "works" in Peoria. You have also seen how OSF has worked against Haitian Hearts patients that needed repeat heart surgery and did not survive. You were obviously unable to change OSF's policy abandoning Haitian kids.

I hope you can use your position in Pekin to protect the people of Pekin.

I read in the Peoria Journal Star that AMT would like to have an exclusive contract with Pekin.

My hope is that the earliest-arriving-best-trained-person is able to provide immediate care for the person that calls 911 in Pekin.

Please see these two links regarding Peoria's EMS situation. They provide a background regarding EMS, the Peoria Fire Department, AMT, and the way the policy regarding EMS care has evolved in Peoria.

Thank you.

John A. Carroll, M.D.

Monday, November 03, 2008

Flash: Haitian AIDS Patients Need Food

There is a website called PlusNews. This website is a global advocate for AIDS/HIV patients.

See this article and this article.

Isn't it incredible that we can supply certain AIDS patients in Haiti with antiretroviral medication but they don't have enough food to eat?