Monday, December 21, 2009


"...few of us feel as though we’re going to be perpetrators; and most of us hope we’re never going to be victims... most of us live in the space not between perpetrators and victims but between bystander and, potentially, ‘upstander,’ to coin a term. The question of how we relate to this history that goes on around us, or to matters of injustice."

Samantha Power

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Not all Bad Behavior is Actionable

Peoria's OSF/SFMC behavior towards their Haitian Hearts patients was again abysmal in 2009.

OSF/SFMC is denying medical care to two patients, Jenny and Henri, both who had heart surgery at OSF/SFMC ten years ago. They both need repeat heart surgery. Both are in Haiti and both receive medications and exams from Haitian Hearts year after year.

They both have hope to stay alive. But where is the hospital in Peoria that "turns no patients away"?


A couple of days ago I received a comment on this blog.

The commenter was a local Peoria blogger who actually signed his name.

The fact that the blogger/commenter signed his name was unusual...most comments are made anonymously because people fear OSF.

What even made this more unusual was that the blogger/commenter wrote that OSF/SFMC was indeed sliding downwards with regard to quality of care. The blogger/commenter had been a patient at OSF/SFMC recently and wrote that OSF/SFMC ignored and laughed at his requests for pain meds.

Who knows if that was true or not, but that was the comment.

I was really surprised that this person actually signed their name.

However, by the next morning, the blogger/commenter had removed the portion of their comment which regarded OSF's poor care.

Thus, another blogger/commenter thought twice about going after OSF with their name attached. Fear of OSF had won out again.

In this blog I have documented how Keith Steffen, OSF's Administrator, told me that fear is a good thing among OSF employees. I clearly documented how he intimidated two of his nurses in his office at OSF.

I have spoken with many people in the Peoria community during the last decade who genuinely fear OSF and Mr. Steffen. Even a huge benefactor to OSF won't come out against Mr. Steffen in attempts to have him replaced because she fears for her own medical care at OSF/SFMC.

Is this the way a Catholic hospital (or ANY hospital) should act?

Numerous members of the Peoria community fear losing their job and their health insurance if they go after OSF. Our business boards are related and when you go after one business you go after all of them.

And to make matters even worse for OSF/SFMC, this year their legal counsel Douglass Marshall contacted the US Consulate in Haiti regarding a Haitian Hearts patient receiving medical care in Peoria. Many people knew about Marshall's action, but they did nothing.

For good reason they fear OSF.

The seven remaining OSF Sisters that live in the massive convent near the hospital don't walk with a bounce in their step. They know all this is happening, but have lost their mission and their spirit and their will to stop the fear engendered by OSF's secular leaders.

How sad for OSF and for Peorians.

Web Album of One Day in Haiti, 2009

Please go to this album and view as a slideshow.

This was July 1, 2009 in Cite Soleil.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The World's One Hope

"When a child steps out in front of a moving car, someone will snatch the child back to the sidewalk. It's not only a kind person who'd do that, not only the kind of person they honor with statues, and memorial plaques. Anyone would pull a child out of the path of the car. But here, many people have been run down, and many pass by, doing nothing. Is that because there are so many suffering people? Shouldn't there be more help when there's more suffering? There's less help. Even kind people walk past, doing nothing, and they're just as kind as they were before."

--from The World's One Hope, a poem fby Bertolt Brecht translated by Tony Kushner
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Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Neglected Diseases Amid Wealth

Slaves who survived the Middle Passage, "the largest forced migration in recorded history," were forced to live in filthy and unsanitary conditions that facilitated the introduction of parasites from west Africa to the New World. These included hookworms, whipworms and amebae, as well as parasites causing malaria, yellow fever, and schistosomiasis. Today the major tropical diseases introduced into the Americas during the slave trade remain endemic among the people living in Latin America and the Caribbean.

Neglected tropical diseaes are not exclusive to low-income countries. These diseases include ascariasis, dengue fever, congenital cytomegalovirus, and others. Such infections account for a sizable but largely hidden disease burden among minority populations living in poverty in the United States..particularly people of African American descent.

(Health Affairs, November/December 2009, Peter Hotez)

Photo by John A. Carroll, M.D.

Monday, December 07, 2009


Modjina got her visa today to travel to the US for heart surgery!

Keeping her supplied with medication for her heart failure, obtaining her Haitian echocardiogram, finding a children's medical center with an excellent pediatric heart surgeon, obtaining her Haitian passport and her non-immigrant visa, acquiring notarized statements from the Haitian government, purchasing her roundtrip airfare to and from the US took 13 months. (I examined Modjina for the first time in November, 2008.)

Children in the developing world just don't count much...except to their mothers.

But Modjina is on her way....
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A Christmas Carroll

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