Saturday, October 30, 2010

Do You Know Where This Picture Was Taken?


This picture was taken by me yesterday deep in the back part of Cite Soleil.

Can you believe it?

The "worst slum in the western hemisphere" shouldn't look this way, or should it?

The people in Soleil are even more beautiful than this picture.

The parents that I see really care about their children. They run barefoot through Soleil's hot horrible streets with their dying sick kids.

They have nothing to give them until the child is limp with fever...and then it is time to "scoop and run".

And it is usually too late...

Hundreds of thousands of humans living like rats.

No jobs mean no money.

Not enough food or potable water.

No security from gangs that like to shoot, rob, and rape when the sun goes down.

But this is all man made suffering due to corruption from within and without.

It doesn't need to be this way.
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Friday, October 22, 2010

No Room in the Inn for Haitian Hearts Patients

(Photo of Haitian echocardiograms of Haitian Hearts patients who need heart surgery. These videos sit in my living room in Peoria and haunt me each time I look at them because they represent the beating hearts of people I have examined who have treatable disease. I also know their mothers and families who put so much trust in us to help them. Jenny and Henri's echocardiograms are among the stacks of videos.)

OSF HealthCare System in Peoria is refusing Haitian Hearts patients to return to Peoria for repeat heart surgery. They have been refusing my patients for seven years now.

I am having a very difficult time finding any medical center to accept Jenny and Henri for repeat heart surgery. Other medical centers believe it is OSF’s responsibility to take care of their patients.

In the last few years I have had three Haitian Hearts patients die. All were in their early twenties. All needed repeat heart surgery at OSF. All were refused by OSF.

And this week in the Peoria Journal Star an article reported that OSF just added Ottawa Regional Hospital to the OSF System.

OSF HealthCare System is enormous. The Milestone Project was just completed in Peoria and cost hundreds of millions of dollars. (OSF received 450 million dollars from the Illinois Finance Authority (IFA) several years ago with ex-Governor Rod Blagojevich making the annoncement of the second largest loan in IFA’s history going to OSF...)

The Third Order of St. Francis in Peoria owns and operates OSF HealthCare System but have put control of the day to day operations in the hands of its managers. These managers wear suits, not habits.

The OSF HealthCare System consists of seven acute care facilities (now eight with Ottawa), one nursing home which has not been rated highly, and a couple of nursing schools.

There are 550 physicians in the OSF Medical Group. In other words, OSF signs the paychecks of these physicians and essentially owns the hearts and souls of these physicians.

Peoria’s OSF Saint Francis Medical Center and Children’s Hospital of Illinois are two of the largest facilities in Illinois with 616 beds. (That doesn’t mean OSF has the staff to safely take care of all of these patients, but they do have the space and a shining new medical building.)

Yet, OSF has no room for my very sick Haitian Hearts patients who received care from OSF and Peoria physicians in the past. And since the earthquake in Haiti, Jenny and Henri have been homeless much of the last nine months in Port-au-Prince.

How sad for the Peoria medical community and for these Haitians who are really suffering. And how pathetic this is for the silent Catholic Diocese of Peoria and Bishop Jenky whose “headquarters” sit six blocks from OSF.

From a text book on Tuberculosis by Simon Schaaf:

“The wealthy nations have a moral duty to press for the creation of a more just, equitable, and healthy global society. We are reminded of the words of King Solomon--”Along the way of justice there is life.”

Friday, October 15, 2010

DuSable Bridge in Chicago

Photo by John Carroll

Michigan Avenue bridge officially renamed DuSable Bridge

By Alejandra Cancino, Tribune reporter

3:57 PM CDT, October 15, 2010

Alice J. Neal devoted her life to having a street in downtown Chicago named after Jean Baptiste Pointe DuSable, a black man known as the city's first non-native settler. But she died before DuSable had a citywide recognition.

On Friday, her daughter-in-law, Bessie Neal stood before politicians and leaders of various organizations at the ceremony to officially rename the Michigan Avenue Bridge as the DuSable Bridge. It isn't a street, but it is a Chicago landmark.

"Anything that is no trouble to you is no good to you," said Neal, who celebrated her 90th birthday in February. "You are going to have to have some ups and downs, I don't care what it is. And I believe that we had some ups and downs before we got this, but we are proud that we got it."

Historians debate DuSable's early years, but it has become widely accepted that he was a free, black man born in Haiti in the mid-1700s. He was the son of a African slave mother and French mariner.

In the late 1700s, DuSable moved to Chicago, a zone of trade for the Potawatomi, Ojibwe and Lakota tribes, said Joseph Podlasek, president of the American Indian Center. DuSable married a Potawatomi woman named Kittihawa and had two children, Susanne and Jean.

DuSable and his family settled near the Chicago River, where DuSable built a home, and later, a trading post, with a mill, a bake house and a barn, among other small buildings. Kittihawa was instrumental in DuSable's career as a businessman, Podlasek said.

On May 7, 1800, DuSable sold his properties in Chicago. Soon after, he moved to St. Charles, Mo., , where he lived until he died in 1818.

Through the years, many fought to erase DuSable's tale from Chicago's official history, but it was never forgotten.

In the 1930s, Alice J. Neal helped form the National DuSable Memorial Society, which set up an exhibit at the 1933 Chicago World's Fair to educate people about him. As the years passed, the society began to fade. So in 1966, Neal organized the Chicago DuSable League, through which she pushed for a street and a statue named after him. She died in 1981, before achieving those goals.

Through the years, a public high school, museum, harbor, marina and an undeveloped lakefront park have been named after DuSable in the city. Until Friday, a variety of more prominent proposals, from renaming City Hall to Lake Shore Drive after him, either failed or stalled in the City Council.

"Many times we have introduced ordinances in the City Council, some of them have passed and some of them just sat on the table, but we've come a long way," said Ald. Walter Burnett at Friday's ceremony.

In 2000, Haroon Rashid formed Friends of DuSable and pushed for the renaming of the bridge. Bessie Neal, president of the DuSable League, was there to help him. Neal said she has spent many sleepless nights and a lot of money "to try to get this going."

"I can't tell you what this means to me," Neal said. "It means so much."

Copyright © 2010, Chicago Tribune

Thursday, October 14, 2010

OSF Tries to Quell Rumors

Peoria Journal Star's Catherine Schaidle wrote a good article regarding OSF.

OSF employees are told one thing by OSF management that makes them worry about losing their jobs. And then an article like this comes out with OSF management's confusing statements like "job restructuring" and notes Mr. Steffen's "bewildered" appearance when questioned.

How could OSF's employees be anything but "bewildered" and afraid? Mr. Steffen told me that fear is a good thing amongst employees at OSF.

Many of the comments that follow on the Journal Star website clearly show that many people no longer trust OSF and believe that the Sisters have lost control of their medical center.

Monday, October 4, 2010

OSF's New Building and Shoddy Care

This forum article appeared yesterday in the Peoria Journal Star.

I will add more soon.

Keith Steffen told me that it was OK with him if OSF nurses left for Methodist. I think quite a few have.

Who will take care of sick patients at OSF?