Sunday, November 18, 2007

Sunny Sunday

Sunrise 11/17/07 Auburn, CA

November 18, 2007

Patients Without Borders

Long before the dentists and the doctors got there, before the nurses, the hygienists and X-ray techs came, before anyone had flicked on the portable mammography unit or sterilized the day’s first set of surgical instruments, the people who needed them showed up to wait. It was 3 a.m. at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia — Friday, July 20, 2007 — the start of a rainy Appalachian morning. Outside the gates, people lay in their trucks or in tents pitched along the grassy parking lot, waiting for their chance to have their medical needs treated at no charge — part of an annual three-day “expedition” led by a volunteer medical relief corps called Remote Area Medical.

The group, most often referred to as RAM, has sent health expeditions to countries like Guyana, India, Tanzania and Haiti, but increasingly its work is in the United States, where 47 million people — more than 15 percent of the population — live without health insurance. Residents of remote rural areas are less likely than their urban and suburban counterparts to have health insurance and more likely to be in fair or poor health. According to the Department of Health and Human Services, nearly half of all adults in rural America are living with at least one chronic condition. Other research has found that in these areas, where hospitals and primary-care providers are in short supply, rates of arthritis, hypertension, heart ailments, diabetes and major depression are higher than in urban areas.

And so each summer, shortly after the Virginia-Kentucky District Fair and Horse Show wraps up at the fairgrounds, members of Virginia Lions Clubs start bleaching the premises, readying them for RAM’s volunteers, who, working in animal stalls and beneath makeshift tents, provide everything from teeth cleaning and free eyeglasses to radiology and minor surgery. The problem, says RAM’s founder, Stan Brock, is always in the numbers, with the patients’ needs far outstripping what his team can supply. In Wise County, when the sun rose and the fairground gates opened at 5:30 on Friday morning, more than 800 people already were waiting in line. Over the next three days, some 2,500 patients would receive care, but at least several hundred, Brock estimates, would be turned away. He adds: “There comes a point where the doctors say: ‘Hey, I gotta go. It’s Sunday evening, and I have to go to work tomorrow.’ ”

Stolen from the NYT.


What is it about healthy taxpayers the politicos do not understand? The IRS is more than willing to collect taxes to pay for war and other unnecessary things, but why not collect taxes to pay for healthcare?

If people knew they would be paying taxes and actually gaining better health in the process, wouldn't that be a good thing for America?

For profit healthcare comes right out of the Nixonian era, when it was established that HMO's could provide care with a profit. To me this is typical repug thinking, make a buck off the backs of the very people that they glean for money while ignoring the fact that sick people are more than 'profit', they are in need of compassion and care instead of objects to be relieved of their hard earned cash and cast aside like empty wrappers.

Thank goodness there are people like the folks in the article willing to step up and help those in need, where would their patients be without them?



DEN said...

Still don't have the foggiest idea what those leftovers are.(Pun intended)

DEN said...

C'mon in! Coffee in the corner and 'leftover' haggis on the side.

Better eat up or I'll have to throw it out.

micki said...

Take some "pluck" from an ewe, throw in some oatmeal, suet, onions, spices, salt, mixed with some stock and boil it in the sheep's stomach for about an hour.

Then take it and feed it to the Loch Ness monster. Or throw it out!

It tastes OFFAL! (pun intended)

micki said...

Come on, Den...guess about the Isaac Asimov short story....and you'll have the answer to "leftovers."

David B. Benson said...

I just went outside to check. Yup, its started leftovering again today.


David B. Benson said...

Another a more troublesome topic, the prediction is that San Diego is going to have another Santa Anna for Thankgiving Day...

David B. Benson said...

This helps to exxplain why:

Alarming UN report on climate change is too rosy, many say

micki said...

Three questions:

1) Den, did you take that photo of the Auburn sunrise? Nice!

2) Dr. B, is that link about the alarming UN report from IHT? The reason I ask is that whenever I go to an International Herald Tribune link, I get knocked off of Safari. When I click on your link...poof! I'm knocked off.

3) Does anyone have a clue as to why I can't go to IHT. Whatz with that anyway?

David B. Benson said...

Micki --- Yes. But I think there is a similar article on Live Science, or Daily Science, or The Independant or The Guardian.

Well, I need to go out into the frozen leftovers now. At least they melt so I don't have to walk through them...

DEN said...

Micki, three answers;

1. I took the pic from my deck.

2. Rain?

3. forgot the question.

DEN said...

Micki, I stole the article and pasted it here:

VALENCIA, Spain: The blunt and alarming final report of the United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, released here by UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon, may well underplay the problem of climate change, many experts and even the report's authors admit.

The report describes the evidence for human-induced climate change as "unequivocal." The rise in greenhouse gases in the atmosphere thus far will result in an average rise in sea levels of up to 4.6 feet, or 1.4 meters, it concluded.

"Slowing - and reversing - these threats is the defining challenge of our age," Ban said upon the report's release Saturday.

Ban said he had just completed a whirlwind tour of some climate change hot spots, which he called as "frightening as a science-fiction movie."

He described ice sheets breaking up in Antarctica, the destruction of the Amazon rainforest in Brazil, and children in Chile having to wear protective clothing because an ozone hole was letting in so much ultraviolet radiation.

The panel's fourth and final report summarized and integrated the most significant findings of three sections of the panel's exhaustive climate-science review that were released from January through April, to create an official "pocket guide" to climate change for policy makers who must now decide how the world will respond.

The first covered climate trends; the second, the world's ability to adapt to a warming planet; the third, strategies for reducing carbon emissions. With their mission now concluded, the hundreds of IPCC scientists spoke more freely than they had previously.

"The sense of urgency when you put these pieces together is new and striking," said Martin Parry, a British climate expert who was co-chairman of the delegation that wrote the second report.

This report's summary was the first to acknowledge that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could result in a substantive sea level rise over centuries rather than millennia.

"Many of my colleagues would consider that kind of melt a catastrophe" so rapid that mankind would not be able to adapt, said Michael Oppenheimer, a climate scientist at Princeton University who contributed to the IPCC.

Delegations from hundreds of nations will be meeting in Bali, Indonesia in two weeks to start hammering out a global climate agreement to succeed the Kyoto Protocol, the previous climate change treaty that expires in 2012.

"It's extremely clear and is very explicit that the cost of inaction will be huge compared to the cost of action," said Jeffrey Sachs, head of Columbia University's Earth Institute. "We can't afford to wait for some perfect accord to replace Kyoto, for some grand agreement. We can't afford to spend years bickering about it. We need to start acting now."

He said that delegates in Bali should take action immediately where they do agree, for example, by public financing for demonstration projects on new technologies like "carbon capture," a "promising but not proved" system that pumps emissions underground instead of releasing them into the sky. He said the energy ministers should start a global fund to help poor countries avoid deforestation, which causes emissions to increase because growing plants absorb carbon in the atmosphere.

Although the scientific data is not new, this was the first time it had been looked at together in its entirety, leading the scientists to new emphasis and more sweeping conclusions.

But even as the IPCC was working toward its conclusions over the past several years, a steady stream of even more alarming data has come in.

"The IPCC is a five-year process and the IPCC is struggling to keep up with the data - we are all being inundated with new evidence and new science," said Hans Verolme, director of the Global Climate Change Program at the conservation organization WWF.

"And the new science is saying: 'You thought it was bad? No it's worse.' "

The IPCC chairman, Rajendra Pachauri, an engineer and economist from India, acknowledged the new trajectory. "If there's no action before 2012, that's too late," Pachauri told reporters here. "What we do in the next two to three years will determine our future. This is the defining moment."

He said that since the IPCC began its work five years ago, scientists have recorded "much stronger trends in climate change," like a recent melting of polar ice that had not been predicted. "That means you better start with intervention much earlier."

"If you look at the scientific knowledge things do seem to be getting progressively worse," Pachauri said later in an interview. "So you'd better start with the interventions even earlier. Now."

The effects will be greatest in the developing world. Even without the more alarming data, the report says inaction could leave island states submerged, African crop yields down by 50 percent, and cause a 5 percent decrease in global gross domestic product.

New developments that affect the IPCC predictions and have made such scenarios even more likely, scientists said, include faster than expected industrial development in China and India. , with all the attendant emissions from factories and cars. Economic growth has a huge effect because these countries' industries are largely powered by electricity from burning coal, a cheap but highly polluting source of energy.

"The IPCC report never imagined the world would move back to a coal- based energy economy - and that's essentially what we've done," said Gernot Klepper an economist who studies climate change at the Kiel Institute in Germany. "If you extrapolate from that we're running into a disaster."

Part of the reason the scientists inserted their alarming statements about polar ice melts in the synthesis report is because "recent observations" were not "fully included in ice sheet models" used by IPCC, the report said.

Some in the scientific community have gone so far as to question the effectiveness of the IPCC as the world's early warning system on climate change.

"Sadly, even the most pessimistic of the climate prophets of the IPCC panel do not appear to have noticed how rapidly the climate is changing," said James Lovelock, a British scientist, "Scientists have let this potentially disastrous future steal up on us unaware."

But most scientists have been awed by the IPCC's deliberate work, for which it was awarded a Nobel Peace Prize this year.

Pachauri said that even if reality was worse than the final IPCC report suggested, that only made it more urgent to act quickly and forcefully.

"What we brought out is that if you delay action or don't do enough the impact is quite devastating. This only strengthens that message."

James Kanter reported from Paris. Andrew C. Revkin contributed reporting from New York.

Whats that the Mayan calender ending in 2012 thing I heard, maybe this is why.

Oh great!

DEN said...

I hate being doomed!

DEN said...

OH YEA! Micki, check for updates, maybe you missed one. Cookies being blocked might do it too. Apple is an unknown zone for me,

I am not a trained professional computer repair geek however these problems are simple usually. Try restarting if you leave it on all the time, computers tend to get byte snowballs; one misplaced bit and it affects another, and another, pretty soon stuff is going wrong everywhere-restart!

micki said...

The Winter Solstice in 2012 will mark, for the first time in 26,000 years, the sun aligning with the center of the Milky Way.

I have no idea what this might have to do with the Mayan Calendar, but I'll wish that it means that a new spirituality will take hold in which organized religion becomes defunct and the small mindedness that leads to the oppression of individuals and nations will be eliminated.

That's for starters....

micki said...

Den, I'll try what you suggested. I do leave it "sleeping" when I'm not banging away looking for things. But, I do shut it down when we leave town.

Yes, it's rain.

The Isaac Asimov short story is titled, "Rain, Rain Go Away" just like the children's ditty.

Dr. B, thanks for the whole story. That mention of centuries, tho, will make the naysayers quite smug. Oh, here it is:

This report's summary was the first to acknowledge that the melting of the Greenland ice sheet could result in a substantive sea level rise over centuries rather than millennia.

The naysayers, denialists are incapable of caring about what happens in the future, if it's beyond their life expectancy. It's all about them.