Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Gloss on the below, and administrative statements

Speechless's comment on the previous post is quite apropos: "Isn't it bizaare? As if the system the institution takes on a life of its own that demands primacy over the needs of the patient. The institution comes to exist for its own purpose, and has lost sight of those it was created to serve."

Hospitals are organized and managed for the convenience of the staff, principally physicians and then nurses. Patients are just the raw material they process. It is nearly impossible to get any rest, or a decent night's sleep, in a hospital. Patients' personal needs or suffering are basically just a pain in the ass. Don't get me wrong -- most of my nurses were personally compassionate and caring -- I happen to have described an exception -- but the supply of caring they had available was often insufficient.

Hospital staff see so much suffering that they inevitably become callous, by ordinary standards. My agony would have been perceived as a major emergency anywhere but a hospital. Imagine if it had happened in a workplace, or in front of my family. But in a hospital, the only emergency is imminent death. Intestinal cramps weren't going to kill me, so my situation was just something that somebody would get around to eventually. If it took three hours, so be it, people had work to do.

Now, I am honored to announce that Revere, the editor(s) of Effect Measure will be joining this blog. Revere will make sure that we don't have that downtime on Saturdays, and other times when I am unable to post. We're having technical difficulties as I write this, which I hope we can resolve before I leave the planet today. If that doesn't work out, you may have to wait a bit, but with luck you'll be hearing from Revere this weekend, so please do stop by.

Finally, this is a big news day. I'm always tempted to comment on compelling events, but I think my job here is to try to discover whatever is original or unique that I can offer. I'm sure you'll find all the topical commentary you can handle at Eschaton, America Blog, Talking Points, Today in Iraq, and all the other fine current affairs blogs. But I do need to say that the notion that Judith Miller had to make some sort of a noble sacrifice in order to "protect" Scooter Libby is more ludicrous than giving Henry Kissinger the Nobel Peace Prize. Protect him against what, exactly? Retaliation for doing what Karl Rove wanted him to do? She was "protecting" her confidential source against public scorn, and criminal prosecution. Reporters are not doing their jobs, or serving the public, by giving sources protection against the morally appropriate consequences of their actions. That is the precise opposite of the theory behind the protection of sources. Will Bill Keller ever figure this out?