I’m going to bring this infographic EVERYWHERE with me.
This is the recruitment letter for the infamous US Federal Tuskegee Syphilis Study (1932 - 1972), promising treatment for syphilis when in fact participants were withheld treatment and instead studied as syphilis took its “natural course” (aka causing their drawn-out and painful deaths due to untreated syphilis). It should come as no surprise that racism influenced the recruitment of Black men as the study population. This makes me sick.
Although, in 1997, President Clinton formally apologized for the study, the social ramifications of the study among marginalized groups, especially Black Americans, continue to breed distrust in medicine and health research - and rightfully so.
In the wake of the Michael Brown shooting, this recruitment letter only reinforces how little we have moved forward in racial justice - this is still a climate where black people are treated as objects and not subjects.
To deal with the problem, San Antonio and Bexar County have completely overhauled their mental-health system into a program considered a model for the rest of the nation. Today, the jails are under capacity, and the city has saved $50 million over the past five years.
The effort has focused on an idea called “smart justice”—basically, diverting people with serious mental illness out of jail and into treatment instead. It is possible because all the players in the system that deal with mental illness—the police, the county jail, mental-health department, criminal courts, hospitals and homeless programs—pooled their resources to take better care of people with mental illness.
A coordinated approach is the best approach - good on ya’, San Antonio and Bexar County!
Promoting social inclusion of those living with mental health challenges, being fat positive, unabashedly queer, and generally awesome - gotta love Mary Lambert!
It is one of the most common components of emergency medicine: an intravenous bag of sterile saltwater.
Luckily for anyone who has ever needed an IV bag to replenish lost fluids or to receive medication, it is also one of the least expensive. The average manufacturer’s price, according to government data, has fluctuated in recent years from 44 cents to $1.
Yet there is nothing either cheap or simple about its ultimate cost, as I learned when I tried to trace the commercial path of IV bags from the factory to the veins of more than 100 patients struck by a May 2012 outbreak of food poisoning in upstate New York.
Some of the patients’ bills would later include markups of 100 to 200 times the manufacturer’s price, not counting separate charges for “IV administration.” And on other bills, a bundled charge for “IV therapy” was almost 1,000 times the official cost of the solution.
It is no secret that medical care in the United States is overpriced. But as the tale of the humble IV bag shows all too clearly, it is secrecy that helps keep prices high: hidden in the underbrush of transactions among multiple buyers and sellers, and in the hieroglyphics of hospital bills…
If you didn’t think the system was broken before…