here, in Washington, mangled bare trees blocking terracotta buildings,
the tops of their skeletal branches sharp against the dull sky.
The quiet is
not oppressive, mitigated by the presence of sleeping children, the prospect
of a warmly lit café, a concert in a church, sitting on a bookshop floor.
The pleasures are gentle, the quiet a temporary respite from the heart
clutching fear with which we open the newspapers everyday-of kidnapping,
murders, of a self interested mean spiritedness that negates humanity..
home, in this cold climate, without fear, it is easier to be still. There is
no need for the nonstop music, and circular talk of crime,"make-work"
spending, inflation and politicians without ideologies to muffle the
the heralding of the New Year around the world on television raining
confetti on the thousands on Time square with a dazed detachment. There was
something horribly wrong with that carefully choreographed cinematic moment
on live American television. On the same screen, same channel, minutes
apart, flashed tiny children dying of malnutrition in Africa, a mother
burying child after child, followed by a story on Americas latest trend
-food eating competitions.
began with a murder a day and a teenaged mother in hospital in a coma
because doctors are "sick" requires us to shed the skins, the fevered cult
of wealth we've been living in the last decade, to find our essential humane
core. It is time as the late Andre Tanker sang, to bring back the ole time
some of the "ole time ways" are alive and kicking in doctors in America. Its
part of what makes them the best in the world. This is the second column
inspired by an interview with Dr Charles Hesdorrfer, a South African born
oncologist at Johns Hopkins, who is researching the development of vaccines
for patients with various cancers. Last week Dr Hesdorffer said that the
only things that will make a difference to the world are spending on
education and health. Jeffery Sachs, the world foremost economists on
Globalisation has said it, the UN has said it, Bill Gates is saying it,
every first world country, from America to Europe is doing it. Spending on
Health and Education. How can we get Mr Manning to do it? It's the only way
to achieve the 20/20 I believe he genuinely wants.
Johns Hopkins, I see the wonder of education and health spending every day.
Dial 911 and the paramedics tell you on the way to emergency that they have
a four year degree. Every nurse has a degree, which includes courses on how
to treat patients and their families. (With care, not aggression)
understand why, with two universities in our tiny islands of village
proportions and oil pouring out of them like rivers of honey in heaven we
can't achieve that. All our gang boys with guns could be in uniforms, being
real heroes, saving lives, removing bullets, instead of pumping them in. Dr
with modern medicine is doctors want either money or fame or both. The only
way you can build compassion with patients is if you build it with them
through that illness. One of my first patients had leukaemia. For six years
until he died we became friends. We went to cricket.”
there are doctors like that. "Doctors without Borders" who give free medical
care to people in war torn areas have a spirit in them. They want to help
people make good what the world made bad without regard for their own place.
in the US are the best in the world partially because of our rules and
guidelines. The patient has a right to emergency care, the ability to
complain and have recourse. There is a Bill of Rights for doctors and
patents which is handed to the patient or family at his arrival. It's the
third world vs. first world medicine. The question is how you generalise the
So I ask Mr
Manning "Why do you choose to have power rather than health and education?"
He may answer. If
democracy still exists.