Healthcare Industry Sees “Potential Bonanza” of Profits in COVID-19 Crisis

Yeah, I think what Senator Sanders is doing there is highlighting the moral and pragmatic absurdities of for-profit medicine, as he has always done so well. Of course, the question around the vaccine is notional at this point, because there isn’t a vaccine. And best-case scenario, we’re a couple of years out from that moment when we would be talking about universal rollout.

When that happens, I think we should all remember Jonas Salk’s famous answer to the question about whether, after he invented the polio vaccine, whether — he was asked whether it would be patented. And he said, “Would you patent the sun?” So I think that that should absolutely be the approach that we take.

But within the system of for-profit medicine, at every stage, whether it is the production of essential medical equipment or whether it is the delivery of services, that is responsible for a huge number of deaths within the U.S. response.

We’re hearing — we heard Dr. Fauci, just now, talk about needless mass death if the economy opens up too soon. And it is already opening up too soon in many states. But the truth of the matter is, because of a refusal to listen to earlier warnings from experts like him, there has already been needless mass deaths, you know, by some estimates an excess death of 50,000 people as of today in the United States, because the U.S. government did not listen to warnings, was not looking at what was happening in the rest of the world, completely blew the head start it had in tackling this virus.

— source | May 13, 2020

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Racist Medical System Stole Henrietta’s Cells

The family of Henrietta Lacks, the African American cancer patient whose cells were taken by Johns Hopkins University Hospital without her consent in 1951, is suing the pharmaceutical company Thermo Fisher Scientific and demanding reparations and the intellectual property of those cells.

Henrietta Lacks was a young Black mother in segregated Baltimore who suffered from metastatic cervical cancer. Doctors took tissue samples from her womb, unknowingly, that went on to become one of the most productive cell lines, leading to groundbreaking research that became a cornerstone of modern medicine, from cancer care and HIV/AIDS treatment to helping scientists produce remedies for several diseases, including the first polio vaccine and even COVID-19 vaccines. Her cells were just known as “HeLa” cells — H-E-L-A — the first two letters of Henrietta Lacks’s first and last name. But even her family had no clue about her legacy until more than 20 years after her death.

— source | Oct 08, 2021

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After 9/11, No Safety Measures at Stuyvesant H.S. Led to Sickness & Death

this week marks the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, and we’re spending the hour looking at the massive environmental and public health crisis that followed at ground zero in New York and how politicians, from the president to the EPA head, Christine Todd Whitman — the president, of course, Bush — prioritized Wall Street’s interests in the aftermath.

Another person who knows this story so well is joining us now: Lila Nordstrom. She was a student at Stuyvesant High School in 2001, which is right next to the World Trade Center towers that collapsed. In the new documentary 9/11’s Unsettled Dust, she explains how the school quickly reopened despite health concerns. She also tells the story in her new book, just out, Some Kids Left Behind: A Survivor’s Fight for Health Care in the Wake of 9/11. She’s executive director of StuyHealth.

Lila, welcome to Democracy Now! Still with us, Lisa Katzman, the director of the film. For people to understand what happened at your school during — after the attack and how the

— source | Sep 07, 2021

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9/11 Responder Son Died from Exposure to Ground Zero as Officials Denied Connection

My son Jimmy, who was an NYPD detective, he was actually sick as soon as he got home. Three months after the event, I said to him, “You know, let’s go to Columbia Presbyterian Hospital and go talk to, you know, the pulmonologist, the head pulmonologist in Columbia Presbyterian.” And I took him. We went to the hospital. The doctor sat with him for an hour or so and examined him and told us to come back in two weeks.

Well, when we came back in two weeks, the doctor brought us into his office, with nice cushioned chairs and everything, and sat us down and just said to Jimmy, “I’m not going to treat you.” And we were shocked. And we said, “What do you mean, you’re not going to treat him?” He said, “No, I’m not going to treat him.” And he got up and walked out. And, you know, we were a little dumbfounded. And we looked at each other. We couldn’t understand why this doctor wouldn’t treat him. And as we were going down the elevator I said to Jimmy, I said, “Jimmy, this is going to be a long process.” I said, “And to tell you the truth, you’re screwed. They’re not going to take care of you.”

You know, the

— source | Sep 07, 2021

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Bush’s EPA Hid Health Risks from Toxic Dust at Ground Zero & Thousands Died

this week marks the 20th anniversary of the September 11th attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City and the Pentagon in Washington, D.C., that killed nearly 3,000 people. We’ll never know exactly how many people, because those who go uncounted in life go uncounted in death, perhaps the undocumented workers around the area.

But we begin our coverage looking at the impact of the toxic, cancer-causing smoke and dust that hung over ground zero in Manhattan as the fire burned for 100 more days. At the time, the Environmental Protection Agency told people who worked at the site and lived and went to school near it that the air was safe to breathe. In the years that followed, more than 13,200 first responders and survivors have been diagnosed with a variety of cancers and chronic respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses. At least — well, close to 1,900 first responders, survivors and workers who recovered bodies and cleaned up the wreckage have since died from illnesses, many of them linked to their time at ground zero.

For the whole hour, we’re looking at an enraging new documentary that exposes the massive environmental and public health crisis caused by the 9/11 attack and how politicians and the EPA head, Christine Todd Whitman, the former governor of New Jersey, put Wall Street’s interests before public health in the aftermath. It also shows how 9/11 responders and survivors had to fight for healthcare justice while they were sick and dying, going to Washington scores of times, in wheelchairs, on crutches, with oxygen. Yes, tons of toxic

— source | Sep 07, 2021

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Frontline Medical Workers Protest New NYC Policy

it’s hard to describe the roller coaster that we’ve been on over the last month. And I think we’re just reaching a point, in the last week, where we’re able to breathe a little bit of a sigh of relief. You know, it seems like the COVID cases are slowing into our emergency rooms. We’re becoming more successful at extubating patients and keeping patients alive. And we’re able — at Jacobi, we’re able to get transfers from other hospitals that have been overburdened. So we just are breathing a sigh of relief.

And it’s given us a moment to pause and think about just how traumatic and devastating this last month has been for our lives. We’ve lost co-workers. We’ve lost family members. We’ve lost other loved ones. Our families and our communities have gone through probably one of the most traumatic months of our lives. And we have gotten sick by the thousands.

And so, this last — just as we are able to take a breath and think about all this and process it, getting this kind of treatment from administrators in our hospital system, who sit safely behind desks and who look at spreadsheets, that is a major dishonorable, disrespectful act.

— source | Apr 17, 2020

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Billionaires Backed Consortium To Buy U.K. Maker Of Covid Tests For $41 Million

Billionaires George Soros and Bill Gates are part of a consortium set to buy Mologic, a U.K.-based maker of Covid tests, in an effort to increase access to “affordable state-of-the-art medical technology” around the world, according to a statement released Monday. The Soros Economic Development Fund and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation announced the launch of a new initiative, Global Access Health (GAH), aiming to strengthen the global rollout saving medical technology and the subsequent acquisition of Mologic Ltd, best known today for the deep-nostril technology used to deliver rapid Covid-19 tests. The technology can also be used to test for dengue, bilharzia and river blindness. The GAH consortium, which includes Soros’ and Gates’ philanthropic arms, will invest “at least” $41 million in this deal, according to the statement. Mologic was founded in 2003 as a for-profit medical research and innovation laboratory by CEO Mark Davis and his father, Paul Davis, who is Mologic’s chief scientific officer.

— source | Jul 19, 2021

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Boris Johnson’s praise for the National Health Service: Hypocrisy without limit

Leaving hospital after seven days, three spent in intensive care, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson thanked his doctors and nurses and other National Health Service (NHS) workers who saved him from coronavirus. Speaking from his country residence, Chequers, Johnson said that the NHS “has saved my life. No question.”

Soaring oratory indeed—and rank hypocrisy. For over four decades, since the election of the Thatcher government in 1979, Johnson and his ilk have done nothing but attack the NHS and set out to destroy it. The NHS has suffered death by a thousand cuts alongside backdoor privatisation of its most profitable sectors by both Tory governments and the Labour government of Tony Blair and Gordon Brown—equally hostile to the notion of universal public health care, free at the point of use.

Over the last decade, the Tories ramped up the offensive against the NHS—including seizing billions of pounds from its budget in “efficiency savings.” The result has been catastrophic during the coronavirus pandemic.

NHS staff saved Johnson’s life, but his government is responsible for the death of more than 40 NHS workers who caught the coronavirus while treating the untold thousands who

— source | Robert Stevens and Chris Marsden | 14 Apr 2020

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How Rotten US Health System Is

As the United States leads the world in both reported COVID-19 cases and death toll, hospitals at other coronavirus hot spots around the country are reporting dire conditions as they deal with a surge in critically sick patients. “We have to ask ourselves why, in a country that spends so much money on healthcare, are we still having problems producing the most basic equipment, [such as masks, gowns and tests],” says Democracy Now! co-host, Juan González, who describes how he struggled to get his own 92-year-old mother tested when he took her to the emergency room in New Jersey. “It is just an outrage that this discontinues to bedevil a country as wealthy as ours. And I really believe it’s part of this whole situation of this neoliberal view of how to run the market.”

But this has now hit directly home in the last week or so. First, my 92-year-old mother got sick last week. Her caregiver in New York City, where she lived, was felled and had a high fever and had to quarantine, and therefore she was left alone. My wife and I had to, clearly, go to the Bronx, get her and bring her here to New Brunswick, because she had no one else to care for her. And she had no fever, though, but she had intense abdominal pains. And we tried to see if we could deal with her and treat her here for several days, ended up having to go to the emergency room Sunday. She was hospitalized. Only when they hospitalized her and they did a COVID test did she turn out to be positive. So she is now in the hospital dealing with the COVID.

And meanwhile, here, then, yesterday, my wife came down sick, and now she is extremely weak. And again, she does not have fever, either, but it’s clear that something has affected her, even as we were trying to deal with my mother. And so, it’s become much more direct here, not just reporting on it, but trying to deal with it. And, of course,

— source | Apr 14, 2020

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