Tuesday, April 7, 2009

lives in the balance

Joy and Temperance and Repose
Slam the door on the doctor's nose.
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807-1882), educator and poet

on april 7, 1948 the world health organization (WHO) was founded. in honor of the founding of the WHO, which is the public health agency of the united nations, april 7th has been designated as world health day. for at least the last fifteen years there has been a theme for world health day. this year the theme is: save lives. make hospitals safe in emergencies.

there is a bizarre type of irony and poignancy to this year's theme given the current economic climate. just this morning, the radio mentioned a recent survey conducted by the ohio hospital association which reports that more than a third of all ohio hospitals plan to layoff employees within the next six months. over the last few months many hospitals in the cleveland area have already experienced significant layoffs. for instance, in november of 2008, metrohealth, our public hospital and the primary safety net hospital for the region, laid off 112 employees, this was on top of a cut of 73 employees in may 2008 and I have heard rumors that more cuts at metro are expected. metro is far from alone, according to this, three other hospitals in the area announced significant layoffs.

this year's theme is particularly relevant in light of stories concerning the recent earthquake in italy. scores of people have died and tens of thousands of people are homeless due to a powerful earthquake that has rocked a mountainous area of the country. unfortunately, after the quake the primary hospital in l'aquila was considered unsafe; most of the health care offered to those affected by the quake will have to take place in field hospitals or at distant facilities. fortunately, italy is not alone, assistance to help the victims of the quake is coming from near and far (stories here and here).

to read about this year's world health day theme and to explore topics related to the particular threat emergencies present to health, health care facilities, and the overall delivery of care, go here.
Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity.
WHO definition of health

to this humble mouse, I believe the ultimate threat to the health and well-being of people, and to our beautiful planet, is war and violence. in this spirit, for today's song, I offer this lovely acoustic version of jackson browne's 'lives in the balance' - in this vid, jackson is joined by david crosby, graham nash & david lindley


photo: taken at washington medical center, washington dc, january 2009

18 comments:

tut-tut said...

WHO's definition of health is right-on, and in opposition to what many docs of my acquaintance seem to feel about it! You are a wonderful rounder-up of information today, Kim.

Reya Mellicker said...

That first pic is so powerful. I wanted to get down on my knees the second I saw it, and say a big prayer of thanks for my good health.

These are scary times all around. It will all be for the good eventually, I believe that, but right now? Whoa.

R.L. Bourges said...

According to a geological expert quoted over here, the tragedy in Italy could have been greatly lessened, had building codes been revised after the 1980 disaster, and adjusted to those applied in California and Japan.
But I guess that's not where the money is.

On a lighter note: looking at the top photo, I was wondering what the side-effects were for that sixth product from the right? Any contra-indications, in your opinion? :-)

Great song - but you know how to pick 'em, petite souris.

Yes, and here's to health, as defined here. Hallelujah to that!

Oh, if you don't mind - P.S. to Ms Reya: that's a very attractive shot on your new avatar.

word verif? lesnows . Oh yes, much less snows, for sure!

Sandra Leigh said...

What a beautiful and poignant song. Thank you.

Colette Amelia said...

Up here in the North we are very fortunate to have our medical plan...and after watching a couple of documentries on what is happening in your south I am ever so much more grateful for all the hard work of Tommy Douglas bless his soul.

http://www.weyburnreview.com/tommydouglas/welcome.html

mouse (aka kimy) said...

tut - the who definition is spot on! now if only the world's institutions can embrace it and make it so....

reya - I snapped that pic, when I was visiting a friend who was in the icu, there was something about it that I found oddly powerful too!

rlb - why does it take so long for folks to learn, rhetoric question....
maintenance - rare that it is contraindicated!

and seems like there is less snow today! to health and warmer temps!

sandra - you are welcome!

ca - bless tommy douglas and all the work to insure health for all in canada. truly tommy was the greatest canadian of all times! and to tommy's vision of mouseland a place where all can live in harmony! I still give you thanks ca for turning me on to tommy douglas a couple years back!

ArtSparker said...

Very exciting that Obama wants to get rid of nuclear weapons...what could we do with the money saved? Hmmm...

California Girl said...

Kimy: How did you get the shot of the labels? I am thinking you would not have access to those?

RL: My husband heard there were predictions of this earthquake by several geologists but they were dismissed by other geologists & the Italian govt. Is that true?

Jackson Brown & CSN footage from "No Nukes"...correct?

willow said...

Yes, I agree, your opening photo is very powerful. And I like the Longfellow quote, as well.

Dot-Com said...

That first picture just show something so important it's impossible to describe in words.

Ronda Laveen said...

The first photo is amazing. There are so many who need help it seems a shame to not be able to utilize health care practicioners who are laid off.

Megan said...

That's a lot of heparin...

Squirrel said...

Love the top photo, very powerful, as Reya commented. Thanks for all the info an links.

xxxooo

Lover of Life said...

I so agree with you. Can you imagine if all the money spent on war and violence went to healthcare instead? Or all the bank bailout money? I'm very worried about all the layoffs. Sixty Minutes did a segment on the oncology unit that closed in Las Vegas. It is scary, very scary.

Gary said...

I had no idea that today was World Health Day. I should have done something with the kids to explore this topic a bit, but instead we went to see a family circus and had a blast. However, I will rectify this tomorrow and talk with them about health issues. I love to just bring up a topic and see where they lead me. It is always some place interesting.

Gary said...

On a side note, I would love to participate on this week's theme and hope I can work something up in time. Theme Thursdays are the hot ticket these days!

Edward Yablonsky said...

The link I read drove home the truth that the hospital is a safe haven in an emergency and that con ifence was lost in t6he handling of the Katrina debacle. This is fast becomibng the norm in our handling of emergency situations. We seem not to be able to coordinate our efforts and this is symptomatic of a greater lack of social cohesion which we have in this present time. Hopefully it will not escalate and get any worrse, and get better.

WAT said...

More than all the money in the world, good health is key! KEY I SAY AND HAVE SAID MANY TIMES BEFORE ON MY OWN BLOG!