For our first contestant in the WtF sweepstakes...
First up: American citizens caught in the crossfire in Lebanon will be charged for emergency transport to Cyprus. This is from the US embassy in Beirut.
I just want to be clear: American citizens who unexpectedly found themselves in a warzone through no fault of their own (keep in mind, they're in the north of Lebanon where Hizbullah ain't) because one of our allies is bombing the shit out of civilian population that hasn't been pissing off Israel (that would, again, be Hizbullah which is in the south) is going to be charged by our own government for necessary, potentially life-saving services.
Why the hell do we pay taxes again?
As a side note for people interested in the doings in the Middle East:
Juan Cole at Informed Comment has been covering the sitch in Lebanon in a fabulous, informative, even-handed manner.
Larry C. Johnson at No Quarter, who is no dove and no big fan of Hamas or Hizbullah, has also been all over Middle East affairs of late.
Col. Patrick Lang of Sic Semper Tyrannis has also been doing his share getting information out.
insomnia has been linking to news that covers the doings in the Middle East, as well as to the journal of Beirut resident cedarseed as she blogs about her experiences.
And now, for our second contestant in the WtF sweepstakes...
Secondly, this Washington Post article about an EMT who was fired because she refused to transport a patient from Mt Sanai Hospital in Chicago to a clinic so she could receive an abortion had me seeing red.
Not on behalf of the EMT. Oh, no. On behalf of the patient.
Just on first pass with the story, I had an inkling that there was a hell of a lot more to it.
First off, the EMT claims that the patient was getting an "elective" abortion. Anyone who knows anything about the hell that is the US healthcare system knows two things: One, any elective first-trimester abortion is an office procedure, which means patient transports self to doctor or clinic. Ambulances are not involved. Hospitals are not involved. There isn't a healthcare plan in the whole of the US that would pay for ambulance transport or hospitalization for an "elective" abortion.
My spidey sense told me that the fact that this woman was being transported from a hospital to a clinic via ambulance was a pretty good sign that the health and welfare of the patient was very much at stake, as in the chances that this wasn't a medical necessity was virtually nil.
Ergo, EMT-woman who refused to do the transport is lying her ass off about something.
Secondly, the ambulance service wasn't contacted for a comment for the Washington Post article. You'd think that, at the very least, contacting the ambulance service and indicating what comment (if any) the service had would be Journalism 101, no?
However, ABC7 in Chicago was nice enough to fill in some additional blanks.
EMT woman just happens to be filing a lawsuit against her former employer (note the Washington Post does not say this) and that her case is being handled by American Center for Law and Justice, which was founded by Pat Robertson of 700 Club right-wingnut religious fame.
Also left out of the Washington Post article, EMT woman was not fired for refusing to transport the woman, but because she had "created a threat to the patient's safety."
Well, well, well. Looks like my feeling that this "elective abortion" wasn't so much "elective" as it was "necessary for the patient's heath."
The clincher is this: according to the Kaiser Health Network, the woman was in severe abdominal pain.
It gets better. The EMT managed to delay transport long enough that the patient had to go to an emergency room for treatment instead of the clinic as originally planned (please note the link goes to About.com because the Chicago Sun-Times article is behind a paid firewall).
Not looking so "elective" now, isn't it? Looking more like "life-and-death" doesn't it? Don't know about you, but I'm pretty clear on who wins (hint, it ain't the fetus, that's for sure).
Anyone who says that healthcare providers have a right of conscience that overrides the patient's wishes, as well as the patient's best interests, read this case and weep. This is very much the future if we let this keep going. It's cases like this that are exactly the kind of thing people like me are screaming about.
But here's what really kills me about the Washington Post article: how many people would twig to the fact that there's a hell of a lot more to the story if all they read was this article? How many people realize that a first-trimester elective abortion does not require the involvement of a hospital nor does it require ambulance transport? How many people would even notice those factors were involved, given the tone of the Washtington Post article? This article left out several key facts that change the EMT's entire sob story from her being a victim "religious persecution" to her deliberately putting a patient's life at risk.
Yet, here I am, with exactly 10 minutes' worth of Googling around, plus following a few links from The Sideshow aka thesideshow and rozk and I find out the real deal — keep in mind that I don't even have access to the proprietary legal databases that a Washington Post reporter would have — and manage to blow a bazillion holes in the story of our po' widdle "victimized" EMT "martyr."
I hope the EMT never, ever works in healthcare again. I also hope the patient sues her ass for pulling this shit.
From now on, I'm gonna start lying about my Journalsim degree and say I got it in liberal arts. This shit is just embarassing.
REMEMBER KIDS! LIBERTY-JUSTICE OTP 4EVA!