Sunday, November 18, 2007

sunday reads

They were told depleted uranium was not hazardous. Now, 23 years after a US arms plant closed, workers and residents have cancer - and experts say their suffering shows the use of such weapons may be a war crime

While Congress and President Bush squabble over health insurance for low-income children, school officials nationwide are scrambling each day to find affordable medical care so that sick and needy students can continue to learn.

Patients Without Borders

Long before the dentists and the doctors got there, before the nurses, the hygienists and X-ray techs came, before anyone had flicked on the portable mammography unit or sterilized the day’s first set of surgical instruments, the people who needed them showed up to wait. It was 3 a.m. at the Wise County Fairgrounds in Virginia — Friday, July 20, 2007 — the start of a rainy Appalachian morning. Outside the gates, people lay in their trucks or in tents pitched along the grassy parking lot, waiting for their chance to have their medical needs treated at no charge — part of an annual three-day “expedition” led by a volunteer medical relief corps called Remote Area Medical.

The group, most often referred to as RAM, has sent health expeditions to countries like Guyana, India, Tanzania and Haiti, but increasingly its work is in the United States, where 47 million people — more than 15 percent of the population — live without health insurance.

In the foreclosure crisis of 2007, thousands of American families are losing their homes without ever missing a payment. They are renters in houses whose owners default on their mortgages — a large but little noticed class of casualties.

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