Sunday, June 08, 2008

Brushing events under the rug begins

From the NY Times: Senator Asks About Surgery on Gangsters.

So, Senator, Charles E. Grassley, Republican of Iowa, wrote a letter to the University of California, Los Angeles, requesting details regarding the transplants referenced below. Here's the key sentence that reveals the likely depth of investigation:

" 'While surgeons do not seek to pass moral judgment on the patients they treat, Americans hope at the very least that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us,' Mr. Grassley wrote."

Uh huh. I'm an American. My very least hope, when reading about beyond-extraordinary services 1 , provided by a US state and federally tax-funded program 2, at a facility operated by government 3, is NOT "that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us." In fact, "that foreign criminal figures wait in line with the rest of us," is not really a hope of mine at all. An investigation that proceeds from the assumption that Americans hope "that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us," is probably going to miss the point, in my opinion.

Oh, by the way: it appears that those Americans who do hope "that foreign criminal figures wait in line along with the rest of us," already have reason for disappointment. To me, it seems that the University of California had a dramatically different waiting line for alleged Yakuza, who got livers at UCLA in a matter of a few months, compared to the law-abiding Americans in the University of California "transplant" program (based at UC Irvine, with surgical services nominally provided by UC San Diego personnel), discussed elsewhere on this blog. That other University of California "transplant" program allegedly didn't have a surgeon generally available, nor transplant-qualified anesthesiologists. This program for law-abiding Americans allegedly largely consisted of recruiting people with liver disease to join the wait list, then waiting for those recruits to die over a period of years. Meanwhile, the University of California allegedly collected federal funds for running a transplant program, and the dying patients thought they were waiting for a transplant. As I've written before: the disparity is striking, to say the least.

(1) transplants are extraordinary enough; this particular set of transplants involved trans-Pacific house calls to a Japanese prison

(2) transplants are funded partly by state and federal programs

(3) the University of California is overseen, operated, and funded by the State of California, as well as being the recipient of multiple federal grants

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