Here in the U.S. our rich are very rich and all but our poorest live better than most Haitians. In this context it’s easy to lose perspective and to be a bit naive about the survival needs of the people in post-quake Haiti.
Or maybe that’s being too generous. How hard could it be for an adult to realize that finding food, water, shelter, and basic medical care for yourself and your family take precedence over any other needs? Does it really take being subjected to life-threatening conditions yourself to have such a basic level of empathy?
The hordes of medical cultists descending on Haiti probably represent both ignorance and frankly cynical self-promotion. There have been many reports of the Church of Scientology’s faith healers walking around in yellow t-shirts trying to “assist” people’s nervous systems. Homeopaths, the folks who sell water panaceas, have been offering to “help” as well.
Poor and less-industrialized countries are a target-rich environment for alternative medicine cults. Since many alternative medicines don’t require an industrial base, they can be made readily available anywhere. Homeopathy is just water; if a homeopath can simply provide a water remedy that contains fewer fecal coliforms than the local water, they can get away with quite a bit before people realize they’ve been duped. In fact, unless a population has had exposure to real medicine, the altmed folks can fool people for a very long time. But hungry people can also be very pragmatic, and they know that eating grass will only give a false satiety. The same may be true of medical help.
I’m also trying something new this mission – intravenous vitamin C injections to assist with tissue and wound healing. I don’t have access to refrigeration, but should be able to keep the vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, selenium and zinc stable for a few days. I’ve brought enough from my clinic to give approximately 100 treatments of 5 grams of vitamin C plus support minerals.
Well, I’m sure that vitamin C will fix up those traumatic amputations just fine. And with neonatal tetanus, it sure couldn’t hurt, right? I’m sure he cleared his “trying something new” with the appropriate human subjects committees and with the Haitian health authorities. Right?
The elderly lady with the maggots in her sinus cavity from an earthquake injury went to surgery today – she’s expected to recover well. I’m hoping the IVC administered over the last several days, as well as the homeopathic (Pyrogenium) have contributed to her positive prognosis.
You can hope all you want, but unless devitalized tissue is debrided, no amount of magic water will help. In an unsanitary environment like a disaster zone, any extra skin punctures simply add to the risk of infection, so rather than being simply useless, Mr. Marier’s medicines are likely to cause additional harm. The Haitians seem none too impressed with Mr. Marier anyway:
Unfortuantely (sic), as I’ve experienced on previous missions, the local community is arriving at a free “medical clinic” expecting medications, not homeopathic remedies to help with post-traumatic stress from the original disaster.
Those pesky Haitians! Coming to a medical clinic expecting medical help! You’d think centuries of crushing poverty would have sucked the hope out of them by now, but apparently they still expect medical clinics to practice medicine. According to the Globe and Mail report:
After he saw two patients the lineup just melted away… Before he [Marier] left, he disposed of the leftover injectable Vitamin C he brought with him from Canada (it’s a new-ish remedy, apparently, to stimulate tissue healing) because he was worried that, in his absence, it would be used improperly. When I left him, he was also contemplating disposing of a huge load of traumeel, a homeopathic anti-inflammatory.
For fuck’s sake, this guy takes a bunch of suffering trauma victims, subjects them to medical experiments, and then worries his magic potions may get misused? It’s too bad the Haitian cops were too busy rounding up baby-snatchers to go after guys like this.