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FATTENING WALL STREET — Mike Whitney reports on the rapid metamorphosis of new Fed Chair Janet Yallin into a lackey for the bankers, bond traders and brokers. The New Religious Wars Over the Environment: Joyce Nelson charts the looming confrontation between the Catholic Church and fundamentalists over climate change, extinction and GMOs; A People’s History of Mexican Constitutions: Andrew Smolski on the 200 year-long struggle of Mexico’s peasants, indigenous people and workers to secure legal rights and liberties; Spying on Black Writers: Ron Jacobs uncovers the FBI’s 50 year-long obsession with black poets, novelists and essayists; O Elephant! JoAnn Wypijewski on the grim history of circus elephants; PLUS: Jeffrey St. Clair on birds and climate change; Chris Floyd on the US as nuclear bully; Seth Sandronsky on Van Jones’s blind spot; Lee Ballinger on musicians and the State Department; and Kim Nicolini on the films of JC Chandor.
Dispatches From Haiti

Respect for Life in the Slums of Cite Soleil

by JOHN CARROLL, MD

Port-au-Prince.

Do four pound babies in one of the worst slums in the world really count?

It seems they do at St. Catherine’s Hospital in Cite Soleil.

This precious little girl was born on Friday morning (three days ago) but was having trouble breathing by mid-afternoon.

So the nurses in the OB Ward wrapped her in a baby blanket, handed her to her sore sixteen year old mom, and told her to go to Pediatrics.

Mom carried the baby alone as she ambled over to Pediatrics which is in a different building about twenty yards away.

A Peds nurse unwrapped the baby and casually pronounced the baby dead. The baby was cyanotic and not breathing or moving.

Another “health care provider” immediately grabbed the baby and administered “bouche-a-bouche” (mouth-to-mouth) resuscitation.

The baby was placed carefully on the nurses charting table. Her young mom watched showing no emotion whatsoever. And parents in the Pediatric Ward stretched their necks and silently watched from their own baby’s miserable cribs.

The little baby with no name started to breathe and move and she turned pink.

A tiny nasal prongs was taped into the newborn’s nostrils and attached to a huge five foot paint-peeling green oxygen tank near by. Three liters of oxygen streamed into her airway.

A tiny bore nasogastric tube was passed and the baby’s abdomen was decompressed to help her diaphragm work easier.  A 24 gauge IV was placed on one attempt into the back of her right hand. Sugar water dripped in.

The baby opened her left eye and looked around.

Her respirations were fast but her color was good and pink.

Throughout this effort, the Haitian nurses and doctor talked like usual, even joked, but no one screamed or yelled or went crazy. There was definite respect for this little life on the edge.

Life is important in the slum.

John A. Carroll, M.D. is a physician working in Port-au-Prince.