Sunday, December 14, 2014

The Flu of Dead Souls

Vaccinating Dead Souls
By Stephen Wilson

(Moscow, Russia) - At times the hazy, heavy and dense fog hanging over Moscow never seems to lift. It penetrates the thickest clothing biting or chilling people, rendering them more exposed to yet another all - engulfing flu epidemic. So some people can be heard   incessantly sneezing, coughing and blowing their noses around the city. You might have thought that more Muscovites would be willing to accept free flu vaccinations. You would be wrong. Most people are shunning them. They provide all kinds of reasons, such as 'It doesn't work against new viruses', or 'the long-terms risks don't justify it,' or 'It weakens your
immunity system'.

               Unfortunately, the chiefs of medical care in Moscow have purchased a lot of anti-vaccination substances as well as equipment. The result is that in some local Moscow hospitals the preventive medicine lies unused.

               Very few people are rushing to medical care centres to get vaccinated, even when it is free of charge! So what is to be done? Do the Medical chiefs apologise and tell the world they made an error in purchasing such medicine from drug companies? They should but they don't. Instead, they pretend it has not been ill-spent. They maintain they vaccinate 'patients' or rather 'dead souls.' One nurse called 'Nadia,' who works at Hospital 133, told Second City Teachers, 'Since very few patients come into our clinic to be vaccinated against the flu we ended up going into a room and destroying all those test-tubes in the spring. Staff also began compiling lists of patients who had supposedly been vaccinated but those 'patients' were not real, but were long dead patients who died 20-30 years ago. So we can then tell our bosses that we have vaccinated all those 'dead souls' on this list.'

               In other words, money used to purchase drugs is simply squandered or laundered. This might please some officials and drug companies which sell this unwanted medicine.

                AN OLD PRACTICE

               There is nothing sensational or astonishing about this phony work practice of pretending to have attained this false work target. It reflects a deeply rooted work practice known as 'Tufta'. The word Tufta is not easy to translate. The word reflects a practice where workers cheat and deceive their bosses by pretending to do work or reach labour targets       which they never accomplished. This practice prevails in not only hospitals, but schools, prison camps and factories.

                In hospitals, doctors pretend to treat, and patients pretend to 'recover', teachers pretend to teach and pupils pretend to learn. For instance, I heard that one private school had teachers who always awarded their school pupils 'fives' even when they did badly on tests. Now when some of those pupils moved to a school with honest teachers, their marks   plummeted to the twos and threes. In Solzhenitsyn's 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich,' the hero attempts to avoid working in order to survive. However, because many prisoners were overworked to the death it was understandable. The only way some prisoners could survive the camps was by avoiding work. In this context, work was certainly a wolf! The hero of the novel 'Ivan' argues, 'Work is what horses die of'. Like the hero of English folklore, 'Lazy Lawrence', he defends encouraging workers to be lazy by claiming he saves their lives from relentless and remorseless overwork.

                In the case of Hospital 133 ,and other medical centres this logic does not apply. This is especially true at a time when officials are attempting to justify a highly controversial austerity problem where as many as 28 medical centres and 15 hospitals are rumoured to be threatened with closure. As many as 7000-10,000 local doctors in Moscow might lose
their jobs by 2015. The deputy Mayor Leonid Pechatnikov has made public statements claiming that the local government is prepared to 'retrain ' those doctors for newly required specialities which the government urgently requires such as radiologists, anaesthesiologists and general practitioners. 'We don't need urinologists ' he pleads.

                Patients at existing local medical centres are being warned to re-registar by the end of this December or they could be forced to pay for services the following year. When I
asked local people if they had heard of this proposal, most of them admitted they were in the dark. So a lot of people may inadvertently find themselves paying for medical care next
year should the message not get through to them! They are not the only people who don't know what changes are taking place in medical care ! Anna Kogteva, a teacher ,told me

                'Because of the reforms, the hospital which my 81-year-old grandmother is being treated with Parkinson's disease, Number 49, is about to 'merged' with Hospital 68. We asked staff at Hospital 49 about the arrangements of how my grandfather would be transferred to this new hospital but we got no information or directions. Even the staff at this
hospital could tell us nothing about those changes'.

                Anna told me how her family were very worried about the fate of their grandfather. Parkinson's disease is not something which can be faked away or cured. 

                Officials and local government politicians should come clean about what their exact proposals for medical reform entail and how they intend to implement them. For the families of patients and medical staff don't know where they are clearly heading in this fog of confusion.

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