Thursday, February 29, 2024

One more thing climate change is f-ing up

I like lobster. 

I don't eat it all that often, and when I do, it's generally in the form of a lobster roll rather than my second choice, which is boiled lobster dipped in butter, where you have to go to battle for your meal. (And, yes, having waitressed in restaurants that sold a ton of lobster, I do know how to work a lobster: twisting the tail off, cracking the claws, poking the lobster meat out with a pick...)

But, even though I don't eat it all often, and wouldn't really miss it if it disappeared from menus, I really, really, really don't want to see wild lobsters go extinct, leaving us with nothing but farmed lobsters. (Just the idea...) 

I like seeing lobster tanks in restaurants. I like seeing lobster traps on piers. I like seeing the buoys that mark lobster pots. I like seeing lobster boats motor in and out of Maine harbors. And even around Boston harbor. 

But storms last month took a real toll on the Main lobster lobster industry, when "docks and piers...were destroyed, and the infrastructure that supports a vital industry took a massive hit."
The devastation felt by Maine’s lobster industry was an alarming warning that climate change is happening so fast, and with such seemingly cruel precision, that the scale of recovery may need to be greater than anyone had realized. 

“It just came up shockingly high,” said Allison Melvin, of Greenhead Lobster [Stonington, Maine], who watched as the ocean surged several feet in what seemed like a matter of seconds, buckling a conveyer belt that normally extends from its wharf down to the dock below, inundating forklifts, and lifting a tractor trailer truck used for refrigeration. (Source: Boston Globe)

Maine's Governor, Janet Mills, is warning that things will be going from bad to worse for what is an important industry in her state.  

“The ocean is warming, the sea is rising, the winds are wilder, and, perhaps even more importantly, we all know that more storms like these will follow,” Mills said at a special meeting of the state’s Climate Council, which advises the governor and legislature on ways to mitigate the climate crisis. “We have got to act now.”

And addressing the climate change that represents an existential threat to lobstering will not come cheap. Or instantaneously.  

But Mainers - especially those who work in tough and dangerous industries like lobstering - are nothing if not resilient. They're survivors. But will the lobsters they catch be? After all, as the waters warm, how will cold water lobsters survive. Those warm water lobsters are just not the same as cold water lobsters, which is what we get locally - a lot from Maine. Our lobsters have claws. Our lobsters taste better. Our lobsters look like lobsters. (C.f., what do you think is pictured on lobster bibs?)

I may not eat a ton of lobsters, but I don't want to see them go. 

Just one more thng that climate change is f'ing up.

Wednesday, February 28, 2024

"Plenty of Room in the Hotel California"

Can't say I've ever been a big Eagles fan, but I've always enjoyed their music. Where would the soundtrack of the 70's be without the Eagles? Their songs, for me, are definitely not in the "switch to another station when it comes on" category, other than (maybe: would depend on the mood) "Witchy Woman." And "Take It To The Limit" is one of my favorite 70's tunes.

So I liked the Eagles enough that the legal Eagles news of late has definitely caught my interest.

The story is this:

A week or so ago, three men went on trial in NYC for a conspiracy to sell 100 or so pages of Don Henley notes that show the development of the lyrics for "Hotel California" and a couple of other Eagles hits. One of the accused was Glenn Horowitz, a big-deal dealer who had been involved in the sales of the papers of the likes of Norman Mailer, Tom Wolfe, Vladimir Nabokov, and Bob Dylan. Pretty heady company for the yellow pads of the likes of Don Henley.

Horowitz had purchased the trove in 2005 from Ed Sanders. And the presence of Ed Sanders is where the story to me gets all the more interesting.

Sanders was a beat poet (who once won a Guggenheim, so he was legit) and co-founder of the anti-war counterculture band, the Fugs. In the early 1970's, Sanders wrote The Family, a best-seller about the Manson murders. He then turned to a milder topic, and scored a deal to write a book about the Eagles. So he hung around them for a while in the late 70's, doing extensive interviews. According to Sanders, the yellow pads were shipped to him by an admin who worked for the Eagles. Sanders was never told that the Henley notes weren't his, so he hung on to them for couple of decades, then sold them to Horowitz for $50K. And, by the way, his Eagles book was never published. 

Sanders isn't on trial for the conspiracy or theft of the Henley notes. (The prosecutors do allege that those notes were "originally stolen," but there's no evidence that he's been charged or even "identified as an unindicted co-conspirator.")

But he is implicated:
Mr. Sanders acquired the material for a book, prosecutors say in a court filing, but “the lyrics became ‘stolen’ and Sanders committed a larceny once he failed to return the lyrics to the Eagles within a ‘reasonable’ period following the contract’s termination.” (Source: NY Times)
Horowitz and his co-defendants (Craig Inciardi and Edward Kosinski), however, are on trial, and have found themselves in what the Fugs might have called a river of shit. (Note: "River of Shit" is the one and only Fugs song I know.)

Horowitz says that he acquired the notes legitimately and had no reason to believe that they had been stolen. And on top of that, after hanging on to the Henley notes for a while and despite his illustrious, big buck credentials (Nabokov! Mailer!), he only made $15K on the sale. 
Lawyers for all three defendants said their clients had done nothing wrong and that prosecutors lacked evidence that the notes had ever been stolen.

The defense largely rests on this:

Defense lawyers wrote in one of their filings that if prosecutors did not consider Mr. Sanders a thief, then the material could not be considered stolen, and the judge should dismiss the case.

Hmmm. If the notes are considered stolen, but Sanders hasn't been charged as a theif, what the fug? Is Sanders actually a witness for the prosecution...

There's is plenty of ammo on the side of the prosecution, especially considering that the charges are conspiracy to sell documents they knew were stolen, not the theft itself. 

When Inciardi and Kosinski tried to unload the notes that they'd acquired from Horowitz, Don Henley "told them that it had been stolen and demanded it back. Eventually, Mr. Inciardi and Mr. Kosinski went to the auction houses Christie’s and Sotheby’s with some of the material."

So, they'd been told that the material was stolen and still tried to sell it (unsuccessfully: no way Christie's and Sotheby's were going to get involved with documents of such dubious provenance). Not a good look, I would think.

Then there's the fact of the defendants attempt to create a fake provenance that would "prove" the notes weren't stolen. No stolen goods, no conspiracy to sell stolen goods. 
An indictment described what prosecutors said were Mr. Horowitz’s efforts to create a bogus history for the material, which included the idea that it had come from the Eagles co-founder Glenn Frey, who had recently died, rather than from Mr. Henley. Mr. Horowitz wrote to Mr. Sanders in 2017 that identifying Mr. Frey as the source “would make this go away once and for all,” the indictment said.
Oh, the old dead-man-dunnit defense.

Alas for the guys on trial, there's a Sanders email that indicates that he aquired the notes while “staying at Henley’s place in Malibu.”

So, they knew. So, no Glenn Frey defense.

I'll be looking for the outcome of this one.

The indicted co-conspirators may find themselves checking into some place other than the Hotel California. 

Meanwhile, it looks like Ed Sanders will, like the river of shit, flow on. 

Tuesday, February 27, 2024

Guess it's not always better in the Bahamas

The Bahamas has been in the bad news lately, with the late January travel advisory issued by the State Department, based on the heightened crime there. 

Not mentioned in the advisory - which was centered on 18 murders in the Bahamas during January alone -  is the Boston woman who was killed in a shark attack while paddleboarding on her Bahamas honeymoon in early December. 

And not mentioned in the advisory was a recent incident that occurred at the Atlantis Paradise Resort, when a little boy participating in the "Walking with the Sharks" adventure ended up bitten by a shark. And to compound the horror. once there was blood in the water, the 10-year old was circled by sharks. Fortunately, the kid showed tremendous presence of mind in kicking his way to the surface, and his father showed tremendous courage by jumping into the tank to rescue his son. (Go, Dad!) The little boy needed surgery but on last report, was doing okay. 

The "Walking with the Sharks" excursion costs $110 for 30 minutes of "fun," during which folks 10 years old and up can hang with some sharks. 

Now, we're talking reef sharks here, not Jaws-style great whites. 

Still, reef sharks are big enough - 8-9 feet - and they are wild animals. 

Witnesses told TMZ the boy climbed into the tank with the staff and that two of the reef sharks were aggressively swimming around the boy when one of them darted through his legs, causing the child to lose his footing and straddle the shark.

The shark then turned around toward the boy and bit into his right leg, which began profusely bleeding in the tank.

As the boy frantically swam to the surface with his injured leg, the sharks continued to swim back and forth around him. (Source: Independent UK)
Although I live on the ocean, I don't spend a lot of time in it. Even when my sister Kath still had her house in Wellfleet on Cape Cod, where I was a frequent guest, I might step toe in the water once a year. If that. And it was generally on the bay side, rather than the open ocean side of Wellfleet. 

Step toe in, by the way, was pretty much all I ever did. Splash in. Get wet. Let a wave roll over me. Maybe do a bit of a back and forth paddle not far from shore. 

But actual serious swimming? Nah! I'm not that strong a swimmer to begin with, let alone getting in the open ocean where there are rip tides and great whites. And there are great whites marauding around Cape Cod - not just on the Outer Cape (ocean side) but in Cape Cod Bay as well. And sometimes they do kill people. (In 2018, a man was killed by a shark on Newcomb Hollow Beach in Wellfleet, where I've been a number of times.)

Given that I'm not ofen in the coean, I don't spend a ton of time worrying about shark attacks. But just about the last fun excursion I'd go on in the Bahamas - where I'm not apt to go to begin with - would be swimming around in a shark tank. And even more lastier than last would be letting my kid jump into a shark tank. Not that I'm blaming the parents here. I'm sure the adventure was advertised as harmless, harmless, harmless, safe, safe, safe. 

After all, people swim with manatees. They swim with dolphins. Why not a bit of a frolic with the Bambis of the shark world.

Hope the kid make a full recovery. And that however many waivers of liability the family signed before letting their kiddo walk with sharks, they're going to get a good-sized settlement here. 

Bottom line is that, despite the old advertising campaign, thinkgs aren't always better in the Bahamas.

Monday, February 26, 2024

Not Dana-Farber!

Allegations of plagiarism have been coming fast and furious of late. The recently deposed president of Harvard. The wife of the man behind the outing of the president of Harvard for plagiarism. Et al.

I haven't read the stories all that carefully, but a lot of the plagiarism seems to involve not adequately citing references and omitting quote marks. A lot of the accusations, from my cursory read, seem to be around using non-material technical definitions of the "a horse is an animal with four legs" variety without noting where those definitions were lifted from - which is apparently a generally accepted practice in some fields. (One of the charges leveled against the wife of the blowhard-whistleblower who went after the recently-deposed president of Harvard, a man whose motivations seemed as political as anything else, was that she used content from Wikipedia without referencing it - probably because referencing Wikipedia in an academic piece would be viewed as pretty ludicrous) 

Much of what I've read has not been about stealing someone's ideas, theories, and interpretations and palming them off as your own. Much of what I've read has been embarrassing - sloppy, shoddy, half-assed "scholarship," which is shameful but not - to me, anyway - a sign of deep corruption. For what it's worth, I'm not an academic but I'm pretty damned careful about the citations in a blog that's mostly for my entertainment, and that of my small cadre of readers. Someone who is an academic should be at least as careful as a minor-league blogger.

All that said, most of the recent stories reveal sloppiness and a bit of shadiness that's harmful to the sloppy and shady, but isn't really life or death.

But there's another entire category of academic malfeasance, and that's falsifying research. 

There's a still broiling embroilment of a Harvard Business School professor (and highly-regarded and mega-well-paid business consultant) whose field of study was honesty of all things. She's been accused of falsifying her researech jiggering it to get the results she wanted. 

Falsifying data in studies on honesty? Well, honestly, that's almost LOL funny.

But falsifying data in scientific research that could be life and death? Yikes! 

And now Dana-Farber, the prestigious Boston cancer center, is caught up in allegations that some of the published papers authored by Dana-Farber Cancer Institute scientists contain non-trivial errors. So far, six papers have been retracted, and a couple of dozen other papers are in the process of being corrected. 

The allegations — against top scientists at the prestigious Boston-based institute, which is a teaching affiliate of Harvard Medical School — put the institute at the center of a roiling debate about research misconduct, how to police scientific integrity and whether the organizational structure of academic science incentivizes shortcuts or cheating.
...A biologist and blogger, Sholto David centered attention on Dana-Farber after he highlighted problems in a slew of studies from top researchers.

In early January, David detailed duplications and potentially misleading image edits across dozens of papers produced primarily by Dana-Farber researchers, writing in a blog post that research from top scientists at the institute “appears to be hopelessly corrupt with errors that are obvious from just a cursory reading.” (Source: NBC News)
Dana-Farber is pushing back a bit, stating that just because the images appear to be manipulated doesn't prove that there was any "intent to deceive." And the Insitute notes that "the allegations all concerned pure, or basic, science, as opposed to studies that led to cancer drug approvals."

So there's that.

And Dana-Farber is getting some props for responding quickly once the allegations surfaced.

Still, there are all those retractions and corrections, and the process and culture that enables regular sloppiness and/or deceit to occur. (Part of that process and culture is likely leaving the scut image work to more junior colleagues who, eager to please the top dogs, may "manipulate results and chase favor.")

AI software will increasingly be used to spot problematic work pre-publication and, of course, to examine published works to determine where the science is sketch. Alas, "AI programs can [also] generate realistic looking figures of common experiments." Swell. 

I'm very sorry to see Dana-Farber implicated here. 

I know a few folks who have been treated - and treated well, if not always successfully - there. And one of the most well known local charities, the Jimmy Fund - which has been promoted by the Red Sox for as long as I've been watching them - raises money for Dana-Farber research. Jimmy Fund - Dana-Farber isn't one of my main charities, but I have made small donations over the years. 

Damn!

AI is going to out all the paper chasers who make mistakes, both those involved in petty carelessness and those doing major, conscious cheating. Which is a good thing, but you hate to see it. How about being more careful and less dishonest to begin with.

Thursday, February 22, 2024

No tension in THIS workplace...

Just like pretty much everyone else who's worked more than, say, forty-five minutes in their life, I've been in workplaces where there is tension.

Someone takes credit for another's work. An undeserving nincompoop gets promoted. A guaranteed-to-fail deal is signed. An unpopular and/or strategic decision is announced. A backstabs B. There's a lay-off coming. The lay-off occurs. There's another lay-off coming. 

Sometimes the tension is of a more personal nature. C has a crush on D, who doesn't know C exists. E's screwing around on his wife with F, and then they break up. Etc.

The workplace is a compilation of human beings. Of course there's tension. 

But there's tension and then there's TENSION. And I can only imagine that what's happening in the Plymouth Fire Department is TENSION

Here's the sitch.

A firefighter has been charged with installing spy cameras in the house he had shared with his girlfriend, who post-breakup stayed put for a while, renting the house he owned for a few months after they'd split. 

While his GF was still in residence, Richard Pimental slipped her a couple of spy cams mickies. One was in a clock that he'd gifted her with, along with an apologetic note. (Awwww....) She then found another cam "disguised to look like an outlet plug."

Pimental stopped by, supposedly to set some mousetraps, but, no, it was to setup a storage device for the videos from the spy cams.

After the couple split, the GF had started seeing another fellow. As luck and circumstance would have it, the new BF was a fellow firefighter of Pimental.

So the videos Pimental made were of the exGF and a current colleague getting it on.

Morons being morons:

Pimental allegedly shared what he was doing with the cameras with at least one firefighter and another first responder. In one text, Pimental allegedly acknowledged that installing the cameras and recording the people inside the home was illegal.

“She found out it seems,” Pimental texted the first responder, adding that he had recorded the woman “which was illegal...”, according to court records. (Source: Boston Globe)

And morons being morons, Pimental is apparently unaware that the authorities can figure out exactly what you've searched on. 

Based on a court-authorized search of Pimental’s phone, investigators located Google searches including “Top 7 Best Hidden Cameras That Look Like Everyday Objects” and “Massachusetts law about hidden cameras in house,” according to police.

And scorned lover morons being scorned lover morons, Pimental shared a 10 second cut of the exGF and the new fellow firefighter BF with yet another firefighter and an EMT.

What a colossal a-hole!!!

As for now, Pimental's a colossal a-hole who's been "released on personal recognizance."

He was ordered to stay away from his former girlfriend and her new boyfriend, who is also a Plymouth firefighter, unless they need to work together, according to court records.

Plymouth FD is not NYFD or even Boston FD. Plymouth is a small city with a handful of fire stations and 120 firefighters. Sure, it's large enough that it's possible to set up schedules so that Pimental and the new BF aren't working together. But what if there's a major fire or some sort of incident that requires all hands on? And what about friends of Pimental and friends of the new BF who work together? This is a small fire department in a small city. I'm guessing that most Plymouth fire fighters at least vaguely know all the other guys in the department. 

Sure, I'm guessing that there will be plenty of awful humor about this situation. But I'm also guessing that there will be plenty of TENSION in that workplace.

And firefighters are pretty rugged guys. When they're not fighting fires, which is most of the time, a lot of them are working out. I sure wouldn't want to get into it with one of them. Not to mention that fire stations are full of firefighting equipment that could be used to fight more than fires. Surely, a halligan can be weaponized.

Maybe I'm reading this all wrong. Maybe the entire situation will be passed off as a small embarassment, a bad joke, an opportunity for commentary on buff-hot bods (or not). Maybe Pimental's buddies think that the revenge porn is justified. Maybe the exGF and the new BF really don't care all that much.

But no one wants to spied on by an ex or anyone else.

TENSION levels at Plymouth FD have got to be running plenty high.

Wednesday, February 21, 2024

Let's hear it for John King, tinkerer

I volunteer at a homeless shelter, where many of our guests are coping with substance abuse problems. Folks sometimes pass out. And sometimes they pass out because of the drugs that are in their system. Sometimes they need a spray of Narcan to revive. I'm not trained to administer it - all/most staff members are - but I know where the Narcan is located, and I've seen it given. Sometimes I'm around when a guest comes out of the restroom to report that someone has collapsed in there. And I know who to alert.

But, thanks to John King, a local electrician who's a lifelong tinkerer, folks collapsing in bathrooms don't have to go unnoticed until someone stumbles in on them.
The 63-year-old electrician has become the nation’s go-to expert on motion-sensor technology that can detect when a person has overdosed on drugs and has stopped moving in a closed space. Based on King’s records, more than 3,500 people have been resuscitated from potentially deadly overdoses using motion-sensor systems that he designed and helped install in scores of health facilities across the country, from Hyannis to Los Angeles.

“It’s like a mini-time machine,” King said while doing a routine maintenance check on one of his systems. “It gives you the opportunity to roll back the clock a few minutes and save someone’s life.” (Source: Boston Globe)

King's systems use a ombination of sensors that detect body movements, tracking them from when someone goes into a room to when they leave. If there's no movement detected for a set period, "an alarm goes off and an emergency medical team can respond."

The first of King's systems was installed in Boston seven years ago. His interest stemmed from a routine job as an electrician at a clinic run by Boston Health Care for the Homeless. He was just finishing up:

...when a facility administrator pulled him aside and asked if he knew of a way to wire the bathrooms to detect overdoses, which were happening at a rate of five
per week at the clinic, King said.

King poured himself into the project. He outfitted the basement of his Andover home with motion sensor devices and electrical relay circuits, equipment that he had once used on alarm systems he installed in banks. Then he talked to doctors, nurses and custodians to understand what happens to a person who overdoses, even acting out the experience in his basement worksite.

(In case you're wondering, there's no visual surveillance involved here. People still have privacy in restrooms. It's just that their movements are detected.)

Since his first installation in 2016, demand for King's systems has grown. (He has an LLC set up, Life Saver Alert, where you can learn more about his approach and product.)

Demand has grown as has, unfortunately, the number of overdose deaths. Thanks in large part fentanyl, in 2022, Massachusetts recorded well over two thousand fatal overdoses, "more than triple the number from a decade ago."

One of those 2022 fatal OD's was a fellow I knew through my volunteer work. He was a very interesting, sweet and almost always out of it older guy who always wore a big knit Jamaican-rasta cap. Most days, he signed up to take a shower - this is my department - and most days he shambled off without taking one. I'd see him panhandling at the Park Street T station and I'd give him a few bucks to get on the train. 

He had just gotten housing in one of the 56 SRO (single room occupancy) units that my shelter runs in our main building, and we were all rejoicing that he'd be out of the elements. We're always thrilled when someone finds housing, especially when it's one of our older guests, or one of the women who come through our doors (they are a lot more vulnerable on the streets). We were especially delighted for C, who was a universal favorite.

And we were universally saddened to learn that, shortly after he got housing, he also got his hands on some fentanyl-laced weed, which killed him. 

I think he died in his room, and not in one of the communal bathrooms that the residents of our SRO's share. Still, to think that lives are saved when bathrooms are equipped with a King monitoring system makes me glad. (My shelter's clinic is run by Boston Health Care for the Homeless, but I don't know if we have any of these systems installed. The men's room on the floor where I do my thing is not equipped with one, nor is the lone private toilet we have for women. The women's toilet is right next to the counter in the Resource Center, which I help staff, and we always keep an eye on who's going in and out and checking when someone is in there for a while. I don't think we've ever had an OD in the women's toilet. We're more likely to have incidents like someone stuffing hundreds of paper towels down the toilet, or leaving a major horrendous mess. One time, we pounded on the door after someone had been in there for way too long, and when she left we realized she'd been in there smoking crack. It happens.)

But there may be Life Save Alert systems elsewhere at St. Francis House. I hope so, as they save lives. (It's estimated that King's systems have been responsible for saving more than 3,000 of them.)

The systems are not, of course, failsafe. 

False alarms are inevitable. In homeless shelters, King noted, it’s common for people to be so exhausted when they come in from the elements that they fall asleep in restrooms — setting off the alarms. Other times, people pass out from drinking alcohol or simply sit motionless on the toilet for so long, reading or watching their phones, that the sensors fail to pick up movement, King said.

But, as I said, these systems save lives. As far as John King knows, no one has died after triggering one of his alarms.

I hope King sells a lot more of his systems. I hope he's patented his technology. I hope that he can scale up. I hope he makes a ton of money.

Bravo, John King, tinkerer. The world could use a lot more of you! 

Tuesday, February 20, 2024

Some Steward they turned out to be

Steward Health Care is a for-profit system that runs nine hospitals in Eastern Massachusetts, most of them disproportionately serving poorer segments of the population. 

Steward has fallen on hard times. Needless to say, the profiteers have been profiting, but there are threats that the system will be shuttering its Massachusetts hospitals, which will throw hundreds of thousands of largely elderly (Medicare) or indigent (Medicaid) patients into a situation where they don't know where to turn for help.

In a state where the major (non-profit) healthcare systems are pretty prestigious: Mass General-Brigham, Beth Israel - Lahey, UMass Memorial, Steward is composed of a bunch of St. Elsewheres: rundown, generally urban, nothing-fancy operations.

On of those St. Elsewhere's is St. Elizabeth's, which was back in the day, the big Catholic hospital in Boston - and not lacking in a modicum of prestige, if that prestige was somewhat parochial.

I've had limited experience with St. E's.

One summer when I was waitressing, I lived in Brighton, where St.E's is located, and I fell and broke my elbow. Once I realized I couldn't straighten out my arm, it was off to the ER at St. E's. 

The X-ray tech told me I needed to straighten out my arm. I told her that not being able to straighten out my arm was why I came to the hospital. So she just straightened my arm out for me. More than 50 years later, I can still recall the pain as she pulled my arm down and held it there for the x-ray. Yowza!

Whoever read that x-ray declared that nothing was broken, and issued me an ace bandage and a sling.

Since it was too painful to work, I went home to Worcester to hang out there for a few days while my arm repaired itself. 

A few days later, I got a phone call - in Worcester - from St. E's. They'd somehow gotten in touch with my roommate, who gave them my mother's number (PL3-5811). They called to tell me to come back in to the hospital, as I had a hairline fracture that needed to be set. So back I went.

This was the day of plaster casts, and after a couple of weeks, I decided I'd had enough - for one thing, it was summer, and my arm in that cast was sweaty and itchy; I remember shoving a wire hanger down to scratch - so I just went ahead and cut the cast off. Without ever availing myself of any further services from St. E's.

A few years later, my Uncle Ralph died in St. E's. I was in the process of moving from Worcester to a dump of an apartment in Boston, and had driven in with my mother and sister Trish to bring a few things into my new dump of an apartment. On the way back to Worcester, we dropped in to St. E's to visit my uncle, who had been admitted there for some heart problems he was having. There, the folks at the reception desk had to relay the grim news that Ralph had died a few hours earlier. 

Fortunately, we weren't far from his nearby home in West Newton, so we were able to immediately drive over there to visit with my Aunt Margaret (my father's sister, Ralph's wife). I can still remember when she opened the door to greet us. Her first words to us were "Isn't it awful?" 

So both of my experiences with St. Elizabeth's Hospital were, yep, pretty awful.

But nothing like the experience of Sungida Rashid, who gave birth there last October, only to bleed to death the next day. 

The 39-year-old’s heart had already stopped once. Medical teams revived her, but the clock was ticking. Doctors soon identified the problem: a bleed deep within her liver. In the operating room, caregivers had a plan to quickly treat it, but the staff there soon discovered something alarming — the embolism coil that doctors could have used to stop the bleeding wasn’t available.

Weeks prior, the hospital’s inventory of the devices had been repossessed, according to hospital staff. A company rep from the manufacturer, Penumbra, explained to staff that Steward Health Care, the parent company for St. Elizabeth’s, hadn’t paid the bill.

Some of the staff members at the Brighton hospital had feared this would happen, raised the alarm with executives, discussed it among themselves. But the warnings hadn’t reached all staff. Now, as the emergency unfolded before them, they did not have the coils. (Source: Boston Globe)
Repossessed equipment, eh. Well, small shame on the manufacturer, but Steward - across its multi-state system - did owe them in the millions. So let's reserve the big shame for Steward for not paying their bills. (They're not paying a lot of other bills, including those for from contract employees and other medical device and equipment vendors. Some vendors are continuing to provide products/services because they don't want to put patients at risk.)

By the way, while Steward serves a largely indigent population, this wasn't the case with Sungida Rashid and her husband Nabil Haque. They both hold/held PhDs and had just moved to Boston where Haque had taken a position as a researcher at Boston University. Both of Haque's parents are physicians. The family is from Bangladesh, and Haque and his infant daughter have (understandably) moved back there.

Back at St. Elizabeth's Rashid was eventually transferred to Boston Medical Center, but it was too little, too late. 

Stunningly, Sungida Rashid died, leaving her grieving husband and a perfectly healthy day-old baby. 

The Steward financial situation is pretty convoluted. Steward is the largest physician-owned healthcare system in the country, and there's been private equity in and outs, and complex real estate leasing goings-on. What hasn't escaped notice is that the system's founder, Dr. Ralph de la Torre owns a $40M

superyacht. While his system has patients dying because it doesn't pay its bills.  

I am by no means anti-capitalism, but there are certain services where it might be better if there weren't pressures to be make profits. Like education. And prisons. And healthcare.

Isn't stewardship supposed to be about trusting the steward to do what's right for those under their care?

Some stewards Steward's turned out to be.