Publicity is justly commended as a remedy for social and industrial diseases. Sunlight is said to be the best of disinfectants; electric light the most efficient policeman –
Past U.S. Supreme Court Jutice Louis D. Brandeis
Let’s Shine Some Sunlight on Healthcare Corruption and Abuse! –
Big Red Carpet Nurse Greg Mercer
Second, I apologize for this post’s title. I might blame stress and a shameless need for attention, but I’ll explain the title later on. It’s hardly accidental. Read on. This is no surrender piece: much the contrary!
Second, please accept my 100% serious promise (even as it lies amongst some funnies), a solemn vow on my blood and soul, that I have not and will not give up on this project. It’s actually taught me something about tracking my audience’s reactions. For all my neglect and procrastination towards this seriously difficult project, it continues to draw a surprising amount of attention. It scares me, honestly, all the attention. It also inspires and compels me, to persist.
Some context may help explain my fear and motivation. In over twenty years so far in health care, frequently punctuated with unusually severe and talented efforts to offend and alienate managers who deserved worse than they got, on such a risky and dramatic career path that I’ve chosen, I’ve never taken on the kind of risk this project entails. I’ve opened insulted and hassled the entire nursing leadership of the state of Arizona more than once. I’ve sent open and openly disrespectful letters to crazy old hag Governor Janice Brewer (unfair, except in that she’s old and evil). I’ve cited Arizona law requiring its legislature to act on my demand that they address their open corruption. They openly ignored me, of course, because openly ignoring the rule of law is standard operating procedure in a banana republic like Arizona.
Ask Sheriff Criminal Nut Job Brown Shirt Joseph M. Arpaio about rule of law. First, he’ll throw your sorry butt in jail. Then, he’ll abuse you there. Then, you just might get to listen to him HEE-HAW! openly like the amused ass you’ll have inspired with your law talk. AND HE’S A DULY ELECTED (banana republic) OFFICIAL.
I’m the guy who publishes such words, as so many more of my juicy tidbits await clearance for takeoff: how I could go on! I could discuss, for example, how well Arizona government makes the film Raising Arizona seem like a documentary. Watch it some time, it’s hilarious. I’m that guy.
I deliberately threw the last two paragraphs out there into the public discourse: the internet’s forever! I’ve learned two things from my years attacking corruption in Arizona nursing, and thus attacking the entire Arizona nursing establishment: I haven’t managed to detect a distinction between the two. First, it seems clear that AZBON has precious little pull in Massachusetts, as I still have a license to practice here. Second, you have to be yourself and respect your own values. If you surrender your values to manage to fit in, then you manage to surrender, nothing more. You may survive, but you fail at life. F!
Context. My blood comes with some interesting background. My blood is that of Irish folks who were willing to casually row themselves across the North Atlantic in tiny one-man wicker boats from Ireland to (what would become in time) Scotland, folks who then married the Picts to eventually become Scots. Who were the Picts? The Picts, named by the Roman Legions who pissed themselves whenever they met them – “Picti” in Latin – Picts were folks who got naked to fight steel-clad Roman legions, folks who painted themselves blue and slaughtered the toughest armies on earth – Rome’s. Picts killed 100,000 of Roman’s best troops, led by their Emperor Agricola – he traveled all the way to Britain, pissed himself, turned tail and ran back to Italy for his mommy. All this fun happened AFTER the Romans had declared the Picts “conquered,” in what would eventually become known as Scotland. Subsequently, Roman Emperor Hadrian (the Picts outlasted sad sack Emperor Agricola) finally got smart: he built a line of walls and fortresses and instructed local troops to defend Roman Britain from Picti attacks. That task, at least, the Romans could manage for a time. Today’s Scots: Irish and Pict blood. My blood.
Context is everything, folks: at that time, all of humanity amounted to perhaps 50 million people world-wide, TOTAL. One hundred thousand dead back then is equivalent to 10 MILLION dead on today’s population scale, inflicted against the Roman Empire by folks without much metal at all. They were just tough, tough, TOUGH, crazy, crazy, CRAZY, rather clever folks absolutely focused on victory. My blood.
I do try to stay out of trouble and make a reliable living. I do! I’ve managed to stay more or less gainfully employed for twenty years now, despite my repeated, minor ‘Picti’ wars on various health care Romans, each war noble, worthy, and INSANE. I’ve fought these many wars, made whatever little difference I could here and there, and lived to fight again, and again, and again. My blood! Romans never seem to give up, do they? Ah, but this Scot knows history. Eventually the Romans do give up: they all go home, then they surrender to the barbarians at the gates. Ask anyone from Lombardy: the Lombards were a German tribe, and they weren’t exactly invited to Italy. Today, they’re Italians. So it goes.
I’ve set a certain atmosphere for this post, yes? I’m an idealist. I live and breath ideas, and I act on them. Context, folks: so few people pay it enough attention! Every event, every idea shows its true colors only in context. Without context, one can only think like a pawn, not a queen. Too many passive American adults do just that: they ignore context. I do not.
So why all the context? If you already asked that question before I just did, instead of letting it all wash over you like TV, kudos to you! Sheep mindlessly chew the grass until they’re slaughtered. Many adults mindlessly, passively follow current events in the same fashion. Savvy adults – so few! – ask “Why?” What’s the motive, what’s the angle, what’s the plan behind each ad, each program, each new rant on Fox “News?” Answers are hard to find and never certain, but to even realize that you need to look: that’s what saves democracies and holds off fascism for one more day, day after day. That’s what breaks tyranny at long last. That’s what creates bright new futures, not sheep. Sheep offer the future wool, poop, and meat, nothing more. Choose well.
Context: after twenty wild years of minor local adventures, I’ve never tried anything nearly so dangerous as Sunlight Post Cards. With this project, I recruit nurses everywhere to publicly call out any nurse-and-patient-abusing criminals they encounter. I invite frightened nurses to use my wee blog to fight abuse with total anonymity.
I invite such nurses to let me take all the heat, and not for a moment or two, oh no. I’ve sat here in my wee house on my wee couch for months already, waiting for the retaliation, inviting it in fact, over and over, day after day, month after month after month. My legal staff at this point amounts to my own wits and education. Can I expect an end to this fight, ever? Honestly, can I? I expect none, and ask for none. What rich and powerful forces have ever given up quickly or easily? None, ever. None! Only those willing to step forward and take such risks have ever changed the world for the better. Such people are rare. Fair enough. I aim to change the world.
I call on nurses Ten Times today:
1) I call nurses to fight back against their abusers.
2) I call nurses to force the “health care” industry, at long last, to once more focus on health more than profits.
3) I call on nurses to organize, to grow and focus our power in every possible way.
4) I call on nurses to shake healthcare to its very roots and foundation, to frighten and defeat those in power like Saint George defeated the Dragon (not bad for an English lad!)
5) I call on nurses to take charge of all health care facilities, if that’s what the mission requires. We’ve already done most of the “getting the job done” for decades now: why not make it official?
6) I call on nurses to both recognize and act on reality. Docs have had their day, ruling health care for generations now. Arguably, they’ve wasted their mandate. They had their time in the sun, and as generally happens with too much power too long, they’ve misused that priveledge to gather wealth. As a group, they’ve sold their souls into servitude to amoral profiteers: those who corrupted a budding health care system into an industrialized waste and profit system. They become weaker and less influential with each passing day: witness the hours they spend on hold to beg for permission to act on their own decisions. Our time has come. We’ve earned a shot with our courage, sweat, savvy, and character: the time has come to take it.
7) I basically call on nurses to do no less, and I realize it’s loaded language, to do no less than to start a revolution, and to emerge victorious.
8) By doing so, I openly threaten every health care corporation in America, every corrupt manager or physician in America, every corrupt State Board of Nursing apparatchik (Soviet slang, that), every nurse-hating conspirator, every nurse willing to sell her peer’s flesh for some silver. I accept the risk of retaliation involved, even as it frightens me.
9) If I fail to attract any attention this way, my risk is minor, of course, but
10) With every new post card in my mailbox, every new comment, every new nurse who reads my posts, every person who likes or shares related links on WordPress, Twitter, Pinterest, LinkedIn, Facebook, Next Wave Connect, Reddit, etc. and more etc., as happens more and more often each day, with each new step forward, my own personal risk grows. So too does the risk to my wife, my cat (he’ll manage just fine, apparently he’s a god), my ten-year old daughter, my house, my income, my career, my future. SCARY STUFF!
That all said, if you doubt my commitment, perhaps you should start over at the top and read these words again. If you doubt my will, you simply do not know me, and time will prove you wrong. Still, I’m finding my tactics as I go, I’m horribly distracted by a rather busy life, I’m deathly afraid, and in that context, some due caution and delay seem not just reasonable. They strike me as mandatory. I ask only for your patience as I manage my liability and plan my next steps. Your patience and your open minds. If you merely use your professional judgement and act in humanity’s best interests with open eyes and brave hearts, then, truly, I will feel vindicated and proud. Then I will have no doubt of victory, our victory.
I’ll keep you good folks posted, as always. All thoughts much appreciated!
Have a good week-end if, unlike so many nurses out there, you have a weekend to enjoy.
Nurses need no more sheep in their ranks. Stand up, nurses! Stand! Freedom! Down with Rome! So to speak, folks. So to speak…
P.S.: Tactics. Why “Apology” to introduce such a piece of work? Two words: Misdirection. Ambush. Ask the Hundred Thousand Roman Ghosts of Scotland. Perhaps dead men do tell tales, after all…