Our health system is barbaric

This is tragic. The fact that we’re still arguing over whether or not our society should watch out for the collective health of everyone is barbaric.

On Feb. 8, she was a healthy 32-year-old, who was seven and a half months pregnant with her first baby. On Feb. 9, she was a quadriplegic, paralyzed from the chest down by a car accident that damaged her spine. Miraculously, the baby, born by emergency C-section, is healthy.

Were the Obama health care reforms already in place, my brother and sister-in-law’s situation — insurance-wise and financially — would be far less dire. My brother’s small employer — he is the manager of a metal-fabrication shop — does not offer health insurance, which was too expensive for them to buy on their own.

The Barbaric Health Care Debate

Jonathan Chait writes about the “barbarism of the health-care repeal crusade.” Frankly, he nails it. Emphasis mine.

To me, and essentially everybody on the liberal side, the answer to that question is obvious. I’m comfortable with the market creating vastly unequal rewards of many kinds. But to make health insurance an earned privilege is to condemn people to physical suffering or even death because they failed to secure a job that gives them health insurance, or they don’t earn enough, or they happened to contract an expensive illness, or a member of their family did.

[via New York Magazine]

Succumbing to hypothermia

Volcanology Class - Hiking up Obsidian Dome

I recently stumbled across a 1997 article from Outside Magazine on what it’s like to freeze to death. Can’t say that it sounds too enjoyable.

At 85 degrees (core body temperature), those freezing to death, in a strange, anguished paroxysm, often rip off their clothes. This phenomenon, known as paradoxical undressing, is common enough that urban hypothermia victims are sometimes initially diagnosed as victims of sexual assault. Though researchers are uncertain of the cause, the most logical explanation is that shortly before loss of consciousness, the constricted blood vessels near the body’s surface suddenly dilate and produce a sensation of extreme heat against the skin.

All you know is that you’re burning. You claw off your shell and pile sweater and fling them away.