Wednesday, November 28, 2007
George W. Bush met today with the political leader of Iraq's largest Shiite party, Abdul Aziz al-Hakim. The question is, why is al-Hakim in the United States? According to Stratfor, it is to get the infidels to validate his Iranian health care:
Abdel Aziz al-Hakim, leader of the Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council, appears to be free of the lung cancer for which he was being treated in Iran, one of his aides told McClatchy Newspapers. Al-Hakim is to have a checkup in Houston today to verify that the cancer is in remission.
Oh ye of little faith.
Maybe John Edwards will fly down and let al-Hakim know about his plan for regular mandatory check-ups!
(I am sure any physician advising al-Hakim will tell him the same thing in his situation -- that he needs regular post-remission visits.)
Really, is there even a point in trying to compare the advanced technology offered by western medicine (with which TH and the medical device company he works for are quite familiar) and the medical care offered in developing countries, Islamic and otherwise? The Celtics and the Princeton Day School middle school girls' team both play basketball, but that's where the comparison ends. There's no KG at PDS middle school.
That said, there are plenty of fine doctors in the U.S. and other western countries who are observant Muslims and were born in Islamic countries (Arab and non-Arab), so there is no critique here suggesting what would be an inherently racist view that Muslims lack the intellectual capacity to be good physicians. There are the obvious issues: retention, with respect to Muslim doctors staying in (or returning to) their country of origin to practice medicine; and basic infrastructure, with respect to the delivery of health care.
Surprise, we actually have it pretty good here, especially in terms of cancer care for a wide variety of cancers. We like to punish our physicians by suing the crap out of them for the slightest perceived error, and also talk about how "broken" our health care system is (and it has its problems, yes), but I don't see any members of the U.S. Congress traveling to Cairo to have his or her, I don't know, STD checked up on.
Similarly, for all the brouhaha about the superior Cuban health care system, Fidel went to Spain to treat his intestinal problems.
(BTW, Fidel did not exactly inherit chicken#%@& for a health care system. Cuba's 1 MD / 1000 population in 1957 was higher than many countries in Europe, and only Argentina and Uruguay were better in Latin America, not to mention the Third World.)