Saturday Morning News Roundup

I was deeply, deeply saddened to hear about a stupid, vicious prank in which some Australian radio personalities called the hospital in which Duchess Kate Middleton was admitted as a patient. These DJs pretended to be the Queen of England. A nurse, Jacintha Saldanha, answered the phone and gave privileged information about the Duchess to these two morons. Yesterday, it appears that Jacintha Saldanha, mother of two and a nurse at this hospital for at least four years, committed suicide. The blame for this tragic act lies with the hospital administration. I’m not sure how it works in England, but I know that here in the United States, since 2000, patient information is treated like state secrets. I know in my hospital, we have a in-service training on patient privacy every year. Hospital fines and individual fines are steep ($1.7 million fine in Alaska) . Releasing privileged information is serious business. I suspect the same type of laws and rules exist in England. It is up to the hospital administration to teach its employees how to handle sensitive information. Most importantly, hospitals must have protocols about how to treat VIPs. This is one of the areas in which this hospital failed. Once a VIP is actually admitted to the hospital, like the Duchess, the hospital should have a command center where all information is filtered, screened and then parceled out to the press. The information should be distributed hospital-wide. Everybody should know what to do with calls that come in from the outside regarding a VIP. Unfortunately, this nurse’s career was basically over. She become world-famous, at least in medical circles, for a huge mistake. The hospital’s final failure was not realizing the seriousness of this problem in protecting this nurse from the media and herself. The fault for this terrible situation lies with the hospital. What a colossal tragedy.

Charles Blow, New York Times columnist who really deserves more space in the New York Times, points out that Senator Marco Rubio in an interview with Politico tried to clean up his answer on how old the earth really is. But, in cleaning up his mess, he made more of a mess. Yes, he admitted that the earth is at least 4.5 billion years old, but then he decided it was time to stumble and bumble by saying, “I just think in America we should have the freedom to teach our children whatever it is we believe. And that means teaching them science. They have to know the science, but also parents have the right to teach them the theology and to reconcile those two things.” No. He’s 100% wrong. Americans have the right to teach their kids whatever religious thoughts they want to teach them. They don’t have the right to teach them whatever pseudoscience comes into their head. One is a question of religion. The other is a question of facts and science. Parents don’t have the right to misinform their kids about facts and science. This is basic. Do you want your kids to grow up and be stupid? I think most parents would say no. Instead, they want their kids to understand the facts and science. It is up to the parents to instruct their kids about how religion plays into science and our lives.

Corporate profits are up (see the red line) and private sector wages are down (see the blue line).

I continue to have little or no idea of what really is going on in Syria. It looks as if the rebel groups have decided to join forces and unify their command structure. I have no idea if this is a good thing or a bad thing.

I truly wish our media was better.