Health Officials Caught with Pants Down and Hands Out

A recent meningitis outbreak in Stark County, Ohio has medical officials running scared with pants bunched at the knees, in the attempts to dispel public outcries for antibiotic shots. Hospitals, doctors, and even Stark County Health Department officials are not only discouraging patients from preventative treatment for the disease, but some doctors are even demanding cash payments up front.

The Stark County Department of Health states that if patients are having flu-like symptoms, which include fever, chills, or back and neck stiffness, that they should go to the hospital; however, they are not giving patients any type of financial or even medical help of any kind. On June fourth at 3:59 p.m. the Mercy Medical Center in Canton, Ohio reported that they stopped giving the life-saving and preventative antibiotics at 9:00 a.m. Monday, due to a diminished risk to area residents of Alliance and Stark County. Interesting, since the WEWS news web site stated at 2:58 p.m. that experts from the CDC were expected to make an evaluation of the need for preventative treatment in the next few days, so how could hospital officials, in good conscience, give this info to residents of Stark County?

Who told Stark County to quit dispersing the shots and pills? The local health authorities have also informed office personnel at local physicians’ offices that patients are not in danger anymore. We’re not in danger? There was another new case just reported, and two teens died a week ago. In addition, there is a possible fourth victim who is experiencing symptoms currently in isolation at Alliance Hospital, although this is yet to be confirmed or denied. With a 2-10 day incubation period, how could they possibly know that we are out of danger?

Many residents are outraged, questioning the actions being taken by the local health community. They don’t know whom to believe. Some experts say that there is little danger due to the close proximity needed to transmit the disease, but everything is closing. Schools have been canceled for the year. Churches have cancelled sermons. It is getting scary in Stark County. Parents in the community are beginning to question these health mandates, demanding that the antibiotic treatments resume. Are we safe? Are we out of medication, or are health officials just trying to cover their bottoms?

After calling area doctors, hospitals and the health department, area residents find that all are dissuading patients that are showing no symptoms from seeking preventative treatment. What is so scary about this is the fact that if there are symptoms present, it may be too late due to the 2-10 day incubation period. As with everything else, the almighty dollar may be to blame. Money enters the equation, and t a time like this, local agencies should be coming together, insuring that residents are safe, not worried about who is going to pay for what. After all, this is an emergency situation, isn’t it?

Receptionists at doctors’ offices all over the area are threatening patients with statements like this; “Your insurance won’t cover the treatment, so you will need to bring $80.00 in cash if you want the shots.” This is happening in America? I guess if we don’t have the nearly $350 it would take to treat a family of four, too bad. Are the working-poor that expendable in this country? If you don’t have cold cash, you will be turned away by most local doctors– doctors whose children and families were probably vaccinated and administered antibiotics a week ago.

A receptionist in a local doctor’s office in Canton said that she doesn’t understand what is going on either. “It is terrible; you should write about it,” said the young girl on the phone, knowing that I was a writer. A local news station in Cleveland is also looking into this story at my request.

Health officials are taking risks with thousands of lives here in Ohio. It seems that only people wealthy enough to afford hundreds of dollars per family are permitted to have this luxury. This prompts the question: Why aren’t insurance companies paying? Since when did the HMOs run the world? Would they rather we all get sick? They are playing God here in N.E. Ohio and it has to stop now!

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