The part about the blood transfusion confuses me. How common is that a small "health center" without a doctor makes transfusions? Here in Argentina the nurses only do the invasive procedures after a medical doctor has prescribe it. 
In particular, think it's very strange that a small "health center" has stock of blood for an immediate transfusion. Did they make blood transfusion often?
 The nurses are usually much better finding the vein an the practical part of the procedure than the doctors.
 I hope they did a blood group test before the transfusion. I guess they didn't mention this to keep the article short. The test is fast and cheap but IANAMD.
Imagine, says Kwagala, if a 20-something Ugandan woman had gone to the U.S. and set up an equivalent arrangement to treat impoverished American children.
"She would have been prosecuted. She would have been behind bars,"
I didn't grow up with this narrative at home, but I sure did and do see it a lot.
For what it’s worth, for every ridiculous naive fool out to pat themselves on the back, there are people out there actually working -with- local communities to try and build up sustainable improvements to local infrastructure so people can help themselves. Project Alianza is one of my favorite programs in this space.
There's actually only two people making this sort of argument in this thread. One person claims it outright. The other person is me.
I have read the article. I'm saying it's possible that more children would have died without her care, than with her care. That's just a fact. The article mentions that other local facilities also had death rates of up to 20%. Why would people keep visiting her if there was a better alternative?
> For what it’s worth, for every ridiculous naive fool out to pat themselves on the back, there are people out there actually working -with- local communities to try and build up sustainable improvements to local infrastructure so people can help themselves. Project Alianza is one of my favorite programs in this space.
How do you know that? What do you actually know about Uganda and who works there? Project Alianza doesn't work there.
> She says she agreed to help the children. And before long she came to feel that this was God's plan for her
Is also a typical pattern. Not a freaking clue what I'm doing here, so just use the "god wanted this" copout so I don't have to make any difficult decision.
The care part may have been ok to good. But stuff like performing a blood transfusion on a 9 month old and then not being sure whether the baby was having a reaction because “google says there should be a rash if there is a reaction, but I see no rash” isn’t just insane, it may be torture.
Malnutrition isn’t that acute a condition. If a big pile of your patients are dropping dead in the first 24 hours, it’s a good hint that you’re precipitating an acute decline.
"[...] the problem with Bach's center went beyond Bach's hands-on approach to medical procedures. Under both international health guidelines and Ugandan law, if a severely malnourished child has the kind of extra complications Bach's center was taking on — serious respiratory infections, dehydration, swelling — this child must be treated in an advanced medical facility."
What's more, simply by reacting to the headline as you've done, you've validated their choice of headlines. Journalists are more worried about apathy to an article than anything else. Any engagement is preferable to no engagement.
Finally, complaining about headlines on HN is not effective. It is essentially preaching to the choir and little more than virtue & identity signalling on HN at this point, since it happens on every single mainstream article that HN discusses. If you believe that headlines of this type are pernicious then your time & energy will do far more good talking about them in other contexts. For instance, with your family over dinner or with friends while pursuing a mutual hobby together.
In particular, when you apply it to a doctor or a clinic it gives them strong incentive to reject those who need help the most. They'll have great stats if they only accept people who are fine anyway. But the people who needed a boost will be left to die on their own.
This then becomes an argument for avoiding applying metrics to doctors or at all, which is dangerous in and of itself. In order to improve, any person or institution needs feedback. In order to make informed decisions, people need useful data. Sloppy statistics block that. Charging those statistics emotionally only makes it worse.
It would have been better focussed on the extent of the untrained 'treatment's.
A headline isn’t a replacement for reading the article.
Does not seem off-topic to me.
"On-Topic: Anything that good hackers would find interesting. That includes more than hacking and startups. If you had to reduce it to a sentence, the answer might be: anything that gratifies one's intellectual curiosity."
Yeah, reddit wasn't slashdot, either.
Sites change. Its the people, duh.
Re: the "American" part of this: guess what kids, anyone can think they know best and end up in tragedy. That's why its good to know what you're doing.
Its not just Americans who get befuddled with this, btw.
In the real world, cargo cults abound!
Ironically, in that one instance where this woman put a child in a critical condition, she might have saved it, because now the hospital would take it in, where it would have been refused before.
Don't get me wrong, I'm sure this woman could've done more good by just working an ordinary job in the US and donating a fraction of her income to trustworthy charities. Still, I'm not convinced she did more harm than good by performing this job.
Your suggestion that surely this person did some good is, it seems to me, a smaller example of the attitude referred to in the story.
Still, you have to put it into perspective. Remember, Uganda is in the bottom 10 countries in terms of human development. Your options are limited.
This is accidental. I'm not going to go around stabbing people just in case someone looks at them in the ER and notices an early melanoma. But you could write a comparable "ironically" if it worked.
The kid could recover without intervention, could die immediately, could recover in the hospital, could die in the hospital. We can't just count on lucky harm in cases like this.
Of course it is accidental. I wrote that to highlight the difficulty of getting admitted to a hospital, not to argue that this is a good way to get admitted.
> I'm not going to go around stabbing people just in case someone looks at them in the ER and notices an early melanoma. But you could write a comparable "ironically" if it worked.
That wouldn't really be ironic, that would just be stupid. It would be ironic if you went out stabbing a person in order to harm them, but as a result you actually helped them (relatively speaking).
For further reference: