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ORIGINAL FRENCH ARTICLE: Roselyne Bachelot plus dangereuse que le virus?

by Paul Cesbron, obstetrician-gynecologist, head of a hospital ward

Is Roselyne Bachelot More Dangerous than the H1N1 Virus?

Flu pandemic – a blessing for pharmaceutical firms.

Translated Monday 14 December 2009, by Alison Billington and reviewed by Isabelle Métral

If brother will turn on brother, man can turn wolf on another man, isn’t it reasonable to ask if a man or woman can be more of a threat than a virus?

H1N1, for that’s what we are talking about, is probably one of the latest mutants of a large family of viruses that are well-known to humans through their numerous ancestors. Certain have left us with memories of fatalities. Moreover the most formidable of them appears to be that which was most cruel in its persistent attack on peoples seriously weakened by the initial onslaughts of the first world war: the virus responsible for a pandemic misnamed the ‘Spanish flu’.

What has H1N1 in store for us ? A formidable, lethal pandemic or an ordinary winter flu? What we propose with caution are but theories. But our political leaders, with the couple Nicolas Sarkozy-Roselyne Bachelot in the lead, have created a national cause out of the battle against this enemy of the human species. After ‘criminal mistakes’ such as the contamination of blood and the ‘reckless’ use of growth hormone, we’ll see what we shall see. A government guided by a new redeemer is going to protect an entire people against death. So what still cuts ice when we are faced with such a profound sense of the general interest, such dedication delivered by a true genius of organization and communication, organizing an increase in poverty, of unemployment, of injustices exacerbated by reforms serving the interests of capital (themselves considered as ‘immoral and devastating’), faced with the irresponsible gesticulations of those who oppose everything – placard carriers and other signatories of daily petitions?

So judging from all the press conferences and the several press releases prepared each week, illustrated by innumerable announcements and documents stamped with the seal of science, we are to live under the permanent threat of a fast-spreading pandemic. The instigators of the fight against this future situation, both near and tragic, recommend: that we wash our hands, which will protect our fellow man against the billions of viral particles (from now on we will only count in billions) that we can transmit to him every time we speak (the return of the mask), touch or have any other potentially lethal contact. Non-compulsory vaccination (democracy obliges) and early treatment available for everyone. Those are the public health measures that are endlessly recommended to us.

And meanwhile they are much discussed by health professionals, users’ associations and more widely by the population at large. The accusation of smoke screening does not seem excessive to those who have been living for an entire year with the dramatic consequences of a social crisis, to those who have lived through daily affronts to fundamental human rights. It is much worse than the flu, which is without a doubt exactly the same as that we experience every year.

Moreover, Emmanuel Hirsch, philosopher and founder of the Saint-Louis hospital ethics committee, confirms in the preface to a work of a group of writers that he is editing, Pandemic Flu, Mobilization Orders [1] that "Once having refused a public debate on the human and social issues at stake, the threat of a pandemic brings democratic life into question and contributes to the increased suspicion concerning the exceptional measures arbitrarily introduced as a means of managing a total crisis." And then, this concern that the majority of medics have over the vaccine, doesn’t it bring about a return to an old obscurantism so hostile to science? Must such and such a vaccine be used, with or without an adjuvant, since it is potentially damaging to the health of the embryo-foetus (no vaccination for pregnant women in Germany, but recommended in France)? What is the real efficacy of such and such an antiviral in the prevention of complications, and administered in what way?

The questions are many and the conflicts of interest between the health of the population and the health of pharmaceutical firms, for whom this pandemic is already a blessing from heaven, feed the suspicion that Emmanuel Hirsch so justly speaks of. There really is much to instill conscious doubts — and with good reason. And this doubt could easily become a conviction when it is known that the inspired leaders in this campaign are none other than the creators of the law called ‘hospital, patients, health, territories’ (HPST), which proposes the turning over of the public hospital to the raging hunger of the health merchants, who are reducing beds by thousands, services by hundreds, cutting staff and ruining hospitals by an ignoble budget strategy: charging for medical services intervention by intervention.

Questioning their motives in a malicious or grotesque fashion? To those who in all good faith, accuse the defenders of the public hospital of rallying for a bad cause which has already been lost, I recommend the reading of the curriculum vitae of our future managers of Regional Health Agencies (Dars).

By way of example, Picardy, the poorest region in France as regards health, will have a man named Christophe Jacquinet to lead it. He is forty-two, manager of a bureau giving advice on investment in the health service industry, ex-director of three private clinics belonging to General Health – one of the largest health providers in France - a company known to have been able to pay 400 million euros to its share holders in 2008, while often benefiting from state financial aid – he’s also director of General Health activities in Brittany and Normandy and, finally, president of one of these public/private associations - a real Trojan horse for the private management of home care in the city of Le Havre.

What is more dangerous for the health of our people ? Asking the question is not completely pointless.

[1Pandémie grippale : ordre de mobilisation

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