Recommended Reading for March 1st

Warning: Offsite links are not safe spaces. Articles and comments in the links may contain ableist, sexist, and other -ist language and ideas of varying intensity. Opinions expressed in the articles may not reflect the opinions held by the compiler of the post. I attempt to provide extra warnings for material like extreme violence/rape; however, your triggers/issues may vary, so please read with care.

Radical Bookworm: Ottawa Columnist Argues for Forced Sterilization

From Dr. Gifford-Jones of the Ottawa Sun: Should women who deliver FAS children be sterilized?

Short answer: No.

Long answer: No no no no NO what the fuck is wrong with people.

National Minorities with Disabilities Coalition: Black Disabled History 2010 [USAns can Register for the Black Disabled Leadership Summit here]

The National Minorities with Disabilities Coalition like many local and state minority disability organizations was born out of frustration with the persistent and pervasive disenfranchisement of minority individuals with disabilities and their families. Despite the significant gains made by some groups within the disability rights movement, in 2010, we still cannot ignore:

* Lack of cultural competence among service providers and policy makers, leading to their disrespect for beliefs other than their own

* The absence of significant numbers of minority persons with disabilities among senior professionals and policy makers […]

ewin at Blossoming Into Hysteria: A Note On Depression [Note: discusses suicide]

Having just found out that Andrew Koenig did, in fact, take his own life, and that he had been a lifelong sufferer of chronic depression, I’d like to note a few things.

The Sacramento Bee: Federal judge blocks cuts to California’s adult day care program

Disability rights advocates have scored another victory — and thwarted another budget cut — with a federal court injunction this week that blocks tightening eligibility guidelines for getting into California’s adult day care program.

An Oakland-based judge’s preliminary injunction Wednesday is “a major victory” because it recognizes that seniors and the disabled could be “irreparably harmed by losing these crucial services,” attorney Elizabeth Zirker of Disability Rights California said Thursday.

Paul Hochman at Fast Company: Bionic Legs, i-Limbs, and Other Super Human Prostheses You’ll Envy [I’m guessing this author thinks accessible parking is a super duper “perk”, and that it’s awesome having a fatiguing disability ‘cos you get to sit around all day. ~L]

Save your tears for Tiny Tim. A boom in sophisticated prostheses has created a most unlikely by-product: envy.

There are many advantages to having your leg amputated.

Pedicure costs drop 50% overnight. A pair of socks lasts twice as long. But Hugh Herr, the director of the Biomechatronics Group at the MIT Media Lab, goes a step further. “It’s actually unfair,” Herr says about amputees’ advantages over the able-bodied. “As tech advancements in prosthetics come along, amputees can exploit those improvements. They can get upgrades. A person with a natural body can’t.”

New York Times: Long-Term Care Hospitals Face Little Scrutiny [WARNING: abuse/neglect in hospitals]

Despite the rapid expansion of long-term care hospitals and the serious illnesses they treat, Medicare has never closely examined their care. Unlike traditional hospitals, Medicare does not penalize them financially if they fail to submit quality data.[…]

The 22 violations represent an estimated 2 percent of the serious violations Medicare found nationally, even though Select operates less than half a percent of the nation’s hospital beds. Put another way, on a per-bed basis, Select hospitals were cited about four times as often as the average.[…]

Therefore, long-term care hospitals are most profitable if most patients are discharged at or just after their 25th day, with a few discharged earlier. Select adheres closely to this formula, with an average length of stay at its hospitals of about 24 days, according to public filings. At some Select hospitals, the 25th day is called the “magic day,” ex-employees say.

7 thoughts on “Recommended Reading for March 1st

  1. Re: FAS:
    I’m fascinated by the fact that some peoples’ minds, when faced with the problem of FAS children being treated unfairly by the legal system, jump not to ‘how can we make the legal system fairer on these kids?’, or ‘how can we educate women better about foetal health?’ or ‘as a society we need to find the guts to tackle our unhealthy culture re: alcohol’, but instead to ‘let’s subject women to life-altering surgery by court order’. In other words, legalised assault.

    Re: prosthesis:
    I think the interviewees (particularly the disabled ones) have more interesting and worthwhile things to say than the writer of the article. They seem interested in the subversion of traditional views of disability, and rightly point out how incredibly threatening society would find a sexy disabled person. But it would be better if the article explored the reasons for that more deeply.

    And there’s stuff like this:
    Young, of Otto Bock HealthCare, says Bailey is far from alone. Amputees are now regularly removing healthy tissue to make room for more powerful technology. “I see it every day,” he says. “People will get a second amputation — move their amputation up their leg — to get the prosthetic equivalent of a hotter car.”

    Translation: people with impairments that make their life difficult and painful (as pointed out elsewhere in the article, some amputees suffer back problems because traditional prosthetic legs don’t have the shock-absorption capability of a biological leg) are making a logical choice that will improve their lives, by choosing higher-up amputations which will allow them to use more modern, comfortable and effective prosthesis. But the way the quote is used makes it sound so shallow, as if people have major surgery on a fashion whim.

    It’s ironic that an article that contains challenges to traditional ableist notions also perpetuates them…

    Thanks for your linkage. I always find things here that I would never come across on my own!

  2. Meh. I went to a lecture at MIT by an amputee who had that experience. That guy who describes himself as envious probably attended the same lecture. There is no need to snark at it just because it’s not everyone’s experience. Some disabled people really do enjoy aspects of the way their bodies and assistive tech work and it doesn’t at all mean the same thing as the parking spaces comment. (The lecture was part of a series by disabled people about how disabled people are often the first to benefit from technological advances.)

  3. I know a guy, a vietnam vet whose leg was amputated mid-thigh because of a motorcycle accident after he returned from the war.

    To say he’s proud of the prosthetic is to put it mildly. He has had it painted this georgous irridescent green (auto paint, actually – he repairs old cars, so is closely associated with a body shop that was willing to order and apply the stuff for him). Another of his prosthetics included a custom done cuff with the names of all of the guys from his unit who were MIA or KIA from the war. He very much enjoys showing off his pieces, talking about what they can do, so on. I know because I was getting my ankle braces when he was in there for an adjustment. In some ways, I am disappointed that I feel like I have to have discreet, nigh-invisible braces, because they can do some damn cool looking things with them. *sigh* Stupid profession.

    To say that there is a problem with viewing prosthetics as high-tech, edge of advance, beatiful devices is forclosing the lived experience of some PWDs.

    (On the flip side, yeah, I agree that the comparison with a higher up amputation to get a more advanced limb replacement with a sportscar had a lot of wrong going on.)

    But on the whole, that article seemed to jive with the experience of the people I’ve known with the high-tech prostheses. I think it’s worth noting that the most huberus and pride about the advanced technology that was in there was in quotes from PWDs. From the tone, they may well have been cleaned up a bit to sound that way, but it felt reasonably true-to-life to me.

    Also, holy SHIT that artical about FAS is scary!


  4. Erm, people? I know many PWD are proud of and love themselves and their prosthetics and mobility aids! (I’m right here.) Some of the prostheses in the article are gorgeous and interesting, absolutely.

    But I don’t believe there’s an epidemic of currently-completely-typical people right now gagging to chop off their limbs in order to get an “upgrade” with a robot prosthesis, to get in on the ground floor of the tech revolution, to gain a “social advantage”:

    Because the new machines — and they are machines — are becoming so lustrous and so efficient that some people are already willing to chop off a perfectly good limb to get one.

    Where’s the evidence for this assertion? The sidebar gives an example of a typical woman “wanting” a robot arm so that she can knit. I realise people joke about that, but it’s presented straight.

    I also have major problems with the unexamined privilege in the article, the implication that all amputees are somehow running around with zillion-dollar machinery; and the eliding of the fact that amputation revisions are done for good medical reason, not out of pure upgrade/tech envy.

  5. I can’t even believe that whether or not to sterilize women is being treated as a valid question! This is horrific.

    And yes, all kinds of fascinating and cool things are going on with bionics, but most disabled people in this country are just trying to get their MEDS and FOOD and RENT and UTILITIES paid for. My first question is: who will have access to these $50,000 limbs and body parts? Beyond that issue of social equity, I do have to say I thought the article was cool in that most of the people interviewed were people who actually were amputees.

  6. I just wanted to thank you for the link. I was pleased (and surprised, wow!) to hear about it. I haven’t come across this blog before, but there are a lot of things here that interest me, and that I could stand to learn more about.

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