Law and Disorder Radio – Labor Relations at the American Red Cross – Dr. Allan Keller on Health Professionals Participating in Torture – Hosts: Heidi Boghosian, Michael Steven Smith & Michael Ratner – Produced by Geoff Brady

Law and Disorder Radio

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redcross bloodLabor Relations at the American Red Cross and Its Impact on Employee and Donor Safety

Hosts look at a surprising report detailing the cost-cutting efforts within America’s premier disaster relief and blood donor organization, the American Red Cross. Award-winning Washington-based reporter Philip Dine has put together an investigative summary titled Labor Relations at the American Red Cross and Its Impact on Employee and Donor Safety that enumerates the effects of cutbacks that have led to bad labor relations, bungled disaster relief, mishandled blood supplies and federal fines. The investigation examines a far less publicized issue that involves the treatment of Red Cross employees and the impact this has on the organization’s work, with high turnover, younger employees and lower wages.

Philip Dine:

Over the years, the Feds saw that the Red Cross was not living up to its promises.

Red Cross labor relations: For years the Red Cross has been intent on degrading the training and expertise of the employees.

At one point you needed doctors on site for blood drives, then it became registered nurses, then it became nurses on call, and then non-medically trained supervisors.

It seems that the Red Cross wants to have more management control and lower pay and that basically means a disposable work force.

Management mess: 10 Executive directors in 12 years.

High turnover at the top, a budget deficit, despite the main money maker – the blood supply which they get for free. It accounts for 2/3 of revenue. Calling for an audit.

Workers increasingly hired from fast food outlets with no experience, workers see co-workers improperly inserting needles into people.

Guest – Philip Dineauthor of State of the Unions: How Labor Can Strengthen the Middle Class, Improve Our Economy, and Regain Political Influence.  Philip Dine is teaching a labor management course at the George Washington University School of Business this fall. State of the Unions has won honorable mention for best book about labor or work of the past five years from the United Association for Labor Education.

Medical Students Advocate Against Health Professional Participation in Torture

Last year it was confirmed that doctors and psychologists were directly involved in the supervision, design and execution of torture at U.S. military and intelligence facilities. This is a violation of state laws and professional ethics. These “health professionals” that were involved in the torture still hold their professional licenses to practice. Legislation introduced in New York by Assemblyman Richard Gottfried and Senator Tom Duane would reinforce existing ethical and legal responsibilities by prohibiting state-licensed doctors and other health professionals from participating in such practices. The law would also call for legal protection to resist and report any involvement in acts of torture and abuse. Last week, medical students and health professionals descended on Albany to meet with law makers to advocate the passage of this historic legislation. Physicians For Human Rights / When Healers Harm

Dr. Allen Keller:

  • If you’re a health professional that participated in torture, you can lose your license.
  • Health professionals were front and center and complicit in this policy of torture.
  • Medical professionals provided sanitizing and rationalization for those infamous torture memos.
  • During waterboarding there would be a doctor there. This is clearly a breach of medical and professional ethics.
  • Licenses issued by the state. Torturers relied heavily on medical opinion.
  • The state chapter of the New York Psychological Association has endorsed this bill.
  • What I believe is that the interrogator looks at the health professional and says, well, if it gets out of hand, the medical professional will stop me.
  • – the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture provides comprehensive medical and mental health care, as well as social and legal services to survivors of torture and war traumas and their family members. In the past year alone we provided these multidisciplinary services to more than 600 people from 70 countries.

Guest – Dr. Allen Keller, founder and director of the Bellevue/NYU Program for Survivors of Torture. In addition to serving as a primary care physician for many patients in the program, Dr. Keller oversees and coordinates the provision of medical services for program patients, working with other primary care physicians and medical specialists affiliated with the program.