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Increases in Morbidity and Mortality Rate - - Because of the Closing of D.C. General
Call for LaRouche Medical Task Force
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Increases in Morbidity and Mortality Rate - - Because of the Closing of D.C. General -- as of July 10, 2001 -

by Lynne Speed

The death toll is rising in Washington, as predicted by the D.C. City Council, medical professionals, and political, religious, and community leaders. The morbidity/mortality rate is rising as a direct, and a derivative, result of the dismantling of D.C. General Hospital. Ambulances that have picked up people suffering from severe traumatic injuries, gunshots, stab wounds, vehicular injuries, and cardiac arrests, just minutes away from D.C. General Hospital, have been forced to travel much farther to other hospitals. Every hospital in the District and environs has reported substantial increases in ER visits. This has resulted in crowded conditions, delay in treatment and admissions, failure to give comprehensive screening for potential problems, and more frequent rerouting of ambulance traffic. As many as 20 deaths, including one intrauterine death, have been identified as likely caused by the closing of D.C. General Hospital, which began over the weeks leading up to May 1, when the hospital was turned over to private interests.

 Name unknown, 25-year-old female, suffered a stab wound to the chest. Picked up at 100 block of 34th Street SE; revived in Medic Unit and transported to Prince George's General Hospital, where she died April 20. (Source: Emergency Medical Services)

• O'Dell Sellers, 49-year-old male, suffering from chest and abdominal pains; was initially brought by paramedics to Washington Hospital Center. The hospital emergency room was extremely crowded, and as a result, medical personnel failed to give Mr. Sellers a complete battery of cardiac tests. He was misdiagnosed with acid reflux or severe heartburn, and discharged from the hospital with medicine for heartburn. A few days later, on April 26, the same paramedics were called back again by Mr. Sellers; they assumed the same misdiagnosis and left without transporting him to the hospital. Three hours later, Mr. Sellers was dead of cardiac arrest. (Sources: Emergency Medical Services & Washington Times, June 20)

• John Thomas Ellis, 21 years old, shot in the 3800 block of 9th Street SE; taken to Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead April 29. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• William Eric Etheridge, 19 years old, star athlete, ready to enter college this fall; suffered apparent multiple gunshot wounds in the 300 block of Anacostia Road SE. He was transported to Prince George's County Hospital, where he was pronounced dead May 6. (Sources: Family members & Metropolitan Police Department)

• Name unknown, 60-year-old male suffered asthma attack en route to doctor's office. Ambulance arrived at 4200 block of Benning Road NE. During transport, patient went into cardiac arrest. Transported to Howard University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead May 10. (Source: Emergency Medical Services)

• Twenty-six-week unborn baby; during the week of May 13, mother reported to Greater Southeast Hospital in premature labor, and was sent across town to D.C. General Hospital, because Greater Southeast Hospital is not equipped to handle babies born before 32 weeks. When mother arrived, there was no sign of life in the fetus. (Source: Hospital personnel)

• Johnnie Suber, Jr., 27 years old, found lying in the 2600 block of 10th Street NE, after having been shot; died at Washington Hospital Center MedSTAR on May 25. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Bia Secka, 20 years old, was found lying in the street in the 1600 block of Euclid Street NW, suffering from apparent multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Washington Hospital Center's MedSTAR, where he was pronounced dead May 25. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Freddie Aikens, 22 years old, was shot during a carnival, following an argument in the parking lot of RFK Stadium (next door to D.C. General), and brought to Howard University Hospital, where he died May 28. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Jason Renarda Faison, 28 years old, found lying in the parking lot of a gas station on the 2800 block of Sherman Avenue NW with multiple gunshot wounds. He was transported to Washington Hospital Center's MedSTAR Unit where he died May 29. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Melvin Ball, a 48-year-old male, was found with multiple gunshot wounds to the head and body in the 200 block of 62nd Street NE, and transported to Prince George's General Hospital, where he died on June 2. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Alexander A. Gray, 22 years old, was shot in the chest in a confrontation with the police at the 4300 block of 4th Street SE, and transported to Howard University Hospital, where he died on June 9. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Terence Billingsley, 29 year old, shot a woman and then shot himself, in the 100 block of Wilmington Place SE. He was taken to Prince George's Community Hospital, and pronounced dead five hours later on June 9. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Tamiko Hagler, a female age unknown, was found with a gunshot wound to her neck at the 100 block of N Street NW, and transported to Washington Hospital Center MedSTAR, where she died on June 10. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Marlon Francisco Morales, 32 years old, was shot while on patrol as Metro Transit Police Officer at the U Street Metro Station. Officer Morales was brought to Washington Hospital Center, where he succumbed on June 13. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department & Washington Post, June 15)

• Name and age unknown, male, found lying in front of 4625 Central Avenue NE with gunshot wounds to the back. He was transported to Prince George's Community Hospital where he was pronounced dead on June 14. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Gregory Andrew Hull, 29 years old, found with gunshot wound at 3700 block of First Street SE, transported to Howard University Hospital, where he died on June 23. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

• Yolanda Renee Moore, 17 years old, stabbed in the chest at 700 block of Maury Avenue, Oxon Hill, Md. at approximately 8:30 p.m. Victim went to Greater Southeast Hospital for treatment. Greater Southeast does not have a Level One Trauma Unit. If D.C. General Hospital Level One Trauma Unit had been functioning and appropriate treatment instituted immediately, her life might have been saved. Pronounced dead June 23 at 10:40 p.m. (Source: Prince George's County, Md. Police Department & medical personnel)

• Ahmad Vaughn, 19 years old; incident occurred 1200 block of Eaton Road SE. He and another man were shot and then drove into Prince George's County, Md., where they were found in the 4500 block of Silver Road. Taken to Greater Southeast Community Hospital, where he died June 30. (Source: Washington Post, July 3)

• Name unknown, age unknown, male found in 1300 block of Good Hope Road SE, with an apparent gunshot wound to the chest. D.C. Fire Department medical personnel responded to the scene to render medical attention, and he was brought to a local area hospital, where he was pronounced dead on July 9. (Source: Metropolitan Police Department)

In contrast to these cases of loss of life, over the weekend of June 9, a young man suffering from seven bullet wounds, who was driven to D.C. General by a friend, walked into the hospital. He had insisted on coming to D.C. General and had a friend drive him there, because he believed he could get the best care there, and he knew D.C. General would not accept Level One Trauma patients if he came in by ambulance. He was immediately operated on by D.C. General's expert trauma surgeons, and his life was saved.

Compiled by the Coalition To Save D.C. General Hospital. To report additional incidents or for more information, call Lynne Speed at 202-544-7087.


At the weekly meeting of the Coalition to Restore D.C. General Hospital on Aug. 8, there was an extensive discussion about escalating the campaign via a national organizing drive to form the LaRouche medical task force.

LaRouche organizer Lynne Speed discussed the critical importance of this initiative at this time in the context of the full-scale collapse of the global financial system about which LaRouche has warned. This is clearly being demonstrated in the collapse of public health infrastructure. The judge's decision upholding the illegal closing of D.C. General Hospital by the Control Board confirms our contention that only an organized citizens' movement on behalf of the general welfare can solve the crisis in D.C. and nationally. As the death toll escalates, it now stands at at least 28. This fight cannot be abandoned,, but must be expanded nationally under the leadership of the LaRouche movement.

Lyndon H. LaRouche, Jr., economist, statesman, and Democratic Presidential pre-candidate made the following statement on July 11, 2001:

"Health care of course, is emblematic of the general welfare. In the post war period, with the experience of the 1930s, the experience of wartime medicine we, in this country, enacted the Hill-Burton Act. While the progress under that act was not always what we would have wished, nonetheless, we made progress. We had a good national health-care policy under Hill-Burton. Sometimes we didn't live up to it, but the policy was good. Then, under Nixon, we had a change. The HMO Act was brought in to repeal Hill-Burton. And since then, especially since the collapse of New York City, and Big MAC in 1975, what had once been the fine medical system, the medical-care system of cooperation among public and private institutions and physicians, began to be destroyed. And over recent years, it's been destroyed at an increasing rate.

This has been accompanied by a philosophy which says we don't care about people, we care about shareholders. We no longer care about public responsibility for the general welfare. And people who are considered not so desirable, will get less care, and will probably depart our company a bit earlier. We've now come to the point that none of us is going to survive unless we restore the general welfare principle."

We, the undersigned agree with Mr. LaRouche. Our nation faces an immediate crisis in health conditions, where millions of our citizens are denied access to necessary health care services due to lack of insurance and/or due to financial practices of Health Maintenance Organizations (HMOs), which have placed shareholder values over the promotion of the General Welfare. In a financial austerity-driven environment there has been a dramatic reduction of U.S. hospitals, hospital beds, the absolute number of nurses, the nurse-patient ratio, as well as the number and ratio of public health and specialty clinics and staff, in proportion to the population. The health care crisis is presently but one leading economic consequence of a general worldwide financial collapse.

The illegal closing of D.C. General Hospital, the only public hospital in our nation's capital, is paradigmatic of this national crisis. This situation has already resulted, as predicted by local and national medical experts, in a dramatic increase in morbidity and mortality. We must draw the line at DC General. If we cannot defend public health in the nation's capital, we cannot defend it anywhere in the nation or the world.

We, therefore take this opportunity to join with doctors, nurses, medical personnel, patients, and other concerned citizens nationwide, in forming the LaRouche Medical Task Force. The task force will serve as a research and intervention unit, to document the genocidal effects of these policies, as well as to expose those responsible for promoting and executing such policies. The immediate objective is to mobilize and rally the necessary national forces to return our nation to the principle of the General Welfare and to restore all hospital, clinic, and health facilities which have been closed over the past several years and to build the required new health care infrastructure, which is necessary, not only to reverse the increases in morbidity and mortality, but to achieve increased life expectancy and better health overall. This effort, lawfully begins with restoring a full service, fully funded public hospital, strategically located on the grounds of D.C. General, to our nation's capital.

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