Monthly Archives: September 2011

British Study Reveals Hip Replacement Failures on Rise

A new study from the United Kingdom reveals what we’ve already suspected-namely that patients experiencing hip replacement failures and pain from their hip medical devices are on the rise. Unfortunately, no such data is available to us in the United States because we don’t have a medical registry database from which we can cull such valuable information. However, we can extrapolate from the British study and conclude the situation is no different in the United States. Such a conclusion is strengthened given the FDA’s acknowledgment that they’ve received more complaints about hip failures in the past six months than they did in the combined four year period previous to this year.
While most of the attention has been focused on the metal-on-metal hip devices that are causing problems and are failing at a high rate, there are still cases involving the Zimmer Durom cup. These Zimmer hips were never recalled but Zimmer patients continue to complain about pain and mobility issues with the Durom cup hip implants.

Bishop Accountability and the Priest Abuse Crisis

One might be tempted to think political science has nothing to do with the Catholic Church and the ongoing priest abuse crisis which has gripped the Church for nearly a decade now. If you read George Lakoff’s Don’t Think of an Elephant!: Know Your Values and Frame the Debate–The Essential Guide for Progressivesyou’ll find what I believe is the key to understanding why the Catholic bishops have been relatively unaccountable for their role in the abuse scandal.
One of Lakoff’s main ideas concern the fundamental difference between Republicans and Democrats in terms of governing style and the role of government in the lives of ordinary individuals. Lakoff believes that the Republicans have been successful in framing the debate about social issues because they use positive imagery to express their ideas. Take for instance the following: pro-life, death tax, and tax relief. Secondly, Republicans believe in the “strict father” model of governance. They’ve adhered to a model that demonstrates their belief that ordinary citizens seek a strict father figure who is always right and serves as a compass for the entire populace.
If you look closely, the Catholic bishops in the United States have adopted a similar approach. They speak authoritatively on many moral issues while at the same time questioning the authority of those who would call into question their actions concerning the abuse crisis. They are very quick to remind Catholics of their duty to obey and listen to them for, after all, they are the appointed shepherds of Christ and that role demands an unquestioning fidelity, not an openness to consider diverse points of view or alternative methods of accountability.
Perhaps that’s how the bishops have escaped any real accountability for their role in the priest abuse crisis. Yes, of course, Cardinal Law was forced to resign. Yet, apart from that incident, how many other bishops have been forced to resign? How many have faced real criminal charges? How many have been called to account for their actions with real consequences hanging in the balance?
Maybe a few bishops have read Lakoff’s book. If they have, they’ve followed his prescription to a tee. It’s proven helpful to them in avoiding any real accountability.

Catholic Priest Abuse and the Philadelphia Grand Jury

Since Common Pleas Judge Lillian Ransom has lifted her ban on the publication of Philadelphia Grand Jury documents concerning Monsignor William Lynn’s testimony, the media has been reviewing his testimony in anticipation of his pending criminal trial for child endangerment. What they’ve found reveals much about the inner workings of the Archdiocese of Philadelphia and the mindset of the priest in charge of reviewing and investigating sexual abuse claims for the then Cardinal Archbishop of Philadelphia Anthony Bevilacqua.
In one of his comments, Lynn told the grand jury, “”I just thought he wanted money,” in response to a sexual abuse survivor’s allegation that he had been molested by a priest.
Between 2002 and 2004, Monsignor Lynn made 14 appearances before the grand jury. His testimony is now a matter of public record and among 2,000 pages of grand jury evidence that will play a role in his criminal trial. Lynn’s callous disregard for the welfare of abuse survivors coupled with his protestations that the Vatican made his job difficult will also be on display during the criminal trial. In testimony during which Lynn couldn’t come up with a plausible answer for not doing something to protect children he would answer that the matter “fell through the cracks”. In another instance Lynn stated, “”Like any family, church family, you don’t always put all your dirty laundry out, so to speak.”
One of his colleagues who was also summoned to testify before the grand jury had similar difficulty explaining the Archdiocese’s lack of willingness to protect children. In one instance, now Bishop Cullen was pressed by the prosecutor regarding the veracity of one report. This is back and forth: “When the Rev. Robert L. Brennan was accused of misconduct with boys, the church sent him to a hospital for treatment. Parishioners were told he was on a religious retreat.
Asked about the cover story, Cullen conceded, “It’s not the truth.”
It was a lie, wasn’t it? prosecutors asked.
“You could call it that,” Cullen said.
Philadelphia, like Boston and Los Angeles before, is an archdiocese in extreme crisis. Perhaps they could take comfort with familiar words “The Truth will Set You Free”. However, it won’t be painless or easy.