Saturday, February 11, 2006

The Canadian Red Cross - Always Helpful

The Canadian Red Cross has, for sometime not been in charge of collecting blood donations in Canada. Does anyone remember why? Because they gave blood supplies that they knew contained units infected with HIV and hepatitis to Canadians even after tests were available to screen for them. I remember when Japan had a similar scandal, those responsible got down on the floor at a public inquiry and wept. They begged for forgiveness. The head of the Red Cross in Canada basically told the Inquiry and all of Canada to suck him off. Thousands of people, including children being treated for hemophilia contracted fatal diseases and I still remember the arrogant little putz /former director of the Red Cross acting as if the whole inquiry was a waste of his time. Some of the blood they were using on Canadians was discount squeezings from Arizona prisoners who, even back in the stupid ages, were known to be a high risk group.

Well, Canada then replaced the Red Cross with a government organization. I know, I know. Long term it is not as efficient as a private corporation would be but the amount of money the government has had to pay in compensation, as pathetic as it has been given the crimes committed in this scandal and as slow as it has been in coming, has at least given the new "Canadian Blood Services" organization a strong incentive to do the job well and no minister in any party would dare screw up again like that because they would have to leave the country, lest we have their guts for garters. Here is a timeline of the whole blood scandal thing. From what I have seen as a regular blood donor the new system is constantly being evaluated, upgraded and improved.

What has the Canadian Red Cross been doing? After whining for a while about being deprived of the high visibility role of blood collecting, they became a standard disaster recovery organization and for all I know they may be doing a good job. After the big eastern ice storm of 1998 there were no lawsuits or inquiries so they can not have done too badly then during very trying circumstances.

But now it looks like the Red Cross needs something to piss people off about. Let's see. It will need to be something that wastes a lot of money, and is completely asinine. How about suing video game makers and first aid kit manufacturers for using a red cross. You see, in video games there are health packs that magically heal the rocket launcher wound to your head by running up to them and making them disappear. Instead of putting the words "run over this pack so it will heal you" over the health pack, most video game makers just put a big red cross on the item to make it look like a first aid kit. Apparently, having an easily recognized symbol that even illiterate people can understand on a first aid kit might make people less likely to donate to the Red Cross and more likely to fire on them in battle fields. What also might accomplish this is pissing people off by making an ass of themselves.

What with the people you are trying to help in disaster zones giving you crap and your upper management making you look ridiculous, I wonder how the Red Cross attracts anyone to work for them.

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