Archive - November 2014

1
OIG releases its report on the Medical Care Nick Castle received prior to his death
2
George Packer (Togo 1982-83) and The Quiet German
3
A Light Touch
4
New York Times:Report Faults Care of Peace Corps Volunteer
5
Review — OUTPOST by Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76)
6
“Health Justice for Volunteers” urges comments to the NYTimes on Castle Article
7
New York Times reports on Inspector General’s Evaluation of Medical Care for PCV Nick Castle
8
Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964-67) Publishes in Transnational Literature
9
Wake-up Calls
10
Sandra Storey (Thailand 1968-71) Publishes Poetry Collection

OIG releases its report on the Medical Care Nick Castle received prior to his death

The Office of the Inspector General has released a report on its investigation of the medical care that PCV Nick Castle received while serving in China.  To read the report, here is the link: OIG Report on Medical Care of Castle We were able to obtain the actual report because the Office of the Inspector General has released the report to the public. We made a FOIA or Freedom of Information Request in order to get the report as soon as it was published.  The Summary of Findings is taken directly from the report. Here is a Summary of the Results from that report.  I converted the PDF into a word document, so it may be difficult to read.  The actually report is 32 pages long.  There is a Synopsis in the beginning of the report.  This Summary of Results begins on about page 30. Summary of Results During OIG’s . . .

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George Packer (Togo 1982-83) and The Quiet German

The current issue of The New Yorker (December1, 2014) carries a long, long piece by George Packer (Togo 1982-83) entitled “The Quiet German” that focuses on Angela Merkel, who Packer calls, “the most powerful woman in the world.” Packer, who has been a staff writer for magazine since 2003, last spring was an Axel Springer Fellow at the American Academy in Berlin. Merkel, who George writes, gives few interviews and almost always to German publications, and all anodyne, declined to speak to him. That said, this is a fascinating account of Merkel, and comes with a page of ‘head shots’ of the woman done by Herlinde Koelbl who has been photographing Merkel since 1991. Koelbl was one of many people that Packer interviewed for this article. Merkel might not have much to say, but she does, it seems, like to have her photo taken, though Packer reports Koelbl said, “Merkel . . .

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A Light Touch

As I walk the long beach under a patchy morning fog my senses are open, alert, receptive– to the rhythmic plunging of the waves, the wind’s feather touch on my face, the scent of the salty sea. And yes! There are the Franklin Gulls recently arrived from their journey from the Northern Hemisphere in their black and white summer plumage. They surge up to then dart into the shallows plucking morsels to their liking. They likely worked up a hearty appetite on their migration south.  Sharing the shoreline with the gulls are several brown curlews that take off and cry in alarm when I get too close. A pair of black and white, orange-beaked oyster catchers mingles with the shoreline avian gathering. This beach has few shells or pebbles for the beachcomber. Clumps of tangled brown seaweed are strewn about, like abandoned tresses of sea sirens. What I notice are . . .

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New York Times:Report Faults Care of Peace Corps Volunteer

Report Faults Care of Peace Corps Volunteer By Sheryl Gay Stolberg New York Times NOV. 24, 2014 WASHINGTON – A Peace Corps doctor caring for a gravely ill volunteer in China ignored a fellow physician’s warnings that the volunteer needed intravenous fluids “in 30 minutes or he is going to die,” and altered her notes about his treatment after submitting them to headquarters for review, according to a confidential report by the agency’s independent watchdog. In a detailed examination of the death of Nick Castle, a 23-year-old volunteer who was the subject of an article in The New York Times in July, the Peace Corps inspector general cited “cascading delays and failures in the treatment” of Mr. Castle as a factor in the death, and said the Peace Corps doctor, Jin Gao, had “failed to use prudent judgment.” Dr. Gao resigned in September and could not be reached for comment. . . .

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Review — OUTPOST by Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76)

Chris Hill (Cameroon 1974-76) begins his new book: Outpost: Life on the Frontlines of American Diplomacy by telling his favorite story, his account of how as a PCV in Cameroon he tried to overhaul a corrupt credit union only to have his efforts rejected, largely because he did not understand the community’s internal dynamics and culture. What happened was something like this, Chris discovered that one board of directors had stolen 60 percent of their members’ money. He reported this to the members, who promptly re-elected them because the board reflected carefully balanced tribal interests and it really didn’t matter to the members if the board directors ran a good credit union or not. Hill said the lesson was that “When something’s happened, it’s happened for a reason and you do your best to understand that reason. But don’t necessarily think you can change it.” In his book he then sums up, “Years later, . . .

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“Health Justice for Volunteers” urges comments to the NYTimes on Castle Article

Nancy Tongue is the RPCV who found the advocacy organization, Health Justice for Volunteers.  Here is the email she has sent to her supporters: Hi Everyone, Sheryl Stolberg did another article about the death of Nick Castle based on the inspector general’s report that shows a cascade of poor care for him. She again interviewed me and others in our group but again the NYT cut her comments out so as to focus on Nick and issues in the field. PLEASE send a two paragraph 150 word statement, if you’d like, to the NYT and let’s see if we can get some press. I will be doing the same, as I did the last time but you must do it QUICKLY! Here’s today’s article: http://nyti.ms/1yOYkJE Here is the prior article: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/26/world/asia/peace-corps-death-china-medical-missteps.html?_r=0 Here are the instructions for sending in an editorial. It’s very easy. You can say you are a member . . .

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New York Times reports on Inspector General’s Evaluation of Medical Care for PCV Nick Castle

Nick Castle was a Peace Corps Volunteer serving in China. He died while under the care of the Peace Corps doctor. There has been much controversy over the medical treatment that Castle received. His family has filed suit against the Peace Corps, charging that his death was avoidable. The New York Times  published an article, “Trail of Medical Missteps in Peace Corps Death“, July 25, 2014, detailing the events leading up to Castle’s death. The Inspector General of the Peace Corps has now completed her evaluation of the care that PCV Castle received immediately before his death. That report has not been released to the public.The New York Times has published a new article, by Sheryl Gay Stolberg, following up on the earlier article. and does includes the statement that the Inspector General found ““cascading delays and failures in the treatment” of Mr. Castle. To read the entire NYTimes article, . . .

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Ron Singer (Nigeria 1964-67) Publishes in Transnational Literature

Ron Singer’s (Nigeria 1964-67) story “Their Countries of Origin”  is set in an imaginary central-African dictatorship and appears in the November issue of Transnational Literature, an academic e-journal from Flinders University, Perth, Australia. The theme is the response of American liberals to illiberal regimes around the world. Ron has written seven books and twice been nominated for Pushcart Prizes. His poetry, fiction, satire, journalism and operate (librettos) all can be found at www.ronsinger.net. Ron Singer’s 44-year teaching career began with the Peace Corps in Nigeria (1964-67). The author of seven books, Singer (www.ronsinger.net) trawls the genres: poetry, fiction, satire, journalism and opera (librettos). Among the venues where his work has appeared are Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists, Evergreen Review, The Georgia Review, Grey Sparrow, Poets & Writers, and The Wall Street Journal.  Singer’s serial thriller, Geistmann, and his serial farce, The Parents We Deserve, can currently be read at jukepopserials.com.

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Wake-up Calls

An explosion of purple sways outside my window – our jacaranda tree. Tiny goblet-shaped blooms blanket the ground below. Some call them “messy”, but why not just enjoy the burst of color while it lasts? It’s a matter of perspective and choice. Choose to notice the wonder of these fleeting purple weeks – or focus on the work required to sweep away those fading velvet petals. The hot days have descended upon us, the hills now singed brown, and the local supermarket bulges with gaudy, Chinese-made Christmas wreaths, snowmen, reindeer, Santas, elves and plastic trees. This in-your-face inducement to buy and consume, this blaring excess, sickens me. Late yesterday afternoon we went to a wedding, much like the many we’ve attended here over the years. The four hundred and fifty plus guests filled the old San Francisco Church, a historic national monument, situated on the Alameda, the main downtown thoroughfare. . . .

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Sandra Storey (Thailand 1968-71) Publishes Poetry Collection

Sandra Storey’s (Thailand 1968-71) poems have been published in various literary magazines, including the New York Quarterly, Friction (UK) and New Millennium Writings.Two of her poems have been featured in installations at Boston City Hall. Storey, who spent her teenage and college years in Ohio and Indiana, is the formerly editor and publisher of two neighborhood newspapers in Boston, the Jamaica Plain Gazette and the Mission Hill Gazette. She is now a columnist for the Jamaica Plain newspaper. Sandra wrote poetry from 1980 to 1988 and resumed in 2004. In between, she co-authored a nonfiction book on public policy, Women in Citizen Advocacy. A member of Jamaica Pond Poets, a collaborative workshop, since 2005, she was given the “Community Champion Award” for 2014 by ESAC, a local nonprofit organization. Her first collection of poems, Every State has Its Own Light was selected in 2011 as one of twenty-five finalists from an international field . . .

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