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There is a deadly epidemic spreading rapidly, causing death and destruction in its wake. This disease has been with humanity for millennia, but it has now spread to an extent of epic proportions, threatening to undermine modern society as we know it!

Paradoxically, this disease kills those who are least likely to be infected by it, and those who are infected, are least likely to die from it. In fact the infected are directly or indirectly responsible for the death of the non-infected.

Government officials have been almost universally infected. This has lead to their complete and utter lack of action, or even pretense of having a plan of action, to deal with this deadly disease. There are only a handful of government officials who may have escaped infection, as of yet, most notable a newly elected lady from Massachusetts.

The details of this disease have been published by researchers at University of El Salvador, San Salvador, and the Department of Family Medicine, Oregon Health and Science University, and the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania. I have included here key highlights of the article, intermixed with portions of my diary on the same topic.

Definition: Poverty Blindness is the absolute inability to see people living in poverty.
Poverty is a systematic and structural outcome of human society. It exists in not only capitalist economies, but also in any other economic system that exists in the world. It is not, as some people contend, a result of laziness on the part of the poor. Evidence-based social policy should look at data, and consider the lives of actual human beings, not listen to rhetoric.
Epidemiology: Poverty Blindness is evident around the world. People with significant monetary wealth are most often affected by PB, and the incidence of PB declines as accumulated net worth declines.
We all remember the financial crisis of a few years ago, brought about by banks who were "too big to fail". Now we have hospital networks that are too big to care.
Pathogenesis: Mechanisms of PB are poorly understood. One recognized view is that PB results from a lack of compassion.  
The "personal responsibility" crowd forgets the difference between a human being living in a civilized society, and a human being living in a natural environment, with all of his/her natural freedoms intact, and with access to whatever resources the immediate environment provides to be utilized with his/her two hands and two feet.
Clinical features. The primary symptoms of PB include lacking generosity, displaying distrust, being disobliged to help, exhibiting unethical behavior, and using common exculpatory mechanisms (including outright falsehoods)[link by me, not from the article].
Reference from article: http://dx.doi.org/...
Variants of PB: Structural PB exists when rules in society are established in such ways that limit possibilities for meaningful interactions between people of wealth and people of poverty.
A person living in modern society does not have full freedom of movement. Land is turned into roads, buildings, private and public properties, with rules associated with access and use of those areas.
Medical PB takes various forms. These include the exploitation of poor people as research subjects; the systematic exclusion of socio-economic factors from the training of health professionals; and the disproportionate interest among medical graduates for working in areas of high compensation rather than in areas of economic need.
The Hippocratic Oath doesn't say we can comply just 5% of the time. A 5% campaign would send the message that the Oath is negotiable. Physicians should acknowledge that they are plenty well off  accepting Medicaid/Medicare patients (especially as specialists), and should be reminded of the commitment that they already made when they chose to pursue the medical profession.
Differential diagnosis: The differential includes classism, racism, sexism (including other cultural variants, e.g., machismo in Latin America), and elitism.
There are many reasons and purposes for those rules, and why the natural freedoms of people living in modern civilized societies are taken away from them. The basic tenet of those reasons and purposes is clear: mutual benefit of all members of society. If the formation of society is not for the purpose of benefiting all of its members, then why form a society in the first place?
Treatment steps and recommendations. The specifics of treatment for PB are beyond the scope of this review. General therapeutic recommendations are listed in Box 1. Exposure to catastrophic unforeseen events may be therapeutic.
I wonder, at what point do we start to consider other people's problems as our own, and ask "is this the type of society I want to live in?"

Mon Feb 10, 2014 at 10:49 PM PT: Wow thank so much for the recommendations! I think the authors of this paper were very creative, and hit the nail on the head, to present PB as a clinical illness.

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