Brexit will cause significant harm to the NHS according to a new Lancet report

By Robert Lea: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd-While the US isn’t facing a Brexit, there are many policy initiatives here that will give us “Brexit Light” if they are fully implemented, and many of the problems Brixit might bring, such as drug and other treatment shortages, are already here.

All forms of Brexit run the risk of causing significant harm to the NHS — with a No-Deal Brexit posing the worst possible scenario — according to the Lancet.

A new Health Policy review published in the Lancet has revealed that Brexit, and in particular, a No-Deal Brexit, will pose significant harm to NHS services, financing, workforce and the availability of medicines.

The paper’s authors — leading experts in health and law — also warn that there is little evidence that the NHS, or the UK in general, is prepared for the eventualities of Brexit. To support this, they cite the recently published NHS ten-year plan which ran to 136 pages and contained only two mentions of Brexit, neither of which offered any detail about what it might mean, or how any threats would be addressed.

Recruitment and retention to the health care workforce represents a major challenge post Brexit. The Withdrawal Agreement provides reciprocal arrangements and mutual recognition of professional qualifications up to 2020. But, no provisions for health care workers have been made in the Backstop or Political Declaration. Under a No-Deal Brexit, the Immigration White Paper proposes a minimum salary threshold of £30,000 per year which could seriously limit immigration of many health workers to the UK.

Greta Thunberg: ‘All My Life I’ve Been the Invisible Girl’

From The Financial Times: For More Info, Go Here…

The climate activist on becoming the face of a global movement — and why she sees her Asperger’s as a gift.

This is the 26th week of her school strike, which has taken place every Friday since school started last August — including vacations. During that time she has rocketed to a level of fame and influence that pretty much nobody, including herself, expected.

Over the past six months, she has become a superstar of the climate change movement. Her school strike, which started out with her sitting alone on a camping mat next to parliament, was swiftly highlighted by the media. Then came a Ted talk, speeches at rallies, and an invitation to address last December’s UN climate talks in Poland. Inspired by her example, the number of student strikers across Europe swelled into the thousands, then the tens of thousands — and all because of the bundled-up teenager in front of me with her hair in plaits.

She speaks softly, often simply nodding when addressed. A few years ago she was diagnosed with Asperger’s, obsessive-compulsive disorder and selective mutism, which means she only speaks when necessary.

She suffered from a severe depression when she was 11, he goes on to explain, and taking action on climate change helped her recovery.

Restorative Justice in the Classroom

By Dan Scratch: For More Info, Go Here…

Simply put, restorative justice is a relational and holistic approach to working with young people and shifting away from a retributive form of discipline. We know that much of the research over the last few decades has demonstrated that suspensions don’t necessarily teach the lessons we hope to embed within students and can often contribute to students lack of connection and belonging within the school. Many jurisdictions, such as the Toronto District School Board, have started collecting data in order to understand if disproportionate amounts of black, indigenous and students from lower socio-economic backgrounds are facing suspension and expulsion at higher rates than others. In many jurisdictions where this is turning out to be the case, educators are having difficult but necessary conversations about disciplinary policies in schools and classrooms.

(T)hinking about large-scale systemic change within education can feel daunting and can leave many of us in despair. I can completely understand this perception but would like to let folks know that we don’t have to wait for the system to change before we start rejecting punitive measures in our classrooms and replace them with a more holistic and relational approach to discipline.

Supreme Court Extends Eighth Amendment Protections to Prisoners with Dementia

From Eji: For More Info, Go Here…

The United States Supreme Court today ruled in favor of EJI client Vernon Madison, a 68-year-old man suffering from severe vascular dementia following multiple life-threatening strokes. The Court held that Mr. Madison, who is legally blind, incontinent, cannot walk without a walker, speaks with slurred speech, and has no memory of the crime or the circumstances that brought him to death row, is entitled to an assessment that recognizes that dementia and other mental conditions are covered by the Eighth Amendment’s ban against cruel and unusual punishment.

In a 5-3 decision written by Justice Elena Kagan, the Court explained that the Eighth Amendment bars executing a person whose mental disorder makes him unable to reach a rational understanding of the reason for his execution.

The critical question is whether a “prisoner’s mental state is so distorted by a mental illness” that he lacks a “rational understanding” of “the State’s rationale for [his] execution.”  Or similarly put, the issue is whether a “prisoner’s concept of reality” is “so impair[ed]” that he cannot grasp the execution’s “meaning and purpose” or the “link between [his] crime and its punishment.”

The Court reasoned that the standard “focuses on whether a mental disorder has had a particular effect: an inability to rationally understand why the State is seeking execution.” The standard does not require “establishing any precise cause: Psychosis or dementia, delusions or overall cognitive decline are all the same under Panetti, so long as they produce the requisite lack of comprehension.”

The Court returned the case to the state court for renewed consideration of whether Mr. Madison is competent under the Eighth Amendment. It barred the state court from relying on arguments or evidence tainted by legal error, including portions of the experts’ reports and testimony that “expressly reflect[] an incorrect view of the relevance of delusions or memory” as well as other evidence that “might have implicitly rested on those same misjudgments.”

Lawmakers Push to Keep Seniors at Home with Newly Introduced Bills

By Robert Holly: For More Info, Go Here…

A bipartisan group of U.S. lawmakers has introduced two new pieces of legislation aimed at making it easier — and more financially secure — for seniors and individuals with disabilities to receive care at home.

The move is yet another recent example of the high-priority position home-based care has developed on Capitol Hill as America’s baby boomers age and health care costs skyrocket.

On Monday, Reps. Debbie Dingell (D-Mich.), Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and Brett Guthrie (R-Ky.) simultaneously introduced the Ensuring Medicaid Provides Opportunities for Widespread Equity, Resources (EMPOWER) and Care Act, along with the Protecting Married Seniors from Impoverishment Act.

Among its provisions, the EMPOWER Care Act reauthorizes the federal Money Follows the Person (MFP) demonstration program for five years. More than 88,000 individuals have used the MFP program to receive care in their own homes since its creation more than a decade ago. Specifically, the program allows certain Medicaid users, including older adults, to more seamlessly transition from a nursing home or institutional care back into the home — but only if they desire to do so.

The Life and Death Of Seven Bridges

By Imani Barbarin: For More Info, Go Here…

For a while, I couldn’t think of what to say about the suicide of young Seven Bridges. In the days after hearing of his death, I couldn’t quite pinpoint the feeling I was experiencing. I knew I was sad, I was crying frequently in my office, but there was something else, something beyond sadness, it was both dread and relief. Dread, because Seven’s experience was remarkably similar to  my own, and I had nearly followed the same path. And relief, which I am ashamed to say because I had had the opportunity to get out of those dark thoughts.

On January 23, 2019, it was reported that ten-year-old Seven Bridges took his own life after being severely bullied by fellow students and treated differently by school staff once his parents advocated on his behalf. The mixture ableism and racism he experienced proved too much to bear. His parents would often find him crying uncontrollably in bed and would do their best to comfort him with the thought he would be changing schools soon, but still Seven died.

Upon his death spreading across social media, many people who use colostomy bags shared pictures of themselves wearing them under the hashtag #BagsOutForSeven. Many felt a sense of hope in the representation it was created, but  felt like something was missing. Seven Bridges wasn’t just disabled, he was also Black. To speak just about his disability undermines our ability to see the complete picture of his  existence, including the joy, the pain, and challenges.

Often in disability circles, disabled Black people, Indigenous people and others of color are tone policed when the topic if race comes up. There seems to be this desire to maintain the part line of “we’re all marginalized, so why does it matter.” It matters—it did so very much in Seven Bridges’ life. I’ve heard people lament the fact that he was bullied over his colostomy bag, but not that he was choked and called racial slurs.

Black Veterans Project Campaign Launch

By Ayana Rashed: For More Info, Go Here…

The Black Veterans Project (BVP), a veteran-led, multi-organizational startup, today announced the official launch of their IndieGoGo campaign to raise funds for a full-length documentary recounting the experiences of current and former Black servicemembers, from the Vietnam War to present-day conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Co-founded by veterans Kyle Bibby and Richard Brookshire, BVP has a mission to preserve the legacy of the 2.5 million Black veterans living in the United States. Through the creation of a full-length documentary and digital archive of oral histories of Black veterans from all walks of life, BVP hopes to raise awareness of racial justice issues in the military and post-service.

The film will focus on the firsthand accounts of Black servicemembers across the country and from all branches of military service. These stories will be supplemented with data pertaining to racial inequities in the military justice system and access to Veterans Affairs (VA) services, and contextualized within concurrent racial justice movements taking place in each era, including the Civil Rights Movement and the Movement for Black Lives.

The goal of the IndieGoGo campaign is to raise $100,000 to support early production costs for the documentary, which includes traveling to conduct interviews nationwide.

The film will be the first step and a major cornerstone in BVP’s larger historical archiving and advocacy work. All content collected and created during the development of the documentary will be used in the film and/or stored in the Black Veterans Archive, the historical preservation program of the Black Veterans Project.

When Destructive Behavior Makes Biological Sense

By Matthew Hutson: For More Info, Go Here…

For people raised in chaos, risk-taking is hardwired.

Studies in social science and psychology have shown people like Marvel — people whose early existences are largely defined by a lack of resources, instability, and violence — often live foreshortened lives filled with risk-taking and even crime. Vladas Griskevicius, a social psychologist at the University of Minnesota’s Carlson School of Management, wants to change the way we think about people like Marvel, and the seemingly senseless choices that they make.

“The takeaway message in most of psychology is that if you grow up in a bad environment, you’re going to be deficient in some way,” Griskevicius says. “That growing up poor or in harsh conditions prevents you from flowering and reaching your potential.”

Drawing on core ideas in evolutionary biology and economics, Griskevicius has another story to tell. “People who grew up in a harsh environment are better adapted to thrive in that kind of environment,” he says. When you are led to believe that life has no future, it makes sense to capitalize on what you can get in the present. Human decision-making, even when it seems irrational and reckless on the surface, is characterized, Griskevicius says, by a “deep rationality.”

Studies by Griskevicius and other researchers can be seen as a response to the argument, the gist of the American Dream, that people can readily change their behavior with optimism and persistence. But the scientists’ takeaway message doesn’t rest on pessimism and futility. While adaptation to a harsh environment can lead to self-destruction, it can also sow the seeds of success.

Carrie Ann Lucas Dedicated Her Amazing Skills To Save Lives

By Diane Coleman: For More Info, Go Here…

ngd-More about Carrie Ann’s work and the events leading up to her death…

Across the country, people who knew and worked with Carrie Ann Lucas are mourning her untimely death at the young age of 47. Over the last year, we watched as insurers denied what she needed and doctors couldn’t take the time to listen to one of the sharpest minds in our movement explain how to integrate their treatments with her body’s needs. We’re grieving, and we’re angry.

We’re also honoring her amazing life. Carrie began serving on NDY’s national Board in January 2013. She made so many unique and abiding contributions to the disability movement that it would be impossible to capture them all. But here are some of the ways that Carrie worked to save lives through her incredible efforts on behalf of Not Dead Yet.

World Federation Protest

In September 2014, Carrie traveled from her home in Colorado to Chicago to participate in the NDY protest of the World Federation of Right To Die Societies’ biannual conference. She was a very skilled photographer who visually documented three days of protest activities which can be viewed via a link on our website page about the protest. One of these photos is the banner on our home page.

Resisting Assisted Suicide in Colorado

Carrie took the lead in organizing a group of disability activists to fight assisted suicide bills and initiatives in Colorado. Not Dead Yet Coloradomembers testified beginning in February 2015, as shown in a press release: Disability Activists from Not Dead Yet and Other Colorado Organizations to Testify in Opposition to Colorado Assisted Suicide Bill. The bill died in committee, as reported by the Denver Post.

But that wasn’t the end of the issue. Several months later, NDY Colorado Issued a “Media Advisory Opposing Proposed CO Constitutional Amendment on Assisted Suicide.” The amendment didn’t go anywhere.

The bill came back in 2016, and Carrie testified before the Colorado Senate State Senate, Veterans, and Military Affairs Committee on February 3rd that year:

“I am a person with multiple disabilities.  I have a progressive neuromuscular disease that has caused me to lose muscle function throughout my entire body. I have weakness in every muscle in my body, including my facial and eye muscles.  My organs are affected, I have low vision, and I am very hard of hearing.  I have a gastrostomy tube, and I am dependent on a ventilator to breathe.  Without my ventilator, I don’t have years to live.  I don’t have 6 months, 6 weeks, or 6 days, I have hours.  I have a terminal condition – very much like ALS, and I would be covered by this bill.  I understand the sponsors have said this bill is not for the disabled, but respectfully the sponsors are incorrect.  This bill directly affects me, my family and my community.

“If I were to become depressed, either situational depression, or major depression, and this bill passes, I could go to my doctor and ask for a lethal prescription.  Because I have a disability, and because physicians are terrible at evaluating quality of life of people with disabilities, I would likely be given that lethal prescription, rather than be referred for mental health treatment.  And if my doctor did not give me the lethal prescription, I could simply doctor shop until I found one who would. A woman in my situation but without my disabilities would not get a lethal prescription, and would most likely encounter a vigorous effort to ensure she did not take her life. That is disability discrimination.”

She also put on her lawyer hat and further explained what’s wrong with the bill from that perspective. To read her full testimony, go here. Both Carrie and Anita Cameron, who lived in Colorado at that time, also had op-eds published which are excerpted with links in an NDY blog. Again, the bill did not make it through the committee.

So next, assisted suicide proponents went for a ballot measure, which Carrie, the Colorado NDY group and ADAPT protested by holding a funeral march: Disability Activists from Not Dead Yet and ADAPT Engage in Funeral March to Protest Assisted Suicide Ballot Measure. Unfortunately, the ballot measure passed.

Still, it is never too late to educate people about the dangers of making assisted suicide another “medical treatment” in our insensitive and profit conscious healthcare system. This past November, we blogged about how Carrie did just that on a Facebook program called “Imperfect Union”, which produced a Video of Carrie explaining some of the dangers of assisted suicide laws to a proponent.

Me Before You

When the ridiculous assisted suicide movie “Me Before You” came out, Carrie rolled up her sleeves and applied her graphics skills to pull together material from our sister organization, Not Dead Yet UK, and develop a banner and flyers that disability activists around the country used to hold protests of the movie. Many people sent photos from their protests to her, so she put them together in a video, accompanied by Johnny Crescendo’s brilliant song “Not Dead Yet.”

VIDEO: The Disability Community Responds to Me Before You movie

Jerika Bolen

Of all Carrie’s contributions to NDY’s work, the one I think about most often is her leadership in the effort to save the life of 14-year-old Jerika Bolen. Like Jerika, Carrie along with several of us in NDY experienced teenage years as a person with serious, progressive neuromuscular disabilities. Jerika said she wanted to die, but she was not treated like a suicidal nondisabled 14-year-old would be. We were horrified as her story unfolded. We received hate mail from nondisabled people in response to our efforts.

After Jerika’s death, Carrie did a very moving public radio interview explaining the disability discrimination that ultimately led to her death. John Kelly handled the creation of a captioned video of media photos of Jerika along with the interview to ensure that Carrie’s message would be heard and seen as widely as possible. Here’s a little of what she said:

“If we’re going to let children make these decisions, then we should be able to let children make ‪these decisions regardless of disability. ‪So we have to then be willing to say that the depressed fourteen year old who broke ‪up with her boyfriend who wants to die should get to die as well. ‪Otherwise this is disability discrimination, because some children get intensive suicide ‪prevention and other children don’t. ‪And it’s based only on disability, and that’s discrimination.

‪”Either it’s okay for everybody or it’s not okay. ‪It’s either one or the other. ‪But we should not be saying it’s okay for a disabled teenager to die, because people who don’t ‪have disabilities have an imagination of what quality of life should be like for a disabled person, ‪and that is poor. ‪

“Because they can’t imagine in their own heads what it would be like to live with a disability, ‪when in fact those of us living with a disability, with the same disability ‪are telling you, no, it’s really not bad. ‪There’s something else going on here because we have that lived experience. ‪We know that. ‪We are the experts in this.”

More about the struggle to save Jerika’s life is available in the NDY blog here.

Carrie’s work earned her center seat in the annual award given by New Mobility magazine which named those who fought to save Jerika as its People of the Year – The Resisters. In a drawing, the magazine depicted Carrie as the superhero she was.

Could these brain changes explain phantom limb?

By Catharine Paddock Ph.D.: For More Info, Go Here…

New research could help to explain why some people report that they experience sensation in a missing limb, following amputation.

The changes occur in the sensorimotor areas, which are the parts of the brain that process touch and other sensory signals and control movement.

The researchers found two main changes in functional sensorimotor connectivity. One affected communication between the left and right sides of the brain, and the other affected only the side of the brain that lay on the opposite side of the body to the amputation.

The journal Scientific Reports has recently published a paper on the findings.

“The brain changes in response to amputation,” says first study author Ivanei E. Bramati, who is a medical physicist at the D’Or Institute for Research and Education in Rio, “have been investigated for years in those patients who report the phantom limb pain.”

“However, our findings show that there is a functional imbalance, even in the absence of pain, in patients reporting only phantom sensations,” he adds.

The researchers found a “pronounced reduction” in functional connectivity between the two brain hemispheres in the individuals with amputation.

They also observed an increase in functional connectivity within the hemisphere of the brain that was on the opposite side to the amputation.

It seems, the team remarks, that limb amputation causes an imbalance in the organization of the brain’s functional network.

In addition, it appears that “pain is not critical” to the types of sensorimotor changes that occur after injury to limbs.