Gangrene

I’ve been debating whether or not to post this… it seems rather un-grace-ful. But I believe it is truth-ful. So here goes:

Imagine that someone you care about has been diagnosed with gangrene.

It’s in their foot. Several toes have already turned black and the infection is spreading. Radical surgical intervention will be needed. The patient finally agrees to the surgery… but only allows a single toe to be removed.

After the surgery, the patient is excited and acts as if the treatment is complete. After all, the toe was in bad shape, and now it had been dealt with. There would be no question in anybody’s mind that the amputated toe was infected and needed to go. Pathology reports would back this up. But unless ALL of the dead, diseased tissue is removed, the patient is no better for having undergone the procedure.

If this seems like a ridiculous scenario… I agree. It is ridiculous. No sane human being would do that to himself. The decision would be difficult, there would be a time of mourning for the lost limb, but the sacrifice would be made for the preservation of the rest of the body. Denying the existence of the disease or failing to take adequate measures to stop it would be a death sentence.

Yet organizations do this all the time: when an issue becomes so obvious that it requires drastic action, someone will be sacrificed. But if the amputated toe is not the source of the infection or the only location of the infection, the underlying condition will remain the same. And if the ultimate source of the infection also happens to be the one making the decisions… well… good luck with that.

So don’t ask me if I’m glad the infected toe is gone. I’m not. And I’m not optimistic that the patient will ever return to full health.

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