How A Stubborn Pediatrician Forced The State To Take Flint’s Water Crisis Seriously
For almost two years, the residents — and more alarmingly, children — of Flint, Michigan, were exposed to dangerously high levels of lead via the city’s tap water.
And were it not for the heroic actions of one passionate pediatrician — who side-stepped the bureaucracy and made a startling discovery — the poisoning, which is likely to have devastating long-term consequences, almost certainly would have continued.
Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, the 39-year-old whistleblower and director of the pediatric residency program at the Hurley Medical Center in Flint, says what she’s gone through over the last several months has “shattered” her trust in government.
“This poisoning of an entire population was entirely preventable,” she told The Huffington Post.
The people of Flint began complaining about their tap water’s smell, appearance and taste after the city switched its water source from the Detroit system to the Flint River in 2014.
An investigation led by Marc Edwards, a civil engineering professor from Virginia Tech, showed water samples from Flint homes contained dangerous amounts of lead — a deadly neurotoxin that can cause brain damage in children — but still government leaders insisted the water was safe.
Edwards’ findings inspired Hanna-Attisha to conduct her own analysis. Using her hospital’s records, Hanna-Attisha found that the number of Flint children with elevated blood-lead levels had doubled and, in some areas, tripled since the city’s switch to its new water supply, as the Detroit Free Press reported.
Given the magnitude of the situation, Hanna-Attisha and her team chose not to take the typical approach of waiting for their findings to be published in a medical journal. Instead, they immediately held a press conference.
“[We] had an ethical, moral, professional responsibility to <a target="_blank" href="http://www.democracynow.org/2016/1/15/flint_doctor_mona_hanna_attisha_on" —> Read More