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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  September 25, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT

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thanks for joining us. "america tonight" is up next. i'll be back in an hour with more news. on maintain, medical mistakes with lines in the balance. how often lives are put at risk by bad medicine, far more than you might think. also the church and state. plosions don't want them to cross it but the pope took a hard line. will his words last after he's
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gone? >> how long do you think his message will resonate? how long does it stay in the political sphere? >> "america tonight's" sheila macvicar on the impact of the pope on american politics. thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen. washington, d.c. is a city with a lot of talkers but this week stop to listen to the worldly message of a divine visitor. pope francis began his nation tour i in the nation's capital. the leader of the 1.2 billion catholics was determined to have his stay. now that he's moved on we'll consider whether this outsider's message will stick in a city of insiders. "america tonight's" sheila macvicar. >> it was opicture with a purpose. the pope's vehicle of choice that dinky fiat dwarfed by the
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suvs of the secret service, sending a message loud and clear that this is a pontiff more at home with the powerless than with the corridors of power. >> we think we're the center of the world. we're not the center of pope francis's world. >> john carr is director of the initiative of catholic social thought and public life at georgetown university. >> the message is we're going to appeal to people' people's cons, not their interests. he's not playing politics the way washington plays politics but is he dealing with political matters and his call is to see those through lens of the person, not the political. and that's revolutionary in washington. >> the pope of the holy see!
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>> reporter: the pope's speech to congress defied usual capital calculus of left or right, democrat or republican, blue or red. >> i am most grateful for the invitation. >> even though he addressed many of the most politically charged issues of the day, climate change, abortion, the death penalty and that subject of so much talk on the campaign trail immigrants. >> we, the people of this continent, are not fearful of foreigners. because most of us were once foreigners. i say, this to you: as the son of immigrants. knowing that so many of you are also descendants of immigrants. >> reporter: cameras caught senator marco rubio, the son of immigrants wiping a tear from
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his eye. butter on the campaign trail the gop contender, six of high school are catholics, have around immigration reform, some have urged walls. >> thousands of south americans have been urged northward for loved once in search of greater opportunity. it is not what we want. for our own children. we must not be taken aback by the numbers. but rather, view them as persons. >> you could see sort of the divide across party lines. >> emma green is managing leader of where she
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writes about religion and politics. >> he was tapping into the minds of a lot, speaking about immigration in the way he always speaks which is talking through personal relationships. >> i true and a son of this great continent. >> account words of a pope, the words of this pope have any capacity to change opinions, to change views, to change policies? >> i think those in the republican party are put in somewhat awkward position by the pope. he is the single most popular religious person on the planet. their base is not willing to reconcile with some of the positions and world views that francis like to purport. >> he looks at everything from the bottom up, from the outside in. whether it's economics or environment or global issues.
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that way, of looking at the world, has some sustained power. it's not way washington does things. we worry about the rich and powerful. but it is the way faith calls us, and frankly, it's what the common good calls us. >> rudy lopez, a catholic and executive director of interfaith workers justice sees opportunity in the pontiff's bottom-up approach. >> what the pope is talking about is dignity. what he's talking about is looking at the worker as a whole. which also means their ability to have enough money to provide for their family. so if we can agree on the principles of what dignity means then we can have a conversation about policy. it's an opportunity that then begins a conversation, what does that look like? and to be able to reach to our conservative brothers and sisters as well as our progressive ones to say what kind of position can we craft and weave together that
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represents those values. >> from his tiny car to choosing lunch with washington's homeless rather than powerful elite, speaks loudly, but if democrats think their agenda especially on climate change line up with the pope, he made one position, to this community of nuns, of all the organizations, pope francis chose little sisters of the poor. >> the little sisters of the poor, they are the poster sisters for this religious liberty movement and they're saying i have an objection of conscience about this issue of birth control. but i think the second speaks a little to his subtle politics. the pope is a catholic.
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not lining up as a republican or democrat. he has a set of concerns that he cares about as a pastor and as a catholic thee loge a theologian. >> cafeteria catholics on the leftnd the right and maybe the pope is the person who can remind us that there is a consistency and a wholeness to catholic doctrine. >> michael hitchborn is president of the la ponto institute, an institute dedicated to defending the catholic church. >> what concerns knee most is how other politicians or other even clergymen are going to use snippets of what the pope says in order to push a particular agenda or idea which may or may not be in line with church teaching. >> reporter: the focus on the importance of this pope's words and actions is specially in a
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politically charged atmosphere of washington and in the atmosphere of the 2016 presidential campaign do show thowch country has changed. from the days of america's first presidential candidate then senator john kennedy had to reassure voters of his independence of thought. >> i believe in america where the separation of church and state is absolute, where no catholic prelate would tell the president, should he be catholic how to act and no protestant minister would tell his president how to vote. >> to america, the words of pope francis are used to bolster on action ef climate change where voters hope they will have an impact. >> i think he'll make a difference in congress by changing the conversation. >> it's not going to change
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everything overnight. people still think what they think but i think it's going to start influencing people. >> reporter: how long do you think his message will resonate? how long does it stay in the political sphere? >> i don't think pope francis ends all the divisions. i hope he gives a pause to the bickering and the sort of seizing every issue for political advantage. maybe they could take a step back. and think about what would be best, not just for their party, but for their people and for our country. if we could actually get people to step out of their ideologic boxes and their political posturing, that might be francis's first miracle. we can hope. >> thank you very much, and god bless america. >> sheila macvicar, al jazeera, washington. >> the speaker of the house john
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boehner announced his resignation. pope francis had come to the capital on speaker boehner's invitation, a big moment for a committed catholic. after that bjorn says he has boo accomplish, he's signing off at the end of next month. the waiting list is months now. not better, no it can't be better we've got an epidemic on our hands. >> a preview of soledad o'brien's look at that epidemic. later life at risk, a new report on how often patients suffer bad medicine. and hot on "america tonight's" website, seeking the pope's message and how it might help the most disprip desperate, on
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>> our reporting here on "america tonight" has taken us into the heart of a disturbing epidemic, heroin in the u.s. striking lard in places it hadn't often before, especially in suburban america like cincinnati, ohio where the new face of heroin addiction is young white and well off. a snapshot of what's happening there from our special correspondent soledad o'brien. >> charlotte webbington lost her son casey to a heroin overdose when he was 23. >> when dit become very clear that in fact not only was he using heroin but he had heroin
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addiction? >> it became clear the night that casey called and said mom i need help. >> what was the help? >> he wanted to get him into treatment. >> reporter: but when you tried to arrange for treatment for your son who had heroin addiction they said what? >> they wouldn't allow us treatment for casey because it he was over the age of 18. we were told that we were trying to take his rights away from him. >> by getting him into treatment. >> by getting him into treatment. >> treatment he wanted. >> and needed. >> were you trying to take his rights away? >> we were trying to give him the right to live. >> casey then called the detox unit but was told that there were no beds available. they went to another he center but had to play $3,000 in advance to get him in.
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she heard that he wanted to leave. she asked for an intervention. they pushed their bodies back from the desk and said, if he doesn't want to stay, there's nothing we can do. >> casey started using again, he would overdose three times. the doctors told charlotte there was no hope. we had to make a heart wrenching decision. >> we took him off of life support. that's something that or the meantormentsme. it wasn't until casey was in a coma that we were asked what we wanted to do. charlotte was angry that she couldn't get the help that he needed. >> do you think casey was
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failed? >> yes. >> who failed him? >> it was a systems failure. >> so charlotte dedicated herself to change the system. go to jail if they left treatment early. law is now known as casey's law named after the son charlotte couldn't save. >> and i know that there's a lot of people that are living in recovery today, because of casey's law. is does work. >> reporter: charlotte also counsels other families. since casey's death there still aren't enough spaces in treatment centers available. how has the waiting list changed in that time? >> the waiting list is months now. >> not better? >> no, it can't be better. we've got an epidemic on our hands. it's gotten progressively worse. >> reporter: charles also
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believes the stigma associated with heroin use is fooulings the epidemic. >> stigma is what keeps this a secret and what kills people. >> she argues, the health care industry needs to start treating heroin addiction as a tease like cancer or diabetes. >> we don't have the system of care the standard of care that we have for addiction as any other chronic progressive potentially fatal disease. >> she and her husband jim have been educating the plirveg about the disease of heroin addiction by transforming their son casey's 1967 vw bus into a mobile clinic. they also hold out the overdose preventing drug narcan. or moloxone. >> could you turn his death into
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something positive? >> it's another way soledad of keeping casey's memory alive. >> you can see the full documentary, heroin u.s.a. a soledad o'brien special report this sunday at 10:00 p.m. eastern on al jazeera america. next when doctors' mistakes put lives at risk. and dangers on the assembly line. next week on "america tonight," a look at the communities and people risking their own safety so we can have tvs and other goods. what's happening behind the screen. tuesday on "america tonight."
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>> a big fear about medical treatment in this country is the very real worry that someone will get it wrong. major new study finds that americans can expect to suffer at least one medical misdiagnosis in their lifetime. sometimes there are no serious consequences but researchers studying the issue find that it is more common and it does generate more lawsuits than you might think. too often there are tragic even deadly consequences. as "america tonight's" lori jane gliha found in her look at the risks. >> reporter: in many ways, tara robson is your typical 20-something. she leads aan active life in fact training for a half marathon. she gets out and about with her fiancee matt, walks her dog, but
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not that long ago the 20-year-old from roots town iowa, found herself in the emergency room, unable to move and about to learn diagnosis. >> i got tired picking up like ten toys. this was exhausting. it got worse. >> after a pain filled sleepless night tara saw a doctor at a local medical center. >> he said you're a little bit guested. he asked if i wanted muscle relaxers, i said i'll get over it. i was still miserable, i remember calling my fiancee, i was balling my eyes out but it hurt to cry, i couldn't sniff my nose without it hurting.
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>> reporter: tara was convinced this was more tha morn that. the cat scan. >> he saw 21 blood clots in my lungs. there was 11 on one side and ten on the other side. >> tara learned she had a hereditary blood clotting disorder. the national institutes of health says, most will die within hours of the clots forming. >> it scared me the most was just that i could have been gone. that wouldn't have been here to be with my fiancee, we have been here seven years, what would he have done. my mom and dad, i'm the only child, what would they have done? my stuff is still here but i'm not, that's really scary. >> what's also scary for many americans is just how common
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misdiagnoses like tara's are. >> i'm pretty confident this is the diagnosis. >> dr. hardeep singh is a physician in houston, texas. he leads a team of researchers studying misdiagnosis. his latest study shows in review of 190 cases in primary care settings, more than a third had diagnostic errors. >> no matter how you look at it, it is a stanle substantially lar that we did not expect. there was not one disease that stood out but there were so many, 68 types of different diagnoses that we found that were missed in the primary care setting. >> dr. singh found that the main reason doctors get it wrong is
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how little they spent with the patients. the pressure to see even more patients are fueled by the medical system where doctors are paid by the visit. helen haskel spends a lot of time thinking about a physician's time and attention. ever since she admitted her 15-year-old son lewis to a hospital to straighten his breast bone. >> we were very nervous to wait for the surgery to finish. we thought that was the moment of highest risk so when he came out and everything seemed to have gone all right we were relieved. it was the third morning after surgery a few minutes after he had been given an injection of toredol. >> toredol is a powerful painkiller that has known risks. >> he suddenly developed
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excruciating pain in his upper abdomen. beads of sweat popping out on hi skin and he got big black circles under his eyes. i kept asking for the doctor. this young doctor comes in and examines lewis and he says this is just constipation. lewis was in serious condition no matter what the cause was. and they weren't taking that condition seriously. >> the boy had developed a serious perv perch perv perfora. >> he leaned over and he said, it's going black. i said what, and he said it again. and his words were slurred. he said, it's going black. and then he arcs into cardiac arrest. he's just all at odd angles.
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and that was -- that was the last thing he ever said. just was a gigantic hospital that was supposed to be expert in its field and nobody could recognize that a patient was dying. >> the medical university of south carolina in charleston took steps to make amends. starting with an award of almost $1 million to lewis's family. in addition, the hospital built a high tech simulation lab to better diagnose and treat people in their care. the simulation lab is a step forward, as is the lewis blackman patient safety act, a 2005 south carolina state law that she lobbied for which mandates that a hospital doctor has to come when a patient's family calls. but for helen haskel, it's a small victory.
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she's dismayed by how often mistakes still happen. >> there's a part of me that thinks that some day it will change. but i'm not sure what it will take for that to happen. >> that report brought to us by "america tonight's" lori jane gliha. and that is "america tonight." please tell us what you think at talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back, we'll have more of "america tonight" tomorrow. >> this is another significant
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