Sedona, Arizona
October 21, 2007

Changing the face of 21st century media for Sedona, Arizona and America

with narrative journalism, in-depth news analysis, live video updates and thought-provoking commentary

From Hippocrates to Hypocrisy

The national health care debacle
is alive and well on the local level

Sedona ”SiCKO” stories reflect personal tragedies and insurance industry atrocities

Area nurses rally against medical monopolies, patient neglect and workplace abuse



Local health-care horror stories point to a system that values profit over human life.

CLICK HERE to submit your anonymous health care testimonial.


A truthful and frightening report from the National Coalition on Health Care

THE ECONOMICS OF BREAST CANCER: The poster child for health-care reform


Nurses, doctors and other health-care staff speak out about patient neglect, hospital shortcomings and their everyday challenges.




Find out what you can do!

HR 676 - Is this the national remedy?


A Little Child Shall Lead Them - Quality health care must begin with children first.

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Listen to real live SiCKO-style health-care horror stories submitted to The Sedona Observer by local residents and documented by award-winning Sedona filmmaker Stephen DeVol.

Dimarco Story - click here

Drake Story - click here

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Letters and Editorials: Stop feeding the medical industry's cancerous greed. Plus: Let the media revolution begin! Finally - a newspaper that's committed to the common good instead of ad revenues.

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Barking Up the Wrong Tree? Residents protest as sycamores make way for ADOT road expansion. What did we learn as a community?


Secrets of the Sycamores:

There's more to trees than meets the visible eye.


From SiCKO to

the Sycamores

What do tree challenges have in common with health-care issues? Plenty. The Sedona Observer looks beneath the surface to expose the underlying root of both problems in this commentary.

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Arizona members of the National Nurses Organizing Committee rally for a union at Flagstaff Medical Center. Michael Moore supports nurses and testifies at the California State House on SB840 and the need for health-care reform.

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Save our school libraries!

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As the sixth anniversary of 9/11 came and went, most Americans tried to put all the disturbing memories behind them. Yet, for others, too many perturbing questions still remain in need of further investigation. Writer Carl Weis seeks the truth in this compelling article.

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Make the Connection

John Neville of Sustainable Arizona writes about how we, as individuals and as a community, can live more sustainably and find greater balance in our lives.

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Dare to Transcend! Professional life coach, author, mediator and divorce attorney Lori Rubenstein offers coping tools and relationship wisdom for men and women of all ages, with insightful excerpts from her empowering new book.


The Sedona Observer

Restoring 18th Century

Journalism Principles and

the Moral Responsibility

of the Fourth Estate for

the Common Good



 Freedom of Speech

Freedom of the Press



New Media for the

21st Century


Sedona resident Raymond B. looks out over the city from the deck of his home - one he fears he may lose as a result of staggering medical bills incurred after an accident. He and many others across the Verde Valley have submitted testimonials to The Sedona Observer about the health-care horrors ruining their lives. Hear Ray's story and others in the "SiCKO in Sedona" article. Photo by Catherine Rourke.

Thou shalt not be a victim. Thou shalt not be a perpetrator. Thou shalt not be a bystander.   

Sign in the Holocaust Museum, Washington, D.C.

This is not just a story about health-care horrors. Nor is it a series of anecdotes written by exasperated Americans, insured or not, under a broken and debauched medical system. Rather, it is a story about how we have gone from Hippocrates to hypocrisy, creating a monstrous industry that favors currency over human life.

It is a story about what happens when we sleepwalk in the false comfort zones of self-absorbed complacency and mediocrity, in stonewalled silence and blind allegiance to a system that fooled us into thinking it was synonymous with care and compassion. It is also about what actions we need to take when we suddenly wake up from our hibernation of delusion.

No immunity

Rich or poor, male or female, black or white – no one is immune from the gluttony of today’s health industry agendas that reduce us all to cogs in the wheels of profit instead of human beings in need of wellness.

What we need is health care, not health insurance.

As other issues continue to divide Americans – the war, immigration, abortion, gay marriage – this is the singular one that unites us all. Neither young nor old can escape the devastating scourge and havoc that our system wreaks on human lives, and perhaps it is the children who are suffering the most.

Violations of Hippocratic ethics

Never before in our history has any one issue posed such a paradox. Health care has become the greatest contradiction to democracy and a detriment to public health – emotionally as well as physically. We have gone from Hippocrates to hypocrisy as profit-based allopathic practices clash with the founding ethics of medicine itself.

Hippocratic medicine embraces the following principles: “Do no harm;” maintain absolute regard for life; avoid abuse of privilege; and honor the respect for privacy. In addition, Hippocratic medicine upholds behavior that is “pious, serene” and centering solely on the individual.

How many of these qualities have you experienced in your health-care experience? There is nothing pious or serene about the testimonials that appear in this newspaper. Instead, words like “callous” and “chaotic” come to mind.

The Pavlovian response to treating every condition with a pharmaceutical drug instead of addressing preventative or natural means conflicts with the Hippocratic “Do no harm” commandment. So does dumping hospital patients on the street, denying people proper care, emptying their bank accounts and depleting their assets – while leaving them still without the proper treatment.

Mischief and corruption

To “abstain from every voluntary act of corruption and mischief” is another Hippocratic principle continually violated by today's health-care industry. The funding of medical studies by drug companies, inhumane insurance company practices and the unscrupulous industry lobbying certainly represent rampant “voluntary acts of corruption and mischief.”

The medical industry has also eroded the Hippocratic “respect for privacy” since insurance companies bully doctors and patients, accessing every shred of medical history and using it as ridiculous excuses to deny coverage to those in need.

Some health laws, such as those regarding communicable diseases, have also created a new form of leprosy in our society. The public scourge that AIDS patients experience represents just one example of this failure to honor the Hippocratic “respect for privacy.”

An insidious pandemic

Greed may already be rampant at the gas pump and in the housing market. But, when sticker shock seeps into the surgical suites of local hospitals and subsequently into the bill pile of the average person who is already struggling under the burden of high prices, it becomes as insidious as an infectious disease.

With 50 million Americans and 1 million Arizonans uninsured, we face the greatest disgrace in our nation’s history. Sadly, nearly 300,000 children in Arizona lack any form of health care.

While some may say it’s a small number compared to the 250 million who do have insurance, one person foregoing health care is one too many.

Multiply the number of insured times the average monthly cost for health-care premiums and you get a figure so huge that it’s unfathomable. That offers an idea of the leviathan proportions of health-care industry profits.


                                                                                 Photo by HealthcarePhotos.com

The new Holocaust

SiCKO shows how the profiteering of health care has become too big for its britches. And, according to the horror stories from area residents and the testimonials submitted by regional health-care workers, it has reached the breaking point right here in northern Arizona, destroying the lives of neighbors, friends and relatives in our very back yard.

Their stories tell us that we have a government and health system that does not value human life. Instead, our leaders choose to allocate $200 billion of our tax dollars annually on the war. While as a nation we condemn other countries for genocide and inhumanity and assume the responsibility for “fighting terrorism,” we turn around and destroy the lives of our very own citizens.

Terrorism lies not in the streets of Baghdad but right here on our own soil, in our small towns and big cities – in our medical clinics, health insurance companies, credit bureaus, hospital administrations and collection agencies. It lurks in the hearts of all Americans living in fear of physical and financial devastation, from a small cut to the common cold and even cancer.

We have become the very tyrants we condemn and we have created a new form of death camps – for the uninsured and underinsured. Refusing to give Americans health care is another form of terrorism. We have created a new Holocaust.

What would our forefathers say?

What would Ben Franklin, Thomas Paine or any of the other 18th century revolutionary philosophers write about our problems? What would Jesus say to us in the face of this health-care havoc?

There is one visionary who spoke to us about health care long ago – Martin Luther King, Jr. He said: Of all the forms of inequality, injustice in health care is the most shocking and inhumane - echoing the thoughts of many Americans today.

Back to the future

The health-care debacle also brings to mind "The History Channel," which highlights centuries of man’s folly and inhumanity in themed specials such as "Roman Vice" or "The Vikings: Barbarism Strikes Northern Europe."

Apparently, little has changed in 2,000 years as we find much in common between the fall of Rome and our current democracy, or better yet, empire.

Are we living some future presentation for upcoming generations to shake their heads at, as we do now over many historic atrocities, wondering: What were they thinking back then? How could a great civilization degenerate to such shocking behavior and cruelty?

Nero fiddles - at medical insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, hospitals and the White House - while Rome burns. And still give the "thumbs down" death sentence as health insurance firms deny medical claims for countless Americans and access to affordable care for 45 million other uninsured citizens.


"The History Channel" might have us convinced that we have overcome our shameful ways of the past – slavery, tyranny, oppression and the divine right of kings. But the reality of our current health-care and socioeconomic conditions suggests that these are not just ancient paradigms. The only thing that has changed is the setting, century and costume.

The new slavery

As the cost of health care soars out of control, Americans' wages cannot possibly keep up while they’re supposed to save for retirement at the same time. Most financial advice columns only serve the wealthy and remain blind to the economic reality of the average working family.

Living in such economic terror is not democracy, nor is it freedom. It's enslavement.

This new form of slavery lies in the grip of insurance premiums, deductibles, hospital bills, pharmaceutical costs, medical expenses and the resulting debt. With virtually an entire nation of people shackled to a cruel and unjust health-care system, we have instilled tyranny right in our everyday midst.

We have oppression at the gas pumps and in our pathetic paychecks. We see tyranny in mandatory unpaid overtime, media censorship, understaffed hospitals, jammed emergency rooms and a profit-oriented penal system.

We have a political leadership that has sold us into slavery to the pharmaceutical companies, bounding and gagging us into complacency while allowing health industry thugs to rob us of everything – including our dignity.




The site was paid for by an 86-year-old woman (who is battling cancer on a fixed income) because she believes that the media and medical industry both need major change. So we dedicate this site to her also.

We do not accept advertising to prevent outside control of our editorial content. So we're not making a penny off this publication.

How about making a donation to support a free press? That way we can hire more professional journalists and offer them a living wage for their contributions.

No amount is too small. If every reader gave just one dollar, we could pay a couple of writers to help us create some riveting articles. If every reader gave five dollars, we could publish a lot more often.

Click here to make a donation or to sponsor a free press.

The Sedona Observer extends special acknowledgement to Barbara Hansen of HealthcarePhotos.com for images appearing here and on the health-care workers testimonial page. Thank you, Barbara, and all those writers and artists who made a contribution. See our Masthead and Bios on the WHO page for more information.

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Thought-provoking content

More news, lively features, intriguing interviews, compelling commentaries - plus new sections on politics, education, medicine, healing and higher consciousness as well as an interactive blog - all designed to make you THINK! We're publishing every other month during our initial stages until funding supports our production on a more frequent basis.


Future stories will focus on the truth behind local and regional issues such as immigration, water, the economy, workplace, development, upcoming elections, labor, the environment and more.

Health Care Coverage

Read riveting investigative reports and testimonials about patient neglect submitted by doctors, nurses and other medical industry professionals.


And now the good news:

Health-Care Heroes


We know they're out there. Nurses, doctors, healing centers and practitioners who go the extra mile and treat people with compassion, dignity and respect. Send your suggestions and information to: editor@SedonaObserver.com.



This newspaper is dedicated to my mother and father, who taught me to always stand for my truth, remain fearless and never ever give up.

The Sedona Observer also dedicates this site to our literary heroes - writers, journalists, muckrakers and social reformers - whose work helped to shed light on the social injustices of their time: Voltaire, Thomas Paine, Henry David Thoreau, John Swinton, Jacob Riis, Upton Sinclair, Ida Tarbell, Karl Marx, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Charles Dickens and others.

Their legacy to expose corruption through the tip of their pens serves as an inspiration for our work here in these media-impaired times.

It is our intention to carry their torch and keep the spirit of muckraking alive in an era when it remains more desperately needed than ever.