A Glimmer of Pronoia for the Poor and Sick

For impoverished women with cancer, there’s a special clinic that provides alternative medicine for free.

To a poverty-stricken woman living with cancer, the thought of a free massage or acupuncture treatment to soothe her chronic pain and emotional fatigue may seem like a far-flung pipe dream.

Yet even in these hard times, angels live among us.

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Altruism Gone Wild

Meet the doctor who uprooted her life to bring universal health care to Vermont.

Richter realized that she was facing a turning point. “I didn’t want to change where I practiced just so I wouldn’t have to witness this. I knew I couldn’t continue to practice if this situation continued. I didn’t want medicine to just be for wealthy people.”

Instead of hanging up her stethoscope, she joined Physicians for a National Health Program, a leading doctors’ group that advocates for universal health care coverage with just one insurance provider—the government. “What they had to say made sense to me—24 percent of health care was spent on paperwork and transaction costs. Other countries didn’t spend that.” She eventually served as the group’s president.

More Evidence of the Conspiracy to Commit Kindness

Random strangers helping people pay their medical bills

Launched in 2008, IndieGoGo.com enables its users to share their causes and solicit donations from complete strangers. The more than 40,000 campaigns its helped launch have ranged in scope, but the health stories typically center on the same theme. The patients face crippling conditions and can’t afford the care they need.

“I think health care issues and personal health campaigns make sense, because our health care system can be very expensive sometimes,” IndieGoGo founder Slava Rubin told The New York Times. “Sometimes people just need to try a different direction to get funded what they need to get funded.”

Pure Compassion in Action

Medical clinics offer free health care to needy

“I’ve always felt health care is a human right,” said Dr. Lars Osterberg, co-medical director of the Arbor Free Clinic, a Sunday-only center run entirely by Stanford medical students and faculty. “In this country, we don’t have that right, so when I was in med school, I vowed to do something to provide it – at least for a few patients.”