Apparently it's tough to keep patients afflicted with deadly and highly communicable tuberculosis coming back to complete their treatment. So a while back New York City started offering incentives for doing a full course of anti-TB meds.
But now the Big Macs-for-meds deal is bumping up against another "public health" campaign. Gothamist reports:
Since 1993, the city's Health Department has been giving out fast food restaurant coupons to TB patients, as an incentive to get them to return to clinics for six-month treatment programs. It's a bit awkward, because this is the same Health Department that's launched an aggressive, multi-pronged public health campaign to educate consumers about junk food. Start the countdown for the first lawsuit from a TB patient who contracts diabetes!
In fact, protecting New Yorkers from communicable diseases is one of the few legit functions of the Health Department. Here's hoping the fear of charges of hypocrisy won't stop the city from pursing a program that seems to work. ("Since offering incentives, TB cases have declined by more than 75 percent in NYC. Of course, it's unclear to what degree the incentives directly contributed to the decline," says Gothamist.)
TB celeb and floppy haired poet John Keats clearly foresaw this development when he penned these immortal lines:
Give me women, wine, and hamburgers
Untill I cry out "hold, enough!"
You may do so sans objection
Till the day of resurrection:
For, bless my beard, they aye shall be
My beloved Trinity.
UPDATE: From the comments, far better poetry+burger parodies than mine:
A Happy Meal is a joy for ever:
Its tastiness increases; it will never
Pass into nothingness; but still will keep
Our TB quiet for us, and a sleep
Full of sweet dreams, and health, and quiet breathing.
And from The Squatting Fields:
THE BIG MACS are gone.
And those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
Those who saw the Big Macs by thousands and how they held the two all-beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions on a sesame seed bun
with their hands, their great heads down chewing on in a great pageant of dusk,
Those who saw the Big Macs are gone.
And the Big Macs are gone.