Death by ‘free’ health service 2

As we have said before, beware of nationalized ‘health care’. It is not care so much as control, to the ruin of the patient/victim.

Mark Steyn writes:

This is the story of a decades-long cancer survivor who survived the cancer but died of an NHS [National Health Service] bedsore:

During four weeks of what her family describe as “torture” in a bed in East Surrey Hospital, the sore resulted in a fatal blood infection and she died on October 27.

Her son Adrian Goddard, who lives in the US, said: “She survived cancer for 40 years, then died from a bedsore.

“It is just beyond belief that they could let a bedsore develop to the point where it actually kills someone from septicaemia.”

He said the nurses seemed largely unconcerned by the growing size of the sore and his mother’s increasing pain…

“The level of crisis that attracts their attention has to be very high for them to put down their biscuits.”

When we quote stories like these at NRO [National Review Online], we get a lot of e-mail saying these are just “anecdotes.” And yes, if you look on yourself as being part of a government health system of millions of people, getting a bedsore and dying in hideous pain is no big deal in the scheme of things. But I look on myself as being part of the Mark Steyn health system. So if I get a bedsore and die, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a 100% systemic failure. The difference between government health care and a private system is that, under the latter, you’re free to say, “This dump’s filthy. I’m going to the state-of-the-art joint five miles up the road.” You may have to get out your checkbook, but ultimately the decisions are yours.

In a government system, the decisions are the bureaucrats’, and that’s that. My father is currently ill, and the health “system” is doing its best to ensure it’s fatal. When an ambulance has to be called, they take him to a different hospital according to the determinations of the bed-availability bureaucrats and which facility hasn’t had to be quarantined for an infection outbreak. At the first hospital, he picked up C Difficile. At the second, MRSA. At the third, like the lady above, he got septicaemia. He’s lying there now, enjoying the socialized health care jackpot — C Diff, MRSA, septicaemia. None of these ailments are what he went in to be treated for. They were given to him by the medical system.

Posted under Britain, Commentary, United Kingdom, United States by Jillian Becker on Monday, July 6, 2009

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  • C. Gee

    Roger in florida,
    I do hope your brother is better. What a dreadful story. How callous are the professional carers.
    Just as the education of children is irrelevant to teachers’ unions, so patient health is irrelevant – except as a hazardous working condition – to nurses’ unions.

  • roger in florida

    My Brother is currently receiving “treatment” for liver problems in an NHS facility. I believe he was left to die in his ward by the medical staff because they had decided that he was too much of a strain on their budget. Only a surprise visit by my Sister saved his life. He had been left uncovered, unfed, but watched, as his body temperature fell and he became comatose. When my Sister arrived he was numb, unconscious, freezing cold and near death, although he was in plain view of the “nurses” station.
    What is missing from this debate about nationalised against privately provided health care is any understanding that in a private system the patient is the customer. In order for a private health care enterprise to succeed customers (patients) need to be attracted, helped and returned to the general population with a positive view of their treatment. Where I live in Florida the places where quality treatment is dispensed are well known and frequented. There are crummy hospitals here, but these are mainly “County” ie socialised institutions.
    In a national health care bureaucracy there are many “fixed” costs; salaries of the bureaucrats, premium office space, conferences, top quality office furniture, computers, software, management study groups, etc. The only discretionary expenditure is on patient care, this therefore has to be controlled.
    In a private system, patient care is the font of all these other expenses which can only be afforded if patient care is excellent and customers are prepared to pay for the care given. Therefore patient care is foremost. I have seen this in action at a major US health care supplier; treatment carefully tracked, results (profitablity!) tracked, management expenses carefully controlled, in fact all the characteristics of a customer oriented professionally run business; does this sound like the NHS?
    Incidentally, Melanie Phillips has written about the metamorphis of the nursing profession from a patient care centered calling to a quasi professional cold hearted bunch of ambitious bags. I recommend reading her take on the modern “nursing profession”.