Friday, August 28, 2009

Tragic Tales From The NHS


By INVESTOR'S BUSINESS DAILY | Posted Thursday, August 27, 2009 4:20 PM PT

Health Care Reform: A study by the British Patients Association tells the true story about socialized medicine in Britain. It's one of willful and woeful neglect of millions, missed diagnoses, and elderly patients left in pain.

IBD Exclusive Series: Government-Run Healthcare: A Prescription For Failure

While reading this disturbing analysis of the pitiful state of medical care in Britain in the Daily Telegraph, the Vincent Price horror classic "The Abominable Dr. Phibes" came to mind. Price portrayed a man who used bizarre methods to dispatch his victims.

The abominable British National Health Service, based on this report, is only slightly better.

The Patients Association's primary focus was the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Health Trust, where it was found that up to 1,200 people died through failings in urgent care the past six years. Their analysis was prompted by an avalanche of complaints of shameful care at the hands of the NHS.

Claire Rayner, president of the group and a former nurse, said: "For far too long now, the Patients Association has been receiving calls on our help line from people wanting to talk about the dreadful, neglectful, demeaning, painful and sometimes downright cruel treatment their elderly relatives had experienced at the hands of NHS nurses."

There was the case of 82-year-old piano teacher Pamela Goddard. She was suffering from cancer and was left to suffer in her excrement as her condition deteriorated due to bed sores.

Before Florence Weston died at age 85, she remained without food or water as her scheduled hip replacement operation was repeatedly canceled.

Katherine Murphy, director of the Patients Association, said: "If this was extrapolated to the whole of the NHS from 2002 to 2008 it would equate to over 1 million patients. Very often these are the most vulnerable elderly and terminally ill patients. It is a sad indictment of the care they receive."

Daniel Bates at England's Daily Mail newspaper reported on one of our favorite examples of the glories of socialized medicine. He wrote about Mark Wattson, who after weeks of excruciating pain was happy to get his appendix removed — or so he thought. Doctors told him the operation was a success and sent him home.

Bates wrote: "Only a month later the 35-year-old collapsed in agony and had to be taken back to Great Western Hospital in Swindon by ambulance. To his shock, surgeons from the same team told him that not only was his appendix still inside him, but it had ruptured — a potentially fatal complication." Oops.

Under the NHS system, according to an analysis by the Rare Cancers Forum printed in the Daily Telegraph, about 1,000 victims of rare forms of cancer were denied drug treatment the past three years. Reason? NHS bureaucrats had not licensed them for their particular form of cancer.

Stella Pendleton, executive director of the charity, said: "The NHS is forcing desperate patients into the cruel situation where the chances of their being given the treatment they need depend on where they live. No patient should be denied a treatment recommended by a doctor simply because the cancer it treats is too rare for the medicine to be licensed."

The Daily Mail reports that thousands of British women are forced to give birth outside maternity wards due to a shortage of midwives and hospital beds. Some 4,000 women last year, up 15% from the year before, were forced to give birth in places ranging from elevators to toilets, putting the lives of mothers and babies at risk.

Meanwhile, it has been reported that up to one-third of health care trusts in Britain are importing doctors from as far away as Poland, Lithuania, Germany, Hungary, Italy and Switzerland because of a shortage of doctors willing to work in the evenings and on weekends.

An increasing number of British patients are being treated by exhausted foreign doctors with a poor command of English. Alarms went off after a German doctor brought in with just three hours of sleep had two patients die on his first shift in Britain.

Nigerian-born Dr. Daniel Ubani had just three hours' sleep after traveling from Germany to a shift in Cambridgeshire. He injected 70-year-old kidney patient David Gray with 10 times the recommended dose of morphine, and an 86-year-old woman died of a heart attack after Dr. Ubani failed to send her to a hospital.

Three days after Health Secretary Andrew Burnham falsely claimed on the BBC, "We have no waiting lists now in the NHS, and people have full choice of NHS hospitals," it was revealed that the government's own figures show that 236,316 people are waiting more than 18 weeks for a range of treatments, including oral surgery, rheumatology and basic geriatric medicine.

It's no surprise then to discover that while breast cancer in America has a 25% mortality rate, in Britain it's almost double at 46%. Prostate cancer is fatal to 19% of American men who get it. In Britain it kills 57% of those it strikes. We are not making this up.

These are not cherry-picked stories, but rather daily life under the NHS. In the U.S., trial lawyers would have a field day as demands mounted for such deaths to stop until the system was overhauled.

As we said a week ago, this is what inevitably happens under all forms of socialized medicine.

No wonder that Daniel Hannan, a member of the European Parliament from Britain, has called the NHS a "60-year mistake" and encouraged "Americans to ponder our example and tremble."

When asked about ObamaCare on Fox News, Hannan said: "I find it incredible that a free people living in a country dedicated and founded in the cause of independence and freedom can seriously be thinking about adopting such a system."

And President Obama says it is our system that's unsustainable. We have seen the future of health care, and it doesn't work.

1 comment:

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