Sep 04 2009

A Grim Look Inside Government Rationed Health Care

Published by at 8:03 am under All General Discussions,Obamacare

I need to start this post with a heart felt recognition for doctors and nurses. I once dabbled with the idea of going into medicine, before I admitted to myself that the bottomless well of emotional stamina and caring required for those jobs was just not something I had. Scientifically I probably had the skills, but to face people in need all day every day was not something I could do without turning off all my emotions and treating patients like problems. It was a step I decided I could not take.

I just want to make that clear because this report I have been reading about the UK’s National Health Service problems and its treatment of the elderly is very tough reading. All I can say is the health care I have had to deal with for my elderly parent’s here in the states was nothing like the nightmare I am reading about. To truly appreciate what we have here in America, it is usually necessary to see what the rest of the world deals with. This is a prime ‘teaching’ experience.

To understand what the very naive on the far left want to sell us in terms of Obamacare, one needs to see the result of a ‘public option’ in our sister country, the UK. Here are some excerpts of real life incidents that tell the tale of bureaucrat run health care solutions:

Toilets were not cleaned properly with faeces clearly left from several previous uses. My sister often had to clean them herself before she’d let my father use them. My father’s swallowing wasn’t safe because of his stroke but drinks of orange juice and water were supplied when the counter instruction over the bed was nil by mouth. We saw dirty and blood stained food trays. We saw soiled and dirty linen left on floors and mixed with fresh supplies. Personal items for his own comfort frequently went missing.

His catheter bag was not changed when it was full, sometimes after nursing staff had seen it needed changing. It wasn’t secured properly, meaning it dragged along the floor at times. He wasn’t shaved or showered regularly. We had to bring in a blanket for him because he was cold in bed. Perhaps most importantly as he had suffered a minor stroke and had difficulty using his left arm, besides a walk to the toilet, he was given no rehabilitation exercises.

We witnessed similar problems for other patients on the ward. Patients didn’t seem to be getting enough assistance with eating and drinking. We saw patients with food and drink, spilt down their chests, struggling to manage on their own.

It is a series of heart wrenching stories that I doubt happen here in the US at the same level it seems they happen in the vaunted UK’s ‘public option’. It should be noted the the NHS in the UK is avoided by most with the means to purchase private health insurance. It is free, universal and it is avoided. Tells you something about government rationed health care, doesn’t it.

I sometimes wonder (as have a couple of our readers) whether this debate on Health Care will change America’s system or the UK’s? I know which one I would change.

Update: I followed a link in the report to this article:

Most patients are frail and elderly and not in a fit state for the operation, it said. A major factor affecting survival chances is how quickly the hospital operates on the patient. The Royal College of Physicians recommends operations should be done within 24 hours.

Hospitals with high death rates had 22% of patients, on average,waiting for more than two days, while those with low death rates had only 14% waiting that long.

Apparently in the NHS they have such a backlog of patients in the queue for surgery that it is tough to get Emergency Room (ER) patients (what they call A&E) in the queue. It turns out that the rationing causes long delays in getting the needed surgery, leading to death in many cases. Having taken my own mother through a broken hip on one fall and a broken arm/wrist on a second, I can tell you that immediate care is imperative.

4 responses so far

4 Responses to “A Grim Look Inside Government Rationed Health Care”

  1. WWS says:

    Well, we sure can’t believe any of this, since the New York Times sez it isn’t so.

    “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.”

    Hey, would Paul Krugman ever lie to you just to advance his own political agenda?

    And of course, since he’s Paul Krugman!!!! he doesn’t need any steenkin’ evidence – if Paul Krugman proclaims it from on high, it MUST be true!!!

  2. WWS says:

    another thought:

    “It turns out that the rationing causes long delays in getting the needed surgery, leading to death in many cases.”

    As they say, that’s not a bug, that’s a FEATURE!! What better way is there to cut down on all that wasteful surgery on old people? That’s the way the NHS is thinking, I guarantee.

    and as to the question as to which system will change – Britain’s gone too far down the road of socialization, so far that there’s no turning back for them. This is the consequence of making very bad choices – an entire nation can be locked into a path of endless pain and suffering no matter how badly they may regret what they’ve done.

  3. conman says:


    “To understand what the very naive on the far left want to sell us in terms of Obamacare, one needs to see the result of a ‘public option’ in our sister country, the UK. ”

    The UK system is not a public option system. In the UK, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. It is more similar to the VA system in this country, which I agree is not the best option available. Nobody is proposing anything close to this type of system as part of the public option.

    Why not draw comparisons to the health care system in Germany, Japan or Switzerland, which are far more similar to the public option plan being discussed here? Why not use Medicare as an example – isn’t a U.S. government health care system covering all seniors for the last 45 years more relevant than what the UK has done? Perhaps you don’t draw these comparisons because they don’t support your fear-mongering campaign?

    Really AJ, you been beating on the “UK system is bad” drum for weeks. Don’t you have anything else to say? If all government run health care programs were that bad, wouldn’t you have some other examples? Can’t you come up with anything else?

  4. WWS says:

    The Canadian health care system stinks too, Conman. Since most Americans feel much more of a tie to the english-speaking countries than any others, it’s quite understandable for the bulk of our comparisons to be focused on them. And sorry, but I don’t know too many people who regularly read Stern. But I don’t see you telling us how wonderful health care is in Russia, which has had the longest experience with this kind of system.

    And if you want a REALLY good and accurate description of the system you and Obama are advocating, I suggest this one from the Concise Encyclopedia of Economics.

    “Where socialism sought totalitarian control of a society’s economic processes through direct state operation of the means of production, fascism sought that control indirectly, through domination of nominally private owners. Where socialism nationalized property explicitly, fascism did so implicitly, by requiring owners to use their property in the “national interest”—that is, as the autocratic authority conceived it. (Nevertheless, a few industries were operated by the state.) Where socialism abolished all market relations outright, fascism left the appearance of market relations while planning all economic activities. Where socialism abolished money and prices, fascism controlled the monetary system and set all prices and wages politically.”

    (not surprising that the Germans and Japanese never really did give up their love for this type of thing)