Monday, 9 April 2012

Random rightwing crap about the NHS

A rightwing American gentleman with whom I occasionally interact has drawn my attention to this story in the Daily Mail:
When Kenneth Warden was diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, his hospital consultant sent him home to die, ruling that at 78 he was too old to treat.

Even the palliative surgery or chemotherapy that could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

His distraught daughter Michele Halligan accepted the sad prognosis but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort. So she paid for him to seen privately by a second doctor to discover what could be done to ease his symptoms.
His take on it was very much that this epitomised the treatment handed out to the long suffering sick and infirm of Britain by the Stalinist monstrosity of the NHS. I mean, what could be more apalling inhuman than the supposed cradle-to-grave welfare state telling a suffering elderly man to go away and die more quickly, and not be such a burden on the rest of us? Death panels in action!

Only, this interpretation of the tale relies on omitting a rather crucial passage further down the Mail's account:
Though neither Michele nor her father had private medical insurance, the new consultant arranged for Kenneth to have the operation on the NHS at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Birmingham.
In other words, the fault is not with the NHS, but with the individual consultant who rushed to his diagnosis and refused to consider the case on its merits. I'm willing to guess such practices aren't limited to the NHS, and might even occur rather frequently in a health care 'system' where profit is put before people.

May good health attend Mr Warden, his plucky daughter, and the NHS, for many years to come.

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