1/09/2009

British National Health Service Outrage

From the UK Daily Mail:

A vulnerable patient starved to death in an NHS hospital after 26 days without proper nourishment.
Martin Ryan, 43, had suffered a stroke which left him unable to swallow.
But a 'total breakdown in communication' meant he was never fitted with a feeding tube. It was one of a number of horrific cases where the NHS fatally failed patients with learning difficulties, a health watchdog is expected to rule later this month.
Emma Kemp, 26, was denied cancer treatment that could have saved her life, while 30-year-old Mark Cannon died two months after being admitted to hospital with a broken leg.

Three other cases followed similar patterns, with warnings ignored or problems missed until it was too late, often because the patients had difficulty communicating.

Ann Abraham, the Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman, is expected to deliver a withering verdict in her report.

Sources said the overall picture of neglect that it paints is devastating.

Campaigners will seize on the findings as evidence of a wider problem of institutional discrimination in the health service.

The father of one man who died, who was just 20, said: 'People like my son are treated as less than human'.

The six cases were first highlighted by the disability charity Mencap in a report entitled Death By Indifference. . . . .

Tory spokesman Anne Milton said: 'Unfortunately we are still seeing some pretty shocking cases where people's needs have been neglected and they are not gaining equal access to the NHS.

'Although these might be isolated incidents, every case like this is one too many.

'This is another deeply worrying example of how the Government has yet to get to grips with providing first-class care for everyone, including people with disabilities.'

Mr Ryan, who had Down's syndrome, died in hospital in Kingston-upon-Thames.

An internal inquiry by the hospital found that doctors had thought nurses were feeding him through a tube in his nose.

By the time they found out this was not happening, he was too weak for an operation to insert a tube into his stomach.

He died in agony five days later.

Mr Ryan's distraught family, from Richmond, South-west London, are convinced he could have been saved by the correct treatment.

One relative said of him: 'Martin will always be the light of my life. He had a quirky sense of humour and oodles of charm. He was often smiling - he loved to go out, liked the movement of the coach and listening to the music.'

Death by Indifference was published in 2007 as part of Mencap's long-running Treat Me Right! campaign for better healthcare for people with learning disabilities. . . .


Thanks very much to Ed Kardauskas for this link.

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11 Comments:

Blogger The Right Guy said...

You should send this to Obama. Death by Socialism. It sounds like something Ayn Rand would come up with.

1/09/2009 9:21 PM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

So I suppose when regulations are enacted and the issue is largely fixed, you'll be posting an article about the successes of nationalize healthcare in the UK?

1/11/2009 3:13 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear forthesakeofscience:

Would you rather have the US Post Office or Fedex deliver your mail? Could you imagine how much worse the US Post Office would be if they didn't have some competition?

1/11/2009 11:59 PM  
Blogger The Right Guy said...

John:
You may want to look into this: Something like 70% of brits have secondary private health insurance so they can go directly to a doctor.

1/12/2009 7:20 AM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

The U.S. Post Office would operate just fine without competition if it were regulated well enough.

1/13/2009 2:41 AM  
Blogger John Lott said...

"The U.S. Post Office would operate just fine without competition if it were regulated well enough."

Wow, what a great idea, we should just have a government company run everything from making computers to cars, right? All we have to do is regulate them all "well enough."

1/14/2009 1:44 AM  
Blogger Cam said...

The problem in your analogy John is that health care is nothing like mail delivery. In delivering the mail the goals of maximizing profit, and getting the mail delivered quickly and efficiently are aligned. In healthcare, the goals of ensuring all citizens have a basic right to treatment, and maximizing public health ie minimizing societal costs are not aligned with a profit seeking insurance industry. There are no incentives, for example, for insurance companies to pay for preventative treatment. Furthermore the managing of risk by insurance companies increases costs over certain government run systems.

Now - did you ever figure out what the surface temperature would be without an atmosphere, but with current sun output, sunspots etc? Solving this basic problem I think would really help you to understand some of the issues involved with climate change.

1/14/2009 5:51 PM  
OpenID forthesakeofscience said...

John, I didn't say the government should run everything. I did, however, say your specific example doesn't really hold up. The Post Officer could quite easily be run to a standard that allowed its service to be considered excellent, even without competition.

1/15/2009 2:52 AM  
Blogger The Right Guy said...

Forthesakeofscience:
Have you ever worked for a civil service concern? I do and I find it's antithetical to the private sector. First and foremost is making it to retirement. Change never happens because no matter how well intentioned, well informed a new worker is coming in from the private sector, they will shortly get frustrated and trimmed down to size, bounced or leave. If a third of the people in my organization disappeared tomorrow, we probably could still do the same amount of work. You'd have to change at least a third of the staff instantly with fire pissers from the private sector and then have the leadership to let them have at it. That'll will never happen. That's why nothing really changes with new administrations. You have the same decrepit, sinecure culture. An I wrong John? It's just my experience, albeit short, and my observations of my dad being a civil servant for 39 years. Luckily I only have 3 years in the retirement system, and I hope to get the hell out, otherwise I'll need a lobotomy.

1/15/2009 4:55 PM  
Blogger John Lott said...

Dear forthesakeofscience:

The question is one of logic. Why is it good for the post office to be run by the government and not grocery stores or some other product? You just say government regulation is enough for the post office, why then isn't it enough for other areas?

The point that I would make is how inefficient the government is. Profits matter. If reward people for doing a better job, they will do a better job.

1/15/2009 11:15 PM  
Blogger The Right Guy said...

You are absolutely correct. When profit is not the primary concern, all sorts of political non-sense manifests itself. I would even say profit is a dirty word in the public sector. Thanks for the distillation John.

1/15/2009 11:46 PM  

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