« Not Enough | Main | Some More Late Thoughts »

Could Natasha Richardson Have Lived if She had Access to a Medical Helicopter?

Yes, we all know that Natasha Richardson refused a helmet. Yes, we all know she refused medical treatment when she first fell.

However, once she did collapse, could she have been saved if she had gotten to a trauma center faster?

When Natasha Richardson collapsed, the ski resort called an ambulance that took her to the local hospital. That local hospital knew after examining her that she needed care that they didn't have. That's not unusual for small hospitals.

The problem is there isn't a medical helicopter system anywhere in the entire province of Quebec, so Richardson had to be driven by ambulance to Montreal, a 2 1/2 hour drive. Now people are asking if a medical helicopter system could have saved her. From the AP:

The province of Quebec lacks a medical helicopter system, common in the United States and other parts of Canada, to airlift stricken patients to major trauma centers. Montreal's top head trauma doctor said Friday that may have played a role in Richardson's death.

"It's impossible for me to comment specifically about her case, but what I could say is ... driving to Mont Tremblant from the city (Montreal) is a 2 1/2-hour trip, and the closest trauma center is in the city. Our system isn't set up for traumas and doesn't match what's available in other Canadian cities, let alone in the States," said Tarek Razek, director of trauma services for the McGill University Health Centre, which represents six of Montreal's hospitals.

While Richardson's initial refusal of medical treatment cost her two hours, she also had to be driven to two hospitals. She didn't arrive at a specialized hospital in Montreal until about four hours after the second 911 call from her hotel room at the Mont Tremblant resort, according to a timeline published by Canada's The Globe and Mail newspaper.

Not being airlifted directly to a trauma center could have cost Richardson crucial moments, Razek said.

What a shame. The question is why doesn't Quebec have a medical helicopter system, when some, albeit not all, provinces have them? It seems Quebec officials decided to spend their money on medical airplanes.

The Quebec government is making no excuses for the lack of a helicopter air ambulance service to transport trauma patients such as actress Natasha Richardson, who died of a head injury after skiing at Mont Tremblant this week.

Purchasing a helicopter ambulance is not a priority and there are no plans to acquire one, a government spokeswoman said yesterday.

...

Quebec decided to buy two airplanes for its air ambulance service after a report in October, 2007, called for the consolidation of ambulance services in the province and the expenditure of $10-million to improve it.

The report made no major specific recommendation regarding air ambulances, but the government decided in January of 2008 to spend $40-million on two fixed-wing aircraft.

Why would Quebec buy airplanes? They require a lot of land for a runway, whereas a helicopter can land almost anywhere, like along side a highway, which my cousin witnessed after calling 911 because of a car accident, and near a ski run. The patient could then be flown directly to the hospital instead of to another airport, which would require transport to the hospital.

In researching the cost differentials between fixed wing aircraft and helicopters for medical transport, I found this abstract from 1990:

We determined the differences in transport times and costs for patients transported by fixed-wing aircraft versus helicopter at ranges of 101 to 150 radial miles, where fixed-wing and helicopter in-hospital transports commonly overlap. Statistical analysis failed to show a significant difference between the trauma-care patients transported by helicopter (n = 109) and those transported by fixed-wing (n = 86) for age, injury severity score, hospital length of stay, hospital mortality, or discharge disability score. The times in returning patients to the receiving hospital by helicopter (n = 104) versus fixed-wing (n = 509) did not differ significantly. Helicopter transport costs per mile ($24), however, were 400% higher than those of fixed-wing aircraft with its associated ground ambulance transport costs ($6). Thus, helicopter transport is economically unjustified for interhospital transports exceeding 100 radial miles when an efficient fixed-wing service exists.

That makes complete sense. When you're strapped for cash you want to conserve that cash, so you do what is the most economical, not necessarily what's fastest. So why wasn't Richardson then driven by ambulance to Mont Tremblant International Airport and then flown to the Montreal hospital instead of driven to the smaller hospital first? Wouldn't that have been the most efficient course of action to save someone's life?

Interestingly, this report from Montreal Gazette contradicts what the Globe and Mail report says, and the Quebec government is in fact looking into implementing a medical helicopter service.

Quebec's chief coordinator of air-ambulance services says the provincial government wants to put in place a new helicopter service to provide quicker transport of trauma patients to hospitals in Montreal and Quebec City.

André Lizotte, air medical officer for the ministry of health, acknowledged in a telephone interview this afternoon that Quebec has no helicopter service feeding trauma centres in hospitals.

While he said he couldn't comment specifically on the Natasha Richardson case, he said the government wants to see the Montreal General Hospital get a helicopter pad, and wants to see the province equipped with its own helicopter transport service. Such service is relatively common outside Quebec.

"A serious analysis is underway within the ministry on these questions," he said.

Paramedics and trauma experts have been warning that a tragedy like Richardson's could happen. So the government knew the risks but still didn't do anything:

The death of actress Natasha Richardson, following a ski accident in Quebec, is raising questions about the province's emergency medical system. The actress had to be driven in an ambulance from a hospital in Sainte-Agathe to a Montreal trauma centre because unlike most provinces, Quebec has no emergency helicopter system. The trip took about an hour while a helicopter ride would allowed her to be in Montreal in 15 minutes. Paramedics and trauma experts have been warning of the problem for years, saying it could lead to unnecessary deaths. "This is like not having a fire department in a community," said Dr. Tarek Razek, head of the trauma team at the Montreal General Hospital.

Unfortunately, this is a hard lesson for a government to learn. When it is more concerned about cost saving than life saving, which is what ends up happening to all government run health care systems, you will get this kind of tragedy on top of government waste. Now the Quebec government is going to have to spend more millions of dollars in a medical helicopter system, which is what it should have done from the start, after spending the original $40 million for its seemingly useless airplane medical system.

Unfortunately, it seems Natasha Richardson and her family may have had to pay the ultimate price for this lesson.


TrackBack

TrackBack URL for this entry:
/cgi-bin/mt-tb.cgi/35027.

Comments (96)

Just to comment on one of y... (Below threshold)
Oldflyer:

Just to comment on one of your points. It probably made sense for Quebec to buy fixed wing aircraft. This is a huge province, and much of it is very sparsely settled, with few services available to the inhabitants. People focus on Montreal, but actually, there are few cities of any size in Quebec, and those are in a fairly small part of the province.

Helicopters have limited range and limited lifting capacity. Fixed wing aircraft may well be the only option to get people from remote towns to any medical facility.

I don't know if the city of Montreal has medical helicopters, they may well have. But, I can understand why fixed wing would take priority for the Provincial government. I have worked with Canadian airline pilots. Many of them got their start as "bush" pilots in the provinces.

Oldflyer, I unders... (Below threshold)

Oldflyer,

I understand that point, too. Montreal doesn't have any helicopters.

Sorry I dont have much symp... (Below threshold)
retired military:

Sorry I dont have much sympathy for her. She was offered a helmet and refused.

Same way I dont feel much sympathy for folks who dont wear helmets riding motorcycles and get killed in an automobile accident (as long as the accident is their fault).

Go out to youtube and look at the videos of skateboarders falling down, breaking arms, lets, etc. Do you ever wonder how many of those are getting treatment for unnescessary stupid injuries on the govt dime. I mean skateboarding with proper equipment is fine. Using skateboards to go down stairwell railings etc is not.

People are constantly trying to explain away the stupidity of their actions by blaming others when it doesnt work out for them. I would say the vast majority of people with aids have it because they didnt practise abstinence, and or safe sex. Yes, I know people get infected by loved ones who are fooling around, or loved ones who are IV drug users, etc etc. But they are the exception to the rule.

Bottom line is if you dont do stupid things then chances are you wont get hurt from doing something stupid.

No one is disputing that sh... (Below threshold)

No one is disputing that she didn't wear a helmet or that she refused medical treatment at first. The issue at hand here is that a government run health care system didn't have a system in place to transport her to a trauma facility in a timely fashion.

This is not only bad for those who do stupid things like not wear helmets while skiing but for those who do the right things and are careful but are injured anyway.

"When you're strapped for c... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"When you're strapped for cash you want to conserve that cash, so you do what is the most economical, not necessarily what's fastest."

The above is 'bean-counter logic'. Unfortunately, in trauma care, TIME is what is essential. When it comes right down to it, communities don't use fire trucks that often, despite their high cost. But when you have a fire, you NEED a fire truck.

So...Part of the a... (Below threshold)
cirby:

So...

Part of the argument AGAINST Quebec's having medical helicopters is that the population is sparse and spread out.

Sounds like an argument FOR having medical helicopters to me.

I'm astounded that Montreal doesn't have half a dozen. Orlando has three or four, with a metropolitan population 1/3 that of Montreal, and a much smaller area to cover.

Kansas has, literally, dozens of copters doing this job.

I'm reminded of the situation a few years back, when someone at a medical conference pointed out that Orlando had (at that time) more MRI machines than the entire country of England...

The above is 'bean... (Below threshold)
The above is 'bean-counter logic'. Unfortunately, in trauma care, TIME is what is essential. When it comes right down to it, communities don't use fire trucks that often, despite their high cost. But when you have a fire, you NEED a fire truck.

Exactly.

It would only take a few mi... (Below threshold)
WorldCitizen:

It would only take a few million to purchase and a few hundred thousand dollars a year to maintain. Pocket change for a government of any size.

They should have a fleet of super fast ambulances. Maybe hovercraft. No expense is too much when you are talking about a health care.

She turned down an ambulanc... (Below threshold)
Adrian Browne:

She turned down an ambulance because she didn't think she was hurt badly:

http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/news/uk/article5940897.ece


This is pathetic. I live i... (Below threshold)
Mike Kelley:

This is pathetic. I live in rural Montana, and we have had emergency helicopters available since at least the early 1990's. This service has saved many lives over the years. Helicopters are infinitely more helpful for response to accidents than fixed wing aircraft are. Anytime there is a bad accident on the roads or serious injury at our mines, LifeFlight can go right to the scene and get the injured to our best hospitals in Billings, pronto. I guess this helps explain why Canada can brag that they spend less on healthcare than we do down here in the US.

Helicopters also have limit... (Below threshold)
epador:

Helicopters also have limited weather and altitudes they can operate safely at. They are more dangerous to medical personnel (and patients) than fixed wing. Military and Coast Guard helicopters have also been used for emergency patient transport in the US, but their larger size precludes landing at many hospital landing pads.

Its an expensive proposition, and anyone who has been faced with medical transport bills can attest. Locally, folks here can sign up for $50.00 a year with the local air ambulance service. Its a smart buy if you can afford it. The 2+ hr drive to a tertiary center is closed by weather, flooding or landslides about 14 days a year. Too bad the folks in Quebec don't have an option like that, since the Provincial Government decided against it so far. Funny how it took a FOREIGNER's death to stir things up a bit, huh?

She turned down an ambul... (Below threshold)
cirby:

She turned down an ambulance because she didn't think she was hurt badly

...and when they realized she WAS hurt badly (which is very common in trauma cases - quite often, it's "feel okay for an hour, then die in ten minutes"), they couldn't get her to a trauma center fast enough.

There are more medical helicopters available to "podunk" Wasilla, Alaska than there are in the entire province of Quebec...

Could Mary jo have lived if... (Below threshold)
914:

Could Mary jo have lived if She had had a real Man behind the wheel?

These things are unknowable and it is a great loss in any event.

Unfortunately, th... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Unfortunately, this is a hard lesson for a government to learn. When it is more concerned about cost saving than life saving

That's a good point Kim, I mean, a for-profit based medical system, is certainly not going to worry about the amount of money spent saving lives. That is why in our great system, health insurance companies like Blue cross deny treatment to cancer patients if their condition pre-existed. It's because they are so much more worried about lives than costs.

You are really on to something. The way to insure a medical system is focused more on saving lives, than profit, is to leave them as profit-based. Truly, first class reasoning.

Oh, so profit-based is wors... (Below threshold)
epador:

Oh, so profit-based is worse than tax-based? The Communists are HERE!

REALLY?!?!?!?

It sounds like a pretty min... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

It sounds like a pretty minor injury to the head quickly became a life threatening matter. I don't know if very much can be done in such a quickly deteriorating injury case. Television preacher Robert Schuller hit his head on a car door while in Europe and faced the same sort of crisis, however surgery was successful to save his life.

I've personally done a lot of repair work where I've hit my head real hard on a pipe or doorway with no problems other than bleeding. But I like to wear a hard hat for safety most of the time.

I was certainly glad I wore a motorcycle helmet and body armor crash jacket when I had a very serious motorbike accident last April when I suddenly lost control during a sudden unexpected hailstorm and the bike rolled out of control. One leg was pretty bad, but I didn't break my head, shoulder or arm due the protection even after getting thrown and rolling about 20-25 feet on the hard pavement and having the bike slam into me at least once leaving some nice bruises and bloody injuries. I got a tow for the bike and even drove myself to the hospital emergency room in a car.

I don't know why some minor accidents are fatal such as the Natasha Richardson one, or some real serious accidents like my bike crash which even bent and twisted the steel motorbike frame aren't all that bad. I suppose it's just dumb luck. Some guys die the first time they fall off a bike or on a ski slope. Others survive an 80mph crash. Life is real funny. All I can say is take out a big life insurance policy if you like sports just in case.

Epador is the doctor here. His opinions should have the most weight on this subject.

Kim:The helicopter... (Below threshold)

Kim:

The helicopter point is well founded but this story doesn't illustrate it. Richardson denied treatment - an ambulance in particular - for more than two hours. She would have survived if it weren't for her obstinence. No helicopter was needed in this case.

That said, it most certainly is in others.

Pathetic exploitation of th... (Below threshold)
jp2:

Pathetic exploitation of this event. Why not have CT scanners on every block?

Oh, so profit-base... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Oh, so profit-based is worse than tax-based? The Communists are HERE!

REALLY?!?!?!?

pid.

Oh no, I totally agree with your logic. It makes perfect sense that a profit driven company, would be more worried about lives than something like... profit. yes that makes sense.

Great rebuttal by the way. instead of demonstrating how the logic is not really flawed, you yelled "communist!" With that kind of debating ability have you considered a career as a trial lawyer?

Pretty funny.The l... (Below threshold)
Sues:

Pretty funny.

The leftists at DU have been angry about this, but on this site, because conservatives are also critical about it the leftest mock our anger and concern.

That's all it is-personal attacks, mocking and taking the opposite view just because.

hooson - "I've personal... (Below threshold)
marc:

hooson - "I've personally done a lot of repair work where I've hit my head real hard on a pipe or doorway"

That explains a lot.

Kozoburo - "She would have survived if it weren't for her obstinence [sic]. No helicopter was needed in this case."

Your first statement is a guess, the second is laid to waste by her death.

jp2 - "Pathetic exploitation of this event. Why not have CT scanners on every block?"

Pathetic comment, why not have a troll hammer at the ready for idiots such as yourself.

Wow, you folks can't even l... (Below threshold)
Rolf:

Wow, you folks can't even let a tragic death go by without trying to find political points.

Vultures...

Paul, it takes you three pa... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Paul, it takes you three paragraphs to tell us "you don't know". Gosh your long winded.

Face it, she may have had a chance if she was able to get to trauma care sooner. There is no doubt about that.

jmc, you know if you buy a ford auto, you cannot take it to gmc for warranty work. You do know that, right? I hope so. ww

FORGET HELICOPTORS,HELMETS ... (Below threshold)
BERNARD SIVAK:

FORGET HELICOPTORS,HELMETS ! What was needed was a general surgeon who could do burr holes for her obvious diagnosis at st. Agathe. The Egyptians knew how to do it in ancient times.

Bernard S. M.D. [USA

"Bernard S. M.D."F... (Below threshold)
marc:

"Bernard S. M.D."

Forget helmets? Gee, for a "dr." you seem to have overlooked the obvious, with a helmet she may not have been in the position she placed herself.

"That is why in our great s... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"That is why in our great system, health insurance companies like Blue cross deny treatment to cancer patients if their condition pre-existed. It's because they are so much more worried about lives than costs."

Sorry, you're an idiot. "INSURANCE". Tell ya what. Don't buy any. Then when you have a car accident, call up an insurance company to get coverage. Or AFTER your house catches fire, call an insurance company. I'm sure they'll all be glad to help.

Of course you can wait for The Obamassiah's brand of health care. Need treatment, contact a bureaucrat in Washington to get the okay for a certain treatment. Oh, you're 89 years old? Too bad. We'd invest the money on a younger patient, but not older ones. Not worth the money. Or do you believe The One's word that everyone will be covered for everything? Got a news flash for you: Healthcare, like Justice.....HAS A PRICE TAG.

This is a sad thing, on sev... (Below threshold)
Barry Nuechterlein:

This is a sad thing, on several levels.

First of all, it's tragic that Ms. Richardson didn't get immediate medical care. Impacts at the pterion (where several of the bones that make up the skull come together) can result in a tear of the middle meningeal artery, causing the type of hematoma she experienced. The patient classically has a "lucid interval" of varying length before deteriorating. I don't know if that's what happened, but odds are it is.

Lesson one: head injuries are often more serious than they appear. Many people have made the same mistake that was made here, and I don't fault them for it, though I do regret that the public hasn't been educated about the potential seriousness of such head injuries. About half the time lost can be attributed to this tragic, but understandable, error in judgment.

It seems that once Ms. Richardson entered the system, the people in it did the best they could to move her to where she needed to be. Sadly, they were hampered by a lack of transportation resources.

It is amazing that a relatively rich and heavily-populated province like Quebec does not have a helicopter aeromedical evacuation system serving at least the areas around Quebec City and Montreal. In Nova Scotia (a much poorer province with a much smaller population), we have such a service. Of course, with the bad weather we often experience along the seacoast, the chopper is sometimes grounded and useless. But, then, the Ministry of Health can't be blamed for that.

Don't blame public health care. If an impoverished province like Nova Scotia can afford a helicopter, surely Quebec can.

Lesson two: In a first world country with a dispersed population, aeromedical services (including helicopters) are not a "frill." They are a necessity. I bet there will be such a service in Quebec this time next year.

My sympathies to this lovely lady's family.

Barry

I'm not taking issue with t... (Below threshold)
bobdog:

I'm not taking issue with this article, but with the original nasal whining from AP's Sophomoric Tragedy Specialists. There's an obvious and more serious point we're all missing: Could Natasha Richardson have been saved without all of the gratuitous fingerpointing by semi-literate news writers that seems to follow almost every tragedy of this type? It's especially acute when the victim is regarded as a celebrity with a nice personality.

The next step, after much argument and experts of every stripe, is yet another mandatory safety law and a flood of product liability and negligence litigation. We don't need a "Natasha's Law" to tell us that life is not without risk. Everybody who skis waives all claims of liability as a condition of admittance. It's the nature of the sport that there is some risk involved.

Why is it that it always has to be somebody's FAULT when a tragedy occurs? Is there no such thing as an "accident" any more? This was an awful, tragic accident and two kids lost a mother. Nothing else to see here. Move along now.

Barry - "Don't blame pu... (Below threshold)
marc:

Barry - "Don't blame public health care. If an impoverished province like Nova Scotia can afford a helicopter, surely Quebec can."

Why not? Wasn't it a gov run operation that made a decision based on cost rather than necessity?

Wildwillie, I thought my op... (Below threshold)
Paul Hooson:

Wildwillie, I thought my opening statement summed up that her head injury was a quickly deteriorating one, where any help was unlikely to save her life unlike the head injury to Rev. Robert Schuller where the injury was slow spreading.

My family are real prone to strokes for example, where two grandmothers, my dad, and my mother died of complications related to strokes or of strokes. I get bleeding throughout my head when I'm under stress and had to take medicine to control it. Some persons are more likely to suffer death from brain injuries than others. On the other hand, I own rental properties and I've hit my head real hard on pipes crawling under a house and other things while doing repairs if I wasn't wearing a hardhat with no problems other than some outside bleeding. But my 29year old girlfriend has a hard day, and I feel so sorry for her that I start bleeding out of my head. Go figure?

I am retired from the only ... (Below threshold)

I am retired from the only Level 1 Trauma Center on West Coast Florida.....

They cover everything of such serious magnitude from S. of Tampa to WAY North and as far inland as Sebring. We have 4 Helos....They fly more than 2,500 missions per year!

They are fast, and can cover long distances. Coast Guard Helos bring boaters/fishermen from hundreds of miles to our center. Fixed wing is obsolete! Helos fly to anywhere, and take SERIOUS injury patients to high level centers. She showed all the signs of a major head trauma. She'd have lived in our area...at least as far as I can tell...and I am NOT a doctor.

She had closed head trauma...but the signs were of internal cranium bleed...serious by any standards.

Duke

Hey Rolf,An examinat... (Below threshold)
Sophie:

Hey Rolf,
An examination of the political points might help to prevent future tragedies. Lack of medical equipment(helicopter)is a symptom of Nationalized Health care. She wasn't going to get the treatment she needed in Canada and her family knew it. No wonder she was rushed to a NY hospital the moment it was realized how serious she was. If this accident had happened in the states, she might still be alive.

I still laugh about the cas... (Below threshold)
Mike Kelley:

I still laugh about the case a while back where a Canadian woman was flown down to little old Great Falls, Montana, when she was going to have quadruplets. I believe it was the much bigger Calgary that didn't have enough of a facility for her.

Got a news flash ... (Below threshold)
jmc:
Got a news flash for you: Healthcare, like Justice.....HAS A PRICE TAG.

Ahh, so you saying that it is good to put profits above people. I see now. So when Kim said:

Unfortunately, this is a hard lesson for a government to learn. When it is more concerned about cost saving than life saving,

You response would be: "Healthcare, like Justice.....HAS A PRICE TAG"

I love it. I argue against Kim, you attack me for making that argument, and in the process inadvertently argue against kim. maybe you should understand what you are arguing about before you get involved, because truly you are a moron.

Helicopter service is avail... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

Helicopter service is available if one wants to pay for it. Natasha Richardson's husband could easily have ordered one. It would only have made a 15 minute difference, which wouldn't have helped considering she waited HOURS before finally accepting the medical help that was offered to her.

We don't know the treatment she received at the first hospital. She could have had a surgery prep (i.e., a hole drilled in her skull to relieve pressure til she got into surgery at the trauma center 40 minutes away).

A more likely scenario is that Liam Neeson held off any medical decision til he got there in person. Since it takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes to travel between Toronto and Montreal, it was most likely Liam's delay in leaving the set that led to Natasha's demise, not the lack of a helicopter.

People, if you hit your head on the ski slopes, bottom line is, see a doctor. And wear a helmet.

This is an unfortunate accident, but blame hardly rests on Quebec's health care system.

Back to add:There ... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

Back to add:

There were 2 recent similar deaths in Colorado in the past month. Were those due to poor US medical health care?

lynne - "Since it takes... (Below threshold)
marc:

lynne - "Since it takes approximately an hour and 15 minutes to travel between Toronto and Montreal, it was most likely Liam's delay in leaving the set that led to Natasha's demise, not the lack of a helicopter."

Aside from you guessing that was the scenario that played out I have to ask...

"WHAT, Canada has no cell phone service over which permission could have been granted in an obvious emergency?!"

(sarcasm tags not optional)

If a helicopter had been av... (Below threshold)
Marc2:

If a helicopter had been available, Natasha probably would have refused that too. Wear a helmet.

"WHAT, Canada has no cell p... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

"WHAT, Canada has no cell phone service over which permission could have been granted in an obvious emergency?!"

(sarcasm tags not optional

*****************

Marc, you obviously have missed reports that the resort manager tried to get an okay from Natasha and her husband to move her to the hospital, which was refused THREE TIMES.

The timeline is that Natasha fell around 12:43 pm. She was taken to the clinic at the slopes, where doctors told her to go to the hospital. They called an ambulance for her. She refused.

Staff accompanied her to her room. She refused the second ambulance that was called for her at 2:00 pm. Finally, after she began vomiting, the hotel manager over rode her requests, and called the ambulance back. By now, more than 4 hours had passed from the initial fall. The entire time, they had been in touch with Natasha's husband, who didn't see fit to leave the set prior to this.

What would you like staff to do? Take a middle aged woman who refused an ambulance several times, kicking and screaming against her will, to the hospital? Then you would claim too much medical intervention killed her.

lynne - "Marc, you obvi... (Below threshold)
marc:

lynne - "Marc, you obviously have missed reports that the resort manager tried to get an okay from Natasha and her husband to move her to the hospital, which was refused THREE TIMES."

Missed nothing, in fact it's noted in this very thread.

"What would you like staff to do? Take a middle aged woman who refused an ambulance several times, kicking and screaming against her will, to the hospital?"

Um... yes. As it turns out that's exactly what happened, by the hotel manager, only it should have been done at the earliest opportunity.

I feel relatively certain a civil court jury will rule in just such a fashion at some future date.

Marc, it's against the law ... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

Marc, it's against the law to take some against their will to the hospital for somethign like this. That's why they had her sign a waiver - THREE TIMES.

Two similar deaths occurred in Colorado. Why isn't anyone talking about those?

Lynne--because the people t... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Lynne--because the people talking about this incident on this forum don't care about public health and safety, and are only acting on their hardwired ideological aversion to public health care. Marx is coming for your babies, etc..

As was pointed out by the Nova Scotian commenter earlier in the thread, the poorest provinces have medical helicopters but Quebec doesn't. We know that the fault lies with the victim who did not wear a helmet and acting in concert with her husband refused treatment for hours. However, if we were to accept for the sake of argument that it was the lack of publicly funded helicopters (bearing in mind that Neeson could have hired one privately) that was responsible for Richardson's death, then that's a failing at the micro-budgetary level within the province of Quebec's Ministry of Health. If Newfoundlanders have access to helicopters then Quebecers sure as hell should.

I was born in a hospital in Montreal that has a helipad on the roof. So they probably used to have them; and, if that were the case, I would make the uneducated guess that the service was discontinued when then-Finance Minister Paul Martin downloaded an enormous portion of the federal budget onto the provinces, forcing them to make cuts to health and education.

lynne - "Two similar de... (Below threshold)
marc:

lynne - "Two similar deaths occurred in Colorado. Why isn't anyone talking about those?"

I don't know, you seem overly interested in them. Why don't you tell US.

hyperbolist - the hospital ... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

hyperbolist - the hospital Natasha was eventually taken to does have a heli pad, and there were plans to implement a medic copter at one time, so I don't imagine it would take all that much work to bring a heli medic system to Quebec. I hope it happens, not for pampered Hollywood stars who care more about their hair do than wearing a helmet, but because the people of Quebec deserve one.

Oh dear, marc. While you do... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Oh dear, marc. While you don't mind people thinking that you're an asshole, I suspect you'd rather not be known as an idiot. So don't act like one. Lynne's point is obvious, and your attempt at obfuscating is ridiculous, even by your standards.

The only reason people here care about this woman's death is because they see it as symptomatic of the inferior health care system in Canada. The fact that you obviously don't give a shit about other similar deaths, e.g. in Colorado, shows that to be the case. So be honest.

We have air ambulances in Ontario and people die here of head trauma while skiing or snowboarding all the time. I went to high school with a kid who crashed face-first into a pine tree and died despite wearing a helmet: a bone was jammed into his brain. But surely that's still socialism's fault!

Here's the rub, marc: the United States squeaks into the top 50 nations for life expectancy. Every single country ahead of yours on this measure has some form of socialized medicine. Ditto for infant mortality rates.

Whatever it is you do for a living, I hope it has nothing to do with health care policy because your knowledge of it amounts to no more than a litany of disingenuous talking points on the eeeevils of universal health care.

Lynne: it would seem a wort... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Lynne: it would seem a worthwhile expenditure, especially insofar as it would reinforce the perception that a ski holiday in Quebec is no more dangerous than one in New York or Alberta.

jmc writesThat'... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

jmc writes

That's a good point Kim, I mean, a for-profit based medical system, is certainly not going to worry about the amount of money spent saving lives. That is why in our great system, health insurance companies like Blue cross deny treatment to cancer patients if their condition pre-existed. It's because they are so much more worried about lives than costs.
No. It's because they won't assume an unreasonable risk that's already known.

The question is, why is a person with cancer seeking insurance? The answer is obvious. Because they didn't have insurance before they were diagnosed with cancer. Just like Ms. Richardson's fatal decision not to seek treatment, not buying insurance is a choice an individual makes. Why should the insurance company suddenly assume that risk when the person deliberately chose to avoid planning for it themselves?

Insurance companies routinely assume unknown pre-existing conditions. They do so because they know the actuarial risk and have factored that into the cost of the policies. What would be foolhardy would be to assume a known risk when the other party to the contract has chosen to ignore it and foist the cost of their decision on others.

If you're going to accuse other people of having faulty logic, it would be good not to display your own publicly.

hyperbolist, who has obviou... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist, who has obviously chosen an apt nome de plume, writes

Here's the rub, marc: the United States squeaks into the top 50 nations for life expectancy. Every single country ahead of yours on this measure has some form of socialized medicine. Ditto for infant mortality rates.
You can always count on liberals to lie or make up "facts" to support their pet causes.
According to the latest U.S. vital statistics data (2006) the life expectancy for a baby born in 2006 hit a new record high: 78.1 years, a 0.3 increase from 2005. Record-high life expectancy was recorded for both white males -- 76 years -- and black males -- 70 years. The same is true for white females, whose life expectancy is now 81 years and black females, who have a life expectancy of 76.9 years. source

Infant mortality and life expectancy internationally is a mixed bag. Some nations have lower IM and higher LE than the US but certainly not 50 and, of those that are higher, not all have nationalized health care. source

One thing is certain, those countries that have truly socialist medicine are dramatically higher in the first category and dramatically lower in the second.

Consider these countries that are clearly socialized medicine countries; China 22.1/72.9, Iran 38.1/70.6, Russia 11.1/65.9, Venezuala 20.9/74.8 - the US? 6.4/78.0.

Clearly socialized medicine doesn't explain the differences in mortality regardless what the liberals would have you believe. And of course they selectively quote only those countries that support their argument rather than honestly comparing statistics across the board.

I don't know of any scientific studies that attempt to explain the differences in IM and LE internationally. If there are any, I'm certain that socialized medicine will not account for the differences.

Funny, but I seem to rememb... (Below threshold)
Imhotep:

Funny, but I seem to remember a recent report on the "dangers" of Medical Helicopters. There was an increase in accidents involving helicopters and for the life of me I can not find the link.

As a matter of fact, a Trauma Director at one of my Hospitals presented data that showed there was only a benefit to helicopter transport if you were more than 100 miles out from hospital care.

The problem here is clearly the patient's ability to refuse care and not the level of care that was delivered.

Marc is correct; in a gov't funded health care system, no patient should be able to refuse any kind of care...and that is why it won't work in the US.

No. It's because ... (Below threshold)
jmc:
No. It's because they won't assume an unreasonable risk that's already known.

And why won't they assume the risk? Money. profit if you will. which defeats the idea that a profit based company is going to be more inclined to put people over profit. Thanks for making my point.

The question is, why is a person with cancer seeking insurance? The answer is obvious. Because they didn't have insurance before they were diagnosed with cancer. Just like Ms. Richardson's fatal decision not to seek treatment, not buying insurance is a choice an individual makes. Why should the insurance company suddenly assume that risk when the person deliberately chose to avoid planning for it themselves?

I didn't say the insurance company should do anything. I implied it was idiotic to assume that a profit based company was more likely care about people than profits in comparision to the government, which can stay in the health care game at a loss. When you attack someone's logic, a good rule of thumb is to address what they said, and not what you imagine they are saying.

If you're going to accuse other people of having faulty logic, it would be good not to display your own publicly.

Given that you addressed why insurance companies do what they do, and not the argument I made. I would refrain from commenting on logic period, because you certainly didn't address any of my reasoning.

Here's the link to the Colo... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

Here's the link to the Colorado ski deaths:

http://www.skisafety-blog.com/2009/03/

Note that tbe article mentions the fact that it is the Association of Quebec Emergency Room Doctors who call for ski helmets to be mandatory. Could it be because smacking one's head on the slopes could be dangerous? Hmmmm?

To those who call Canada's health care system "socialistic", it is not. It is a nation-run health care system which is a far cry from a socialistic run.

It works efficiently for us.

It would not, however, work for the United States because it's been tried. Decades ago, the United States invited the man behind Canada's health care system to help them implement a similar one. Due to the United States size, and its governmental structure, it could not be done.

However, that does not mean that the United States does not need a better health care system. I've experienced health care on both sides of the border, and I say give me Canada's every time.

Condolences to Natasha's family, and to the rest of you: WEAR A HELMET.

Countries with universal he... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Countries with universal health care have higher quality of life, Antimedia. Doubly so if you exclude undeveloped countries, though it doesn't really make sense to do that as nearly every developed country has universal health care. China's quality of care has as much to do with this conversation as Somalia's, so you could limit the sample to countries that make sense as a comparison: industrially developed democracies, or some similar description.

Health care--and health in general--is awful and unsustainably expensive in the United States and yet so many Americans are afraid of what pretty well every other advanced country accepts as a necessary component of their functioning: socialized medicine. Probably follows from the absurd premise that the health of the population can under no circumstances be viewed with more importance than an individual's right to select their own quality of care.

Someone should write a play about John Locke rising from the dead and opening a lobbying firm on K Street that services pharmaceutical and health insurance companies. Suggested working title: Pissing on Empiricism.

jmc respondsI d... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

jmc responds

I didn't say the insurance company should do anything. I implied it was idiotic to assume that a profit based company was more likely care about people than profits in comparision to the government, which can stay in the health care game at a loss.
It's even more idiotic to assume that a government can "stay in the health care game at a loss". No government, no matter how magical, can lose money forever without going bankrupt, just like companies. The US is about to, quite painfully, discover that.

The real question you're trying to get at is who is going to care more about people? For profit companies? Or the government? I would assert that the government has no reason to care.

All human beings respond to incentives. For profit companies must please their customers or go out of business. (Yes, they can abuse their customers in the short run, but it will catch up with them.)

People who work for government agencies must please their bureaucratic management or be fired. Their "customers" are not the public, and they have no incentive (other than personal pride) for caring about those customers' needs.

BTW, your arguement is a strawman anyway. You state "which defeats the idea that a profit based company is going to be more inclined to put people over profit." No one has made that claim. The claim is that the desire for profits builds an incentive to take care of the customer.

What is the government's incentive to take care of patients?

"There were 2 recent sim... (Below threshold)
914:

"There were 2 recent similar deaths in Colorado in the past month. were those due to poor US medical health care?"

No, those ones were caused by hitting human heads on hard surfaces..

Hyperbolist Half ... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Hyperbolist

Half of my family lives in Great Britain,
and they've lived under socialized medicine
for decades. Three members of my immediate
family died because of the incompetency of
socialized medicine.
And your premise about the quality of medicine
in the United States is false. No one is ever
turned away regardless of health insurance
by federal law.
BTW when medicine was socialized in Great
Britain, the first thing that disappeared wsa
their world class charity hospital system.

hyperbolist asserts<blockqu... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist asserts

Countries with universal health care have higher quality of life, Antimedia.
Except for China, Russia, Venezuala, Iran, Cuba, etc., etc., all of which have socialized medicine and none of whom have a higher quality of life. And higher than what?

You're very good at vague and sweeping assertions. Try dealing in facts.

so many Americans are afraid of what pretty well every other advanced country accepts as a necessary component of their functioning: socialized medicine.
That might more to do with having observed what a fine job the government does in other areas, or perhaps the horror stories coming out of various "advanced" nations whose citizens are burdened with understaffed and underfunded nationalized medicine facilities where rationing and poor care are the norm.
Health care--and health in general--is awful and unsustainably expensive in the United States
Another vague and unsupported claim.

Please either provide some evidence to back up your claims or stop making them.

maggie, you say, "Three mem... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

maggie, you say, "Three members of my immediate
family died because of the incompetency of
socialized medicine."

Don't get me started on how many members of my American family (in-laws) died from poor health care in the United States, including long ambulance wait time, and doctors who threw too many drugs (or the wrong kind) at them.

It's even more idi... (Below threshold)
jmc:
It's even more idiotic to assume that a government can "stay in the health care game at a loss". No government, no matter how magical, can lose money forever

At least you are addressing what I wrote, that is a start. However, I wasn't suggesting that the government should operate in every area at a loss, that would be a disaster. It can however, operate in certain areas at a loss. take, I dunno, fire fighters, for example. Fire Fighters do not generate revenue. We choose, to operate at a loss to have firefighters as disaster prevention. If the government choses to do so with health care it can.

The real question you're trying to get at is who is going to care more about people? For profit companies? Or the government? I would assert that the government has no reason to care.

Yes, that is what I have covered in every single post I have written. I would however assert the opposite that that for-profit companies will care less about people than profits. Goverments have a reason, voter outrage. Whereas for profit companies, make more money the more claims they can deny.

All human beings respond to incentives. For profit companies must please their customers or go out of business. (Yes, they can abuse their customers in the short run, but it will catch up with them.)

It hasn't yet, for profit health insurance is expensive berreaucratic, confusing and still manages to deny a sizable amount of claims which increases profit.

People who work for government agencies must please their bureaucratic management or be fired. Their "customers" are not the public, and they have no incentive (other than personal pride) for caring about those customers' needs.

Andyest somehow cops, still arrest bad guys, firefighters still put out fires and all without incentive.

BTW, your arguement is a strawman anyway. You state "which defeats the idea that a profit based company is going to be more inclined to put people over profit." No one has made that claim.

Actually you are wrong Kim wrote:

When it is more concerned about cost saving than life saving, which is what ends up happening to all government run health care systems,

Implying the in comparision to government, the private sector would be more willing to put people over profit.


hyper - "The fact that ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "The fact that you obviously don't give a shit about other similar deaths, e.g. in Colorado, shows that to be the case. So be honest.

And you know this how? How do you know I "don't give a shit?"

ALL you know is someone wants to drag similar deaths that occurred thousands of miles away, at a different time and place, AND are not germane to this discussion.

To that extent, you're right I don't give a G-Damn because they have little or no relevance to this incident.

Now, crawl back north of the border and ask yourself why your med system chose to NOT have medical helos available.

Bravo marc (59).Th... (Below threshold)
epador:

Bravo marc (59).

The question is, do the people of Quebec have a voice in whether there is a medical helicopter evacuation service in their province?

The question for all of jmc's socialized medicine (deflections regarding public safety officers misses points like how they are controlled LOCALLY through locally elected officials, and while Federal dollars are part of their budget, their efforts are not centrally driven and controlled), is how a central government bureaucracy can be more responsive than a capitalistic one?

The USCG is woefully underfunded for its mission, yet it manages to outperform most Federal programs because it is decentralized and ultimate power for decisions for response rests with the station or boat Commander.

As pointed out, this case itself is a poor example of a patient who could be saved by a helicopter. However it DOES bring to the headlines that there wasn't one to be had. The reason their isn't a private medivac system in the Province? Can you answer that one hyperbolist?

Like all statistics, Hyper,... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Like all statistics, Hyper, as usual use them to try to hold up his argument.

I do work in healthcare and have for 25 years. Why the life expectancy rating? Millions and millions of illegals who come across our borders with serious health issues but know they are here illegally or turn to their tribal medicine man and by the time they reach a health care system, they are too far gone but the USA gets the ding. Thems the facts. So, go push your socialized whatever in your areas. Remember, is wasn't until a few years ago it was AGAINST THE LAW IN CANADA to own a sattelite dish.

All anyone has to do is go to the post office in a major city and see what a federally funded organization model looks like. Also try passport offices. ww

"...ask yourself why your m... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

"...ask yourself why your med system chose to NOT have medical helos available."

I don't live in Quebec, marc/epador. *MY* system has lots of medical helos available, paid for with tax dollars. Not sure why Quebec wouldn't have them, as much poorer provinces do. Would you like me to find Jean Charest's email address for you, or are you okay looking that up on your own?

Lynne's example of the two skiiers who died in Colorado is entirely germane to this conversation because Colorado has medevac helicopters, privatized health care, and yet people still die of brain trauma. In the case of Natasha Richardson, had she done the same thing in Colorado, she would have died.

And Willie, would you care to enlighten everyone as to what sort of "tribal" medicine Latin Americans practice? I was waiting to see if anybody would be so stupid as to blame America's relatively low life expectancy rate on the swarthy border-sneaks--should have guessed it would be WiddleWillie who would play that card. Care to blame all of the gun violence in America on tribalism too, while you're at it?

Antimedia, your examples of countries with socialized medicine are pretty hilarious. We could equally cherry pick the worst countries on the planet that don't have publicly funded health care to show how shitty private health care is--wouldn't that be silly? Countries with national health care programs--even destitute ones--would be much worse off if citizens had to depend on private enterprise for medical services and products. Here's a fact for you: the infant mortality rate in the United States is worse than Cuba's, despite the fact that Cuba is unable to receive a lot of necessary medical supplies due to the American embargo. Now I'm not saying anything good about Cuba--I'm saying that Americans should be embarrassed that infants are more likely to die prematurely in their country than in a third world backwater that they have embargoed for decades on end.

Long before Reagan Americans have been telling each other that the government is a bunch of lazy, incompetent morons who couldn't get a decent job in the private sector. In Canada and in Europe, we have more respect for governmental institutions and take pride in them when they work well, and feel embarrassed when they don't; and so perhaps it's simply the case that our civil service attracts better minds than yours, because in Canada "government jobs" aren't stigmatized the way they are in the U.S.. So maybe government-run health care really will fail in the United States--I hope we'll find out shortly.

In the meantime, if it makes you feel good to tell yourself that your radically overpriced, inequitable health care system is in fact superior to the universal systems of every country that consistently scores higher than the United States on overall quality of life indices, then don't let anyone stop you from covering your ears and humming.

"*MY* system has plenty ... (Below threshold)
914:

"*MY* system has plenty of medical helos available"

Try some MOM

Hyper, the person in the cu... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hyper, the person in the culture I am referring to is called a Curandero. It is real. It is happeing now and has been for a very long time. It is neither racist or anti anything. Just a fact. I can go to one right now in my area. Why do you not learn about the border states and what is happening instead of peddling the same old garbage. ww

To people who are claiming ... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

To people who are claiming Quebec has no medical helicopters available - they actually do. There is a private firm available for $3,000.00 an hour, a cost that should have not been an issue to Liam Neeson. There are also two medic copters which are used for flying someone out of province for treatment. There is a possibility those could have been used had they been requested.

None of that matters, because it was already too late by the time Natasha Richardson was taken for treatment to the first hospital, which was less than 20 minutes away. The problem wasn't distance, it wasn't lack of a helicopter, it was a freak accident.

Exactly, Lynne. The angry m... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Exactly, Lynne. The angry mob will have to find some other dead body to parade through the streets in order to score their political points.

Willie: I'll look up curanderos right now, and expect that they'll be about as crazy as any other faith healers or whatever sort of superstitious quacks they turn out to be. But are you seriously attributing the systematic inefficiencies and injustices within the American system to the existence of these people? Is the infant mortality rate in the United States worse than Cuba's because of these frauds--or is it because certain people receive excellent health care, while others receive almost none?

It is important to bear in mind that in a for-profit system, the incentive to actually cure people of illnesses that cost a lot of money to treat is significantly weakened; whereas in a publicly funded system, it is in everyone's interest that people be educated by the state on matters such as nutrition and recreational safety. It also follows that reasonable restrictions be placed on what children are served in public schools, for example prohibiting the sale of beverages made with high fructose corn syrup. Oh, the horrors of the nanny state! It should no more be a parent's right to raise an overweight (and potentially diabetic) child, than it is their right to raise a child who is addicted to nicotine.

"It should no more be a ... (Below threshold)
914:

"It should no more be a parent's right to raise an overweight (an potentially diabetic)child, than it is their right to raise a child addicted to nicotine.

Keep Your opinions off of My rights.

It is so offensive that peo... (Below threshold)
ian:

It is so offensive that people on this blog are blaming Natasha Richardson for refusing a helmet and initial medical treatment. Obviously, there are some very callous people who simply don't understand that she was not doing anything reckless and that she did not think that she was seriously hurt. This was simply a freak accident. A beginners ski slope is almost flat and it takes some serious effort to get going more that 5 miles per hour (slightly faster than walking). Walking down stairs is much more dangerous than going down a beginners ski slope (with an instructor) and all of you who think she was reckless must surely be wearing motorcycle helmets every time you walk down the stairs from your bedroom to your kitchen. People die every day from falls down stairs and unfortunately it actually happened to someone I knew. Also, refusing medical treatment before any serious symptoms is completely normal. She was a Tony award winning Broadway actress who probably fell regularly doing intense training and had so many bruises and sprains during her career that this seemed absolutely insignificant. She probably wasn't in any real pain and the symptoms of a serious injury were silent. Blaming her for this is bizarre. Once a serious medical emergency has been identified - appropriate evacuation and treatment should be administered. If Quebec could improve its trauma care - why would that be such a bad thing or something that is unreasonable for consideration?

ian. what's really offensiv... (Below threshold)
Lynne:

ian. what's really offensive is that people are blaming those who tried to help Natasha Richardson when she refused the very help that could have saved her.

It's also been noted that there ARE medic copters available in Quebec - for a fee. So the problem is not lack of a helicopter, but lack on the patient to accept help on time.

No one's blaming her - she made her choices. But let's not blame those who tried to alter those choices.

Opinion? Children ha... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Opinion? Children have the right to a reasonable chance at a healthy lifestyle, 914. So, I don't care if you dislike your right to give children cigarettes or cans of candy-poison being subordinated to a child's right not to be poisoned. If you find that to be an unreasonable impingement on your freedom, then perhaps you should go live in solitude in the rainforest or something.

ian: can I not say that if anyone is to blame for Natasha Richardson's death, it's Natasha Richardson, without causing offence? Yes, Quebec ought to have helo ambulances; but no, that would not have saved her life, as she refused treatment for hours despite only being 20 minutes' drive from a hospital. I'm not saying she's an idiot, but only that this is a tragedy that occurs on a regular basis during the winter sports season in Canada; and that when helmets are available and doctors think they should be mandatory, people should damn well choose to wear them.

Giving children cigarettes ... (Below threshold)
SCSIwuzzy:

Giving children cigarettes is already illegal, Hyper. We don't need state run health care to make it so. Unless it needs to be double secret illegal.
Your being a bombastic serial exaggerating ass, however, is not illegal. Or at least it isn't down here. Never know what speech will get you in trouble up there, however.

Hyperbolist,<blockqu... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Hyperbolist,


Is the infant mortality rate in the
United States worse than Cuba's
because of these frauds--or is it because certain people receive excellent health care, while others receive almost none?

Where are your verifiable sources for this
information?

As to your comments about the raising of
children, when are you going to turn yours
over to the state?
Or is it, you don't have any, but think you're
expert enough to instruct others in how their
children should be raised.
What communist country are you originally from?

Exactly Maggie. Hyper misse... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Exactly Maggie. Hyper misses the main point. Natasha may have had a chance to live if there was access to emergency helicopters.

You want children to live healthy lifestyles? Throw out the tv's and cell phones. Then the kids might actually go outside a play a game or two.

I do not believe and never will that my government has the right to decide how to raise a child. We are all about free choice.

Living in canada, you have no idea how the illegal alien problem is effecting us. TB is back and strong. Hepatitis also. MRSA infection is growing. So, don't sit in your isolated ivory tower and think just because my government turned a blind eye to this problem to a point where it is a major healthcare issue effecting everyone. And I am not even touching on the fact that hospital's actually plan millions in debt each year from ER visits for non emergencies. Like I said earlier, learn what you are talking about and even better if you can experience it. But I think you prefer calling out the old racist, anti hispanic, I am a hater vitriole when there are real reasons and dangers for ignoring this problem. ww

Maggie and 914 will defend ... (Below threshold)
max:

Maggie and 914 will defend to the death every Americans god-given right to abuse their own children.
depp=true
notiz=One more time max, and you are gone.

hyper - "In Canada and ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "In Canada and in Europe, we have more respect for governmental institutions and take pride in them when they work well, and feel embarrassed when they don't; and so perhaps it's simply the case that our civil service attracts better minds than yours,"

Your buffoonage has no bounds.

How about this alternative in Europe, most particularity France, people are attracted to civil service due to 35 hour work weeks and mandated two week vacations in the summer.

Vacations, again using France as the example, that lead to un-necessary deaths in the hundreds caused by heat waves a few years ago and attributed to the lack of med care because most if not all doctors and nurses were in the south of France and other EU resorts living it up.

Furthermore your so-called "respect" for governmental institutions lead too wide-spread and constant country-wide strikes by gov paid workers all across the EU that cripple daily life and economies when they occur.

PFFFFT!... once again, head north young man. Hit that Canuck border and don't come back until you have the slightest clue.

SCSI: I know it's illegal. ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

SCSI: I know it's illegal. My point--shrouded in that treacherous argumentative device that we refer to as an example--is that it's illegal to give children cigarettes for a good number of reasons, many of which also apply to high-fructose soft drinks. So they should probably remain legal, but there should at the very least be a public education campaign about the long-term effects of consuming high-fructose corn syrup. And, if I'm a parent who doesn't want my children drinking phosphoric acid, then I'm going to try and make it impossible for them to acquire it while they're too young to know better--say, until they reach middle school. I haven't given this much specific thought, but why does the answer always have to be "Let me let my kids make their own choices, even if this philosophy has made our country fat, lazy, and diabetic!"?

maggie: do I need to have my own children to decide whether kids are better off having diabetes? "Oh no, he wants to tell my kid to stop drinking so much Coca-Cola! COMMUNISM!" If you're prone to fainting when you get the vapours, you might want to consider wearing a helmet when reading people's comments.

As for supporting the Cuba vs. U.S. comparison with a verified source: here is a good one. Sure, Cuba beats America on infant mortality rate, but it's a tie for life expectancy. You can call that a win for private health care if you want, in that on objective measures relating to health and wellness of the population, America is not obviously worse off than Cuba.

Willie: she had access via private means, which presumably is what you think Quebec should offer. Liam Neeson can't afford $3,000 for an airlift? Please. The point is moot as she refused to be moved to the hospital which is 20 minutes away by car. You think I'm ignorant of the difficulties of assimilating immigrants--legal or otherwise--into an already overtaxed health care system? I live in Toronto. Half the people in my city weren't born in North America. This was the worst-hit North American city during the SARS outbreak. I'm not insulated from the real world, friendo. The "ivory tower" refers to universities. I don't work for one anymore; but if you're mocking me for having an education, and for knowing more about health policy from an academic standpoint than you do, then mock away.

marc: are you suggesting I move to Canada? If so, I'm way ahead of you...

Hyperbolist Maybe ... (Below threshold)
maggie:

Hyperbolist

Maybe you should start wearing a helmet when
you post at Wizbang. It might keep you from
have girlyman vapors when you get whacked.
Better yet maybe you should start wearing kevlar
when you post.
Otherwise carry on.

I'm not sure how much crede... (Below threshold)
Reid Smith:

I'm not sure how much credence to place in an economic cost-benefit analysis by analysts who do not understand that an operating cost of $24/hour for rotary wing is NOT a 400% increase over $6/hour for fixed -rather its a 300% increase. Idiots. Hope all you BO supporters like the way single payer works out in Quebec.

hyper - "marc: are you ... (Below threshold)
marc:

hyper - "marc: are you suggesting I move to Canada? If so, I'm way ahead of you..."

No the suggestion is to RETURN north of the border as you well know.

Hyper, like Paul Hooson, is... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Hyper, like Paul Hooson, is very much in love with themselves. Hyper, simply put, you live in a theoretical world where everyone have marshmellow clouds and yellow skys. In the real world, there are problems that the government not only cannot solve, but the ones we asked them to solve or manage, turn into failures. We are not a little country where we can micro manage everything. Sorry buddy, but apples and organges. And frankly you cannot compare your immigration problem (ours is illegal) with yours. We are talking millions. With all the disease and germs that come with that. ww

Max"Maggie and ... (Below threshold)
914:

Max

"Maggie and 914 will defend to the death every Americans God given right to abuse their own children."

No You pathetic illiterate fool...But I bet You defend the right to kill the unborn.

Thanks, 914. ... (Below threshold)
max:

Thanks, 914.

jmc, you've mastered the ar... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

jmc, you've mastered the art of changing the subject when you've been proven to be full of bs.

At least you are addressing what I wrote, that is a start. However, I wasn't suggesting that the government should operate in every area at a loss, that would be a disaster. It can however, operate in certain areas at a loss. take, I dunno, fire fighters, for example. Fire Fighters do not generate revenue. We choose, to operate at a loss to have firefighters as disaster prevention. If the government choses to do so with health care it can.
Here's a clue for you, bozo. It is the government's responsibility to protect its citizens. It is not the government's responsibility to provide every citizen with healthcare from the womb to the tomb, a guaranteed job or a fine retirement. Governments that attempt to do that do one of two things; go broke or cheat their citizens.

Socialism has repeatedly failed everywhere it's been tried. Yet liberal bozos still swoon when they think about it, as if it will somehow work this time when it has never worked before.

Telling people what they should eat, drive, live in or where they should get their healthcare or how they should raise their kids isn't freedom. It's tyranny. And once you head down that path, the end result is slavery.

Only a fool would get excited thinking about enslaving themselves to an all-powerful government. Only a fool who is a liberal.

hyperbolist asks<blockquote... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist asks

I haven't given this much specific thought, but why does the answer always have to be "Let me let my kids make their own choices, even if this philosophy has made our country fat, lazy, and diabetic!"?
Because, silly, that's what freedom is. Freedom gives you the right to screw up royally as well as succeed beyond your wildest imagination.

Why is the answer to every problem to take more freedoms away? Where does it stop?

Welcome Ruth....... (Below threshold)
914:

Welcome Ruth....

Children are not fuilly aut... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Children are not fuilly autonomous, nor can they be considered 'responsible' in the eyes of the law. Subjecting children to poisons like phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup is only marginally less harmful than feeding them cigarattes, Antimedia. I'm all for letting adults fuck up their lives however they want--I think every narcotic should be legal, actually--but I don't think people should have the right to give their children foods and beverages that make them fat, stupid, and diabetic. In our society, you may as well cut off one of their arms as raise them to be obese. If you think that not being allowed to give your child a litre of Coca-Cola every day is an unjust infringement on your God-given rights, then we can all be thankful that you are not, and never will be, the Surgeon General.

As for socialism never having worked before, for the umpteenth time: Japan, Korea, Canada, and every Scandinavian country are in some sense "socialist". So too is America. And while Americans might have less restrictions on their liberty--which is called negative freedom--people in other nations enjoy much more positive freedom, which can loosely be described as the prospects of enjoying a rich and fulfilling life, in a society with more "Pareto optimality". There are very rich people in every single "socialist" country, and the ones I just mentioned have fewer poor people per capita than the United States.

Economists and political theorists have long refused to let Lockean libertarians limit the definition of 'freedom' to that which suits their purposes; but public discourse does not reflect this. It's a pity, because freedom does not mean what you think it means, Antimedia. See Amartya Sen's Development As Freedom.

*Caveat to the lazy general... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

*Caveat to the lazy generalization I just made: Korea does in fact have more poor people per capita than the United States. However, it has used massive public spending in conjunction with private money to drive industrialization and development, and has probably grown its economy more than any other country since the Second World War. Would not have been possible without massive investment in education, housing, and corporate welfare--which is also a form of socialism, when you think about it.

Apples and oranges Hyper. T... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

Apples and oranges Hyper. The USof A is a very big diverse country. Not all white like nordic countries and most of european countries. All those countries you mention do now have millions of people trying to get into it like we do. Why? Freedom. Freedom. Even if it ruins us, we will die a free people. That is saying something. ww

hyperbolist, struggling to ... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist, struggling to justify socialism, postulates

Children are not fuilly autonomous, nor can they be considered 'responsible' in the eyes of the law. Subjecting children to poisons like phosphoric acid and high-fructose corn syrup is only marginally less harmful than feeding them cigarattes, Antimedia. I'm all for letting adults fuck up their lives however they want--I think every narcotic should be legal, actually--but I don't think people should have the right to give their children foods and beverages that make them fat, stupid, and diabetic.
The problem with your theoretical is that there is no end to it. If you can tell me that I can't give my children Coca Cola, then I should be able to tell you that you can't give your children cake or cookies. And on and on it goes until there is no choice left. You do what the government tells you to do and nothing more.

The point is, hyperbolist, for there to be freedom, there must be lines that the government cannot and may not cross. Once you blur those lines, there is no way to stop further encroachment.

The argument that what I do, in the privacy of my own life, should be regulated by laws if, in someone else's opinion, I violate good sense, is nothing more than an argument for complete control by government. That is the antithesis of freedom.

The only laws regulating behavior that the government should be allowed to pass are those which prevent me from harming you or others. That harm must be clear, immediate and recognizable. So murder, rape, robbery, theft, all would qualify. Feeding a child something you think is wrong does not.

Your claim that societies that have more Pareto optimality allow people to live a rich and fulfilling life is laughable. The richest and most fulfilling life one can live is when one makes their own decisions, without interference from others. Pareto speaks to equality of outcomes, a very socialist, communist viewpoint, as opposed to equality of opportunity, a very American viewpoint.

If you ask any human being on the face of the earth (who isn't a socialist idiot) which would you rather have? Exactly the same as everyone else? Or whatever you can achieve through your own efforts? The vast majority of human beings will choose the latter.

That's the very reason that socialists hide their evil in expressions like "Pareto optimality" and other canards carefully chosen to fool people into responding with emotion rather than reason.

As to whether life is more attractive in the US than elsewhere, immigration statistics tell the story. Of the top ten countries in the world, the US is not only number one but has more immigrants that the next five countries combined.

So if you think all these other countries are so much more attractive than America, statistics say you are in the clear minority.

Finally

Japan, Korea, Canada, and every Scandinavian country are in some sense "socialist". So too is America.
Countries that have elements of socialism but are not yet completely socialist do not qualify as socialist countries. However, if the tide is not turned, whatever freedoms they still enjoy (and they are fewer and fewer every year), will dissipate as the socialists more firmly exercise their control.

Socialism is like pregnancy. Once you get the condition, the outcome is a forgone conclusion. Freedom will die.

As for hyperbolist's claims... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

As for hyperbolist's claims about healthcare, perhaps he should read this.

Fact No. 1: Americans have better survival rates than Europeans for common cancers.

Fact No. 2: Americans have lower cancer mortality rates than Canadians.

Fact No. 3: Americans have better access to treatment for chronic diseases than patients in other developed countries.

Fact No. 4: Americans have better access to preventive cancer screening than Canadians.

Fact No. 5: Lower income Americans are in better health than comparable Canadians.

Fact No. 6: Americans spend less time waiting for care than patients in Canada and the U.K.

Fact No. 7: People in countries with more government control of health care are highly dissatisfied and believe reform is needed.

Fact No. 8: Americans are more satisfied with the care they receive than Canadians.

Fact No. 9: Americans have much better access to important new technologies like medical imaging than patients in Canada or the U.K.

Fact No. 10: Americans are responsible for the vast majority of all health care innovations.So much for the vaunted government run socialist healthcare systems.

1) Citing a bunch of "facts... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

1) Citing a bunch of "facts" that were previously published in the Moonie Times is a pretty funny way of trying to make a "point". Citing the NCPA is a lousy way to start your "argument".

2) The volume of immigrants to the United States doesn't mean much unless you index it to the size of the pre-existing population. Also, the fact that your country shares a border with a very poor, violent hell-hole makes the comparison to Canada ridiculous. Our major cities are majority non-"Canadian", with Vancouver having more Asians than Caucasians, and half of Torontonians being immigrants or first generation Canadians. For a country of 30 million, we have a great proportion of immigrants than the United States.

3) High Pareto optimality requires a large Pareto horizon--meaning, a good chance of a good outcome presupposes a broad set of opportunities. It's not about leveling down, as you seem to think it is. It's about optimizing the opportunity set in order to maximize the individual's prospects for successful living. (It's alright if you don't understand economics, but you shouldn't pretend that you do.)

4) The only laws regulating behavior that the government should be allowed to pass are those which prevent me from harming you or others. That harm must be clear, immediate and recognizable. So murder, rape, robbery, theft, all would qualify. Feeding a child something you think is wrong does not. How about cigarettes? Or alcohol? As even the thickest Randian would have to accept that they should not be allowed to do these things, it follows that giving children fireworks, weapons, and poison--e.g. cans of phosphoric acid, a.k.a. Coca-Cola--would also be on the list of Things You Shouldn't Give To A Fucking Child. If that limits your freedom in such a way that your life is actually made worse, then there is something wrong with you at a fundamental level.

5) You present a false dichotomy between having a broad set of choices (what you consider "freedom"--but what is actually negative freedom), vs. having exactly the same outcome as everyone else. This is a stupid way to present the choice, as there is in fact a broad spectrum of options. Take Sweden, for instance: you would think that they have insufficient "freedom", but there are a lot of rich Swedes and few poor ones. Or Canada: we have billionaires, and a hell of a lot of millionaires; a healthy population; good public education; and yet you think my society unfairly limits the opportunties of freedom-hungry individuals?

Antimedia, you will have to do better than false dichotomies and cherry-picked facts from a conservatarian-funded "non-partisan" anti-tax group.

hyperbolist, you display th... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist, you display the typical liberal response to facts - denigrate and ridicule the source, but whatever you do, don't respond to the facts. Had you bothered to actually read the article I linked to, you would know that each of those facts is backed up by scientific studies that are cited in the article.

With regard to Pareto, one does not have to understand economics to understand this.

Given a set of alternative allocations of, say, goods or income for a set of individuals, a change from one allocation to another that can make at least one individual better off without making any other individual worse off is called a Pareto improvement. An allocation is Pareto efficient or Pareto optimal when no further Pareto improvements can be made. This is often called a strong Pareto optimum (SPO).
That is equality of outcomes no matter what spin you want to put on it.
How about cigarettes? Or alcohol? As even the thickest Randian would have to accept that they should not be allowed to do these things, it follows that giving children fireworks, weapons, and poison--e.g. cans of phosphoric acid, a.k.a. Coca-Cola--would also be on the list of Things You Shouldn't Give To A Fucking Child.
That's your opinion. Why should your opinion result in enforcement for other people? In your tyrannical world I couldn't even celebrate July 4th with my child, sip a Coke at a ball game, take communion together or teach him how to shoot. That is the very definition of tyranny. Anyone who believes what you do is sick, infected with a perverse desire to control other people's lives.

With regard to your insistence on using the phrase "negative freedom", I'll leave it to the readers to decide what you really mean.

The distinction between negative and positive liberty was drawn by Isaiah Berlin in his lecture "Two Concepts of Liberty." According to Berlin, the distinction is deeply embedded in the political tradition. The notion of negative liberty is associated with British philosophers such as Locke, Hobbes, and Adam Smith, and positive liberty with continental thinkers, such as Hegel, Rousseau, Herder, and Marx. source
IOW, once again, liberals turn language on its ear and call communism "postive freedom" and true liberty "negative freedom".

Unfortunately for liberals, many of us are on to their game, reject their lies and their twisting of terminology and insist on facts, not fatuous and self-serving assertions.

How about this "spin"? A so... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

How about this "spin"? A society with one rich man and a billion poor people could be Pareto optimal--does that strike you as socialism? I won't bother trying to connect with your argument on an economic level because you don't understand economics. That's fine, as not everybody has studied economics, but for you to pretend that you do understand it is simply your pigheaded way of refusing to admit that you don't know what you're talking about. That's fine, but don't condescend to people who are more knowledgeable than you. Makes you look stupid, and you aren't a stupid person. You just lack an academic understand of what you're talking about (which is fundamentally an academic subject--but don't let that stop you...)

As for what harms children, it's hardly my opinion that tar, nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, alcohol, phosphoric acid, and high fructose corn syrup are things that are bad for children. If your doctor disagrees with me, fire your fucking doctor ASAP and find one that has actually been to medical school. As for firing weapons, that should be illegal until a child is--I dunno--14 or 16 years old. In a civilized country we can't have small children blowing their own heads off with firearms while under adult supervision. (http://www.mixx.com/stories/2594865/eight_year_old_shoots_self_with_uzi_dies). We restrict children from playing with fireworks and firearms; why not cans of poison? (Hint: you don't have a good answer. Suggestion: keep repeating yourself, you're doing great!)

By the way, I'm not sure you know what a "scientific" study is, as many of the ones referenced in that piss-poor NCPA "article" are very unscientific. If that list of questionable statistics includes every measure related to the overall health of the population on which America outperforms Europe/Canada, then that's pretty sad.

My fundamental problem with you is this: if you're prepared to wade into a conversation about political philosophy with someone who knows a hell of a lot more about political philosophy than you do, you would do well not to dismiss the entire pantheon of non-Lockean, non-conservatarian philosophers simply because they are a comma away from Marx. That makes you seem like a close-minded idiot. I have actually read the best defence of conservative politics ever written--Robert Nozick's Anarchy, State, and Utopia--but I would bet that you haven't even heard of Immanuel Kant's Critique of Pure Reason, let alone John Rawls' Theory of Justice. In fact, I would bet that you have never heard of Nozick, and thus are totally unacquainted with the only person who has done a reasonable job defending your viewpoint at the conceptual level. I wouldn't dare speak for you, but if I was someone with firmly entrenched political beliefs, I would be embarrassed to not know how to defend them at an intellectual--as opposed to merely political--level.

I'm not calling you stupid. I am only pointing out that you are incapable of carrying on a conversation at this level. So concede that you haven't got any idea what you're talking about; that you have no idea who Pareto was; that you have never read any welfare economics; that you have never taken a political philosophy class; and then go yell at some troofers on some other blog. Or, better yet, spend a few days in your local public library. You're a bright person and you can do better than some fucking NCPA article. Why not cite something from the Heritage Foundation while you're at it? Some seriously weak sauce, friendo.

I agree with the doctor. H... (Below threshold)
Phillips, MD:

I agree with the doctor. Helmets...of course. Helcopters...great. These were not used or not available. The problem is lack of action. This same situation could happen in a remote US area. Before CT scans, an epidural hematoma would be diagnosed with a carotid contrast injection and a skull x-ray. This would show displaced vessels, and given the size and location. "Exploratory burr holes" were also done before CT scanners and Xray if there was a skull fracture (or mechanism worthy or a fracture) and an exam consistent with epidural hematoma. I agree that temporizing burr holes should have been placed if her condition deteriorated (by a brave general surgeon or ER doctor). These are extreme procedures, but given the circumstances and resources they should have been considered. If she was "awake" when she left the 1st hospital, I would have sent the chick from Grays Anatomy with her and given her a drill. The second transfer is fishy to me. I think there is more to the story.

hyperbolist, what one has r... (Below threshold)
Antimedia:

hyperbolist, what one has read or what one's education is is irrelevant if one can't formulate one's own arguments without the assistance of Kant or Locke or Marx or any other so-called "great thinker". I work in higher education. I am not at all impressed with the results of much education (or even much reading, for that matter.)

So spare us your pompous boasting and engage the arguments you are making without the assistance of all the great thinkers you claim to have read. IOW, think for yourself, man.

Let's try this. I'm not interested in intellectual, philosophical arguments that go nowhere and solve nothing. I am trying to engage you on the level where the average person lives - the consideration of how your beliefs impinge upon their freedom.

Now, let's look at those beliefs.

As for what harms children, it's hardly my opinion that tar, nicotine, hydrogen cyanide, alcohol, phosphoric acid, and high fructose corn syrup are things that are bad for children. If your doctor disagrees with me, fire your fucking doctor ASAP and find one that has actually been to medical school. As for firing weapons, that should be illegal until a child is--I dunno--14 or 16 years old. In a civilized country we can't have small children blowing their own heads off with firearms while under adult supervision. (http://www.mixx.com/stories/2594865/eight_year_old_shoots_self_with_uzi_dies). We restrict children from playing with fireworks and firearms; why not cans of poison? (Hint: you don't have a good answer. Suggestion: keep repeating yourself, you're doing great!)
It matters not one whit what you are anyone else believes about the aforementioned things. When you or anyone else or any government decides that because you believe those things are detrimental to the well-being of children that therefore parents ought to be considered criminals when they allow those things, you are making an argument that others should not have the freedom to make their own decisions.

If people in government can make those decisions, then they can take away anything they want. They could decide that bowling is dangerous for your health and ban it. They could decide that cars are dangerous to your health and ban all driving. They could decide that coal is detrimental to the world and ban all coal plants or make coal so expensive to use that they price it out of the market (and make many people much poorer in the process.)

If you think that's ridiculous, then you don't understand what you are arguing for. I get that you are well read. You aren't quite so well thought, to put it crudely. You haven't extended your arguments to their logical conclusions and asked yourself, is that really a world you want to live in.

Bottom line? Your argument is: these things are bad, therefore they should be illegal. The obvious rejoinder is why? You have yet to even attempt to respond to that.

Once you cede that ground (deciding what is "good" and what is "bad") to government, you have relinquished control. You are now a slave to whomever happens to be in power and whatever "bad" they want to legislate out of existence.

Unfortunately, in our so-called "modern", "civilized" world, that is more the norm than not. And each of us is poorer for it. Just because you can't see that you have lost some freedom does not mean that those freedoms aren't lost.

You boasted about all the "options" that socialist, "Pareto optimal" countries have. A mouse in a maze has options as well. He may even think he's free.

You apparently do.

If I was her family I would... (Below threshold)
Yvonne:

If I was her family I would take this to court. I hope others that go to ski resorts make sure there is safety precautiions, in case of the same scenario.




Advertisements









rightads.gif

beltwaybloggers.gif

insiderslogo.jpg

mba_blue.gif

Follow Wizbang

Follow Wizbang on FacebookFollow Wizbang on TwitterSubscribe to Wizbang feedWizbang Mobile

Contact

Send e-mail tips to us:

[email protected]

Fresh Links

Credits

Section Editor: Maggie Whitton

Editors: Jay Tea, Lorie Byrd, Kim Priestap, DJ Drummond, Michael Laprarie, Baron Von Ottomatic, Shawn Mallow, Rick, Dan Karipides, Michael Avitablile, Charlie Quidnunc, Steve Schippert

Emeritus: Paul, Mary Katherine Ham, Jim Addison, Alexander K. McClure, Cassy Fiano, Bill Jempty, John Stansbury, Rob Port

In Memorium: HughS

All original content copyright © 2003-2010 by Wizbang®, LLC. All rights reserved. Wizbang® is a registered service mark.

Powered by Movable Type Pro 4.361

Hosting by ServInt

Ratings on this site are powered by the Ajax Ratings Pro plugin for Movable Type.

Search on this site is powered by the FastSearch plugin for Movable Type.

Blogrolls on this site are powered by the MT-Blogroll.

Temporary site design is based on Cutline and Cutline for MT. Graphics by Apothegm Designs.

Author Login



Terms Of Service

DCMA Compliance Notice

Privacy Policy