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The NHS is a Disaster Zone

Ian Birrell has a piece at the UK Independent that is a must read for all parents of special needs children. Ian chronicles the nightmare he's experienced with the NHS for the past fifteen years. Reading about his experiences working his way through the NHS with a profoundly disabled child, I found myself saying, "oh my god" under my breath over and over again, as each narrative was worse than the one before it.

Since I spent the past few days in the hospital with my four year old daughter, whom I had to take to the ER on Tuesday morning, my very good experiences with our small town hospital are fresh in my mind and are easy to compare. I can't imagine experiencing what this couple has with the NHS the past fifteen years. Take a look at some of this family's experiences, and keep in mind, they are not an exception. If you have a special needs child or a child who is chronically ill, this will be your future with a government run health care system:

It was a simple thing. Another blood test, some more investigations into whatever flawed gene or missing protein might be the cause of my daughter's troubled life, with her terrible seizures, her blindness, her inability to walk or talk or eat unaided. Over the past 15 years, there have been many such attempts to identify her condition.

One year later, we asked the doctor, a top geneticist at one of the world's most famous hospitals, what had happened to the results. His office told us a rambling story about financial restrictions and the need to send such tests to a laboratory in Germany. They said there was little he could do but promised to pursue our case.

It was a bare-faced lie. The precious vial of blood had been dumped in storage and forgotten. The following day it was despatched to a laboratory in Wales and 40 days later the specialists came up trumps. They identified her condition, an obscure genetic mutation called CDKL5...

Of course, everyone loves the NHS now. It is officially sacrosanct. Our doctors are deities, our health care the envy of the world. And anyone who says anything different is an unpatriotic schmuck who should go and join those losers in the United States. (Although American doctors terrified of litigation would have done all the tests possible on my daughter if I'd sufficient insurance, and would think twice about lying to patients.)

So forgive a harsh dose of reality. I used to share these delusional views, wrapped in a comforting blanket of national pride over Bevan's legacy. But that was before the birth of our daughter sent us hurtling into the hell of our health service. Since then, hours and days and months and years have been spent battling bureaucracy, fighting lethargy and observing inefficiency while all the time guarding against the latest outbreak of incompetence.

Despite my daughter being under palliative care, my wife currently spends two hours a day struggling against the system, to say nothing of the other endless appointments that go with being primary carer of a severely disabled child. Right now, following some dramatic hormonal and physical changes, we are waiting to talk to one of our daughter's doctors: the first call went in three weeks ago, followed by three more phone calls and one email. No reply yet.

Or take the request for a bigger size of nappies, urgently needed because of our daughter's sudden weight spurt. A simple thing to sort, you might think. Not in the parallel universe of the NHS. It has taken four weeks, three phone calls, two home visits from community nurses to assess our needs and fill in the requisite forms - and still looks like being one more week before there is any hope of delivery. It may seem comical, but the result is a distressed child and endless extra laundry.

The warning signs of what lay ahead came on our first visit to Great Ormond Street, when there was a young couple who had travelled down from the north-east of England in front of us, their tiny sick baby almost lost in its blankets. "Didn't anyone tell you - your appointment's been cancelled?" the receptionist told them breezily. They looked at each other despairingly.

Such insensitivity is all too typical. When my daughter was seven she underwent a major review at a specialised unit in Surrey, spending three days and nights with sensors connected to brain-scanning devices glued to her head, under constant video surveillance while my exhausted wife comforted her and stopped her ripping off the electronic pads. A huge strain, but worth it given the hope of a breakthrough. When we went to get the results a few weeks later, there was the usual wait. After eventually summoning us, the neurologist asked why we were there. Then she opened our daughter's notes and asked what was wrong with her. Then she couldn't find the results. We stormed out, me in fury, my wife in tears.

Read all of Ian's piece. It's a glimpse into our future if Obama succeeds in getting his way. This is made an even more frightening prospect as we are learning that Obama and his statist allies in the House and Senate are not unlike kamikaze pilots from World War II. They will do what they can to get this done even if it means killing any reelection chances they have in 2010, and President Obama already said he is prepared to be a one term president if that is what it takes to implement his health care plans. When politicians are willing to give up their ultimate prize, their political positions, to shove this nightmare on us, how do you stop them?


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Comments (13)

Obama willingly a one term ... (Below threshold)
jim m:

Obama willingly a one term president? I sincerely doubt that he would willingly go after two given his response to the events in Honduras.

Obama may be willing to sac... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Obama may be willing to sacrifice others, I doubt the Chief Narcissist would be willing to fall on his own sword for anything. We stop him by defeating "his" legislation before it's born. This dumb asses actually believe if they pass legislation against the will of the people, they'll escape retribution. They also fail to realize that legislation can be repealed. How many thought once completed, we'd have Prohibition forever?

Oh, and Kim, that child and her parents from Britain would never have those problems under ObamaCare. The child would never have been allowed to be born, or having been born, wouldn't have been allowed to survive. Just ask The Compassionate One about abortions that resulted in live births. There are ways to 'fix' that 'mistake'.

Why anyone would want to ha... (Below threshold)
mpw280:

Why anyone would want to have their health care run by the likes of the people who run the post office or your local DMV is beyond me. Again, show me how you are going to save money by fixing medicare and medicaid and then bring it to me and make me a believer instead of ramming it up my a$$ and telling me to like it. mpw

With a science and technolo... (Below threshold)
jim m:

With a science and technology czar who is on record saying that after extensive socialization a baby may become human you can guarantee that any such babies would never be treated.

In Illinois babies were being put in linen closets by nurses so they could shut the door so nobody would have to listen to the baby crying while it died and Obama voted 3 times to continue that practice. Only after he left the state Senate were they able to get the bill out of committee and pass it.

What a horror story. My he... (Below threshold)
mag:

What a horror story. My heart goes out to these people. It amazing the love a parent can have for a child. I think it is the strongest love on earth.

I truly believe that some politicans/people in power would not want to see a sick child like this live at all. It has no worth. It can't vote for them or pay taxes....so....

I know of a 94 year old woman with severe Alzheimers (in a home for years) that needed a blood transfusion over a week ago. She was taken to the hospital and is doing okay. Under obamacare would she have gotten the blood transfusion. I think not. They probably would think "well, it time for her to go anyhow".
A friend of mine has the gene that is giving her a 70% chance to get breast/ovarian cancer. She is having a full hysterectomy and full mastectomy (with reconstruction) to prevent the cancer. Would this happen under obamacare? Would they say take the chance to see if you get cancer at all...and why reconstruct the breast...just stuff toliet tissue into your bra.
Or my husband uncle. A hateful man will Alzhemiers for 14 years, a vegetable (hate that word) with a feeling tube in him. Would they allow money to be spend on keeping him alive?

They say the "death panel" is not true. Maybe not now...but remember that slippery slope. One time in this country abortion was illegal and consider a sin by most. First it was suppose to be for rare cases. Now in some places up to the ninth month (like the Dr. Tiller in AZ) they will abort. Or let a baby die after a botched abortion (as Obama agrees is the correct thing to do).
It is just getting people use to not respecting life too much...then it is easy to have people accept things like this.

"They say the "death panel"... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"They say the "death panel" is not true."

While Nancy claims "its been removed", you wonder WHY 'end of life consultation' was there in the first place. One only has to look back at an interview with The One when the question came about cost containment/reduction. The One mentions that 80% of health care costs are on the elderly. The One then goes on, talking about doctors, scientists and ETHICISTS (a panel?) making 'difficult decisions'. NO WHERE did The One mention including the PATIENT. And why an ETHICIST? What moral issue is being addressed?
Dare I say 'the patient's life'? The One wants nothing but the BEST medical care money can buy for HIS family. Everyone else? Get out the calculator.

Where does Canada send thei... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

Where does Canada send their health care patients for treatment?

http://freep.com/article/20090820/BUSINESS06/908200420/1319/

I wonder what the great ins... (Below threshold)
WildWillie:

I wonder what the great insightful and self appointed know it all Hyperbolist has to say about his health minister stating Canada's health care is imploding. Tick, tick, tick. ww

Wildwillie,GarandF... (Below threshold)
Kenny:

Wildwillie,

GarandFan posting the canadian health care link is to Hypergirlie as Kryptonite is to Superman.

He'll disappear for a couple of days, and after that he'll be back telling us how wonderful the canadian health care system is.

Nurse Led Practice, Special... (Below threshold)

Nurse Led Practice, Specialist Nurse and Independent Nurse Practioners are allowed to diagnose, prescribe and treat patients in NHS hospitals Primary Care. Walk-in clinics & Surgeries managed by nurses have mushroomed in UK since the Government decided to modernize NHS. I have always believed in the NHS and been proud to be part of this organisation for almost twenty-five years but not any more.

Initially I thought this was a good idea and was keen to encourage but now find this practice of providing healthcare using nurses unethical. This shift of managing healthcare to nurses and administrators has resulted in poor standard of care and making patients loose faith in doctors.

NHS publish articles encouraging us to whistle blowing, but when a doctor muscle-up the courage to complaint they are victimised, humiliated and bullied into accepting defeat. Good doctors who speak out to defend their medical ethics are subjected to disciplinary actions that damage their reputation, undermine their confidence and ruin them financially.

I feel healthcare managed by management consultant is not in the interest of patients and medical profession. They have drafted various publications, guidelines and protocols only help protect the healthcare providers and insurance companies. The very people who claim to manage and modernise have ripped apart the profession doctor-patient relationship resulting in patients blaming doctors. Our trusted patients who believe in us are made to suffer because the organization has nailed our (doctors) hands to the coffin.

It is sad to see how medical profession has been highjacked by politicians and greedy businessperson keen to invest and commercialise. I also feel NHS has breeched basic human right because it is un-ethical to deny access to consult doctors and delay in instituting treatment to alleviate pain and suffering.

We must stop praising our NHS and put an end to this mad obsession of modernizing medicine, if not medical profession is doomed to collapse.

"It is sad to see how medic... (Below threshold)
GarandFan:

"It is sad to see how medical profession has been highjacked by politicians and greedy businessperson keen to invest and commercialise."

Sort of like what happened to "management" in US Corporations beginning in the mid-70's. Those with leadership/management ability were shunted aside in favor of having 'the bean counters' (those with accounting/financial degrees) take over. Suddenly corporations were no longer interested in "the big picture" or "planning for the future". Everything was aimed at 'improving next quarter's bottom line'. It's been like that ever since. It's gotten so that current management philosophy can be described as: "THE BEATINGS WILL CONTINUE UNTIL SUCH TIME AS MORALE IMPROVES!"

If you think medical is bad... (Below threshold)
Kathy:

If you think medical is bad, think about a few other parts of the equation: dental and optical. NHS dentistry is "shall we pull that tooth for you?". True story (that tooth was fixed here at home - painful, but worth the wait). At least twenty years behind us in technology, they don't even provide a lead apron for xrays. Also true story.

All the advances in medical treatments, dental treatments, drug treatments and advances in technology can not be supported if Obamacare passes.

Kenny, I've mentioned this ... (Below threshold)
hyperbolist:

Kenny, I've mentioned this before: you using a feminine designation to insult people belies a deep seated hatred of women on your part. I hope you don't have a daughter, because if you do she must have a horrible life; and I hope you don't someday walk into a fitness class with a bag of firearms and vent your pathetic frustration.

Everyone else: Americans travel abroad for healthcare. And if you expect me to defend the Canadian system, you're mistaken.




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