Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Tales of the MVNHS©: Robots and Wheelchairs

As we move inexorably towards government-run health"care," it's instructive to see what lies ahead for those among us facing life-altering and/or -threatening conditions. Championed by erstwhile CMMS Honcho "Sir" Donald Berwick, the Much Vaunted National Health System© provides stark examples of the path on which we find ourselves.

For example, what would you think of a government program that dumped millions of dollars (well, pounds) into research and development of cutting edge robotic surgery, only to deny its lifesaving services to those most in need of it?

Sound farfetched?

Not so:

"Lesley Whiting ... was selected for the procedure because after treatment for advanced breast cancer, three tumours were found in her skull. Without the radiosurgery, she would have around 18 months to live ... But NHS bureaucrats refused to fund the treatment ... despite the fact almost £9 million has been spent buying the robotic technology for three NHS hospitals."

Mrs Whiting, an otherwise sprightly 56 year old mum of two, faced certain, painful death, but she's far from alone:

"In total, fewer than 30 of 150 PCTs have now funded the radical treatment, with just 26 patients receiving Cyberknife at an NHS hospital."

Small wonder our own cancer survival rates are so much higher than theirs.

The good news, such as it is, is that the Sussex resident received the cybersurgery at a private clinic with help from a local charity. How many others, though, are left to twist in the wind?

Of course, Mrs Whiting is far from the only victim of the MVNHS©:

"A wheelchair-bound patient fed up with being in hospital was found by police on a motorway trying to hitch-hike the 80-mile journey home."

The 42 year old was scheduled for same-day surgery at one of the ironically named "Trusts" (a misnomer if there ever was one), but was kept there, a virtual prisoner, for a fortnight-and-a-half. There's some dispute as to why they wouldn't let him go:

"He says he has been given numerous reasons ... These include a lack of hospital beds at Lincoln and disputes over arranging an ambulance to transport him."

Ah, yes, the (in)famous British "ambulance dance."

And as to the actual "care" which one can expect from these facilities, well, it's not exactly up to our standards:

"And he says he cannot eat the hospital meals - especially as he says four of his teeth have fallen out since he was admitted."

Remember, though, that this is the kind of system touted by those who demanded that we pass the bill to learn what's in it.
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