Among the issues most commonly discussed are individuality, the rights of the individual, the limits of legitimate government, morality, history, economics, government policy, science, business, education, health care, energy, and man-made global warming evaluations. My posts are aimed at intelligent and rational individuals, whose comments are very welcome.

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21 October 2012

Appendicitis in Nova Scotia and Single-Payer Medicine

A materials physicist friend of mine told me how his socialist sister lost her desire for a single-payer nationalized medical system.  She was on temporary business assignment in Nova Scotia, Canada and a neighbor began having severe pains.  She took her neighbor to the hospital and they entered the emergency room, where concern was expressed that her pain was caused by appendicitis.  The woman was screaming with pain.  She was told to wait for Triage and after a long wait, the examiner declared that yes, the pain was due to appendicitis.  My friend's sister assumed they would rush her to surgery.  But no, the doctor announced that she was not yet close enough to death to warrant surgery.

For 36 hours the woman screamed and writhed in pain.  My friend's sister stayed with her and helplessly listened to her screams for 36 hours.  Finally, the doctors decided she was close enough to death that they were willing to operate on her, and presumably to shove aside the many patients who had been waiting months for operations.  She did survive the operation, but my friend's sister's desire for a nationalized single-payer medical system did not.  She is now a furious opponent of single-payer nationalized health care systems.

Obama and many of his friends who want ObamaCare, really ObamaUncaringTax, to fail so it can be replaced with a fully nationalized single-payer system should have been with her.  Yes, I do understand that some of his friends are so callous that such an event would not have changed their minds, but no one can listen to a woman scream for 36 hours without at least being miserable.  At least, I cannot imagine that they would not be miserable.  But, that may be a failure of imagination on my part, because after all, they are Obama's friends.

The story above is anecdotal and scary.  Studies of larger populations are certainly useful in testing whether such stories are consistent with the Big Picture.  So, here is a Daily Mail report on the National Health Service in Great Britain:
Patients having major surgery in NHS hospitals face a much higher risk of dying than those in America, research has revealed.
Doctors found that people who have treatment here are four times more likely to die than US citizens undergoing similar operations.
The most seriously ill NHS patients were seven times more likely to die than their American counterparts.
Experts blame the British fatality figures on a shortage of specialists and lack of intensive care beds for post-operative recovery.
They also suggest that long waiting lists mean diseases are more advanced before they are treated.
Researchers from University College London and Columbia University, in New York, studied 1,000 surgery patients at the Mount Sinai Hospital, Manhattan, and compared them to nearly 1,100 people who had similar operations at the Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Portsmouth.
The results showed that just under ten per cent of British patients died in hospital afterwards compared to 2.5 per cent in America. Among the most seriously ill cases there was a seven-fold difference in the death rates.
The New York patients had paid for treatment through private medical insurance and were therefore likely to be "wealthier and healthier", whereas the NHS patients were from all social classes.
However, the study aimed to "iron out" these differences by rating each patient on their clinical status.
We Americans really must get rid of ObamaCare before it collapses and we get the almost inevitable rush by the Democrats to replace it with a fully nationalized single-payer system similar to that of Great Britain or Canada.


JohnJEnright said...

Practically makes you afraid to visit Nova Scotia. I mean, I've still got my appendix, and who knows when it might start acting up?

Charles R. Anderson, Ph.D. said...

I have long had severe concerns about visiting such countries as China, ruled as it is by the Communist Party. You are wise to have reservations also about going to a country without a strong private medical system.