February 21, 2013
Is the U.S. Clinically Insane?By Deane Waldman
Insanity is often defined as doing the same thing over and over while expecting a different result. The British National Health Service (NHS) has a history of such "insanity." They maintain their healthcare system without change despite repeated episodes of preventable patient deaths. So what does the U.S. do? President Obama wants to emulate their system here. Insanity!
We start our story with the Bristol (England) Royal Infirmary, which enjoyed a reputation as a world-class surgery center for children with heart problems. When someone began to question that reputation and asked for outcomes data, a cover-up started, just like Watergate.
Patient results were fabricated. Potential whistleblowers were intimidated. There were public distortions and denials. Eventually, the British government empaneled a "Commission" (their term for blue-ribbon panel), which released its Bristol Report in June 2001.
After confirming the terrible patient outcomes, the Commission did the unexpected. Instead of blaming specific individuals, the Commission identified the root cause: the system and its culture, one of intolerance and corruption. The system that was supposed to protect the patients protected itself instead, at the patients' expense, literally to their deaths.
A few years later, similar events were made public at the Stafford (England) Trust Hospitals. "Trust" is the word the NHS uses for a division, like the old Cook County Hospital System. Despite outcries over Stafford and reminders of Bristol, there was no change in the system -- just in the names of some players.
In 2010, the chief of the United Lincolnshire (England again) Hospitals Trust was concerned about needless deaths in his hospitals. When he tried to move these concerns up the NHS corporate chain, he was gagged (legally) and then fired. A new cover-up started, which took over two years to see the light of day.
A 14 Feb 2013 headline read, "Deaths, lies and the NHS: Shocking new healthcare scandals emerge in UK." As previously documented in other NHS hospitals, there is evidence of "filthy wards ... understaffing ... excess deaths ... [and] avoidable deaths." The NHS chief, Sir David Nicholson, clearly wanted to protect the system's reputation more than protect sick Britons.
Obvious "insanity" in England, but maybe it is just a British problem? Let's look at a different government-controlled healthcare system to our north: Canada.
In 2010, Dr. Ciaran McNamee, formerly a surgeon in Alberta, now at Harvard, sued the Alberta Provincial Government for similar reasons as at Bristol, Stafford, and Lincolnshire: inadequate allocation of resources, too few doctors and other providers, not enough beds and equipment. Canadians died needlessly and avoidably. Treatments that would have worked were either Not Approved or Approved for some time in the distant future, rather than when the patients needed care. In my new book, Not Right! - Conversations with We The Patients, I call the former death-by-bureaucracy and the latter death-by-queueing.
The recurring pattern is clear. When the government is in control, the budget and rule-following are more important than patient outcomes. When a bureaucrat decides your health care, you lose. The root cause of needless patient deaths is the system, not the individuals.
ObamaCare is replicating the British NHS here. The president certainly can't want Americans to die. Thus, he must be insane: he is doing the same thing (as elsewhere) and thinking that the result will be different.
His insanity has a medical diagnosis: megalomania, "a psychopathological condition where delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence predominate." The everyday term is "God complex."
Someone who has the God complex knows what is best for you better than you do. This person therefore must decide for you because you might make a mistake, and he (God) won't. He takes away your freedom to choose in your best interest.
No doubt you demand proof of such an outrageous (!) charge.
Proof #1: Examine the substance of ObamaCare. We The Patients are not in control -- the government is, just like Great Britain and Canada. Guess what will happen here.
Proof #2: Review how ObamaCare was imposed on We The Patients against our will, for our own good!
Proof #3: Watch President Obama's face as Dr. Ben Carson tells him that God knows better than he does.
If patients suffer and die needlessly and avoidably under government-controlled healthcare systems, what kind of a system would actually put patients first? Answer: a system where patients are in control of their medical care, and no one else is.
What we need as We The People and particularly as We The Patients is the return of our freedom. We need personal control over our own persons. We want to decide for ourselves. We will accept the consequences of our choices.
We want to place the responsibility for our welfare, and thus both financial as well as medical controls, in the right hands: ours.
Deane Waldman, M.D., MBA gave up practicing clinical medicine after the 2012 election, saying, "I cannot practice ethical medicine under ObamaCare." He is the author of Uproot US Healthcare and Not Right! - Conversations with We The Patients (June 2013) as well as adjunct scholar for the Rio Grande Foundation in New Mexico.
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