Should the aged be left to die? Apparently socialized medicine in Britain is failing those not only at the beginning of life, where doctors in that oh so civilized nation are asking "Should babies born before the 25th week of pregnancy be left to die?" but apparently also among the final stages.
Britain's elderly are being neglected, poorly treated and marginalised by the country's health system, according to a shocking study published today.
The scathing report, by three Government inspectorates, criticises the "patronising and thoughtless" manner in which NHS hospitals and care institutions treat older patients. It also identifies a catalogue of sins and omissions practised by hospitals, that are condemning the elderly to second—class status in Britain's hospital wards.
Inspectors found that many older patients went hungry because meals were taken away before they could eat them, while others suffered embarrassment through being cared for on mixed—sex wards. There were also frequent complaints about dirty wards, the strong smell of urine from unemptied bottles and people waiting on trolleys.
The report's authors stated that "deep—rooted cultural attitudes to ageing" had led to thousands of elderly patients receiving inferior treatment to the young. The survey comes at an acutely embarrassing moment for Tony Blair, as the state of the NHS comes under increasing scrutiny amid widespread job cuts. Commitment to better care for the elderly has been a feature of Labour's winning election manifestos.
The over—65s occupy almost two—thirds of hospital beds and accounted for some �16bn of health spending — 43 per cent of the NHS hospital budget in 2003—04.
Yet they come bottom of the list of those involved in planning and developing services, the report by the Healthcare Commission, the Audit Commission and the Commission for Social Inspection says.
Yeah, yeah some of these same facts are applicable to America also; naturally the elderly, who become ill as they age, will utilize a disproportionate share of health care resources. And sure, some segments of American society feel the ill aged are too great a burden and should, uh, leave quickly and quietly into the eternal night.
But are the problems so pervasive here where there is still some semblance of non governmental medical care even for the elderly? Not really. But this should be a warning to all of us as liberals demand more government involvement in health care at all levels. As Vasko Kohlmayer pointed out yesterday about the seeming callousness towards premature infants:
However chilling this debate may seem, it is the natural and expected outcome of socialized medicine. The State can only provide a limited amount of resources and the pie must be divided somehow. In the process some people will be inevitably denied the care they need to live. The question is who. The most defenseless are an easy target.
...Rotten indeed is the fruit of socialization. Are you listening American liberals? Are you listening Mrs. Clinton?
Ethel C. Fenig 3 28 06