Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: NHS patients are 45 percent more likely to die than US health care patients

Wes sent me this article from the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Patients are 45% more likely to die in NHS hospitals than in US ones, according to figures revealing how badly England’s health service compares with those of other countries.

Previously unpublished data collated by Professor Sir Brian Jarman over more than 10 years found NHS mortality rates were among the worst of those in seven developed countries.

A patient in England was five times as likely to die of pneumonia and twice as likely to die of septicaemia compared to similar patients in the US, the leading country in the study, the data suggested.

The elderly were found to be particularly at risk in English hospitals compared with those in the other countries.

The figures showed that the situation had improved since 2004, when the death rate in English hospitals was 58% higher than that in the best performing country.

But NHS institutions still lagged behind in the most recent data, from 2012, despite reforms of the health service and increased funding.

Of the other six countries studied, only the US was named because of the sensitivity of the data.

Prof Sir Brian, who adjusted the data to take account of differences in the countries’ health services, did not initially release his figures because he was so shocked by them he at first assumed there must be a flaw in his methodology.

There was, however, “no means of denying the results,” he said.

“I expected us to do well and was very surprised when we didn’t,” the Imperial College London medic told Channel 4 News.

“If you go to the States, doctors can talk about problems, nurses can raise problems and listen to patient complaints.

“We have a system whereby for written hospital complaints only one in 375 is actually formally investigated. That is absolutely appalling.”

Previously, I had posted a summary of a book by Scott Atlas, a medical doctor at the Hoover Institute at Stanford University. In that article, he laid out the reasons why the U.S. healthcare system was the best in the world.

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New report exposes NHS socialized medicine as an unmitigated disaster

The UK Telegraph reports on the sorry state of socialist Britain. (H/T Dina)

Excerpt:

Eleven NHS trusts were put into “special measures” after an investigation found thousands of patients died needlessly because of poor care.

The report blamed poor staffing levels and lack of oversight, and said that staff did not address the needs of patients. It concluded the hospitals investigated were “trapped in mediocrity”.

[...]The review, ordered by the Prime Minister, began in February following the public inquiry into the scandal at Mid Staffordshire Hospital Foundation Trust, where up to 1,200 people died amid “appalling” failings in care.

Inspectors visited 21 hospitals, run by 14 NHS trusts, which had the highest recent mortality rates in England. They found that some of the risks to patients were so severe that they were forced to step in immediately.

[...]At Buckinghamshire Healthcare NHS Trust, junior doctors described a “frightening” workload which left them responsible for up to 250 patients at weekends. Elderly patients were left on the lavatory with the door open, while others were left on trolleys for hours on end. At one of the trust’s community hospitals, nurses were forced to call 999 because there were not enough doctors.

At Blackpool Teaching Hospitals Foundation Trust, patients’ families had to feed other patients because nurses were busy while other vulnerable elderly people were left in soiled conditions. At Northern Lincolnshire and Goole NHS Foundation Trust, relatives said they were not only washing and dressing patients but turning them to prevent bed sores. Receptionists were left to take decisions about how quickly patients were seen in A&E, as happened in Mid Staffs.

Sir Bruce said: “For me this is in many ways a difficult day for the NHS — because we are laying bare some truths. On the other hand, the transparency with which this review has been conducted, I hope will be a turning point for the NHS.”

Dirt and dust was found to be “ingrained” on the wards at North Cumbria University Hospitals NHS Trust and two operating theatres were shut immediately due to poor hygiene.

Figures showed up to 13,000 excess deaths since 2005 at the 14 trusts investigated, advisers to the review said.

“No statistics are perfect but mortality rates suggest that since 2005 thousands more people may have died that would normally be expected at the 14 trusts reviewed,” Mr Hunt told the Commons.

At Basildon and Thurrock University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, up to 1,600 people more than expected may have died during the period. Inspectors found patients stayed up to two weeks in temporary areas without shower facilities. Others were left in ambulances “stacked” outside A&E departments, or waiting hours on trolleys.

At East Lancashire Hospitals NHS Trust, high numbers of stillbirths at the maternity unit — eight in March — were never investigated, nor reported to the trust’s board. An elderly woman was discharged at 3am and told she had “no choice”, inspectors found.

Patients at George Eliot Hospital waited up to 10 days to see a senior doctor. Nurses were not trained to treat bedsores, leaving patients in crippling pain. At Sherwood Forest Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, inspectors found significant backlogs of scans and X-rays which had never been examined, and complaints which dated back three years.

At Tameside Hospital NHS Foundation Trust, whose chief executive and medical director resigned this month, wards had no doctors in charge at nights, while patients were shifted from ward to ward.

At United Lincolnshire Hospitals NHS Trust there were 12 “never events” — incidents so serious, such as operations on the wrong part of the body, or surgical instruments left inside a patient, that they should never occur — in three years. Patients felt too frightened to complain in case it led to worse care, the report found.

What happened? How is it that UK citizens and businesses pay over half their incomes to the government, and yet the government cannot even provide basic health care for customers?

The missing factor

Let Dr. Walter Williams, professor of economics at George Mason University, explain why the NHS has failed to please their customers:

The NHS is what happens when people repeatedly elect governments that are ignorant of basic economics.

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Government-run health care: starving sick babies and children to death

Here’s a scary story from the UK Daily Mail. (H/T Dan Mitchell)

Excerpt:

Now sick babies go on death pathway: Doctor’s haunting testimony reveals how children are put on end-of-life plan

  • Practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube being used on young patients
  • Doctor admits starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in neonatal unit
  • Liverpool Care Pathway subject of independent inquiry ordered by ministers
  • Investigation, including child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions

Sick children are being discharged from NHS hospitals to die at home or in hospices on controversial ‘death pathways’.

Until now, end of life regime the Liverpool Care Pathway was thought to have involved only elderly and terminally-ill adults.

But the Mail can reveal the practice of withdrawing food and fluid by tube is being used on young patients as well as severely disabled newborn babies.

One doctor has admitted starving and dehydrating ten babies to death in the neonatal unit of one hospital alone.

Writing in a leading medical journal, the physician revealed the process can take an average of ten days during which a  baby becomes ‘smaller and shrunken’.

The LCP – on which 130,000 elderly and terminally-ill adult patients die each year – is now the subject of an independent inquiry ordered by ministers.

The investigation, which will include child patients, will look at whether cash payments to hospitals to hit death pathway targets have influenced doctors’ decisions.

Read the whole thing, but here’s a snip:

Bernadette Lloyd, a hospice paediatric nurse, has written to the Cabinet Office and the Department of Health to criticise the use of death pathways for children.

She said: ‘The parents feel coerced, at a very traumatic time, into agreeing that this is correct for their child whom they are told by doctors has only has a few days to live. It is very difficult to predict death. I have seen a “reasonable” number of children recover after being taken off the pathway.

‘I have also seen children die in terrible thirst because fluids are withdrawn from them until they die.

‘I witnessed a 14 year-old boy with cancer die with his tongue stuck to the roof of his mouth when doctors refused to give him liquids by tube. His death was agonising for him, and for us nurses to watch. This is euthanasia by the backdoor.’

This is what Democrats believe about health care. When the government runs health care, health stops being about curing sickness and starts being about buying votes. Suddenly, free abortions, breast enlargements, in vitro fertilization, drugs to calm down fatherless children, contraception, HIV/AIDS all become priorities. There are some people out there who want government to pay for the health effects of their own immoral / reckless choices, and that’s what government-run health care is really about. Enabling certain lifestyles that require health care subsidies so those people can live “as good as” traditional morality lifestyles. It’s interesting to note that in countries that have government-run health care, like Canada, doctors and nurses are regularly forced to act against their consciences to murder rather than cure. It’s no surprise because socialists in the Soviet Union and Nazi Germany have essentially the same view of conscience as modern leftists like the Democrat Party.

There isn’t enough money for us to pay people to voluntarily incur health care costs (and other social costs) with their immoral / irresponsible choices. But that’s exactly what happens when you make everything “health care” and then make it “free” in order to buy votes from people like Sandra Fluke. What Democrats do is look for groups that need subsidies or validation and they offer it to them with taxpayer money and laws prohibiting dissent. They essentially take the complete anti-freedom point of view on every question. They hate liberty, and love power. The want to control others and to be adored by those who depend on their benevolent redistribution of other people’s money.

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Public health care working as designed in the UK and Canada

The UK Daily Mail gives us a bird’s eye view of the largest government-run health care delivery system in the world.

Excerpt:

A mother has described how her baby was left to die ‘like an abandoned animal’ after hospital doctors repeatedly ignored her desperate pleas for help.

Paula Stevenson begged doctors to act as her one-year-old daughter Hayley struggled to breathe in the days after a major heart operation.

She was so desperate she even tried ‘bribing’ a nurse with a £100 shopping voucher to give Hayley the attention she needed. Instead, hospital staff ‘humiliated and belittled’ her – treating her like a ‘nuisance’ for speaking up, she said.

Tragically, Mrs Stevenson’s maternal instinct was proven right when Hayley died of heart failure after both her lungs collapsed under the hospital’s watch.

Yesterday, as an inquest into her death concluded, a coroner said there had been ‘serious failings’ in Hayley’s care. Birmingham Children’s Hospital admitted full liability for her ‘avoidable’ death.

[...]Doctors failed to update her medical charts, were slow to look at X-rays and failed to refer Hayley to intensive care when her condition worsened.

People only care about giving you good service if they have to compete for your business in a free market, where suppliers have to offer higher quality at a lower price. Maybe that’s why the American for-profit system delivers so much better care than anywhere else in the world, and why the socialized medicine system in the UK is a miserable failure at everything except killing patients dead. The customer is never right in a government-run system. You are forced to pay into it first, and then they decide later what treatment you can have – after they’ve already been paid.

Well, maybe that’s just a problem in the UK. Canada has a single-payer government run health care system. Maybe it works better than the UK government-run system? The Montreal Gazette reports on health care in Quebec – la belle province – Canada’s most secularized and socialist province.

Excerpt:

Surgery wait times for deadly ovarian, cervical and breast cancers in Quebec are three times longer than government benchmarks, leading some desperate patients to shop around for an operating room.

But that’s a waste of time, doctors say, since the problem is spread across Quebec hospitals. And doctors are refusing to accept new patients quickly because they can’t treat them, health advocates say.

[...]The latest figures from the provincial government show that over a span of nearly 11 months, 7,780 patients in the Montreal area waited six months or longer for day surgeries, while another 2,957 waited for six months or longer for operations that required hospitalization.

The worst cases are gynecological cancers, experts say, because usually such a cancer has already spread by the time it is detected. Instead of four weeks from diagnosis to surgery, patients are waiting as long as three months to have cancerous growths removed.

But maybe the government-run health care systems cost less than the private systems? After all, governments can be more efficient than the private sector, because they have a monopoly and that’s more efficient, right? The Vancouver Sun reports on what single-payer health care costs in Canada.

Excerpt:

The true cost of Canada’s health care system is more than $11,000 in taxes each year for an average family, according to Vancouver-based think tank The Fraser Institute.

[...]Institute senior fellow Nadeem Esmail said in a news release sent out this morning: “There’s a widespread belief that health care is free in Canada. It’s not; our tax dollars cover the cost of it. But the way we pay for health care disguises exactly how much public health care insurance costs Canadian families and how that cost is increasing over time.”

The release noted that since 2002, the cost of health care insurance for the average Canadian family increased by 59.8 per cent before inflation.

“By way of comparison, the cost of public health care increased more than twice as fast as the cost of shelter, roughly four times as fast as the cost of food, and more than five times as fast as the cost of clothing,” the release said.

This is the system that Obamacare is trying to force onto us by eliminating private sector health care. We voted for a system that takes the consumer out of the health care business. Now government will call the shots, just like in the UK and in Canada.

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NHS paying millions to hospitals to deny food and fluids to end-of-life patients

From the UK Telegraph.

Excerpt:

Almost two thirds of NHS trusts using the Liverpool Care Pathway have received payouts totalling millions of pounds for hitting targets related to its use, research forThe Daily Telegraph shows.

The figures, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal the full scale of financial inducements for the first time.

They suggest that about 85 per cent of trusts have now adopted the regime, which can involve the removal of hydration and nutrition from dying patients.

More than six out of 10 of those trusts – just over half of the total – have received or are due to receive financial rewards for doing so amounting to at least £12million.

[...]At many hospitals more than 50 per cent of all patients who died had been placed on the pathway and in one case the proportion of forseeable deaths on the pathway was almost nine out of 10.

[...]The LCP was originally developed at the Royal Liverpool University Hospital and the city’s Marie Curie hospice to ease suffering in dying patients, setting out principles for how they to be treated.

It involves the withdrawal of treatments or tests from patients which doctors believe could cause distress and do more harm than good.

[...]A series of cases have also come to light in which family members said they were not consulted or even informed when food and fluids were withheld from their loved-ones.

What would happen if we had government-run health care? When you make something “free”, more people want to use it, but fewer people want to provide it – because there is no money in it. So what does the government do to control costs? They ration care to people who can no longer vote to keep them in power. The weak, the elderly – just put them on a pathway to death. Is that what we want here in the United States?

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