Wintery Knight

…integrating Christian faith and knowledge in the public square

New study: IVF babies are one third more likely to contract cancer

The UK Daily Mail reports.

Excerpt: (links removed)

Children born as a result of IVF are a third more likely to get cancer, a major study found.

Scientists said those born after fertility treatments were 33 per cent more likely to have childhood cancer.

They were 65 per cent more likely to develop leukaemia and 88 per cent more likely to develop cancers of the brain and central nervous system.

[…]The research, in the journal Fertility and Sterility, reviewed 25 studies from 12 developed countries, including the US, the UK, Denmark, France and Israel, from 1990 to 2010.

‘The results of the largest meta-analysis on this topic to date indicate an association between fertility treatment and cancer in offspring,’ wrote author Dr Marie Hargreave, of the Danish Cancer Society research centre, Copenhagen.

‘The etiology [origin] of childhood cancer is still largely unknown, but it has been hypothesized that fertility treatment may play a role.’

In addition, IVF often results in abortions because unused embryos are discarded. And even worse, in countries like the UK, IVF is taxpayer-funded. I know that liberal groups in Canada and the U.S. would love to have taxpayer-funded IVF, as well.

Biological Colonialism

There’s also a story about the “colonialism” of IVF by Wesley J. Smith in First Things.

Excerpt: (links removed)

We already know that children born of IVF have poorer health outcomes than those conceived naturally. Yet, in the rush to allow these women to bear children, significant potential safety risks are being ignored.

Indeed, a study published in Science just revealed that three-parent mice and other organisms have significant health problems, including with “individual development, cognitive behavior, and [other] key health parameters.” The Scienceauthors strongly recommend more studies, but go on to suggest that despite safety concerns, families with “offspring that were severely afflicted” by mitochondrial diseases could decide “take the risk” anyway.

The willingness of some to do anything to have a baby has also spurred IVF biological colonialism, by which the fertility industry exploits the gestational capacities of destitute women in developing countries to fulfill the procreative desires of the well-off.

“Outsourcing a Life,” a recent investigative report published by the San Francisco Chronicle into India’s surrogacy industry, revealed the high cost paid by women so poor they are willing to gestate other people’s babies for pay. According to the story:

  • Women sign contracts requiring them to abort on demand of the biological parents;
  • Women are forced to leave their families for months and live in crowded dormitories with other pregnant surrogates;
  • Women are maneuvered into having medically unnecessary caesarean sections. Seventy-five percent of the surrogates in the clinic discussed in the story deliver surgically.
  • There may be adverse social consequences for the surrogate, who may become isolated by a disapproving family or culture.

An Indian study revealed other profound wrongs associated with commercial surrogacy—including sex selection, parents refusing to take the child after birth, and surrogates being paid a pittance, with most money going to so-called baby brokers. The report also found that surrogate mothers sometimes “feel attached to the babies even they were not biologically their own children.” Of course they do. Such feelings are a natural biological process associated with gestation. That’s part of biological colonialism’s cruelty.

[…]Indian surrogates have died giving birth to other people’s babies, orphaning their own children.

I found that article very distrurbing. Maybe if people want babies, then they should focus on preparing themselves for marriage EARLIER, finding a marriage-capable man EARLIER, and then having babies the natural way. It would be better for the babies, and cost taxpayers (at least in the UK) a lot less. I don’t understand why people are so selfish. You can’t focus on other things until you are 40 and then wreck everyone else’s life trying to fix your own choices at the last minute. It’s scary to me that people do this.

Filed under: News, , , , , ,

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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New study: children of divorce are more likely to be violent, take drugs and have underage sex

Dina tweeted this post from the UK Daily Mail. Let’s take a look at the findings, and then I’ll comment on it below.

Excerpt:

Children who encounter family break-up are far more likely to be violent, unhappy and feel unfulfilled throughout their lives, according to an NHS study.

Researchers found that the turmoil endured by youngsters has a crucial influence on nearly every facet of their later life.

A cross-section of 1,500 people were asked if they had faced a range of 11 circumstances, known as adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), covering abuse, family break-up, being raised with domestic violence and drink or drug addiction.

Coupled with details of their current lives, the research revealed the legacy of broken homes appears to weigh more heavily than any other factor, as among the worst affected group – those with four or more ACEs – two thirds had seen their parents go their separate ways, compared with an average of 24 per cent.

The chances of suffering a difficult childhood leapt for those born after 1971, when the law changed to make divorce easier. This generation was found to be significantly more likely to smoke, drink heavily, take drugs, fight, be mentally ill and have sex underage.

Norman Wells of the Family Education Trust, a campaign group which researches the causes and consequences of family breakdown, said: ‘Casting aside traditional patterns of family life carries a high price tag in terms of the health, education and employment prospects of the next generation.

‘The relaxation of divorce laws  – along with the increasing proportion of births outside marriage – has resulted in a growing number of children lacking the benefit of being raised by both their natural parents in a stable unit.’

The report – a joint venture between Liverpool John Moores University and the NHS – found that 47 per cent of those questioned had been on the end of at least one bad childhood experience, and that adult life became tougher with each one added.

It revealed that those with four or more ACEs were – compared to someone with none – twice as likely to have had sex underage, eat next to no fruit and vegetables, have no qualifications, break a bone or have an extended stay in hospital.

So the first thing to note about this article is that it is good because it identifies a factor that causes divorce to be more frequent. That factor is no-fault divorce laws. These laws are supported by egalitarian feminists and by trial lawyer associations – both liberal constituencies. So, the article is indirectly identifying a solution to the problem. Roll back no-fault divorce laws, and you’ll have fewer divorces. People will think more carefully about who they marry. People will think more carefully about preparing for marriage.

So who opposes the repeal of no-fault divorce laws? Well… the same people who passed no-fault divorce laws in the first place – feminists and trial lawyers. So it’s very important that we understand that the solution to the epidemic of divorce is not to turn to men and blame men. The solution is to repeal no-fault divorce laws that make it easy and profitable for one party in a marriage (the woman, in 70% of cases) to initiate unilateral divorce.  If the problem is divorce, then the solution is making divorce unprofitable from the spouses. We should also stop giving assistance to single women who have children, because that is another incentive to women to dispense with their husbands as providers and leaders in the home. Let’s face it. Single mother welfare is an incentive for women to kick men out of the home. They are paid if they do it, and not paid if they don’t. So again, the solution to divorce is not “man up”, it’s stop paying women who divorce their husbands. Leave it to private charities and churches to help those women.

Filed under: News, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Can you trust big government to take care of your health?

Let’s take a look at another story about socialized medicine from the UK, from the UK Daily Mail.

Excerpt:

The picture Sarah Fleming took of her husband Stewart is one that will haunt her for ever.

Taken on her mobile phone, it shows him sitting in a hospital cubicle, a hand clutching his stomach, his face a vivid reflection of the agony he was in, as he waited to be seen by doctors.

Tragically, that picture is a heartrending reminder of the circumstances leading up to the railway signalman’s death. It is also a vivid illustration of the turmoil unfolding in overstretched hospital emergency departments.

For the father-of-two, 37, from Rainham, in Kent, had to endure a six–hour wait to see a doctor in A&E at Gillingham’s Medway Maritime Hospital. He had a letter from his GP asking him to be admitted immediately.

He had been to see his GP that day because the antibiotics he had been taking for flu-like systems had failed to work. He was referred straight to hospital. But when he arrived, on December 15, 2008, the hospital was facing an unusually busy period. Staff sickness, a cold weather snap and an increase in GP referrals meant the hospital was under pressure.

He was admitted at 5.30pm, but was not seen until 11.15pm. By then, the mystery virus Stewart had contracted was attacking his heart, kidneys and liver. Despite being transferred to London’s Harefield Hospital, where he was placed into a drug-induced coma, he died on December 27.

And another from the same article:

She was a frail woman who deserved to be treated with dignity and kindness. Instead, Ethel Martin, 91, died after developing deep vein thrombosis having spent 16 hours on a trolley at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

The great-grandmother was admitted to hospital on April 17, 2006, complaining of feeling breathless. Her family were with her when she was put in a curtained-off bay in the overstretched A&E department — the hospital saw 365 patients in A&E that day — at about 5pm.

They returned home in the early hours, assuming she would be cared for, but were shocked when they came back the next day at 9am and found her in the same position. She hadn’t slept because the trolley was so uncomfortable.

After Mrs Martin, of Chorlton, Greater Manchester, was found a bed, her condition deteriorated and she was diagnosed with DVT. She was treated with blood-thinning drugs but died on May 1, following a cardiac arrest.

At an inquest into her death, pathologist Dr Richard Fitzmaurice said lying on her trolley could have contributed to her death. ‘Immobility is a recognised factor in the build-up of deep vein thrombosis.’

A coroner recorded a verdict of misadventure, on the grounds Mrs Martin’s death was the unintended consequence of medical treatment.

Mr. Stewart probably paid into the NHS his entire life before he needed care, and was denied it. That’s wow socialized medicine works. You pay into it. The government takes your money and buys votes from young people, by providing contraception, breast implants, HIV drugs, abortions, IVF and sex changes. When you get old, and need care, then you get in line behind people who have never paid a dime into the system. By that time, you’ll have no money of your own to get treatment from a private hospital. In Canada, you would have to leave the country and pay out of pocket for immediate care. That’s what the left thinks is such a great idea.

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How privatization turned the worst-performing NHS hospital around

From the American Spectator.

Excerpt:

[T]he most successful of the “drastic” experiments put in place is that much-hated bête noire of progressives and Obamacare supporters everywhere: privatization. The Mail Onlinereports that Hinchingbrooke Hospital, “The first NHS trust to be operated entirely by a private company has recorded one of the highest levels of patient satisfaction in the country.”

In other words, the Brits were so desperate to fix their crumbling health care system, they experimented with the private market and it is outperforming government-run health care without breaking a sweat. Hinchingbrooke was, like so many hospitals in the UK, about to go under when a private company called Circle Holdings was awarded a 10-year contract to run it. This is the first time such a company has been given control of an NHS hospital and the results will not come as a surprise to anyone who understands free enterprise.

As the Mail Online goes on to report, “The company running the trust has slashed losses at the hospital by 60 per cent and will soon begin to pay… debts built up over years of mismanagement.” Though will be no surprise to free market advocates, it has been a real eye-opener to the NHS. Privatization isn’t the dirty word it once was in the much-maligned health system: “The takeover deal … is seen as a blueprint for the future of many NHS trusts. The George Eliot Hospital in Warwickshire is already considering adopting the model.”

It will also come as no surprise to those who believe the market provides the most efficient health care delivery model that, in addition to dramatically improving the financial prospects, privatization has improved patient satisfaction. Before Hinchingbrooke was taken over by Circle Holdings, patients had a very low opinion of the hospital and the care it provided. Now, this perception is dramatically improved: “Patient satisfaction has risen to 85 per cent, placing Hinchingbrooke in the top six of the East of England’s 46 hospitals.”

I took a look at the UK Daily Mail article and found an interesting section:

Patient satisfaction has risen to 85 per cent, placing Hinchingbrooke in the top six of the East of England’s 46 hospitals. The feedback is calculated by asking families and patients whether they would recommend the hospital, then weighting the answers compared to local peers.

Previously the trust was among the lowest ranking for satisfaction.

Figures also show that Hinchingbrooke has risen from being one of the worst performing trusts to one of the best under the private firm’s management.When Circle took over, the hospital was consistently near the bottom of the 46 trusts, with many patients waiting more than four hours in A&E.

It now tops the list for short waiting times, seeing 98.2 per cent of patients within the required window.
The hospital also ranks fifth for the proportion of patients with suspected cancer having tests within a fortnight.

Before the takeover it had missed targets every month since June 2010.

It now treats 89 per cent of cancer patients within 62 days, beating the 85 per cent target.

Circle saved millions of pounds a year by cutting out arduous paperwork and middle management.

Under the former ownership, a lengthy form had to be filled out every time a lightbulb needed changing, in a process that often took more than a week.

The group, which runs independent hospitals in Reading and Bath, inherited debts of £39million with the project.

The hospital had been expected to lose £10million last year, but this has been whittled down to  £3.7million by the Circle group.

It made up the deficit from its own coffers, rather than taxpayer funds, and is expected to break even in the current year.

Do you think that we might consider privatizing Medicaid and Medicare, since we know that privatization is good for health care consumers and taxpayers? Of course not, because privatization is bad for politicians, who want to retain control of health care. Privatization is good, but we’re not going to get it unless we vote the socialists out.

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