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UK Government-Run Healthcare System: Soiled Bedclothes, Starving Patients ^ | January 12, 2013 | Daniel J. Mitchell

Posted on 01/12/2013 5:55:09 AM PST by Kaslin

During the Obamacare debate, Paul Krugman told us we could ignore stories about what was happening across the ocean, writing that “In Britain, the government itself runs the hospitals and employs the doctors. We’ve all heard scare stories about how that works in practice; these stories are false.”

Every so often, I wonder how Krugman would define a “scare story.” How about starving babies to death, as I wrote about last month? Would he say that’s “false,” or simply not a “scare story”?

Let’s look at some new information from the U.K.’s government-run system and see whether we can expect our healthcare to improve or deteriorate now that Obamacare’s beginning to get implemented.

We’ll start with a look at how the overall British system is performing, including the remarkable and depressing fact that more than 1 in 10 patients are victimized by “basic errors,” leading to 5.2 percent of deaths.

The largest and most detailed survey into hospital deaths has revealed that almost 12,000 patients are needlessly dying every year as a result of poor patient care. The researchers from The London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine based the study on 1,000 deaths at 10 NHS trusts during 2009. The study revealed that basic errors were made in more than one in 10 cases, leading to 5.2% of deaths, which was the equivalent of nearly 12,000 preventable deaths in hospitals in England every year. The research published in the British Medical Journal’s Quality and Safety publication found that errors occurred when hospital staff made an incorrect diagnosis, prescribed the wrong drugs, failed to monitor a patient’s condition or react when a patient deteriorated. Errors in omission were more frequent than active mistakes. The majority of patients who died were elderly suffering with multiple health conditions, but the study found that some patients whose deaths were preventable were aged in their 30s and 40s.

Now let’s look at healthcare – if you use the term loosely – at one Government-run hospital. The UK-based Telegraph has the stomach-turning details.

Hundreds of hospital patients died needlessly. In the wards, people lay starving, thirsty and in soiled bedclothes, buzzers droning hopelessly as their cries for help went ignored. Some received the wrong medication; some, none at all.Over 139 days, the public inquiry into the Stafford hospital scandal has heard testimony from scores of witnesses about how an institution which was supposed to care for the most vulnerable instead became a place of danger. Decisions about which patients to treat were left to receptionists…and nurses switched off equipment because they did not know how to use it. …patients were left so dehydrated that some began drinking from flower vases. By the time the hospital’s failings were exposed by regulators, in 2009, up to 1,200 patients had died needlessly between 2005 and 2008. …on the wards, patients – most of them elderly – were left in agony and screaming for pain relief, as their loved ones desperately begged for help. The human toll was dreadful. In the course of 18 months, one family lost four members, including a newborn baby girl, after a catalogue of failings by the hospital. …Patients were left without medication, food and drink, and left on commodes. Basic hygiene was neglected: a woman was left unwashed for the last four weeks of her life. Relatives tried to keep their loved ones clean, scrubbing down beds and furniture and even bringing in clean linen. One consultant described how amid the chaos, it seemed at though nurses became “immune to the sound of pain”.

It’s disturbing to read something like this, but can you imagine the horror of having a sick child in one of these wretched British institutions?

I’m not saying there aren’t mistakes and instances of sub-standard care in U.S. hospitals. I’m sure that’s the case. And regular readers know that I’ve complained about the absurd government-caused inefficiency of the American healthcare system.

The point I’m making is that horror stories are more common from the U.K. because the entire system is a bureaucracy. The nurses and doctors on that side of the Atlantic are akin to clerks at the Postal Service and DMV on this side of the Atlantic.

P.S. If you want more horror stories about government-run healthcare in the United Kingdom click here, here, here, here, herehereherehereherehereherehere, here and here.

P.P.S. And to close on an upbeat note, click here to learn how we can save America’s healthcare system.

TOPICS: Business/Economy; Editorial; Government; United Kingdom

1 posted on 01/12/2013 5:55:15 AM PST by Kaslin
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To: Kaslin

"We, in Congress and our families, are NOT effected by this,
you stupid worthless suckers.

2 posted on 01/12/2013 5:58:46 AM PST by Diogenesis (Vi veri veniversum vivus vici)
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To: Kaslin

Brits will be along to tell us these are isolated, overblown incidents. And that you can always pay extra for better private care, if you want.

3 posted on 01/12/2013 6:32:28 AM PST by Trailerpark Badass (So?)
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To: Kaslin
This can't be true!

The opening ceremonies at last year's olympics presented government healthcare as a delightful experience with dancing nurses and beds full of thriving children.

Of course, there was the scene where monsters chased the sick children around their hospital beds. Maybe that was their version of truth in advertising.

4 posted on 01/12/2013 6:32:57 AM PST by LoveUSA (God employs Man's strength; Satan exploits Man's weakness.)
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To: Diogenesis

The liberals say that the British system is better because the British people have better life expectancy. But those poor Englanders live longer despite the socialized health care system, not because of it.

Our infant mortality rate is lower because our top-notch health care system will go to heroic lengths to try and save premature baby deaths while Europe does not.

Certain elements of American society (ahem) overeat and shoot each other too much — that drives down our life expectancy.

Our health care is the best (until Obamacare takes full effect). Our waiting lists are far shorter. People fly desperately to the United States to get quick and high quality surgery.Recovery from surgery rates are better here than in Europe.

British hospitals are filthy and shocking. So are the lies that the liberals use to justify socialized medicine.

5 posted on 01/12/2013 6:40:28 AM PST by heye2monn
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To: Kaslin
My Mom outlived her British cousins of the same age by at least a decade, some of them by two decades. My Mom saw her primary care doctor every month and specialists as needed. Her cousins saw the doctor once or twice a year. My Mom was prescribed medications that extended her life and made it comfortable. Her cousins were never treated with the same medications and some among them suffered for years. My Mom received prompt diagnosis and treatment of life threatening illness. Two of her cousins died from illness related to high blood pressure that was never diagnosed or treated. Among the cousins, if one was seriously ill, the family would band together to raise money for a private doctor. My Mom was free to decide upon and implement her end of life care.

The church I grew up in as a child had a program of bringing Canadians to the US for medical treatment that either was not available or was not available in a timely manner. I am in my 60’s now. The church is still providing that service and receives more requests than ever before.

My mother-in-law lives with us. She has multiple medical problems, but also has great zest for life and makes the best of the days allotted to her. I have been involved in her medical care for 8 years and she has received excellent care through the medicare system.

It is not perfect, but it does deliver life enhancing and life lengthening care to millions of US citizens.

My Canadian born sister-in-law brought her mother to the US for cancer surgery. It was available, but the wait was 6 months and the hospital many hours from their home. Better in the US where the surgery could be done within a week and there is family to care for her.

6 posted on 01/12/2013 6:58:23 AM PST by Roses0508
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To: Kaslin


7 posted on 01/12/2013 8:17:17 AM PST by aquila48
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To: All

Oh, this can’t be! I know of a nurse who came here from England who says healthcare is wonderful over there and that’s why that person came here to work as a nurse. Huh?

8 posted on 01/12/2013 8:20:02 PM PST by Terry Mross (People who hate me read my posts and get angry. Yet they can't look away. Brilliant, huh.)
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To: Terry Mross

I still cannot believe they have wards of something like 20 people sharing their germs, that’s sanitary!

9 posted on 01/12/2013 8:21:18 PM PST by GeronL (
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To: heye2monn

1—The UK contrary to myth here acts the same way as the US re premature babies, it dosent behave as other European countries.

2—The vast majority of British hospitals are not filthy, badly run or shocking. The majority of the NHS is a fine healths ervice with superb doctors and nurses. That isnt to say that isnt perfect by a long shot. There are bad NHS hospitals, doctors and nurses.

Does the NHS have problems?. Yes.
Some very serious.
The NHS badly needs reform.

But is it the hellhole, third rate service people here think it is?.


10 posted on 01/14/2013 8:42:27 AM PST by the scotsman (i)
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To: the scotsman

Socialized medicine, like socialized agriculture and socialized auto industry, is a disaster. Government mucks up any industry it touches. There is no free lunch.

1/4 of elderly patients in British hospitals are abused.

For bureaucratic cost-cutting reasons, on the continental Europe at least, forced euthanasia is coming to granny and grandpa.

Recovery rates for cancer after hospital treatment are significantly lower in Britain than the United States

Britain has incredibly long waiting lists for surgery. Recently a former top British medical official died after having her surgery delayed. Even with her presumed power and influence, the former official had to wait too long. No wonder so many foreigners fly here to America for faster and superior medical care.

National Health Service is the biggest bureaucracy in the world. It is so expensive that the Brit government is cutting elsewhere and cannot even afford a mere 100,000 soldiers in its army.

To have doctors as bureaucrats is asking for trouble. The terrorists who tried to blow up Glasgow airport were imported Pakistani doctors. The medical system gets low quality applicants because the best docs dislike red tape and low pay and go elsewhere.

11 posted on 01/15/2013 5:02:53 PM PST by heye2monn
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