Leave it to the Brits, with their wonderful sense of ‘understatement’, to give the expression ‘death by committee’ a very real and unpleasant meaning!
As slowly but surely becomes true of every ‘nationalized’ or ‘universal, government-run’ medical system, there is not enough ‘medicine’ (space, equipment, staff, meds…) to go serve everyone in Britain (once known as ‘Great Britain’ – now, they are too ‘politically correct’ to call themselves ‘Great’).
It would appear that British National Health Service has found a nifty new way to ration their medical care: kill the ‘old people’!
Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, was among a group of medical experts who wrote to the Telegraph warning that patients with terminal illnesses are being made to die prematurely under an NHS scheme to help end their lives.
Another article on the same topics says:
Under NHS guidance introduced in a number of hospitals to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.
But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warned in their letter.
So, if a patient is judged to be ‘ready’, all their medical care is taken away and they are euthanized. Simple – and it might just free up enough beds to get rid of those pesky statistics about babies being born in hospital hallways, or even toilets…even turning those horny women away seems to cause bad press.
In my never-humble-opinion, people in the UK are being denied medical care, universally, from ‘cradle to grave’!
So, how does this ‘death by committee’ work?
Well, there is this agency, NICE (National Institute of Coordinated Experiments…or was that National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence…or is there a difference?) which nicely approved this ‘ticker box’ form (you know, there are questions, boxes to ‘tick off’ and the number of ‘ticks’ and the spots they are in will ‘objectively’ determine next course of action). The ‘medical care team’ – and this team apparently MUST include A doctor…so, the rest are, presumably, administrators and bureaucrats – will ‘tick off’ the boxes.
Notice that this ‘medical care team’ does not include the patient, or any representatives, friends or family of the patient. This is purely to ensure the ‘ticks’ are made in an objective manner and no mushy sentimentality would come in the way of ‘efficiency’ and ‘excellence’. In other words, these ‘death committees’ (or ‘death boards, as they have also been called) only produce ‘professional ticks’!
If the ‘ticks’ add up a certain way, the patient gets taken off medicine, denied food and water (apparently, this happens even if the patient is able to feed him/her self), and given a ‘parting shot’ of drugs that kill him/her over the next 24 hours.
Attention is paid to every detail! For example, these drugs also conveniently sedate the patient as part of the killing process: so no protest is possible and any signs that the patient is getting better are masked. It’s ‘neater’ this way. Dead patients hardly ever complain, you know…
Now, now, there is no point getting all ticked off about it!
They have this form here, which proves that you were supposed to have died already, and you are just taking too long mucking about! So, it’s not like anyone can blame them, is it? They are just helping you do the right thing…
In conclusion, I’d like to leave you with this short documentary film:
September 4, 2009 at 13:57
I cover these topics (other countries health care systems), our delivery system and items about the health care debate at my blog http://www.ilovebenefits.wordpress.com
September 7, 2009 at 18:46
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October 4, 2009 at 17:45
Firstly, the country is called the United Kingdom – not Britain, nor Great Britain. Great Britain is an island.
Secondly, while there are incompetent people within the NHS system, and sometimes even unsound policies by specific organisations within the health care system in the UK, there are no death committees.
Of course, that doesn’t stop experts discussing quality of life and patients’ needs and desires. But that happens in the USA as well.
1. The name of the country is ‘United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland’. Not ‘United Kingdom’. Just for the record. Since you brought it up.
2. Regarding the ‘death committees’: read my references. British papers are the ones to report them, not I.
3. When discussing patients’ needs and desires, most civilized countries let the patient in on the debate. The Brits don’t. (Or, would you prefer me to refer to the inhabitants of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as ‘UKies’? ‘UKians’? United-Kingdomites’? Or, to be correct, should one say United-Kingdom-of-Great-Britain-and-North-Irelandians? Please, illuminate me!)
But, to the point: these ‘experts’ you cite, who discuss and make all the decisions about each patient’s care and treatment – or its withdrawal – do NOT include the patients, their families or any representatives at all, legal or otherwise. That was rather the point of the news reports I was commenting on in this post.
Life and death decisions made ‘about us – without us’! That is not acceptable. Not ever! Not anywhere! (Not even in the homeland of Arthur Neville Chamberlain!)
4. How would the existence of these boards (‘if’, ‘when’ and all other possible qualifiers apply here – I did not look at the US system with respect to them and so am not qualified to comment on their status in the USA at this time) excuse the existence of these ‘boards of death experts’ anywhere else?
If your friends snorted cocaine, would YOU snort it, too?
Why would invoking the US health system be in any way pertinent to the discussion of the ‘death boards’ plaguing the British (am I allowed to say ‘British’?!?!?) nationalized one?
P.S. I do not, nor have I ever, lived in the USA. I had visited there – but that is it…