Monday, October 12, 2009

Bring Out Your Dead

Another find by James Taranto:

Great Moments in Socialized Medicine
"An 80-year-old grandmother who doctors identified as terminally ill and left to starve to death has recovered after her outraged daughter intervened," reports London's Times:

Hazel Fenton, from East Sussex, is alive nine months after medics ruled she had only days to live, withdrew her antibiotics and denied her artificial feeding. The former school matron had been placed on a controversial care plan intended to ease the last days of dying patients.

Doctors say Fenton is an example of patients who have been condemned to death on the Liverpool care pathway plan. They argue that while it is suitable for patients who do have only days to live, it is being used more widely in the NHS, denying treatment to elderly patients who are not dying.

Fenton's daughter, Christine Ball, who had been looking after her mother before she was admitted to the Conquest hospital in Hastings, East Sussex, on January 11, says she had to fight hospital staff for weeks before her mother was taken off the plan and given artificial feeding.

Ball, 42, from Robertsbridge, East Sussex, said: "My mother was going to be left to starve and dehydrate to death. It really is a subterfuge for legalised euthanasia of the elderly on the NHS."

Another Times story reports on the case of Matthew Millington, a 31-year-old British army corporal and Iraq veteran, who died after a lung transplant:

The organs were from a donor who was believed to have smoked 30 to 50 roll-up cigarettes a day. A tumour was found after the transplant, and its growth was accelerated by the drugs that Mr Millington took to prevent his body rejecting the organs.

The kicker: "Because he was a cancer patient, he was not allowed to receive a further pair of lungs, under hospital rules."

According to former Enron adviser Paul Krugman, "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." That will come as a relief to Hazel Fenton--and to Matthew Millington, if there is life after death.

It probably says something about me that I couldn't help but think of this while reading the above:

Not quite so funny when real people are involved though.