Sunday, March 07, 2010

Dying man pleads to police for help.

Kane Gorny was just 22-years-old, he was a patient at one of the main "teaching hospitals" run by England's National Health Service. His problems started when he was diagnosed with brain cancer but the therapy weakened his bones leading to the need for a hip replacement. With that operation he was unable to get out of bed.

He also required medication three times per day, without which, he was warned, he could die. The NHS staff apparently ignored Kane. They didn't give him his medication and they refused to give him water, even though he repeatedly asked for it. When he became insistent staff had security guards restrain him.

Unable to get water himself the desperate man called the local police begging them to intervene. He told them: "Please help me. All I want is a drink and no one is helping me."

Without his medication Gorny became incoherent. His mother gave him something to drink but didn't know how severely dehydrated he had become. She called in nurses who told her that her son was fine. A doctor told her not to worry. She sat there crying until another physician came by, looked at her son, and called for emergency care. She was sent out of the room and one hour later her son died from severe dehydration, all while under the care of the NHS. But it was free!

The NHS rushed to offer counseling—to the nurses who had neglected the boy, not to the family of the victim. They also said they apologized and wrote up new policies saying this won't happen again. Somehow I would have thought that the NHS would already have policies about starving patients to death, or allowing them to dehydrate to death. The BBC says the police are investigating the case at the request of the coroner.

Apparently the new policies are none too soon. Actually they are too late for many. The Express reports that a government commission found that:
HUNDREDS of patients are starving to death in hospital every year, a report revealed yesterday.
The highly critical study also revealed that up to 50,000 patients who died from illness or old age were suffering from malnutrition.

The Labour government sat on the report for almost a year, before releasing it. The government quickly announced that they were taking action—they are abolishing the commission that wrote the report. Other studies of the NHS are equally as bad. The Telegraph reports that a study found that government solutions to the long waiting time for NHS care worsened problems. The government, stung by the inability of the NHS to offer timely care to patients, as a result of the rationing which helps make British health care "so cheap", put into effect rules that hospitals had to admit patients within a certain number of hours. The rules did nothing to provide more beds so the hospitals "ignored basic hygiene to cram in patients to meet waiting-time targets." This lead to increased deaths due to poor hygiene.

The Telegraph reports: "Filthy wards and nurse shortages led to up to 1,200 deaths at Stafford hospital. They report that the Institute for Healthcare improvements was hired to study British care. IHI reported:

“The patient doesn’t seem to be in the picture.” It adds: “We were struck by the virtual absence of mention of patients and families ... whether we were discussing aims and ambition for improvement, measurement of progress or any other topic relevant to quality.

“Most targets and standards appear to be defined in professional, organisational and political terms, not in terms of patients’ experience of care.”

Imagine that! But, considering that the funds for the NHS are not provided directly by patients, but are are decided politically, is it any surprise that NHS care focuses now what the bureaucrats and politicians want, to the detriment of patients. The patient doesn't pay for his health care, at least not directly. Prof . Briama Jarman, an expert on hopsitals standards, said: "These reports have never seen they light of day. We desperately need a better monitoring system for the NHS which actually works." But a spokesman for the Department of Health said they never wanted these reports to have "wider circulation." No, I suspect they wouldn't.

Yet, in recent years, the NHS was showered with new funds by the Labour governments. Lord Warner, who was a Labour minister of health says that the tw0-thirds of the new funding was used to increase salaries. He says that Gordon Brown, now prime minister "reverted to the traditional line in health, which was to support the unions who are the paymaster of the Labour party in the runup to the election." In other words, the extra funds weren't used for more health care but to make the trade unions happy so that the unions would be there when Laabour needs the in an election campaign. This shouldn't surprise Americans as this is precisely how the Democrats treat the education system here. American education exists to make the teacher's unions happy so that the unions, in turn, support the Democratic Party. In politically provided services, employees and teachers, come before patients and students.

Warner says that between 1997 and 2007, under Labour rule, "inputs—by that I mean cash—went up by 60%. But NHS outputs went down by 4%."

Labels: ,