The Spectacle Blog

Death By Socialized Medicine

By on 3.17.09 | 5:55PM

The Telegraph highlights a new report by Britain's Healthcare Commission finding that between 400 to 1,200 patients died in Mid-Staffordshire hospitals in the past three years due to "failures at almost every stage of care of emergency patients."

Specifically:

The investigation of the trust now called the Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust, found overstretched and poorly trained nurses who turned off equipment because they did not know how to work it, newly qualified doctors left to care for patients recovering from surgery at night, patients left for hours in soiled bedclothes, reception staff expected to judge how seriousness of patients arriving at A&E, patients left without food or drink, others who received the wrong medication or none at all, blood and faeces left on lavatories and floors, and doctors diverted away from seriously ill patients in order to treat minor ones who were in danger of breaching the four hour waiting time target.

Liberals like to perpetuate this myth that government-run health care systems achieve more universal care at less cost, but they try to avoid dealing with the fact that less cost also means lower quality of care. This is a perfect example of why central planning doesn't work. Britain's emergency rooms have struggled with long wait times that are a natural consequence of socialized medicine, so the reaction was to set a target for a four hour wait time. Yet becuse doctors are so interested in checking off that box, they can't make their own decisions about how to prioritize treatment of their patients.

According to the Telegraph, the report also found that the trust that runs the hospitals "was more concerned with hitting targets, gaining Foundation Trust status and marketing and had 'lost sight' of its responsibilities for patient care..."

And this is exactly the type of thinking that the Obama administration would instill if they got their way on health care. While ObamaCare differs in degree -- for now -- it is rooted in the same fundamental belief that the government can expand care and reduce costs by imposing standards to be applied systemwide.

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