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Belmont Club

The Hospital of Death

March 6th, 2013 - 1:55 am

Although it didn’t make much news in the United States, Britain’s National Health Service (“the envy of the world“) has been rocked by the discovery that it is killing patients needlessly at a rate of knots. According to the NHS’s own bulletins, 40,000 patients needlessly die per year in its hospitals. The Independent put the number at only 1,000 needless patient deaths per month. The Telegraph, citing evidence given in Parliament put the number of patients harmed in treatment at one in ten.

In other words a lot of deaths. Not that management didn’t know.  The NHS spent 15 million pounds in taxpayer money to prosecute and gag 600 whistleblowers who thought things had gone too far. The man at the center of the scandal was Sir David Nicholson, the Chief Executive of the NHS.

Nicholson is a man who never held a job in his life outside of government and activism. “Nicholson joined the NHS on graduation, and then the Communist Party of Great Britain”.  Nor was he just a casual, student Red. Nicholson, according to the Guardian, was a “tankie”, a “term referring to those members of the Communist Party of Great Britain that followed the Kremlin line, agreeing with the crushing of revolts in Hungary and later Czechoslovakia by Soviet tanks; or more broadly, those who followed a traditional pro-Soviet position.”  And rung by rung  this compassionate man climbed the ladder of the NHS until he reached its pinnacle.

One of the biggest concentrations of deaths was at an “elite” hospital, the Mid-Staffordshire hospital which triggered an investigation by the “apparently high mortality rates in patients admitted as emergencies”. Too many people were turning up dead. A study subsequently showed that up to 1,200 patients may have died due to negligence in the “elite” hospital, which has since become so notorious it may now be placed under new management.

The Independent says that five more hospitals “with persistently high death rates are facing investigation tonight after a damning report into Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust raised fears that basic clinical failings could be putting patients at risk across the NHS.” So the saga is by no means over.

However, Mid-Staffordshire was where it all started to unravel. The report on that hospital is in a video below.

Even the investigative report makes stomach-churning watching principally because the analysis consists of almost a series of cliches. It  faults a lack of ‘care’, ‘compassion’, ‘patient centeredness’ and a failure in ‘transparency’ as if it were referring to a breakdown in table manners at a dinner party.

But when report touches on what actually happened to the patients it is the stuff of war-crimes. It is not an exaggeration to say that nothing suggested by the most rabid critics of Guantanamo is half so bad. Baldly put what really happened in the hospital was that thousands of old Britons were left to starve, die of thirst, stew in their waste for extended periods,  lie neglected and unmedicated or cast out of the wards at the slightest opportunity.

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Nicholson denied knowing that anything was amiss, despite admitting to avoiding a meeting with irate relatives of dying patients and his record of ignoring whistleblowers.  Despite being under the spotlight Nicholson seemed eager as squirrel anticipating a nut to get back to his life’s work, for which believes he is uniquely qualified. As to accountability, he made the argument that since by definition his subordinates are responsible for everything he was technically responsible for nothing. That was the nature of his job as chief. As you can hear below he said “but I’m the only one who doesn’t [have any responsibility]“.

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The saga of the 40,000 deaths may interest Americans since the administration is now moving in the direction expanding government’s role in health care delivery. The experience of the NHS may tell a cautionary tale about the dangers of care provided by huge impersonal bureaucracies; human ant-heaps so vast that individuality is annihilated in the very scale of things.

For strange as it may seem, NHS head Sir David Nicholson, of whom nobody may have previously heard, ran the fifth largest organization in the world. The NHS is far bigger than the British Army, larger than the Indian Railways and the Chinese state-owned energy network. Sir David Nicholson’s fiefdom is actually exceeded only by McDonald’s, Walmart, the US Armed Forces, the Chinese Army and the Chinese railway and may have inflicted more deaths than all of these organizations combined.

The definition of  a faceless bureaucracy is where the individual finds himself at the mercy of a complete non-entity; before a strange man whose only skill was to worm his way up the towers of Byzantium deciding your fate with the Clipboard of Destiny in his hand. But enough of that.  When Obamacare finally gets going it bids fair to become far larger than the NHS and supplant it as the new “envy of the world”.


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All Comments   (21)
All Comments   (21)
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I doubt the killing of the elderly and disabled is all that needless from the perspective the Communists who run the NHS. Of course all this talk about health care sounds better in German: what was it now? “Lebensunwertes Leben?"
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"Former banker Alan Edwards is intending to bring corporate manslaughter and misconduct charges against Sir David.

Mr Edwards said he had decided to take action into his own hands because legal firms seemed reluctant to take on the medical establishment over the scandal.

He said: 'The legal representatives that you can get are conflicted because most of their income will come not from individuals but from institutions like the NHS, General Medical Council and Department of Health. As a consequence they will always side with protecting their clients.'"

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/healthnews/9913790/Mid-Staffs-scandal-Sir-David-Nicholson-could-face-corporate-manslaughter-and-misconduct-charges.html

And here I was thinking the patients were the 'clients'. That everything was now "client centered" and "caring". Edwards wants to bring the charges to subpoena the emails. That is probably the real bomb ticking in this case. The Ministers don't want to lift up any rocks. God knows -- can I still use that word where a "Tankie" is concerned? -- what will crawl out from under.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The whole sordid scandal is fascinating in the way that a crystal ball is fascinating. It's a look into the future. What do you see Frodo? Does the Tower fall? Or is the Shire that is instead given over to Sharkey and his minions?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That was it. That's who 'Sir' David reminded me of. Lotho-Sackville Baggins. The "Boss", aka "Pimple" or "Little Pimple". The jumped up mediocrity who tries to take over the Shire in Frodo's absence and issues ridiculous rules and regulations because his mind is too little to contain the more magnificent evil of Saruman.

Little Pimple. Exactly.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No mention of the "Liverpool Care Pathway"

A doctor decides that you will not be given care or medicine, Part of the ongoing NHS scandal. many patients denied care without being informed and without informing their relatives.
It's not "coming soon to a hospital near you," it has already come.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
What if voters want what is bad for them and reject what is good? What if voters actually want bad hospitals? What if voters actually want bad policies, bad politicians, and bad outcomes?

Imagine, just imagine for a moment, that voters are attracted to s politician's vices rather than his virtues, that they will consistently vote for the worst possible candidate they can. Imagine voters who are masochist. Imagine voters who are evil. Imagine voters who are bigots. Imagine people who will vote for absolutely anybody so long as the candidate has the right label.

Democracy is only as good as its voters.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We caught a preview of this in the Independent Living facility 911 call where the nurse is casually telling the 911 operator that neither she nor anyone else there in the facility will do CPR, but hey, they called 911, so the buck was passed if the lady died.

It's the same kind of callous treatment you are seeing in the UK, and we'll only see more of it as government and unionization sticks their fingers ever deeper into our health care facilities.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I shall never understand how a member of the Communist Party, much less something extreme enough to be a "tankie" could be a Knight Commander of the Order of the Bath and a Commander of the British Empire. Yes, I understand that there are such, but what an insult to the prior bearers of those orders, and to the orders themselves. The poor British. Sometimes they are quite as depressing as the French.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Healthcare, welfare, statistics and bureaucracies; treat them all, feed them all and in the end, let G-d sort it out. The complete abdication of rationality.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This is just a symptom of the long march through the institutions. It was all about rising to positions of power through political machinations. Understanding the purpose and function of the institutions was merely an insignificant and often annoying detail. It was all about putting the ideological pure in positions of power.

So they were much like spoiled three year olds who wanted to drive the family car but who had no real interest or knowledge in how it was actually operated. And now we have so many institutions, governmental and otherwise, that have children at the wheel who don' t even know how to start the thing let alone drive it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Snow day.
Must play indoors.
Have to be nice ALL day.
I cannot think about the impending disaster. I will slip into deep thought...I have not been given permission by my government to think.
And I have the kernel of so many good thoughts.
Coffee. A cup of coffee. Good.
ta
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment

It is expected to toil in life in pursuit of sustenance and happiness and not all are awarded well for their efforts. Some are more able than others and some are just far more disciplined in their efforts and there are even those who are just plain lucky. It is the fate of the seed that it shall grow in accordance with the nutrients that the soil in which they were sown might provide. Being born to high status is no guarantee that all things pursued will be attained and I have seen the sons of wealthy individuals die in prison. So fate is what you make of what you have as well.

But the very notion that it is the government and not god who decides your fate demarks the difference between freedom and slavery. Many have died to have nothing in the end but their free will and died well to know that they died living of their own accord with faith in god, and freedom to choose. Considering the inevitability of government corruption, the kind that sacks riches like a plundering horde, one that must steal from the future because the present has been denuded, I fear like no other force of evil on this earth to die at the hands of government bureaucrats who will easily decide to dispatch me in a manner that they would never consider for themselves. This is the sordid acts of tyranny. Class warfare.

If death is inevitable, by god I hope that I die living in or fighting for freedom.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
We have a government that is run without a budget and therefore without the benefit of knowing what the end result of governance will entail. We tax the rich and tax the dead. We borrow nearly 50% of every dollar we spend, not to create a shining city on the hill but to redistribute to public employee unions to ensure that the loot in their pensions remain solvent. We borrow to run programs that have no long term effect which means they will deliver no dividend to the progeny who are expected to repay the debt. How does this differ from intergenerational theft?

Our institutions have become full on confidence scams that thinly veil the greed that motivate them. So finally, when the piggy banks of the unborn are bare there is nothing left to steal except from the older generations and in this age of populism it will come to pass.

1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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