Yes, the NHS is at it again.
There is another child in the UK that has been deemed to have a life unworthy of life. Yes, I know it is offensive comparing the NHS to Nazis. And yet I’ll stand by it, and I will explain. In things like this, there is not a hair of difference between the modern, “compassionate” socialized medicine and totalitarian societies. Both can and will decide on your life, without regard for whether you have value for your relatives, or whether you wish to live, or really anything except “what value do you have for the state?” And how much are you going to cost the collective purse?
As far as I could gather online, Alfie Evans is unconscious, there is no sure diagnosis, except “persistent vegetative state,” which is not a diagnosis so much as a description. And the hospital has applied for permission to turn off Alfie’s ventilator and other life support. They have done this despite the fact that there is a hospital in Italy – still within the EU – that has offered to take Alfie and continue efforts to arrive at a diagnosis, and perhaps treatment.
This is eerily reminiscent of the case of little Charlie Gard, whose parents raised the money to fly him to the U.S. for treatment, but the hospital – by refusing to release him to fly to the U.S. – managed to hold onto him long enough that treatment was no longer possible.
I’m here to tell you that these are going to continue happening.
Worse, there are a lot more that happen that you never hear about, and not just babies, either. There are also elderly people, handicapped people, and people whose course of treatment is too expensive and/or too difficult and who are quietly condemned to death by bureaucracy.
The reason you don’t hear about them is that most people either don’t realize what happened or are bullied into agreeing that it’s the only solution. One of the creepiest lines in the linked article is the hospital saying that most of the time they get the parents to agree.
Most Englishmen – most Europeans – are incredibly proud of their state healthcare systems.
There are a lot of reasons for that, the primary possibly being propaganda, particularly since their shows and news give them the impression that the alternative to a state system is “what the U.S. has.” What their press reports from the U.S. are people turned away from emergency rooms to die, and other things that I’ve never even heard of occurring here.
The most important reason they’re proud of and satisfied with their healthcare systems, though, is that for most people, in most physician contacts, it works.
You see, most contacts with physicians, from visits to the emergency room to visits to your primary care provider, are innocuous, routine, and really hard to mess up. You go in with the sniffles, and you get antibiotics or symptomatic treatment, the end.
Most people only start having more serious interaction with the system when they’re really ill, or really old. In either case, no one expects perfect interactions.
Also, frankly, the statistics they keep are biased. Sure, you have much lower survival rates for cancer in Europe. But in almost every case I’ve had personal knowledge of from all over Europe, either personal or from friends, there is something that goes on that makes U.S. doctors flinch: use of cheaper, less efficacious drugs; techniques that have been discredited in the U.S.; or simply failure to treat if it seems too onerous. But they can and will tell you that our child mortality rate is through the roof and abhorrent.
This is because they don’t record a child as born live when he draws his first breath. Premies who are obviously too ill/young to survive are recorded as born dead because it’s a matter of (a short) time before they’re so. No heroic measures are employed.
Here, we save children that are a little more than 20 weeks gestation. But we don’t save all of them, and our statistics look bad. Comparing apples to uncaring governmental kumquats will do that.
And yet, Europeans are massively proud of their state health care.
Partly because it was introduced in the thirties in most of Europe, and brought order to a system of rural doctors, nurses and pharmacists, all of which performed a haphazard kind of medicine.
It came in just as modern medicine did, and as such, it takes credit for all the things modern medicine wrought, from antibiotics to more systematized forms of care.
The great leap in longevity and health was credited not to modern medicine, but to state-run medical care.
And even though, since then, most of them have abridged and moderated the state-only health care, with insurance and private hospitals, and alternate sources of medical care, they still think that state health care is the basis of all their blessings.
Despite the fact that hospitals keep asserting their right to kill patients so they can “die with dignity.” (Who or what wrote the EU constitution, that they have a right to “death with dignity”? Who lets that kind of thing through? With what intent?)
I have nothing against death with dignity. I hope to have one someday (hopefully not too soon.) The death with dignity I hope to have is the kind where I go at ninety-eight, kicking, screaming and gauging death’s eyes out. That’s my idea of dignity. Yours is your own.
That’s part of it. When you put that into a constitution, who decides what’s dignity? And who decides when you must die?
Ultimately if the government pays for your health care, you have lost your most basic human right: the right to life for you and those you love. The right to decide how far you’ll take care, and the fight against death. The right to decide how much you’ll sacrifice, scrape and suffer so your child has a right to life; so your grandmother has another month to see her great-grandkids; so you can be a human being in control of your own destiny.
And yes, I know what the answer to that is “But we can’t treat everyone.” “But every system is rationed, either through inability to afford it or bureaucratic decision.” “But some care is too expensive, too risky, and has too low a chance of survival.”
Right. Yep. And more than that, every care is rationed by those who are willing to fight tooth and nail, and those who just accept their circumstances.
But in care paid for the government, it doesn’t matter how hard you fight: if you’re too expensive, your case too complex, you’re too old, you’re too young, you’re too quiet and obedient, any bureaucrat can kill you.
And no, we don’t even mean trained medical professionals. We mean administrators who say “oops, we’ve exceeded our budget” or “the prognosis isn’t good enough” or “you’re taking up a hospital bed for too long.”
The concern is not with active, well known and wealthy people. Those will find care under any system. The concern is for the marginalized that the socialized medicine people claim to care so much about: the very young, the very old, the very ill, the very poor.
At some point, some bureaucrat in the labyrinth of a state system can decide the time has come for you to die. They’re done paying for you. Your life is not worth what they’re spending.
You’re a life unworthy of life.
Sure, no one is accusing the medical systems of building vast killing rooms or gas chambers. But in the end, the calculus is the same. What are you worth to the state? Does the state want you alive?
Sure, medical care “for free” (it’s not, but most people don’t realize how much taxes cost) sounds like a great idea. But you’ve transferred control of your life to the state to do as they please.
You’re no longer a human being with individual wants and value and a determination to stay alive – or not. You’re a widget they can let live or kill at a whim.
This time of the year we tell the story of a desperately poor young couple going from inn to inn looking for a room so their child ended up have to be born in a stable. It is, beyond its religious significance to believers, a moral tale about valuing the least and smallest of us.
This is something that can only be done with individuals, for individuals. Once you introduce bureaucracy, not only is the door to every inn shut, but someone might very well decide a child born in a stable is infected with pathogens and has the right to death with dignity.
Overblown? Possibly. But as money grows tighter, there is a slippery slope that bureaucracies enter. Some get lavish care, and some get shunted to die. And the decision isn’t theirs, or their parents’ or their children.
When a system is incinerating the corpses of aborted babies to heat hospitals, the slippery slope is already there, fully engaged and in operation. Humans are no longer humans but things to the system, for the system to devour at will.
Next time you’re ill they might prefer your caloric potential to your life.
[Corrected the spelling in title. –Ed]