“Death Panels” in Britain

Posted on October 19, 2009


From Robert Tracinski at Real Clear Politics:

Remember the whole controversy over “death panels”-the idea, as President Obama dismissively put it, that greater government control over medicine would cause bureaucrats to “pull the plug on grandma”?

Well, for weeks now Britain’s newspapers have been filled with articles about the National Health Service pulling the plug on grandma.

It’s time for Americans to take a long look at how a Nationalized Health Care Plan is run.  It’s not all sunshine and lollypops. The article details some examples of how care is rationed.

Most of the recent British stories concern the Liverpool Care Pathway, an NHS-approved system in which doctors are encouraged to withdraw medical support for patients they deem too infirm to live. But in early September, a group of doctors sent a letter to the Daily Telegraph arguing that “the scheme is causing a ‘national crisis’ in patient care…. ‘Forecasting death is an inexact science,’ they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death ‘without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.'” Dr. Peter Hargreaves says, “What they are trying to do is stop people being overtreated as they are dying. It is a very laudable idea. But the concern is that it is tick box medicine that stops people thinking.”

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Posted in: Health Care