WELCOME TO SOCIALIZED MEDICINE – AT 11:16 A.M. ET: We are regularly appalled by stories chronicling the failures of Britain's National Health Service, which supporters in the U.S. hold up as something of a model. We fully agree that there is some fine treatment in Britain, and we certainly don't mean to suggest that failure is the norm. But the vigor of the free British press has revealed incidents that are remarkably troubling, and which serve as a warning to us. From The Telegraph:
An NHS hospital has apologised to 38 families after a patient starved to death and it left other dying people screaming in pain.
Alexandra Hospital in Redditch is writing to 38 families after a massive legal action that exposed years of bad practice, ranging from nurses taunting patients to leaving an elderly woman unwashed for 11 weeks.
In one of the worst cases, a man had starvation recorded as the cause of his death after being treated at the hospital for two months.
Jeremy Hunt, the Health Secretary, said last night that he was “disgusted and appalled” by what the families had been through, and that the Government was acting to ensure that failings in care were detected more quickly.
Bereaved relatives had told how vulnerable patients were left to starve when trays were placed out of their reach, while others were left in soaking bedsheets.
Many of the families are to receive compensation for cases that their lawyer described as “appalling”.
The hospital is to admit its failings in each case in the letters.
The move will serve to intensify debate on why some nurses and doctors are treating patients without compassion, and will add weight to the warning by Mr Hunt that patients can experience “coldness, resentment, indifference” and “even contempt” in NHS hospitals.
He warned that in the worst institutions, a “normalisation of cruelty” had been fostered.
Concern over the issue is mounting, and on Friday the Prince of Wales made a direct plea to doctors and nurses to listen to their patients and to show them “human kindness”.
Writing in the Journal of the Royal Society of Medicine, the prince said there was an urgent need to restore “a climate of care and compassion” in the health service.
The catalogue of failings uncovered by the mass legal action is one of the worst ever exposed at an NHS hospital.
COMMENT: I wish some on the left would finally concede that many of the "social justice" institutions they create wind up treating people horribly. They can easily become monopolies, run mostly for the benefit of their own employees and managers, not the public.
We don't think free enterprise is perfect by any means, but one benefit of competition is that you compete for public favor, which means treating people with the hope that they'll come back.
I hope Obamacare doesn't damage things, but I fear it will.
December 23, 2012