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Tony Grist

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The NHS Under Pressure [Mar. 11th, 2010|09:48 am]
Tony Grist
They let my father in law out of hospital yesterday. I'm not sure he wouldn't have benefited from a couple more days inside, but we understand they needed his bed for someone sicker.  They've been housing him on the stroke ward- even though he hasn't had a stroke- because that was the only place they could fit him in.

I've no complaints about his treatment; the Royal Oldham is a fine hospital with a fine record; but the system is clearly under considerable pressure. Elsewhere, according to what I see on TV, it's beginning to break down. So how's the NHS going to cope when the generation of the baby boomers starts flooding through its doors with the illnesses of old age?

[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-03-11 10:35 pm (UTC)
It's been going on for a while. Two of my friends had their care rationed back about eight to ten years ago. One was a woman of 70 who had a severely infected gall bladder, and was told she was too old to be allowed the surgery even though she would die without it. Her kids managed to pull together enough money to give her the surgery for her birthday present. The other was a man of 42 or so who developed stomach cancer, and was told that since he had only a 10% chance of cure he couldn't get treatment. Luckily he was a small business owner and was able to sell his business to raise the money for his surgery. Both of them are still living.

I was thinking of the sort of blatant triage that can't be practiced now due to public outcry. As in, "Sorry, you're over 70 and this illness is difficult to treat, so you get no treatment. You've lived long enough."
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[User Picture]From: poliphilo
2010-03-12 10:49 am (UTC)
Not so long ago all but the very strongest of us would have been carried off by diseases and conditions that are now treatable long before we reached old age. Modern medicine is amazing- but it creates all sorts of moral dilemmas. Is access to the most advanced- and expensive- medical treatment a basic and universal human right? It's a question we are doing our best to evade.
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[User Picture]From: oakmouse
2010-03-12 07:09 pm (UTC)
Very true. Also, when should people be allowed to refuse treatment even if that refusal means their death? We've taken away people's most fundamental personal choice: how to handle their illness and death. We may be forced to give it back.
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