By Jim Kouri
Thursday morning’s U.S. Supreme Court ruling upholding President Barack Obama’s healthcare law is being heralded by many in the news media as an election-year triumph for him and his fellow Democrats, but others believe it’s a first step down the slippery slope of socialized medicine.
By a 5-4 vote the high court upheld the power of Congress to impose taxes, and the individual mandate “requiring that most Americans obtain health insurance by 2014” is indeed a tax, which meant President Obama and his minions were deceitful during their push for Obamacare, according to Dr. Harvey Greenwald, a New Jersey surgeon who opposes socialized medicine.
Opponents of the law — a majority of Americans, according to polls — claimed the mandate was nothing short of the federal government intruding on the private lives of citizens. While the high court was divided on this issue, the majority ruled that Congress’ taxing power was more important.
There are many Americans who believe the U.S. has headed down the slippery slope to a British-style health care system and while leftists believe its a good idea, several horror stories in the United Kingdom show the dangers of socialized medicine.
Syndicated radio talk show host attorney and director of the Landmark Legal Foundation Mark Levin reported that an investigation of a British health care facility revealed horrible conditions including hundreds of deaths and unsanitary conditions.
Levin, who served as chief of staff at the U.S. Justice Department during the Reagan Administration, stated on the night edition of his highly rated show that the British Secretary of Health Andy Burnham commissioned a probe of a medical facility. The probe revealed a shockingly high death rate at that hospital.
According to the report — which confirmed the earlier findings of a March 2009 probe — 400 to 1,200 patients died from 2005 to 2008 while at the medical center Mid-Staffordshire NHS.
The probe revealed that aside from the disturbing high rate of deaths in that health care facility, the investigators discovered neglect because the hospital cut corners in a bid to reach government targets. Britain possesses a socialized medical system that includes targeted cost savings at the expense of patients’ well-being.
For example, the evidence gathered by the inquiry shows clearly that for many patients the most basic elements of care were neglected. Calls for help to use the bathroom were ignored and patients were left lying in soiled sheeting and sitting on commodes for hours, often feeling ashamed and afraid. Patients were left unwashed, at times for up to a month.
In addition, nurses lacked training, including in some cases how to read cardiac monitors, which were sometimes turned off, or how to use intravenous pumps. This meant patients did not always get the correct medication.
The shortage of nurses on wards meant call buttons went unanswered when patients were in pain or needed to use the toilet, particularly on medical wards. Relatives claimed patients were sometimes left for hours in wet or soiled sheets. Those at risk of developing pressure sores did not get adequate care.
The investigation revealed that some of the patients slept on sheets soiled with urine and feces over a long period of time, causing them to acquire infections. Relatives of the patients had to do the sheet washing at their homes.
Patients were too often discharged before it was appropriate, only to have to be re-admitted shortly afterwards. The standards of hygiene were at times awful, with families forced to remove used bandages and dressings from public areas and clean toilets themselves for fear of catching infections.
Also, patients were not given the appropriate food, while those who were too weak to eat on their own were not assisted by hospital staff or volunteers and there were not enough nurses to care properly for emergency patients. A review of staffing levels in 2007-8 found the trust was short of 120 nurses, 17 of whom were needed in A&E (Accident and Emergency) departments.
According to the probe, nurses lacked training, including in some cases how to read cardiac monitors, which were sometimes turned off, or how to use intravenous pumps. This meant patients did not always get the correct medication. The shortage of nurses on wards meant call buttons went unanswered when patients were in pain or needed to use the toilet, particularly on medical wards. Relatives claimed patients were sometimes left for hours in wet or soiled sheets. Those at risk of developing pressure sores did not get adequate care.
Delays in operations were commonplace, especially for trauma patients at weekends. Surgery might be delayed for four days in a row during which time patients would receive “nil by mouth” for most of the day. There was often no experienced surgeon in the hospital after 9 p.m., with one recently qualified doctor responsible for covering all surgical patients and admitting up to 20 patients a night, the report revealed.
Few patients were given the drug Warfarin to help prevent blood clots despite deep vein thrombosis being a major cause of death in patients following surgery and essential equipment was not always available or working properly. www.rxlist.com/coumadin-drug.htm
The board of trustees was more concerned with finance, targets and achieving foundation status, with little evidence that poor standards of nursing care were identified or discussed. A doubling of the rate of C.difficile infection in early 2006 was not reported to the board or public. In 2006-7 the trust set a target of saving £10m, equal to 8% of turnover. More than 150 positions were lost, including nurses.
“Is this what [President Barack] Obama and the Democrats want for Americans? The moment the government takes control of something, it’s all downhill from there,” said political strategist Mike Baker.
“Don’t expect to read any of this report in U.S. newspapers or newsmagazines. At least not until ObamaCare becomes a reality,” said Baker.