Monday, August 10, 2009

Better to be a dog!

I'm reprinting this entire article that appeared in the "Daily Record", which comes from Scotland. It is a very chilling account of socialized medicine's consequences.

A MUM suffering chest pains died in front of her young son hours after being sent home from hospital and told to take painkillers.

Debra Beavers, 39, phoned NHS 24 twice in two days before getting a hospital appointment. But a doctor gave what her family described as a cursory examination lasting 11 minutes, before advising her to buy over-the-counter medicine Ibuprofen.

Family members claim the medic was abrupt and rude - and when Debra clutched her chest, he told her: "Your heart is on the other side."

Seven hours later, the mum-of-two collapsed and died from a heart attack in front of her 13-year-old boy.

Debra's furious family insist she could have survived, had medics not been so "dismissive". They believe she should have been given medicine which could unblock a coronary artery.

Her sister Darlene McConnell said: "We are heartbroken. She tried to get help but no one would help her."

Debra, of Kirkcaldy, Fife, called Darlene on Saturday, July 25, at 5pm to say she was unwell.

She was suffering numbness in her toes, swelling around the ankle and leg pains. She contacted NHS 24, who took her details and said they would be in touch.

However, Debra's condition worsened and she began to suffer severe chest pains by the early hours of Sunday.

She rang NHS 24 again at 2am and requested a doctor. They instead booked an appointment for her at Victoria Hospital, Kirkcaldy, later that day.

Darlene, 44, said: "We now think Debra was actually having a heart attack around the time she telephoned NHS 24. I spoke to her on Sunday morning and she said the pains were so bad, she thought she was going to die.

"She went to the hospital as arranged at 1pm and was back out in minutes. The doctor told her to go home and take Ibuprofen.

"She said he was very rude and, as she clutched her chest, told her 'Your heart is on the other side'.

"He also told her she had probably 'racked' her chest due to coughing. She went to a relative's house nearby and lay on the settee in complete agony until she had a seizure around 8pm."

Debra''s son John Paul, 13, was in the room at the time, while his 11-year-old brother, Luke, was upstairs. The older boy saw his mum in extreme distress and called for an ambulance - but she could not be saved.

Darlene said: "A neighbour came in to try and help but my sister had taken her last breath."

The family say Debra was a smoker and had suffered minor health problems before, although she'd never been seriously ill.

Her cause of death was atherosclerotic coronary artery disease, which is a heart attack caused by narrowing of the arteries.

If a patient is suspected of having a heart attack, a doctor will order an electrocardiogram test, which indicates if a coronary artery is blocked.

Medicine to dissolve a blockage is then usually injected into a forearmvein. To be effective, the "clot busters" must be given within an hour.

The family say they'll lodge an official complaint over "rude and dismissive" treatment Debra received at the hospital .

Darlene said: "We want people to know what happened, so we can at least try to ensure there is less chance of this happening again.

"We believe people should at the very least be properly checked before they are sent home."

Full-time mum Debra was separated from the boys' dad, w h o ' s n o w looking after them.

A spokeswoma for NHS Fife said: "We would like to express our condolences. NHS Fife's duty to uphold patient confidentiality prevents us from making any comment on an individual case."

NHS 24 executive nurse director Eunice Muir said: "We can confirm Ms Beavers contacted NHS 24 and that her onward referral was managed safely and appropriately.

"We would ask her family to contact us if there are any aspects of the case they wish to discuss."

In the Wall Street Journal, Theodore Dalrymple writes:

In the last few years, I have had the opportunity to compare the human and veterinary health services of Great Britain, and on the whole it is better to be a dog.

As a British dog, you get to choose (through an intermediary, I admit) your veterinarian. If you don’t like him, you can pick up your leash and go elsewhere, that very day if necessary. Any vet will see you straight away, there is no delay in such investigations as you may need, and treatment is immediate. There are no waiting lists for dogs, no operations postponed because something more important has come up, no appalling stories of dogs being made to wait for years because other dogs—or hamsters—come first.

The conditions in which you receive your treatment are much more pleasant than British humans have to endure. For one thing, there is no bureaucracy to be negotiated with the skill of a white-water canoeist; above all, the atmosphere is different. There is no tension, no feeling that one more patient will bring the whole system to the point of collapse, and all the staff go off with nervous breakdowns. In the waiting rooms, a perfect calm reigns; the patients’ relatives are not on the verge of hysteria, and do not suspect that the system is cheating their loved one, for economic reasons, of the treatment which he needs.

If you think it's just me, check out how dogs intuitively know what is not in their best interest, even if trained to do so:

I'm not trying to make light of the Scottish women's plight. My heart goes out to her family's anguish. I'm just trying to make a point about socialized medicine.

Hat Tip to Mark Steyn

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