Socialized Healthcare - A Very Personal Story

page: 1
5
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join

posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:09 PM
link   
Hello everyone. This thread is to address many of the lies publicised in the press about the UK's socialised healthcare system. Our system is called the NHS (National Health Service). It is portrayed in the media of the USA as a failing system that makes people wait 6 months for life saving treatments and uses backward methods well behind modern medical research. This thread will also address the discussion of private insurance and the myth of how everyone could afford it if they didn't waste their money.

What you are about to read is a mixture of family history and our experiences with the NHS. Please do not skip over the family history, whilst it may seem unimportant i can assure you that it blends together
with the rest of the thread and if you skip it then you may not take the points as they are meant. I will keep it vague, or vague enough so that my family cannot be identified by anyone who does not know us.

So let's begin.

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer nearly 5 years ago. She was very lucky. You see the NHS runs a screening program for women over a certain age. They are invited to hospital to have their breasts scanned, a mammogram. My mother went for a standard scan, 3 days later she was called in for a followup scan, 2 days after this she was called in to see a specialist. Upon examination the specialist could not feel any lump in her breast but the scan showed something very clearly and this is why i say my mother was lucky. Like many women my mother examined herself for lumps and could not feel one, the specialist could not feel it and said quite clearly that it could have gone on for another 6 months and no lump would have been easy to discern by touch. The scan quite simply saved her life.

After the specialist appointment she was within that same day admitted to hospital on a ward. Now i have to explain the treatment for breast cancer.

The usual method is to remove the lump and to remove the lypmh glands in the arm on the affected side. So if it is your right breast with the lump then the right arm has the lymph glands removed. This is done so that the lymph glands can be examined for cancerous cells as this is often the first place that the cancer spreads to. The problem with this is that the lymph glands manage fluid in the arm and play an imporant role in immunity. Without them in the arm it can often lead to edema (swelling) where fluid accumulates in the arm.

However the UK was trialing a new and exciting treatment. Instead of removing all of the lymph glands they used a radioactive dye to identify the sentinel node, the first chain in the lymph system of the arm from the breast. My mother was put in a machine that gave a real time scan of the dye and a thin wire was inserted into the sentinel node as a guide for a surgeon.

So 9 days after seeing the specialist she was in surgery having both the lump in her breast and the sentinel node removed. The sentinel node was examined and found to be clear, my mother was given a course of radiotherapy (i think it was radiotherapy) and put on tamoxifen, a drug designed to reduce the risk of the cancer returning. In 5 months she'll be clear 5 years which is the time they then declare you to be clear. Although obviously you're still at a higher risk of problems. Due to this my mother gets more regular scans.

So lets run this down shall we. After her initial, free screening that is done once a year she was in surgery within 10 days, undergoing a procedure that was very new and only availble in certain countries that saved her many future complications. During all of this we never had to worry about health costs, insurance premiums or anything else. My mother simply had to concentrate on getting well. Anyone who has done even basic research into recovery will find mountains of research about stress. Stress massively increases recovery times and can even result in higher mortality rates for many groups. From heart disease to cancer, all groups recover less well when extra stress is present.


Now for my father.

My father came over from southern Ireland when he was around 10 years old, he is now 62. After finishing school he went directly into work and paid taxes. He was never out of work for more than a week during this entire time and has never claimed any government benefit because of being out of work. He has been diligent in his payments to the state, even when he ran his own business. So why couldn't he afford private insurance!

My father suffered from diabetes from a young age. Insurance companies wouldn't touch him and around 7 years ago when i phoned up about private insurance they either refused or the costs were so large there is no poossible way we could afford it. Why did i phone about private insurance? Quite simply i did it out of curiosity as i had heard terrible stories from some friends in the USA. Let me be clear, we were not a rich family. Years ago we were on the poverty line, we did not have heating in our home, many winters i went to bed wearing clothes, gloves, in a sleeping bag with a mattress, and that's during a British winter, hardly the arctic.

So how could we possibly afford insurance for my dad let alone the family? Quite simply it wasn't possible and i think more of you need to realise that many people truly cannot afford insurance. It is not because they are wasting money on drugs, alcohol, cigarettes etc etc, it's just because the insurance companies are rather horribe. So why does this all matter? Well i'm just setting up a picture that we couldn't afford insurance and now we desperately need the healthcare, here is why.

My father was diagnosed with Motor Neurone Disease (MND) nearly 7 months ago. This is a similar condition to Steven Hawking the famous phycisist, however Steven Hawking, for lack of a better word, is lucky. Most MND sufferers die within 5 years of diagnosis. It is rare any of them survive and sadly my father has one of the more aggressive forms. So let me take you back to the start of this and the amazing way the NHS have treated my father.

It all started with my father shaking in bed. Over successive nights he shook so violently that he woke my mother and himself. We didn't know at the time but he was in a state of deep shock, his body had very low levels of oxygen and high levels of CO2 (carbon dioxide).

On the third night of this he woke up, very distressed and so we called an ambulance. We didn't have to call an insurance company first to see if they would pay for the ambulance or if they only supported designated hospitals, we simply dialed 999. The ambulance crew arrived, they were very nice guys, patient, helpful and caring. My father was taken to hospital and this began a 2 month odyssey of tests and examinations leading to a diagnosis of MND.

He was taken to hospital and the tests began, to give you an idea of the tests he went through i'll try and list some.

Numerous blood tests
EEG
ECG
Ultrasonic scan of his heart
Lung capacity tests
X-Rays
MRI
Cat scan
Liver biopsy
More specialists than i can count
A protein analysis

The list goes on believe me.

One night on the ward my father stopped breathing. He was not on any machines to identify this as there hadn't been any more problems. Even though he wasn't on a machine a nurse doing her rounds noticed. This shows how, despite being a socialised healthcare system, the patients are still looked after. We hear horror stories but they are the exception, not the rule. My father was resuscitated and happily there was no long term damage.

After this incident he was moved to a HDU (High dependency unit). This is one below intensive care. There were 4 beds in the HDU and 3 nurses. The nurses here were absolutely fantastic (not to say the ones on the larger ward weren't!). They treated my father incredibly well, saw to his every need. The machines surrounding him were of the highest quality, examining his blood oxygen level, heart rate, etc etc.

He was on a respirator as he coudln't breath properly. I remember when he was on a special drink, he was hardly eating and so needed this drink. He didn't like the flavour so one of the nurses walked the entire length of the hosital to find the flavour he liked. Could you really ask more?

The doctors at this point told us to prepare for the worst. My father was shaking horribly due to the lack of oxygen in his system and every time they tried to give him oxygen he'd become very unwell (later with diagnosis this was explained as his blood would become acidic when he was put on oxygen). We spent 3 days in and out of hospital, very concerned but my father slowly recovered. After more tests he was diagnosed with MND and sent to a specialist unit dealing with MND. He had to spend a week in the specialist unit as they calibrated a resperator he would need for when he slept.

We were given two of these respirators to take home. Each one costs around 5,000 pounds. They have a battery in so that if the power goes out the machine keeps running. The machines will be given back upon my fathers death but there is no way we could have afforded these machines if we had to pay for them. They come with a 24 hour call out number if there is a problem, again we don't have to pay. So what about the aftercare? My father in his first week at home was visited by the regional nurse to assess his needs. I will try my best to give you a list of what we have received.

Continued

[edit on 18-9-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]




posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:09 PM
link   
An electric wheelchair costing around 700 pounds
A foam mattress topper
A walking stick
A special cushion for him to sit on
A collapsable wheelchair
A special toilet seat
A shoe horn
A neck brace
Handles placed around the house on the walls
A stair lift
A special bedside table
A handle to help him get out of bed


This is what i can remember off of the top of my head but there is more. Not to mention all of the physiotherapy and on top of all that, a special medication for MND that costs nearly 800 pounds PER MONTH for free. I again point out to all of you, we never had to worry about the costs. There is no, possible way we could have paid for this and as i said earlier, we could not afford insurance. I am trying to show you the quality of care the NHS, a socialised system can provide.

So there we have it, socialised healthcare, providing top notch treatment, the latest medical research, top medications and the best after care we could hope for. Please America, don't believe your
politicians lies, socialised healthcare can be a fantastic system.


As a final note i will say this. I am sure many reading this will say "why should i pay for that". Well quite simply if you say such a thing then you are a very uncaring person. You are basically saying that the rich deserve treatment and to be healthy and the poor deserve to die. That is the basis of your argument, no matter how you try and twist and turn, that is the essence of your argument.

For others who argue that socialised healthcare isn't a good system because the treatment is not as good, well please read this thread again.

Thank you all for reading.

A very final note. I doubt any of the nurses who dealt with my father will read this, however i want to praise them as much as i can. Especially a very nice filipino nurse who was incredibly caring and patient. When my father could hardly breath she spent a long time trying to listen to him and understand what he wanted. I cannot thank her, and the other nursing staff enough. All UK nursing staff are massively undervalued and underpaid in my opinion.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:13 PM
link   
Sorry for al the editing, i wrote this in notepad and cut and paste completely messed it up.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:21 PM
link   
Alternately, you have Canada's health care network, also a socialized system. One that is currently straining under the load so far that Canadians often cross to the US for better care.

A system where you get a cursory 5 minute interview with a harried doctor who misdiagnoses you and rushes you out the door.

A system where you will wait 6 hours at a walk in clinic for the above interview, if you are even seen at all.

A system where the ER's are so crowded that you can DIE, yes you read that correctly, DIE before you are attended to.

Most personally, a system where the doctors are so lazy from suckling the government teat that they would rather push experimental drugs for the pharma bonus than diagnose you. They don't care, they get paid by the amount of people they see a day, nothing else really matters.

After 5 years and 3 doctors, my mothers back is disintegrating from an untreated Lumbar Spinal Stenosis, it went untreated because the first two doctors told her the problem was "all in her head" and attempted to put her on some brand new psychosis pills, and only got worse when the third sent her to a chiropractor.

Socialized health care can be both good and bad, I suppose is the message. Yes, in small countries like the UK it can work. In massive ones like Canada, it crumbles as it is crumbling now. In bankrupt countries like the USA, well, how are they going to pay for it exactly? Half the states can't even pay their unemployment this month.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:24 PM
link   
reply to post by D.E.M.
 


The difference between the UK and Canadian system is no doubt administrative. Your mothers problems would no doubt be sorted here. The idea of it being a smaller country and therefore easier to deal with is sadly laughable. The system can be scaled. Canada has a larger population and so you scale it with that. Maybe you need slightly higher taxes i'm not sure.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:30 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Actually, you have twice the population of Canada crammed into the UK. Its simply a matter of the system not being nearly as streamlined or organized as the UK, overloaded waiting rooms, urban centers that can't cope, etc. Mixed with, as you said, the administrative issues of managing the system in the 2nd largest country on earth.

Its so bad here that the populace is pushing for privatized health care to be legalized, and pushing hard.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by D.E.M.]



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:34 PM
link   

Originally posted by D.E.M.
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Actually, you have twice the population of Canada crammed into the UK. Its simply a matter of the system not being nearly as streamlined or organized as the UK, overloaded waiting rooms, urban centers that can't cope, etc. Mixed with, as you said, the administrative issues of managing the system in the 2nd largest country on earth.

Its so bad here that the populace is pushing for privatized health care to be legalized, and pushing hard.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by D.E.M.]


You know i thought canada had more than that, i'm very sorry for my stupidity on that one! However the system still scales, both up and down. Maybe you can learn a little more from our model, however there is waste in our model. I remember a nurse telling me how 400 new uniforms were dumped because they were the wrong colour for example.

However i hope the story i gave here still stands and gets some attention, it took a long time to type and is very personal



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:37 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I am glad your family survied NHS. I am not a Brit so I will not attack your system. However, I have read British stories of people dying in the waiting room. Or taking to long to see the right doctor for treatment and they end up dying.. Also you mentioned your NHS was free? Son nothing is free it gets paid for somehow, maybe thats why your taxes are so high?

America does NOT NEED ANOTHER SOCIALST PROGRAM RAIN BY THE FEDS. We have enough of these programs that are damn near bankrupt. NHS here in AMERICA will not work, Medicare is almost bankrupt, I think the GAO said there was a 60 TRILLION DOLLAR UNFUNDED LIABLITIE. we dont have that money our GDP is only 12 TRILLION A YEAR... a NHS in America will cripple her hard... We need reform maybe open state and federal insurance programs for there workers to the unemployed now. Cap pay cost, ban doctors who make two many mistakes. This would be a start,...



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:45 PM
link   

Originally posted by poedxsoldiervet
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


I am glad your family survied NHS. I am not a Brit so I will not attack your system. However, I have read British stories of people dying in the waiting room. Or taking to long to see the right doctor for treatment and they end up dying.. Also you mentioned your NHS was free? Son nothing is free it gets paid for somehow, maybe thats why your taxes are so high?


By free i meant we didn't have to worry if our insurance would cover it, if our premiums would go sky high or if we had any excess. Furthermore my father has a condition which means that insurance would just not cover him and we would therefore have to pay directly. So compared to that it is a hell of a lot less expsneive.

To say we survived the NHS is utterly disingenuous. You are making the system out as if it is a death trap. You take the occasional horror story and extrapolate that to the entire sytem. Should i do the same for your private healthcare system? I can do it very easily and make your system seem like a 3rd world pathetic excuse for healthcare. This wouldn't be dishonest but i can do it like you have, Care to try that out?


Originally posted by poedxsoldiervet
America does NOT NEED ANOTHER SOCIALST PROGRAM RAIN BY THE FEDS. We have enough of these programs that are damn near bankrupt. NHS here in AMERICA will not work, Medicare is almost bankrupt, I think the GAO said there was a 60 TRILLION DOLLAR UNFUNDED LIABLITIE. we dont have that money our GDP is only 12 TRILLION A YEAR... a NHS in America will cripple her hard... We need reform maybe open state and federal insurance programs for there workers to the unemployed now. Cap pay cost, ban doctors who make two many mistakes. This would be a start,...


The USA spends so much on military funding, have you any clue? If you reduced military spending by only a few percent you could pay for this healthcare. Hey if you ended the war of drugs you could pay for it. Shocking no?



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:49 PM
link   
I am happy that your situations with your family had good outcomes. And I want to thank you for thanking your father's nurses. You see, I am a nurse myself, in the United States. Most of us give 110% to our patients, and are glad to do it.
I am going to have to disagree with you however, when it comes to Nationalized Health care. I am employed full time, with all the overtime I want. I pay for my insurance. I have never been on unemployment, nor have I ever claimed any government benefits. When I went to nursing school, I paid my own tuition, worked full time and went to school full time.
Not patting myself on the back, that's just the way it had to be.
Why should I have to pay for someone elses' insurance? I'm not being hardhearted here, but we are in our third generation of welfare payments, and the entitlements have spread from the poverty class to the middleclass.
At what point do people start taking responsibility for themselves? I realize things are different in Great Britain. I realize that attitudes are not the same as they are in the US. But here, we are taught to stand on our own two feet and tell the government to go to hell. Most of us would rather die than take a government handout, because that is, to us, the epitomy of dishonor. And despite what some would have you believe(sadly some of them American citizens) we are an honorable people and respect personal honor above all things.
Mazy God bless you and continue to bless your family with good health.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:53 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 



"By free i meant we didn't have to worry if our insurance would cover it, if our premiums would go sky high or if we had any excess. Furthermore my father has a condition which means that insurance would just not cover him and we would therefore have to pay directly. So compared to that it is a hell of a lot less expsneive.

To say we survived the NHS is utterly disingenuous. You are making the system out as if it is a death trap. You take the occasional horror story and extrapolate that to the entire sytem. Should i do the same for your private healthcare system? I can do it very easily and make your system seem like a 3rd world pathetic excuse for healthcare. This wouldn't be dishonest but i can do it like you have, Care to try that out?"

Like I said I dont know to much about the NHS and I have even hear Brits say there needs to be some sort of reform, You have roughly 65 Million people. (
www.cia.gov...) YOur system may work for you but not for the 300 Million of us.


The USA spends so much on military funding, have you any clue? If you reduced military spending by only a few percent you could pay for this healthcare. Hey if you ended the war of drugs you could pay for it. Shocking no?

We only spend 4.5% of our GDP pn the miltary. www.cia.gov...
in reality 26 other nations spend more on there miltary then we do... SO you were saying? YOur system will not work here, you like it you can keep it we dont need it we need REFORM not a Medicare for all. It will bankrupt America.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 08:55 PM
link   

Originally posted by kettlebellysmith
Why should I have to pay for someone elses' insurance? I'm not being hardhearted here, but we are in our third generation of welfare payments, and the entitlements have spread from the poverty class to the middleclass.


I am shocked to see that from a nurse. You are being hart hearted. Let us be clear, yo uare saying that the poor do not deserve the same healthcare as the rich. You can paint it however you like but that is what you are saying. The poor should die and the rich should live, lovely from a nurse.

If that seems harsh sorry but that is exactly what you are saying.

How about we address the fact that those living in a country with socialised healthcare tend to live longer. Do you care to explain the reasons behind that?



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:01 PM
link   
reply to post by poedxsoldiervet
 


Where do you get your spending figures?

www.warresisters.org...

The USA is responsible for 47% of the worls military spending despite havign 21% of the GDP. Basically if you reduced that you could easily fund a national healthcre system. You wouldn't be bankrupt, simply reorganised.

However this thread was about the way the NHs is viewed. Viewed as a horrible system that is third world, with backwards methods and tons of people dying and waiting for procedures.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:01 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 
If we reduce our military spending, the rest of the free world is left hanging in the wind. We seem to be the ones the world depends on to put out brush fires throughout the world, even though some of those brushfires turn into fullfledged wars. Then we have to ask the Canadains and the Brits for troops. We have 60,000 in the field and they send a couple of thousand. You spend your money on health care, which seems to be failing, while you expect us to carry the water for everyone in terms of defense. Before you get your panties in a wad, stop and think about it, do a little research, then give me you answer. Since WWII, the USA has been expected to be the protector of the free world.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:05 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


the life expactancy for Americans is 78.11 www.cia.gov...

Life for a brit is 79.01 www.cia.gov...

ASyou can see there is not that much of a difference please try again.



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:05 PM
link   

Originally posted by kettlebellysmith
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 
If we reduce our military spending, the rest of the free world is left hanging in the wind. We seem to be the ones the world depends on to put out brush fires throughout the world, even though some of those brushfires turn into fullfledged wars. Then we have to ask the Canadains and the Brits for troops. We have 60,000 in the field and they send a couple of thousand. You spend your money on health care, which seems to be failing, while you expect us to carry the water for everyone in terms of defense. Before you get your panties in a wad, stop and think about it, do a little research, then give me you answer. Since WWII, the USA has been expected to be the protector of the free world.



Now this is nothing other than arrogance. You could easily reduce your spending and support your armies. You would simply have to reduce research, not troops. The fact you cannot see this says a great deal. So hey, screw the less well of, let them die, they deserve it huh?

I hate to ask this question, but are you a Christian, or an atheist?



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:07 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


By that website i am right.. My figures come from congress and the pentagon. also i gave you the link early here it is a gain

www.cia.gov...

[edit on 18-9-2009 by poedxsoldiervet]



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:07 PM
link   
reply to post by poedxsoldiervet
 


So hang on, we have a better life expectancy and yet we only pay via tax, furthermore the poor have roughly the same life expectancy as the rich? Wow our system is far better! It's nice and even in regards to health.

[edit on 18-9-2009 by ImaginaryReality1984]



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:13 PM
link   
reply to post by ImaginaryReality1984
 


Um know there was not a big diff in the gap.. some um we pay low taxes and live almost the same time.. so umm we are better?



posted on Sep, 18 2009 @ 09:18 PM
link   
reply to post by poedxsoldiervet
 


The poor live very differently, maybe check the stories in your own country. The poor can very rarely afford healthcare so the figures are sadly misleading. The poor life less long, the rich life longer.





new topics

top topics



 
5
<<   2  3  4 >>

log in

join