Sunday, August 09, 2009

Britain: Careless NHS diagnosis kills little girl

The medics just leapt to the false conclusion that she had swine flu without examining her. If she had been given antibiotics she would probably have survived. Constant pressure from the parents was of no avail. They COULD not get her proper attention, despite many tries. They even suggested the correct diagnosis but were ignored. Isn't government healthcare grand?

A girl of two died of suspected meningitis after being twice misdiagnosed with swine flu. Georgia Keeling's parents were repeatedly told she did not need to go to hospital and instead of urgent medical treatment the toddler was given Tamiflu and paracetamol. The case will add to concerns that health professionals are increasingly dismissing the signs of serious illness as swine flu symptoms.

Georgia's father Paul Sewell, 21, and mother Tasha Keeling, 22, are devastated at the loss of their daughter on Tuesday and claim medics diagnosed her before they even looked at her.

Her family contacted branches of health service five times. They called her local health centre, the swine flu helpline, NHS Direct, the emergency service and a paramedic. On two of these occasions, they were told she had swine flu. They also insist they told medical professionals they feared that Georgia had meningitis.

'I don't feel the paramedics did their job properly,' said salesman Mr Sewell, of West Earlham, Norwich. 'Georgia wasn't given a chance. They had diagnosed her before even looking at her and came out ready to give her Tamiflu. I just want to know how come they didn't take her into hospital straight away. You could see she was really ill.'

There are believed to be scores of people who have been diagnosed with swine flu while suffering from another serious illnesses, although Georgia is believed to be the first death after such a mistake.

She developed a slight temperature last Saturday. On Monday night she was sick and came out in a rash. At 9am on Tuesday morning her aunt Sami Keeling, 21, called West Earlham Health Centre to try to get an appointment. She was told the surgery was booked until Thursday, but the operator said it sounded like the girl had swine flu, so the family should call the swine flu helpline. An adviser on the helpline said Georgia had only one of the symptoms of swine flu and told her aunt to call NHS Direct. NHS Direct said she should go to hospital if her temperature hit 40C (104F).

It hadn't at this point. But within an hour Georgia's condition had got worse and bruising developed where the rash was. Her mother called 999 and a paramedic arrived at the family home. The family say the medic told them an ambulance that was on its way would be sent back because it was believed Georgia had swine flu. The medic dismissed her parents' fears she had meningitis.

Mrs Keeling was given Calpol - a children's medicine containing paracetamol - and the anti-viral drug Tamiflu and told to put Georgia to bed. But an hour later Mrs Keeling, who has two other children - Charleigh, three, and Jack, five - saw Georgia's eyes glazing over. She called an ambulance and Georgia was taken to Norfolk and Norwich University Hospital. She was pronounced dead at 5pm.

The case comes only days after the Meningitis Trust urged parents not to confuse the signs of meningitis with that of swine flu. 'This is the sort of thing that we wanted to avoid,' spokesman Harriet Penning said. 'It is very hard for a parent to stand up to a medical practitioner and refuse to accept their diagnosis.'

Michael Summers of the Patients' Association said: 'We must not get carried away with the belief that all these symptoms are down to swine flu.'

Earlier this week the Mail told how a poll in GP magazine revealed that doctors were concerned that phone assessments could see cases of tonsillitis, bronchitis, pneumonia and even meningitis go undetected. Dr Linda Sheridan, of NHS East of England, which will be leading the investigation into Georgia's death, said: 'We are determined to find out exactly what happened.'

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A government hospital falsely declares a premature infant dead

With a baby as premature as this one supposedly was, he should have been rushed into intensive care immediately

A PREMATURE infant given up for dead in Paraguay was found to be alive when he was taken home for a wake. Jose Alvarenga told local media his infant son was pronounced dead at 6pm local time on Thursday, and that hospital officials delivered the body to his Asuncion home in a box four hours later. "I opened it to look at his remains and found that the baby was breathing," Mr Alvarenga said. "I began to cry."

Mr Alvarenga said he rushed his son back to the hospital, where nurses put the infant in an oxygen chamber, where he remains in a stable condition. The infant's mother was still in the hospital when she found out that her son was still alive.

"This is a very unusual case," said Ernesto Weber, head of paediatric intensive care at the state-run hospital where the infant was born. Dr Weber acknowledged that the doctor handling the case did not properly check the infant's vital signs, and that an investigation would be carried out.

However Aida Notario, a doctor at the hospital's birthing centre, said that medical personnel tried to revive the infant for a whole hour. "His pulse was so low that it was undetectable," Dr Notario said. [The father could tell that the child was breathing but the doctors could not? Give us a break! The guy is lying]

According to medical records, the infant weighed 500g at birth.

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Obama health-care plan contains affirmative action and subsidies for left-wing community organizers

By Hans Bader

The massively-costly health-care reform bills backed by Obama are riddled with provisions mandating “preference” for organizations that exhibit “cultural competency,” a politically-correct code word for a focus on minorities. So racial preferences, not cutting costs or expanding coverage, may end up being the top priority in some cases.

That’s true even for the version of the health-care bill recently passed by the House Energy and Commerce Committee, the least liberal of the 3 House committees responsible for fleshing out the details of ObamaCare. House Majority Whip James Clyburn (D-SC) says that the health-care bill may become substantially more liberal by the time it passes the House in Autumn.

Mickey Kaus, a Democrat and long-time supporter of universal health-care coverage, calls these affirmative-action provisions special “interest group time bombs” that will turn off moderate voters and may spawn unforeseen problems. John Rosenberg, an expert on antidiscrimination laws, calls them “the ACORN enrichment provision,” saying they will funnel money to left-wing community organizers like ACORN.

ACORN, a beneficiary of the economy-shrinking $800 billion stimulus package, helped spawn the mortgage crisis by promoting “liar loans.” It has also engaged in extensive financial fraud and vote fraud. The Obama Administration has chosen ACORN to help conduct the 2010 census, which will be used to reallocate seats in Congress.

Obama once represented ACORN, which pressures banks to make risky low-income loans. Government pressure on banks to make low-income loans was a key reason for the mortgage meltdown and the financial crisis. Obama’s recent financial-regulation proposals would create a new bureaucratic agency to pressure banks to make even more risky low-income loans.

One of Obama’s own advisers says the Obama Administration’s health-care plan will harm people with insurance while raising their taxes. CNN says Obamacare will take away 5 freedoms. It will also destroy many affordable health-care plans while breaking Obama’s campaign promises. And Obamacare will likely cost far more than predicted.

The health-care “reform” bills Obama backs wrongly exempt illegal aliens from the health-insurance taxes and obligations imposed on citizens, effectively giving them preferential treatment.

While America’s health-care system is very expensive, it is much better at treating and detecting common forms of cancer than most European health-care systems. The Administration’s health-care proposals put these successes in jeopardy, yet they would increase health-care costs even further, while failing to provide health-care coverage as cheap or as universal as in Europe.

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A Health Quiz for Barry

by Mike Adams

Dear Mr. Obama (info@barackobama.com):

I’m sick right now with a bad case of poison ivy. I’m not telling you this because I want the government’s help. I’m telling you I’m sick because it explains why I have been sitting at home for days and, therefore, have had time to read the first 500 pages of the new health care bill.

I had no intention of reading the health care bill until a friend of mine – in his second year of medical school – sent me a list of statements about the bill. These statements have been floating around the internet so you may have seen them. After I read the bill, I concluded that the majority of the statements seemed correct. I’ve rephrased many of these statements and put them in the form of several dozen true/false statements.

I would like for you to take the time to answer these questions for two reasons. First, I’ve spent a lot of time reading the health care bill. Second, and more importantly, the U.S. Congress has not spent much time reading the bill.

On Page 22, I saw some language, which suggested that the bill mandates audits of all employers that choose to self-insure. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 29, I saw what appeared to be an admission that health care will be rationed under this new plan. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 30, I discovered that a government committee will be established to decide what treatments and benefits I get. However, unlike an insurer, I see no evidence that there will be a process to appeal their decisions. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 50, I read some non-discrimination language, which seems to suggest that all non-US citizens, illegal or not, will be provided with free health care services. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 59, I saw some language suggesting that the federal government will have access to all individual bank accounts for health-related electronic funds transfers. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 124, I learned that no private company can sue the government for price-fixing. Furthermore, no "judicial review" is permitted against a complete government monopoly. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 127, I read that the government will now set wages for physicians. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 149, couched in esoteric “contribution” language, it looks like any employer with a payroll of $400,000 or more, who does not offer the public option, pays an 8% tax on payroll as a penalty. This penalty would go a long way towards destroying the private system. It would also seem to violate your campaign promises – specifically those you made during debates I watched. If I read this correctly, it appears you looked me – via the camera – in the eye and lied. So, Barry, can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 203, I read a very strange sentence: "The tax imposed under this section shall not be treated as tax imposed by this chapter for purposes of determining the amount of any credit under this chapter." I know this is supposed to be a true/false test but do you think calling a “tax” by some other name means it is no longer a tax? This seems to be a persistent theme in this bill. Please explain. Attach extra sheets of paper if necessary.

Page 272 has some of the most esoteric language of the health care bill. But it looks like the government plans to ration health care for cancer patients. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 280, I read that hospitals will be penalized for what the government deems to be “preventable re-admissions.” Once again, I know this is supposed to be a true/false test but, please, tell me this: How is the government in a better position (than a health care professional) to determine what constitutes a “preventable re-admission?”

Page 317 suggests that doctors will soon be prohibited from owning and investing in health care companies. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

The following page suggests that hospitals can no longer expand without government approval. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

On Page 429 things get very disturbing unless, of course, I am reading this wrong. It appears that an advance care planning consultation will be used to dictate treatment as a patient's health deteriorates. This can include an order for end-of-life plans – specifically, an order from the government. Can you tell me whether that is a) True or b) False?

It really bothers me, Mr. President, that I can learn a lot more about pending legislation from an internet chat room than I can from my elected representatives. It also bothers me that I have to read pending bills because, in all likelihood, my representatives will not. Regardless, I want you to read this email carefully and answer all of my questions.

If you answer “true” – even to a single question - you will have lost any prospect of gaining my support. If you answer “false” to every question we can move on to pages 500 through1018.

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Health Care Reform: A Better Plan

By Charles Krauthammer

In 1986, Ronald Reagan and Bill Bradley created a legislative miracle. They fashioned a tax reform that stripped loopholes, political favors, payoffs, patronage and other corruptions out of the tax system. With the resulting savings, they lowered tax rates across the board. Those reductions, combined with the elimination of the enormous inefficiencies and perverse incentives that go into tax sheltering, helped propel a 20-year economic boom.

In overhauling any segment of our economy, the 1986 tax reform should be the model. Yet today's ruling Democrats propose to fix our extremely high quality (but inefficient and therefore expensive) health care system with 1,000 pages of additional curlicued complexity -- employer mandates, individual mandates, insurance company mandates, allocation formulas, political payoffs and myriad other conjured regulations and interventions -- with the promise that this massive concoction will lower costs.

This is all quite mad. It creates a Rube Goldberg system that simply multiplies the current inefficiencies and arbitrariness, thus producing staggering deficits with less choice and lower-quality care. That's why the administration can't sell Obamacare.

The administration's defense is to accuse critics of being for the status quo. Nonsense. Candidate John McCain and a host of other Republicans since have offered alternatives. Let me offer mine: Strip away current inefficiencies before remaking one-sixth of the U.S. economy. The plan is so simple it doesn't even have the requisite three parts. Just two: radical tort reform and radically severing the link between health insurance and employment.

(1) Tort reform: As I wrote recently, our crazy system of casino malpractice suits results in massive and random settlements that raise everyone's insurance premiums and creates an epidemic of defensive medicine that does no medical good, yet costs a fortune.

An authoritative Massachusetts Medical Society study found that five out of six doctors admitted they order tests, procedures and referrals -- amounting to about 25 percent of the total -- solely as protection from lawsuits. Defensive medicine, estimates the libertarian/conservative Pacific Research Institute, wastes more than $200 billion a year. Just half that sum could provide a $5,000 health insurance grant -- $20,000 for a family of four -- to the uninsured poor (U.S. citizens ineligible for other government health assistance).

What to do? Abolish the entire medical-malpractice system. Create a new social pool from which people injured in medical errors or accidents can draw. The adjudication would be done by medical experts, not lay juries giving away lottery prizes at the behest of the liquid-tongued John Edwardses who pocket a third of the proceeds.

The pool would be funded by a relatively small tax on all health-insurance premiums. Socialize the risk; cut out the trial lawyers. Would that immunize doctors from carelessness or negligence? No. The penalty would be losing your medical license. There is no more serious deterrent than forfeiting a decade of intensive medical training and the livelihood that comes with it.

(2) Real health-insurance reform: Tax employer-provided health care benefits and return the money to the employee with a government check to buy his own medical insurance, just as he buys his own car or home insurance.

There is no logical reason to get health insurance through your employer. This entire system is an accident of World War II wage and price controls. It's economically senseless. It makes people stay in jobs they hate, decreasing labor mobility and therefore overall productivity. And it needlessly increases the anxiety of losing your job by raising the additional specter of going bankrupt through illness.

The health care benefit exemption is the largest tax break in the entire U.S. budget, costing the government a quarter-trillion dollars annually. It hinders health-insurance security and portability as well as personal independence. If we additionally eliminated the prohibition on buying personal health insurance across state lines, that would inject new and powerful competition that would lower costs for everyone.

Repealing the exemption has one fatal flaw, however. It was advocated by candidate John McCain. Obama so demagogued it last year that he cannot bring it up now without being accused of the most extreme hypocrisy and without being mercilessly attacked with his own 2008 ads.

But that's a political problem of Obama's own making. As is the Democratic Party's indebtedness to the trial lawyers, which has taken malpractice reform totally off the table. But that doesn't change the logic of my proposal. Go the Reagan-Bradley route. Offer sensible, simple, yet radical reform that strips away inefficiencies from the existing system before adding Obamacare's new ones -- arbitrary, politically driven, structural inventions whose consequence is certain financial ruin.

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1 comment:

Amir said...

Very interesting board and comments. I have written up many of these ideas on my site about health reform and I think anybody interested in this blog will find the information I have put together very salient. Many of the ideas are things I am studying right now at The Wharton School as an MBA, although I combine thoughts as a practitioner in industry as well.

Please do check it out!

www.satvathealthcare.com

All ad profits go to fight ulcerative colitis!

Best,

Amir