Saturday, October 31, 2009

Patient dies after British doctors failed to diagnose broken pelvis in 'chaotic' hospital

A woman who had been run over by a minibus that left a tyre mark across her trousers died after staff at a "chaotic" hospital failed to diagnose her broken pelvis. Susan Haigh, 50, told paramedics she could feel no pain and was able to walk after the accident, but she had actually suffered two fractures and a torn bladder. The injuries were not picked up by medics at Barnsley District Hospital A&E department, South Yorkshire, which was short staffed and in a state of "chaos" when Mrs Haigh was admitted, an inquest heard.

A breakdown in communication meant doctors were not informed that she could have been suffering from serious crush injuries and the tyre marks and blood on her white jeans had not been pointed out.

Mrs Haigh was assessed and then discharged by Dr Jane Brenchley, a consultant, on Saturday May 3 2008, despite protests from her daughters who insisted she was in pain. She was readmitted the next day and rushed to intensive care, but died three days later after medics discovered two pelvic fractures.

The inquest in Sheffield heard that paramedic Andrew Flavell, who was called to the scene of the accident, saw the tyre mark on her jeans and told Nurse Pam Whittaker that he suspected crush injuries when they arrived at hospital. Mrs Haigh was put on a trolley in a corridor and Nurse Whittaker passed on the information to A&E coordinator Tom Holmes, but was only 98 per cent sure she mentioned the tyre mark.

However, details about the patient were not written down because it was not hospital policy at the time. She had also not been properly assessed by a nurse before being seen by a consultant.

Mr Holmes told the inquest that the hospital, which has five nurses and three doctors, was understaffed and on the night in question it was "quite chaotic." "We were busy from the onset of the shift and it just deteriorated," he added. He said that Nurse Whittaker had not expressed any urgent concern for Mrs Haigh and said he could not remember being told about the tyre mark. "The consultant has seen the patient and made the decision. My own personal feeling was that "it's a consultant, things must be OK."

Mr Holmes added that Dr Brenchley, who was on call, seemed "annoyed" at being asked to come into hospital.

The inquest heard that Mrs Haigh, from Goldthorpe, Barnsley, had been involved in a row with a group of women when she fell under the wheels of a minibus during a night out. The back wheel of the bus ran over her legs.


Battles over cost, Medicare loom for House health plan

The House Democrats' health care overhaul bill released Thursday creates a government-run insurance program, provides insurance coverage to 96 percent of all Americans and sets the stage for major battles over politically risky cuts to Medicare, new taxes, high spending and the hot-button issues of abortion and immigration.

The landmark legislation also ensures a fight with the powerful lobby for the pharmaceutical industry by overriding a deal among Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry trade group; the White House; and a Senate committee to help pay for the $1.06 trillion bill.

"There's a lot of political posturing going on right now," PhRMA spokesman Ken Johnson said. "But unfortunately, many people are unrealistic in their expectations of what our industry can contribute to health care reform" without job losses or a decrease in research and development.

Under the House blueprint, nearly all Americans for the first time would be required to purchase health insurance and most large employers would have to provide it, with tax credits available to low- and middle-income people. The proposal would be paid for through new taxes on individuals making more than $500,000, or couples more than $1 million, hoped-for reductions in Medicare waste and a 2.5 percent tax on medical devices not sold in retail stores. The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) said the bill, estimated to have a gross cost of $1.06 trillion, would reduce the deficit by $104 billion through 2019.

House Democrats put the net cost of their bill at $894 billion Thursday, based on CBO projections that penalties paid by companies that don't offer insurance and individuals who do not purchase coverage will lower the final tab. President Obama had set a $900 billion target for the 10-year cost.

Top Democrats said Thursday that they have the votes to pass the bill, possibly by Veterans Day, and praised the progress made in the House and Senate on Mr. Obama's goal to reshape the health care system.

"Leaders of all political parties, starting over a century ago with President Theodore Roosevelt, have called and fought for health care and health insurance reform," House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said while introducing the bill on the West Front of the Capitol, surrounded by her Democratic colleagues.

"Today, we are about to deliver on the promise of making affordable, quality health care available for all Americans, laying the foundation for a brighter future for generations to come," the California Democrat said.

But there are plenty of obstacles ahead as floor debate is expected to start in a week. Even the size of the bill -- 1,990 pages -- has sparked controversy as Republicans say it symbolizes the scope of Democrats' plans. House leaders said Wednesday that they introduced the bill with the understanding that changes would be made as the process moved forward.

The final House draft -- a merging of three committees' work over the past months -- does not have the so-called robust public option, which was favored by liberal Democrats and would have reimbursed doctors based on Medicare rates plus a 5 percent premium. The more moderate version would allow the Department of Health and Human Services to negotiate rates with providers, as private insurers do.

More here

Health bill: 42 studies, 214 mentions of taxes

House Democrats' health care bill runs to 1,990 pages, costs $1.06 trillion, covers 96 percent of eligible Americans and demands the production of 42 studies on everything from whether post-partum screening should be required to using student loan programs to help recruit doctors.

The studies could be a blueprint for action by future congresses. They include looking at geographic disparities in Medicare, whether more services need to be provided for those who don't speak English and the undercapitalization of nursing homes. But studies are just part of the extensive reach of the measure, which Democrats introduced Thursday.

The word "report" appears 364 times and "tax" is used 214 times -- and while some of those refer to bookkeeping such as tax years, the bill does raise several key levies, such as a "surcharge" of 5.4 percent on individual taxpayers who earn $500,000 or couples with incomes of $1 million.

Rep. Mike Pence, Indiana Republican, said the bill uses the word "shall" 3,425 times, which he said was an indication that a lot of new mandates are being imposed. Among them is a requirement that chain restaurants print directly on their menus how many calories each item contains.

The bill also takes care of some long-languishing measures, such as reauthorizing the Indian Health Service, which has been kicking around for the past decade and was most recently held up by a fight over abortion.

The Congressional Budget Office says the bill will have a gross cost of $1.06 trillion but, with $167 billion in new penalty taxes imposed on businesses and individuals, the net cost is $894 billion. It would mean 36 million more people would be covered than the status quo by 2019, and leave about 18 million without insurance. One-third of those left uncovered would be illegal immigrants.


The Public Option Is Not an Option

Can you imagine the brazenness of President Barack Obama and his cohorts in going so far as to ridicule opponents of Obamacare for rightly pointing out that its ultimate goal is single-payer socialized medicine?

These people are propaganda virtuosos of the highest order. You might expect grand artists of deception just to silently dismiss such claims from critics or, at most, to summarily deny them. But they go further and mock the critics, trying to reduce them to acutely paranoid, tinfoil-hat-wearing, black-helicopter-hallucinating Cuckoo's Nest inpatients.

What better way to distract attention from what is right in front of our faces? It's brilliant reverse jujitsu: using the outrageousness of your own plan to discredit as preposterous the allegations of your opponents about your truly outrageous plan. Shameless!

Obama and his minions are indeed conspiring to foist socialized medicine on this nation through whatever means necessary -- including outright deception over the nature and purpose of the so-called public option. But before presenting proof of that, let me pose a few questions bearing on the likelihood Obama would be involved in such a deception in pursuit of this goal.

Didn't Obama repeatedly threaten to "spread the wealth"? Isn't he deliberately indebting us through government expenditures of borrowed funds not remotely designed to appreciably increase employment? This "stimulus" monstrosity is a massive redistributive scheme not only in its direct transfer payments but also in the confiscatory tax increases it will necessitate to retire the debt it is generating.

Obama is hellbent on passing economically crippling cap-and-tax legislation on the dubious pretense that man-made global warming is leading to an apocalypse. The Heritage Foundation's Center for Data Analysis estimates that this legislation would make the United States some $9.4 trillion poorer by 2035 while moderating temperatures by only hundredths of a degree in 40 years. Obama's former colleague Sen. John Kerry, adding insult to injury, has the audacity to sell this plan as one that would enhance our national security -- security that depends on our economic viability.

Based on those two examples alone, the inescapable conclusion is Obama believes that America's resources have been unfairly allocated under its free enterprise system and that he must preside over an unprecedented correction of this "injustice" through institutional changes disguised as benign measures necessary to stop phantom demons.

But if you're not sufficiently convinced of Obama's Marxist bent to understand he is determined to implement socialized medicine as a means to establishing government control over all aspects of our lives, how about considering direct evidence of the administration's deception concerning the true purpose of the public option?

First, we have Obama's pre-presidential words (in a 2003 speech) on a single-payer system. "I happen to be a proponent of a single-payer universal health care program. ... We may not get there immediately."

Bloggers at Verum Serum have further exposed this "transparent deception" with a video montage of Obama and other leftists -- including politicians, professors and journalists -- speaking candidly about the relationship between a "public option" and a single-payer system.

The videos show Rep. Jan Schakowsky, D-Ill., telling her audience that an insurance company spokesman claimed that a public option would put the private insurance industry out of business and lead to a single-payer system. "My single-payer friends," said Schakowsky, "he was right. ... This is not a principled fight. This is a fight about strategy for getting there, and I believe we will." Professor Jacob Hacker smugly boasts: "Someone once said to me this is a Trojan horse for single-payer. Well, it's not a Trojan horse, right? It's just right there." Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius confesses: "I'm all for a single-payer system, eventually. ... What we have to do, though, is work with what we've got to close the gap." Rep. Barney Frank says a public option "is the best way to reach single-payer." New York Times columnist Paul Krugman believes that a public option would, "in the end, kill the private plan." Presidential adviser Rahm Emanuel, in explaining Obama's apparent flip-flop on the public option, said, "The objective is what's important; it's not the means."

If you need more proof, you can read a short history of the public option on "Tapped," The American Prospect's leftist blog, which traces the genesis of the public option idea as a means to get to single-payer. Because single-payer wasn't politically feasible if directly proposed, the public option was crafted as a compromise that would eventually lead to single-payer. "Ideally, it would someday magically turn into single-payer."

Apart from Obama's statist ideology and the evidence of his true aims, our common sense tells us that a "public option" backed by a government-stacked deck against private insurance companies -- which Obama hasn't demonized for nothing -- will eventually bury private health insurance companies. Let's wake up!


Obamacare: Startling New Revelations Scare Public

First, we learned that a $500 billion cut in Medicare will dramatically affect the quality and quantity of healthcare available to America's senior citizens. Grandma's access is being slashed to add illegal immigrants and twenty-somethings into the insurance system. However, this revelation pales in relation to what we heard this week.

Here's the latest shock: Average current health insurance premiums with likely triple under Obamacare. The new data comes from a well regarded, state-by-state study conducted for WellPoint, Inc. The most dramatic premium boosts will hit young people. These are the actual individuals that often opt out of insurance plans now.

Reaction from the Obama White House was swift and harsh. Linda Douglass, Obama's healthcare spokesperson, had the audacity to compare the health insurance firm with tobacco companies. Since the White House refuses to argue the facts, they instead turned to using one of their favorite tactics, which is demonizing any voices of dissent.

The reason for the dramatic insurance premium increases is the result of Obamacare regulations. First cause is the mandate that insurance companies take any customer. Insurance traditionally is an actuarial business that rates different customers based on risk factors. This is the reason a driver aged 19 with two speeding tickets pays more for auto insurance than a customer aged 35 with no speeding tickets. Nineteen-year-olds have more accidents. Therefore they pose more risk.

Traditionally, health insurance companies charged customers with risk factors and chronic illness more than young, healthy 19-year-olds. Obamacare stands the concept of insurance on its head. Since an insurance company will be forced to sell to any sick patient, the incentive to buy insurance when you are healthy decreases. Why not wait until you are sick; get cancer, diabetes or some other severe illness before you buy? To circumvent this problem, Obama is riddling the program with police-state mandates on healthy, younger citizens. Perverted, negative incentives such as threats of large fines and even prison time will hang over young people's heads to force them to join and stay enrolled in Obama's healthcare scheme. Does this sound like America to you?

Democratic leaders in Congress are seeing support slip through their fingers because Americans are learning that they will end up paying more for less-adequate care. The beneficiaries of this plan are still lobbying hard. Big business will likely dump most of their current employee-based plans and pay the less expensive tax. Big unions are facing the reality that they are going to be bankrupted by their generous membership health plans. Many want to dump their responsibilities on the new government option recently revived by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. AARP is salivating at the money they will make selling new, bigger Medicare-gap plans after the current program is gutted.

These powerful lobbies are the driving force for change. Individual family finances will pay the higher costs and see no benefit.

There is still time to kill this wrongheaded plan and replace it with reforms that will truly work. Selling insurance across state lines will increase competition and lower prices. Tort reform that eliminates outrageous judgments in malpractice cases will get lawyers out of medicine; this will result in eliminating billions currently being spent in the name of defensive medicine.

Insurance can work, but the costly mandates and regulations already choking the healthcare system are a big barrier to cutting costs. Free markets deliver to Americans consumer goods, groceries, veterinary services, and even plastic surgery at affordable prices with little government meddling. Let the free market price and correct the distortions currently in the health care system.

Government has bankrupted Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Social Security, Medicare and the U.S. Postal Service. Let's not let the politicians destroy the greatest healthcare delivery system in the world.


1 comment:

anon said...

Dear Mr. Congressman...
The U.S. Postal Service was established in 1775
- you have had 234 years to get it right; it is broke.

Social Security was established in 1935 - you
have had 74 years to get it right; it is broke.

Fannie Mae was established in 1938 - you have
had 71 years to get it right; it is broke.

The "War on Poverty" started in 1964 - you
have had 45 years to get it right; $1 trillion of our
money is confiscated each year and transferred to "the
poor." It hasn't worked and our entire country
is broke!

Medicare and Medicaid were established in
1965 – after 44 years to get it right; they are broke.

Freddie Mac was established in 1970 - you have
had 39 years to get it right; it is broke.

Trillions of dollars were spent in the massive
political payoffs called TARP. The "Stimulus," the
Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009 shows no signs
of working, although ACORN appears to have found
a new bitch: the American taxpayer.

And finally, to set a new record:

"Cash for Clunkers" was established in 2009
and went broke in 2009! It took good dependable cars
(that were the best some people could afford) and
replaced them with high-priced and less-affordable
cars, mostly Japanese and more debt. A good
percentage of the profits went out of the country.
Taxpayers take the hit for Congress' burning three
billion more of our dollars on failed experiments.

So with a perfect 100% failure rate and a record
that proves that "services" you shove down our throats
are failing faster and faster, you want Americans to
believe you can be trusted with a government run
health-care system? 20% of our entire economy?
Have we gone mad?