Friday, October 26, 2007

Government Health Care Horror Stories

Kate at Small Dead Animals quotes some personal stories about the wonders of England’s National Health Service submitted in response to a article in The Spectator.

Small Dead Animals: "Unfortunately, 30 months ago I was diagnosed with bowel cancer and had my bowel removed. On arriving at the hospital the day prior to the operation, I went to the toilet. No soap or hand-wash. Spoke to nurse. Yes we know we will get some tomorrow when the cleaner is back!!!!! The patient in the next bed informed me he had said the same the day before. Basic hygiene. After the operation, excrement from a spill from a colostomy bag was left on the floor for 2 days until the next bed patient’s daughter brought in disinfectant to clean up."

"Many days I watched the nursing auxiliaries bring his food in and place it temptingly on his table at the foot of his bed, often out of reach. After what seemed a relatively short time they returned and noticing the full dishes commented that he must not be hungry! He couldn't reach the food. When I complained they left it there but no-one came to feed him so I and his friends fed him. On very few occasions did any of the nursing staff attempt to feed him (they may have when I was at work. I visited him every evening for 3-4 hours). Had it not been for myself and his large group of friends visiting and feeding him I believe he would have received little or no food at all. As a result he didn't last very long."

The source article by Melanie Phillips is a critique of the change in nursing standards.

The retreat from Scutari: Last week, I wrote a column in the Daily Mail about the scandal of dirty hospital wards which were killing patients through the superbugs they were breeding. While I said the way the NHS was run had much to do with this problem, I pinned much of the blame on the profound change that had taken place over the past two decades in the training of nurses, who were no longer taught Florence Nightingale’s dictum that the core of good nursing was maintaining patient and ward cleanliness.

Nursing has changed dramatically from the Florence Nightingale origins, in large part because medical care becomes good. Modern health care is now primarily therapeutic and secondarily palliative. The days of the physician doing all the treatment then leaving the staff to deal with the chores of convalescence are long gone. The fact that deplorable sanitation exists within the National Health Service is really more a function of the way monopoly decays internal standards and efficiencies. In some real sense, it is competition keeping American hospitals clean.