Thursday, June 08, 2017

Socialized Medicine Kills

Here's Britain and its socialized medicine for you.  A baby in England has a rare, life threatening disease.  A doctor in the U.S. is offering a treatment that he thinks can say the baby's life, the baby's parents have received over 1.6 million USD in donations to pay for it, and a U.K. High Court has ruled that they not be allowed to take the baby abroad and that instead he be killed.  The court granted a 24 hour stay of execution while the E.U. Court of Human Rights a chance to consider an appeal.

Frankly, it seems pretty clear this is murder, and that justice would include the High Court members and the hospital officials facing the death penalty.

The court has no business whether the parents will take the baby to the USA or not. This said, from the information available, it looks that the condition is absolutely untreatable at today's stage of medicine, and the therapy proposed is the worst type of quackery which exploits the desperation of parents of doomed children to enrich a few unscrupulous individuals. Parents in this situation often lose their critical thinking and subject the children to "treatments" that have not even been shown to work in animal models, let alone in human clinical trials.

In other cases, quacks offer harmful and dangerous "treatment" for non-lethal conditions, after which the child is worse off than before. One British child, 5-yr-old Abubakar Nadama, died as a result of quack treatment for a non-lethal disorder (autism) in the USA. His 11-yr-old sister was present and watched him die. Other children have developed brain tumors after stem cell transplantation.

In my country, where the public health care fund pays just for a basic package and patients have to save themselves if they need more, you often see appeals to donate for treatment of children. I used to respond, but I stopped when I found out than in at least 9 out of 10 cases, the money will go to quacks.
I think we are in agreement, Maya. This is quite a different from situation from a parent insisting on a quack treatment that will kill a child who would otherwise survive, and also quite different from a parent withholding a treatment that will save a child's life.

There's something deeply wrong about a system that orders parents NOT to do whatever they can to save a child's life. Even if they fail, having tried they have some consolation in that. Having the state claim "it's good for the child to die, and no, you are not allowed to try to save his life" is simply wrong.

News update is that the EU court has ordered a one week stay of execution while it considers the case.

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