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A Tale of Two Old People Who No Longer Contribute to Society

With ‘Quality Adjusted Life Years’ and other such criteria for determining when to spend money on old people right around the corner (if not already here… *ahem* IPAB *ahem*), I found it ironic to see these two news items running at the same time today:

When the 87-year-old resident of Glenwood Gardens collapsed at the facility around 11 a.m. Tuesday, a staff member called 911 but refused to give the woman CPR, Bakersfield television station ABC23 reported Friday. … In refusing the 911 dispatcher’s insistence that she perform CPR, the nurse can be heard telling the dispatcher that it was against the retirement facility’s policy to perform CPR. … An ambulance arrived several minutes after the call and took the woman to a hospital, where she was later pronounced dead.  [source]

Compared to:

The Queen is in hospital as a precaution, while she is assessed for symptoms of gastroenteritis, Buckingham Palace says. The 86-year-old monarch has been taken to King Edward VII’s Hospital in London, a palace spokesman said. She was driven to hospital in a private car on Sunday afternoon. The palace said she was “in good spirits”. … Prime Minister David Cameron sent his “best wishes” to the Queen, adding in a tweet: “I hope she makes a speedy recovery.”  A spokesman for the Queen said she was in “good health”,  … He said: “This is a precautionary measure.  [source]

I suppose someone will say that the Queen still serves a purpose, being Queen and all.  Anyway, I thought the whole underlying ‘mood’ of each story was quite fascinating.  In one case, the woman has to wait for an ambulance in an institution that apparently has a policy specifically preventing CPR.  In the other case, action was taken before there was a serious problem, as a ‘precautionary measure.’

I see in this a cautionary tale:  universal health care is supposed to help the poor, but in this we greatly deceive ourselves.  In truth, the more likely scenario is that people of less means than that vastly rich will be given the royal treatment:  their eating habits closely scrutinized, with shaming techniques employed if they are too fat, their soft drink portions carefully monitored, their exercise amounts diligently charted, their drinking habits dutifully studied by–completely well meaning–public health officials doing everything in their power to compassionately allocate scarce medical resources.   Oh yes, the poor people will get the very best of care.

In the meantime, the rich will be the only ones able to get the actual care that they need, and treated with the dignity that all people deserve (ie, not assuming they ought to kick off for the common good).

Instead of ensuring that medical care is affordable to everyone, some folks insist on implementing and fueling a bloated beast of a system that kills and eats the weak and makes medical care extremely unaffordable for all but a few.  Ironically, it is a deep hatred and contempt for ‘evil rich people’ that drives much of the support for such initiatives, but in the end, they are producing a system where only the ‘evil rich people’ will have access to the care, compassion, and respect that all are entitled to.  At any rate, it will be the poor that are micro-managed practically to death, and the poor who will have to stand in line… or wait for the ‘bus.’

Cuz pretty soon, it won’t just be private institutions that have policies specifically preventing CPR and any number of treatments we don’t want to waste on those who have already lived their lives.

Way to go, dupes.


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