Tuesday, 29 January 2008

UK Doctors Say Don't Treat Old Or Unhealthy

From the UK's Telegraph:
Don't treat the old and unhealthy, say doctors

By Laura Donnelly, Health Correspondent
Doctors are calling for NHS treatment to be withheld from patients who are too old or who lead unhealthy lives.
Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.
£1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer and emphysema
Fertility treatment and "social" abortions are also on the list of procedures that many doctors say should not be funded by the state.
The findings of a survey conducted by Doctor magazine sparked a fierce row last night, with the British Medical Association and campaign groups describing the recommendations from family and hospital doctors as "outrageous" and "disgraceful".
About one in 10 hospitals already deny some surgery to obese patients and smokers, with restrictions most common in hospitals battling debt.
Managers defend the policies because of the higher risk of complications on the operating table for unfit patients. But critics believe that patients are being denied care simply to save money.
The Government announced plans last week to offer fat people cash incentives to diet and exercise as part of a desperate strategy to steer Britain off a course that will otherwise see half the population dangerously overweight by 2050.
Obesity costs the British taxpayer £7 billion a year. Overweight people are more likely to contract diabetes, cancer and heart disease, and to require replacement joints or stomach-stapling operations.
Meanwhile, £1.7 billion is spent treating diseases caused by smoking, such as lung cancer, bronchitis and emphysema, with a similar sum spent by the NHS on alcohol problems. Cases of cirrhosis have tripled over the past decade.
Among the survey of 870 family and hospital doctors, almost 60 per cent said the NHS could not provide full healthcare to everyone and that some individuals should pay for services.
One in three said that elderly patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long. Half thought that smokers should be denied a heart bypass, while a quarter believed that the obese should be denied hip replacements…
Gordon Brown promised this month that a new NHS constitution would set out people's "responsibilities" as well as their rights, a move interpreted as meaning restric­tions on patients who bring health problems on themselves…
The survey found that medical professionals wanted to go much further in denying care to patients who do not look after their bodies.
Ninety-four per cent said that an alcoholic who refused to stop drinking should not be allowed a liver transplant, while one in five said taxpayers should not pay for "social abortions" and fertility treatment.
Paul Mason, a GP in Portland, Dorset, said there were good clinical reasons for denying surgery to some patients. "The issue is: how much responsibility do people take for their health?" he said…

The shape of things to come."
     I think Canada is acting worse than the UK but they are not saying it publicly or they would have a riot on their hands. I don't smoke, drink and I am overweight but not dangerously obese. A few months ago my province passed a law that overweight people will have to pay for their own surgeries. My health problems are not due to my lifestyle or anything that I did. The article above talks about unhealthy habits, yet I have been told that I can't get any more tests or treatment, just enough to keep me comfortable until I die. I need to look for another pain Dr. ASAP because my Dr. is losing it mentally and will be forced to step down or will retire, then I will not be able to move without my pain medicine. I talked to my pharmacist who has always helped me more than any Dr. and he said he doesn't even know any doctors who will help with chronic pain the way I have been getting help, so I am praying to be led to the right Dr.
    Back to the idea of not getting proper treatment, Mom is not able to get treatment anymore either. That week of going to the hospital every day and waiting 8+ hours then her getting sent home again was probably the unspoken avoidance of the Dr.  They have been told not to waste gov't money on the elderly or sick, and maybe they will even get in trouble for doing so, so that might have been his way of avoiding a way to treat mom.
   One Dr. told me that they just hope I die so they won't have to pay me disability anymore, and I say that doesn't make sense. Why not offer enough treatment to help me be able to work? Most of us on disability WANT to get feeling better and WANT to work! Not being useful is terribly discouraging.
The moment they let me die from neglect, there will be others who get onto disability within seconds, so they will still be paying disability for someone, whether its me or someone else, so why make us so disposable? They are not saving money by letting people die so young.
New word for the day FRUSTIPATION!!
   I called to get my pain medicine refilled, and my Dr. had messed up my prescription. He told me to take 2 a day, but didn't write those new instructions on the prescription, so the pharmacy thinks I'm supposed to only take 1 a day, so I can't get them refilled for weeks yet.
When in July that Dr. told me I have 1 year to live, he must have been prophesying something that I didn't know yet, that my treatment would be cut off so I might not live very long. SOOO FRUSTIPATING! If I am dying, it will be alone and in horrible pain, unable to get any help or treatment, so I will be a burden to my sick mom and brother. Not what I pictured for the end of my life at all.


Hi Bluebirdy,
It's just so disgusting to hear about doctors and medical associations suggesting that some people be denied access to medical treatment just because they are old or they are obese or have contracted their disease because of self abuse. They don't give people respect and human dignity. Do they know that in the future they will be in the same boat as the people they are now rejecting? In the Philippines, we care for the elderlies and we never discriminate those who get sick because of their unhealthy habits. The only problem is there's just not enough money in the Philippines for comprehensive health care for everybody. Thanks for the informative post. God bless you and your family always.

I agree! It would be bad enough if they were to tell the elderly and the chronically ill or those with bad habits that they have to pay for their medical care, like people do in most countries, but this is inhuman, because they say they will not offer any medical care at all! So if my mother was choking, and I took her to the hospital to get whatever she choked on removed, will they ask her age, and if I say "74" will they get security to take us outside the hospital and tell mom to go outside and die??? How evil can government get??? Or if I break my leg, and I go in and they ask how much I weigh, and I tell them, will they say "Nope, sorry, you are 1 kilo too heavy. Get out, you don't deserve to get your leg fixed." WHAT IS THIS??? Those people will get elderly some day, as you said, and also, they will face the judgement of the Lord one day.
Thanks for your friendship and your always wise comments.

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