Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Saturday, April 28, 2018

And around we go again

Another brain dead baby is removed from life support in Britain and the "Christians" start howling. The case of Alfie Evans is pretty much identical to that of Charlie Gard, which we went through last year. Both had neurodegenerative conditions which resulted in the destruction of the cerebral cortex and a vegetative state. In both cases, their physicians wanted to take them off of life support and the parents fought it, refusing to accept reality. Along came the Pope and the Christian right calling the doctors murderers.  We also got the plain old right claiming that it was socialism that was killing these babies.

First, let's dispense with "socialism" nonsense. Britain does have socialized medicine but that has absolutely nothing to do with either case. It was the doctors, not the government, who proclaimed both cases hopeless. The policy in the U.K. is to do what can be done to keep babies alive, but these babies were dead. And the exact same scenario happens in the United States, with regularity.

In fact, with socialized medicine it is more likely that more will be done in such cases because if  everybody has insurance, and there is  a deeper risk pool, and more widely shared stakes. In the U.S., people with no insurance, or inadequate insurance, die all the time from preventable causes. That is perfectly okay with the same sanctimonious right wingers who are blaming socialism for these babies' deaths. The UK is a parliamentary democracy and if there was a public consensus, or even a substantial but highly motivated minority, who wanted these babies to be kept by machines in a state that simulates life, then politicians would make sure it happened. They didn't, because that's not what most British people want.

The reason most British people don't want that is because they are reasonable. If what was once a human organism has no awareness, no volition, and no hope of ever recovering any, then that is no longer a living human in any meaningful sense and it is pointless to spend vast sums of money keeping most of their cells alive. This is not about Christianity or socialism. It's about common sense.

The pain the parents are feeling is unimaginable and I can understand why they were mired in such deep denial. But humoring that denial is not doing them any favor either. It's just prolonging their torture, for your own sanctimonious satisfaction or self-promotion. People die. That's life.


Gay Boy Bob said...

Part of the story that's not being told is when the parents were first denied treatment options, they asked to bring the child home.

Their request was denied.

The parents then asked the court to allow the child to leave for Italy for treatment that would not cost British taxpayers a dime. Italy welcomed them and even gave the child a passport to help facilitate the move.

That, too, was denied.

The horror for many is not just this one incident, but the precedence it could set and the power the government has over your life when they're running a government single-payer healthcare system.

Cervantes said...

Right. It wouldn't have cost the British taxpayers a dime. So in other words, nothing to do with "socialism." The court ruled that it would not have been in the best interest of the child. That is, a judge, who had no relationship to the health care system and was not even thinking about the health care system. A judge in the United States could make the same ruling, on the same basis.

The single payer system, once again, has absolutely nothing to do with it! Learn how to think.

Gay Boy Bob said...

It's not that easy, Cervantes.

The courts are the "muscle" of the healthcare system there as evidenced by their recent decision. The courts didn't do any independent examination. The system made the decision and the courts backed 'em up. Socialism depends on enforcing the power of the state.

There was absolutely no reason not to let parents seek treatment elsewhere other than to assert total state control, usurping parental control.

Bureaucratic decisions to prevent treatment or to determine what treatment you may or may not receive, even when you've got your own resources, is a price the Brits are paying for a single-payer government run healthcare system.