The Causes of NHS Death Squad Medicine

The NHS is melting down. As I have repeated posted about here, the Liverpool Care Pathway–intended to prevent patients from dying in agony–became instead a door to imposed back door euthanasia. So much easier to put patients into a coma and dehydrate them than provide individualized care.

NHS hospitals have so mistreated patients that thousands died who would have lived with proper care. Mothers have given birth in hallways. Emergency patients have been kept in ambulances for hours to ensure that ER rooms met their waiting time bureaucratic mandates. Etc., beyond etc. What a mess.

The magnificent Melanie Philips hits the nail about this in her latest column, “NHS has a Hole Where Its Heart Should Be:”

Harsh as this may sound, it is surely hard not to conclude that — whether through the LCP abuses or shocking standards of care — one way or another the NHS has turned into something akin to a national death service for those who are too vulnerable to resist.

This obscene brutalisation of attitudes cannot be addressed by tinkering with procedures, by yet more Whitehall directives, nor even by the firing of culpable staff (not that that last outcome ever seems to happen). We are simply facing nothing less than a moral breakdown: a fundamental collapse of decency, compassion and simple kindness.

The question is why the “collapse,” why the most caring profession can be transformed into its most callous, why as an American hospital psychologist friend told me recently, she sees a very real threat of “death squad medicine.”

There is much to consider. I have railed about how centralized control deprofessionalizes. And that is clearly true. When doctors and staffers practice to the memo, patients that don’t fit into the mold can seem a bother. This bureaucratic sclerosis is coming to the USA now thanks to Obamacare.

But I think more is involved. When preventing any and all suffering becomes the prime directive, eliminating suffering too easily morphs into eliminating the sufferer. And the very concept of ”suffering” itself becomes elastic, to the point that family suffering becomes germane and the patient is put out of their misery–and given the cost of care–ours.

At an even deeper level, the increasing inhumanity we see comes from rejecting human exceptionalism, and its corollary, the sanctity/equality of human life. If being human is morally irrelevant, when very prominent thinkers seriously assert that some human beings aren’t human (persons) anymore (or yet), and that their suffering and/or dependency is a pointless drag, that life without a “meaningful recovery” not worth living–it becomes all too easy to think that killing is the best option and that providing individualized care to certain classes of people is not worth our time or treasure.

The crisis in health care isn’t a cause, but a symptom.

Wesley J. Smith — Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow at the Discovery Institute’s Center on Human Exceptionalism.

Most Popular

Law & the Courts

Obstruction Confusions

In his Lawfare critique of one of my several columns about the purported obstruction case against President Trump, Gabriel Schoenfeld loses me — as I suspect he will lose others — when he says of himself, “I do not think I am Trump-deranged.” Gabe graciously expresses fondness for me, and the feeling is ... Read More
Politics & Policy

Students’ Anti-Gun Views

Are children innocents or are they leaders? Are teenagers fully autonomous decision-makers, or are they lumps of mental clay, still being molded by unfolding brain development? The Left seems to have a particularly hard time deciding these days. Take, for example, the high-school students from Parkland, ... Read More
PC Culture

Kill Chic

We live in a society in which gratuitous violence is the trademark of video games, movies, and popular music. Kill this, shoot that in repugnant detail becomes a race to the visual and spoken bottom. We have gone from Sam Peckinpah’s realistic portrayal of violent death to a gory ritual of metal ripping ... Read More

Romney Is a Misfit for America

Mitt’s back. The former governor of Massachusetts and occasional native son of Michigan has a new persona: Mr. Utah. He’s going to bring Utah conservatism to the whole Republican party and to the country at large. Wholesome, efficient, industrious, faithful. “Utah has a lot to teach the politicians in ... Read More
Law & the Courts

What the Second Amendment Means Today

The horrifying school massacre in Parkland, Fla., has prompted another national debate about guns. Unfortunately, it seems that these conversations are never terribly constructive — they are too often dominated by screeching extremists on both sides of the aisle and armchair pundits who offer sweeping opinions ... Read More

Fire the FBI Chief

American government is supposed to look and sound like George Washington. What it actually looks and sounds like is Henry Hill from Goodfellas: bad suit, hand out, intoning the eternal mantra: “F*** you, pay me.” American government mostly works by interposition, standing between us, the free people at ... Read More
Film & TV

Black Panther’s Circle of Hype

The Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) first infantilizes its audience, then banalizes it, and, finally, controls it through marketing. This commercial strategy, geared toward adolescents of all ages, resembles the Democratic party’s political manipulation of black Americans, targeting that audience through its ... Read More