The Corner

And Another Mopping Up Operation . . .

Jonah, you’re missing the point. Those maggots are part of the treatment:

The treatment for the cancer appeared to be working, but the bedsore continued to get worse despite attempts to treat it with “maggot therapy” in which maggots are used to clean out the wound.

That’s not a bug, it’s a . . .  No, wait: It’s a bug and a feature! The maggot is apparently the leech of 21st century government health care. But, as with everything else, there weren’t enough of them. This is the story of a decades-long cancer survivor who survived the cancer but died of an NHS bedsore:

During four weeks of what her family describe as “torture” in a bed in East Surrey Hospital, the sore resulted in a fatal blood infection and she died on October 27.

Her son Adrian Goddard, who lives in the US, said: “She survived cancer for 40 years, then died from a bedsore.

“It is just beyond belief that they could let a bedsore develop to the point where it actually kills someone from septicaemia.”

He said the nurses seemed largely unconcerned by the growing size of the sore and his mother’s increasing pain…

“The level of crisis that attracts their attention has to be very high for them to put down their biscuits.”

When we quote stories like these at NRO, we get a lot of e-mail saying these are just “anecdotes.” And yes, if you look on yourself as being part of a government health system of millions of people, getting a bedsore and dying in hideous pain is no big deal in the scheme of things. But I look on myself as being part of the Mark Steyn health system. So if I get a bedsore and die, as far as I’m concerned, that’s a 100% systemic failure. The difference between government health care and a private system is that, under the latter, you’re free to say, “This dump’s filthy. I’m going to the state-of-the-art joint five miles up the road.” You may have to get out your checkbook, but ultimately the decisions are yours.

In a government system, the decisions are the bureaucrats’, and that’s that. My father is currently ill, and the health “system” is doing its best to ensure it’s fatal. When an ambulance has to be called, they take him to a different hospital according to the determinations of the bed-availability bureaucrats and which facility hasn’t had to be quarantined for an infection outbreak. At the first hospital, he picked up C Difficile. At the second, MRSA. At the third, like the lady above, he got septicaemia. He’s lying there now, enjoying the socialized health care jackpot — C Diff, MRSA, septicaemia. None of these ailments are what he went in to be treated for. They were given to him by the medical system.

(I’ve written on health matters in the current print edition of NR.)

Mark Steyn is an international bestselling author, a Top 41 recording artist, and a leading Canadian human-rights activist.

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