British health care not utopia 03-04-2011

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Letter to the editor by Al Shumard

A recent article praised the British National Health Service (NHS). In theory, it’s a utopia. But not in fact.
In 1975, my father’s firm sent him to England. They became friends with a retired Army colonel, a WWII hero, and his wife, who’d been a frontlines nurse during the war. They were about 60. The husband was diagnosed with Stage I prostate cancer. Rather than operate, the NHS gave him pain pills and morphine when the pain got worse. He was dead in two years. Then the widow was injured in a fall. Rather than give her physical therapy, the NHS gave her pain pills and sedatives. She accidentally overdosed on the sedatives and died. In England, seniors are victims of this cruel rationing.
And rationing applies to younger people, too. Another neighbor, a mother in her mid-30s, was having severe pains from a diseased gall bladder. She went to the NHS, who put her at the bottom of a waiting list and said come back in three months. She did that, and when she came back they put her at the bottom of the list again. This happened for about 18 months. Finally, after 18 months of excruciating pain, her gall bladder ruptured, and she had to have emergency surgery.
So don’t be misled by grand platitudes from the writer or other liberals on this issue.
Al Shumard
Pine Run