More than 1,100 of Great Britain’s National Health Service (NHS) patients have been victims of so-called “never events” – errors so serious that they should never happen – within the last four years alone. But despite strong rules already being in place to prevent such events, managers have promised merely to “learn” from the mistakes.
Still “feeling the Bern” about free health care for all?
A man who had his testicle removed instead of merely the cyst on it was among more than 400 patients who suffered “wrong site surgery.” One woman who had her Fallopian tubes removed instead of her appendix; another had a kidney removed instead of an ovary. Yet more have had the wrong knee, hip, eye or leg operated on, The Telegraph has reported.
A further 420 people have had foreign objects left inside them during surgery, including gauzes, swabs, drill guides, scalpel blades and needles.
The Orwellian-termed “Never events” are mistakes which should never occur because strict guidelines are in place to prevent them. Nonetheless, over the last four years NHS England has recorded around 300 “never events” on average each year. The worst offender was Colchester Hospital University NHS Foundation Trust, which recorded nine such events between April 2014 and March 2015 alone.
Never say “never,” right?
In some cases patients have been subjected to feeding tubes being placed into their lung instead of their gut – a mistake which can prove fatal. In others, patients have been mixed up with others, had the wrong blood given to them during a transfusion, or been given dangerously high doses of drugs.
One patient was given a biopsy on their liver instead of their pancreas, while some diabetics have not been administered insulin.
Despite the obvious danger these instances put patients in, and the long term ill effects that can result, Britain’s NHS has merely promised to “learn” from the events to ensure that they are never repeated – despite strong guidelines already being in place to prevent them.
What else can the NHS promise? It has no competition. It cannot go out of business. Would you trust the tire or brakes on your car to a government agency with a monopoly on the manufacture and repair of tires and brakes? Probably not. If a government monopoly controlled the entire manufacture and repair of car tires and brakes, what do you think that agency would say when large numbers of people started to spin out of control on the highway and die? “We won’t let that happen again,” is all they could say.
When you put any entity—government, or anyone else—in charge of handling all of the activity in a certain enterprise, with little or no competition permitted, then you will get exactly what you should expect: Unaccountability.
It’s amazing. If a private company did such a good job at pleasing customers that it cornered the market on most of the business, the U.S. Department of Justice would go after that company with an antitrust suit. Even though people are relying on that private company of their own free will, it would be considered an illegal act of fraud, or worse.
Yet when an entity like the National Health Service in Great Britain enjoys the sole market for medical care due to an edict of the government, nobody complains when they get bad service. And most seem satisfied with the publicly issued statement, “We’re sorry. We won’t let that happen again.” What else can we do, after all? The government provides all the cars, brakes and tires. We have to live with what we get. Or die, as the case may be.
In America, we have partially socialized medicine to the point where government almost has a monopoly on the practice of medicine. And yes, it’s more of a mess than ever. The only solution offered by everyone from Donald Trump to Bernie Sanders is: Let’s have single-payer insurance. Just like Great Britain. Can you imagine the types of things happening in Great Britain happening in the U.S. on a routine basis? There would be rioting in the streets, at a minimum. And there’s not a thing that could be done, not without a free and open market for medicine.
A free market is the only way to foster accountability and competence. No, these things are never guaranteed; but they are guaranteed never to exist whenever government creates a monopoly, which is exactly what single-payer health care is.
Just wait until we get single-payer insurance in America. It’s coming, not just because Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders say so, but because it’s the only alternative to the free market none of these people would ever permit us to create. Ten times the current $19 trillion national debt will not be enough to cover the ensuing lawsuits from the incompetence of the kind we already have seen in Great Britain for decades.
People think they’re so smart by ordering their politicians to give them free medical care, as a moral and political right. They feel smug, entitled and reassured. They will get exactly what they pay for, and exactly what they deserve, when they face the reality of unaccountable doctors, nurses and hospitals that will never go out of business.
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