The European Court of Human Rights ruled Tuesday that Charlie Gard, who suffers from a rare genetic disorder, will not be allowed to go to the United States to seek experimental treatment. Additionally, the ruling said Great Ormond Street hospital in London was no longer obligated to keep Grad on life support.
Gard was born in August 2016 with a rare genetic condition known as mitochondrial DNA depletion syndrome. The condition leads to muscles and organ dysfunction and cerebral disorders, CNN reported. Since no other treatment was effective in Gard’s case, his parents wanted to take him to the U.S. where he was supposed to receive an experimental treatment called nucleoside bypass therapy.
Gard’s parents requested Great Ormond Street hospital to release their son so they can take him to the U.S. for the treatment. However, the hospital declined the proposal stating the suggested treatment may not be the best course of action given the infant’s condition.
According to the British Medical Association, when there is a disagreement regarding a child’s medical care between a parent and the concerning doctor, courts may intervene to decide what would be in the child’s best interest.
First of all: “Human rights” do not refer to individual rights. They refer to your rights within the context of society, the group or the collective.
In practical terms, this means that if you have a sick child you’d like to treat in another country, even if only to extend that child’s life by a few weeks or months, you have no right to do so — not by the standard of human rights, as opposed to individual rights. If such a decision presents a burden to “society” — a burden determined by authorities in government using political standards masquerading as moral ones — then you’re out of luck. You’ve got to sit and watch your child die.
That’s the whole problem with socialized medicine. Proponents of socialized medicine will argue, “Why should these parents waste precious dollars on a hopeless medical case, tragic as it is? That money could be spent on people with a fighting chance.” But that’s not the point. Under socialism, this question makes sense. Socialism means there are limited resources divided up by central authorities in Washington, London, Moscow or wherever the central government rules.
But under the ethics of individualism and free markets, these parents have a right to go elsewhere and spend their money as they please, for whatever reasons they choose. Especially since the international attention gained by their case led them to receive plenty of money in donations to make this possible. It’s their money, and it’s their right. Period.
America is a partly socialized country, when it comes to medicine. We have Medicaid and Medicare, which are government-funded programs operating under many of the principles of socialism. But we have a lot of private medicine, for-profit medical centers and doctors, as well. We have elements of a free market in medicine, about the only available on the planet at this time. When you go to any halfway decent hospital in the USA, it operates at a profit, and the doctors and nurses are, in the ultimate sense, accountable to their patients, not to the state.
That’s why you always see the desperate and most difficult cases coming to the United States for treatment. Medical care is more rational and effective in the U.S. than anywhere, for only one reason: remnants of free markets and for-profit incentives.
The Gards do not have the right to go before the “Court of Human Rights” to force others to pay for their son’s treatment. They may not demand that the U.K.’s socialized system — paid for by productive citizens who contribute taxes — cover the cost. But if they have the money, and they simply want to make one last attempt to save their son’s life, futile or not, they have every moral and political right to do so. Most of you are parents. Can you not begin to understand their predicament? By what moral or economic standard can you deny them the right to try, so long as they don’t force anyone else to pay for it?
This case may be unusual and marginal. But it’s the unusual and marginal cases that illustrate the evils of socialized medicine. According to socialized medicine, life-or-death decisions do not belong to doctor, patient and loved ones. They belong to society as a whole. Note that authoritarian governments in the U.K. and the European Union get to decide what’s in the child’s best interest, not the parents, even when the parents’ choice will bring no physical harm to the child. In practice, this means that life-or-death decisions are made by people with the moral character of slimy politicians trading away other people’s money in Parliament or Congress, or unaccountable philosopher-kings ruling for everyone in the court of so-called “human rights”.
Cry for Charlie Gard and his parents. But cry for all of us. Because once socialized medicine covers the entire planet, we’ll all be in the exact same boat.
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