I am more than a little pissed off about this incident.
I speak of young Charlie Gard, the boy in England who has a mitochondrial disorder for which the National Health Service has no treatment, much less a cure.
Charlie’s parents raised nearly 2 million dollars to cover the cost of bringing Charlie to the US where an experimental treatment offers hope of significantly extending young Charlie’s life, however the government-controlled hospital has refused to release Charlie to his parents, going so far as to go to court to terminate their parental rights to facilitate the hospital’s plans to place Charlie on the Liverpool Care Pathway, a supposed palliative care protocol that in function is used to hasten the death of problem patients.
Let me repeat that. The government run hospitals can’t help him. They propose to put him into a facility which basically drugs him into “comfort” while he dies. The parents have raised money on their own and want to take him to where he might be able to get a highly experimental treatment that, if successful, will allow him to live longer. It’s not a cure, so stipulated. It’s a palliative that might extend his life.
The hospital said “no”. They weren’t going to release him to his parents so they could take him for treatment and, as pointed out above, went to court to terminate their parental rights.
The hospital went to court for the “right” to let Charlie die rather than allow his parents, at their own expense, to seek an experimental treatment.
I have written in the past on profit motive vs. socialized medicine and how the former despite what “theory” might suggest, leads to better and more available care. But his case just highlights how utterly evil socialized medicine is. A profit centered system can only say “we’re not going to treat” or “we’re not going to pay for that”. This still leaves the individual with the ability to seek other options or funding–and people have done so, as these parents in the UK have done. Government run “socialized” systems, however, can shut you right down with force, as the NHS in the UK have done here.
Now, it happens from time to time that medical professionals and the government will interfere with parents’ rights over their children but usually it’s the other way around–when the parents for whatever reason refuse life-saving treatment for their children the law steps in to ensure the child gets the necessary treatment.
That’s bad enough, but the arguments I’ve seen justifying this atrocity (and it is an atrocity) are what really boil my blood. One example that’s just so horrifying that I’m loathe to name the person who made it because…well, look:
Even if the experimental treatment was successful, it is unlikely to undo any brain damage, and this poor child will become little more than an emotional and financial burden on the family, while simultaneously being of academic interest to scientists and medical professionals.
I am not a parent, so I can’t relate at all to the pain and love Charlie’s family experiences… But I am one of 7.3 billion people and one less human won’t lead us to extinction.
That language could have come right out of the early 20th century Eugenics movement, not the “selective breeding” part but the culling portion–the “euthanizing” of undesireables of people who are a “burden” on society.
I’m avoiding using a particular term here but with something so blatant it’s really difficult.
Maybe there’s little chance of this treatment helping. Maybe there’s little chance of his being approved for the treatment. Maybe it will all be for nothing.
But here’s the thing: That’s not your nor my call to make. The boy has parents who love him and want what they believe is best for him. And some faceless bureaucrat is overriding that. That might be understandable if the bureaucrat was choosing life for the boy, but when choosing death? In cold calculus, if choosing life is a mistake one can always change their mind later. Death is irrevocable. Thus, if given a choice, I’d rather err on the side of choosing life.
Apparently the British NHS is staffed by Klingons:
KRAS: What do Earth men offer you? What have you obtained from them in the past? Powders and liquids for the sick? We Klingons believe as you do. The sick should die. Only the strong should live. (Star Trek episode “Friday’s Child”)
This is just…vile.