Sunday, March 07, 2010

Does This *Ever* Happen In US Hospitals?

I know that doctors and nurses make mistakes--they do that in all countries, as they're only human. But could this ever happen in the US? Has it ever happened in the US? I read lots of stories like this in the British press but don't ever read similar stories in the American press, so I'm forced to wonder if this is a result of the British system vice ours.

A man of 22 died in agony of dehydration after three days in a leading teaching hospital.

Kane Gorny was so desperate for a drink that he rang police to beg for their help.

They arrived on the ward only to be told by doctors that everything was under control.

The next day his mother Rita Cronin found him delirious and he died within hours...

The death certificate said Mr Gorny had died because of a 'water deficit' and 'hypernatraemia' - a medical term for dehydration.

His mother added: 'When I went back to the hospital I was told that all the nurses had been offered counselling as they were so traumatised, but nothing was offered to me.

'The whole thing is a disgrace. This hospital has a brilliant reputation and boasts of its excellent standards and safety record.

'But as soon as my son walked into that ward, his death warrant was signed. Of the 32 people who were involved in my son's care, every one made a mistake that ultimately led to his death, from the consultant to the care assistant.

'There has been an internal investigation but St George's never made it public and it was a whitewash-After his death the hospital never phoned me or wrote to me to apologise. How could this happen in the 21st century?'

Again, the British aren't a stupid people. They didn't design this into their National Health Service. Yet, the frequency with which we read such atrocious tales makes me wonder if this isn't the natural result of socialized medicine.


mazenko said...

Check out the lawsuits against dental work done in "a teaching hospital" here in Denver.

All is not well in Xanadu, my friend.

neko said...

But did any of these dental patients die from something as simple and preventable as dehydration?

MikeAT said...

Pray, what lawsuit against what “teaching hospital” for what dental work mal-practice? You of course have a reference for this we can see…Denver Post article, etc.

Anonymous said...

You just ran a story about a man who literally CAN'T AFFORD to be treated for cancer. I think that should be repeated. He cant afford to be treated for cancer.

Come back to me when that happens anywhere else in the western world.

Anonymous said...

allen (in Michigan) said...

Actually, all is well in Xanadu. Just like rotten public schools, rotten hospitals in countries with socialized medicine will go on mistreating patients for the foreseeable future their existence being dependent on the perceptions of patients.

But that "teaching hospital" in Denver? If it doesn't clean up it's act doctors won't want to refer patients and patients won't want to be referred.

Problem solved.

Darren said...

Yet he's being treated.

Keep your laws off my body.

Anonymous said...

He is being treated because he was famous. What would happen if he wasn't famous, and couldn't get the publicity needed?

Seriously, when THAT happens in the rest of the western world, let me know..

Darren said...

I don't know how "famous" he is outside of math teacher circles, but whatever. Your argument is full of crap, and you're making stupid points just to be contrary.

If he is American and is poor, he qualifies for Medicare/Medicaid. If he were in California he'd also qualify for Medi-Cal. That he needs money for treatment tells me he might be a Bolivian citizen, or that he's trying to get more treatment than Medicare/Medicaid provide.

Ellen K said...

Medicine, as with teaching, is not best run by the book. In truth both fields are better served when the book and its rules are used artfully with a big dose of human kindness thrown in.

Anonymous said...

I notice that you havent been able to respond to either my references to people dying of dehydration in the US medical system, OR to an example of someone not recieving treatment because he can't afford it outside the USA.

Darren said...

Great. You've found an example. Hosanna.

And I *have* answered your idiotic comments about Escalante.

I'm starting to get frustrated with anonymous idiots commenting here as if every word they type is a diamond to be cherished.

Contribute or leave.

Ooh, I'm a little feisty this morning.

Anonymous said...

Oh.. I get it! Your single anecdote is somehow a valuable contribution to a debate, but another anecdote is not.

Darren said...

Clearly you don't get it. It's your rudeness here that is *not* a contribution. You should learn to disagree without being disagreeable--several commenters here are expert at it.

allen (in Michigan) said...

> Come back to me when that happens anywhere else in the western world.

Dang. How'd I miss an easy shot like that?

Happens all the time. That's why there's a thriving medical brokerage industry in a number of U.S./Canada border towns. Canadians.

People in every other nation with socialized medicine, are refused treatment and allowed to die. How could it be otherwise? Are you under the impression that socialized medicine is going to create the wealth necessary to fund medical care because it's morally elevated?

Wow, have you got things backwards.

Socialized medicine, like socialized education, makes medicine a political issue subject to all the usual tolerable and intolerable results of the political system.

Just like public education is first a jobs program for employees of the public education system and only secondarily an education system socialized medicine is first a jobs program for doctors and nurses and medical bureaucrats and only secondarily a medical care system. Evidence the VA hospital system which I'm sure has had its share of dehydration-related deaths.

Darren said...

Of course the British papers haven't been shying away from the scandal that *is* the NHS:

Anonymous said...

If it happens all the time, why no examples?

Darren said...

Check out the Times Online link above for British examples. And if you want a recent Canadian example, how about the recent decision by a Canadian provincial premier to have surgery done in the US instead of Canada?

Anonymous said...

Anonymous: "You just ran a story about a man who literally CAN'T AFFORD to be treated for cancer. I think that should be repeated. He cant afford to be treated for cancer.

Come back to me when that happens anywhere else in the western world."

Darren: "...That he needs money for treatment tells me he might be a Bolivian citizen..."

The Wikipedia article on Jaime Escalante mentions him being born in Bolivia, but does not mention him becoming a US citizen. Also from the article, in 2001 he "returned to his native Bolivia. He lived in his wife's hometown, Cochabamba, and taught part time at the local university. He returned to the United States frequently to visit his children. As of March 2010[update], he has faced financial difficulties from his battle with cancer."

It sounds like he is neither a US citizen, nor a US resident. As such, I'm not sure how relevant to the state of US medical coverage his financial difficulties are. I'm pretty sure that he can't go to the UK/France/Canada on a tourist visa and get fully paid for medical coverage in those countries either.

-Mark Roulo

Darren said...

Ooh, another story from the vaunted socialized health care system in Canada, where an Edmonton man faces either bankruptcy or death: