The issue is power – government control – more than money. That’s the lesson to be learned from our friends across the pond. We can thank Great Britain for the latest lesson in the evils of single-payer healthcare.
Alfie Evans is a toddler from England who suffered seizures at age seven months and has been hospitalized ever since at Alder Hey Hospital in Liverpool. Eventually his condition deteriorated to the point where life support measures were necessary. His doctors diagnosed him with a severe neurological condition of the brain.
The hospital took his situation to court in February requesting permission to remove his life support with the expectation he would soon die. The doctor treating Alfie testified she believed the child would “only be able to muster just a handful of breaths and survive just a few minutes if ventilation were completely stopped. Any decisions we come to are rigorous, and me personally I would not be making this decision unless I felt 100% it was the right decision.”
The court approved the hospital’s request but the decision was appealed by the family. This week the British Court of Appeal upheld the earlier court’s ruling.
In the mean time, the family reached out to the world for assistance and got it. The Catholic Church, at the request of the Pope, accepted the expense of transferring the child to an Italian hospital for continued treatment. But British authorities refused.
Alfie was taken off life support this week but the expected outcome has taken the doctors and the hospital by surprise. Alfie is still alive!
Whether or not Alfie Evans survives this ordeal is not the issue. The issue concerns the British government’s need to control the outcome. Alfie’s parents are not being allowed to choose their child’s treatment. Despite having made medical and financial arrangements for the child’s ongoing treatment at an Italian hospital, the British hospital and government has refused to comply with their wishes.
James Freeman, writing in The Wall Street Journal, says, “it’s not a question of money or the use of the British medical resources. The Catholic Church and the Italian government are ready to take the child off Britain’s hands. It’s a question of a medical and legal system that denies parents the right to make such decisions. Such abuse appears to be part and parcel of a health system dominated by the state rather than the individual or the family.”
This case is eerily similar to that of Charlie Gard, another British infant whose parents wanted to take him to the United States for continued treatment but the British government refused. (see Charlie Gard Crisis Offers Warning to America)
Could this happen in America?
There is precedent for this in the United States. The State of Texas gives hospitals the power to make such decisions. Betsy McCaughey, writing in The New York Post, says:
“Texas law gives life and death power to hospitals, never mind what families want. In most states, including New York, families are likely to win if they go to court to stop a hospital from pulling the plug. Unfortunately, they don’t know that and get steamrolled by hospital staff. .
In 2005, a court gave a Houston hospital the go-ahead to turn off the ventilator keeping baby Sun Hudson alive, over the mother’s objections. In 2017, again with a court’s OK, another Texas hospital cut off life support from 46-year-old Chris Dunn, who was awake and communicative, but descending into organ failure because of pancreatic cancer. His mother pleaded with the judges that the hospital was “trying to play God.” But Texas law gives hospitals that power.
George Pickering’s adult son was on life support in a Texas hospital. Doctors declared him brain-dead, but Pickering felt his son squeeze his hand to communicate, and was convinced he could recover. When the hospital started to cut off life support, Pickering holed up in his son’s room with a handgun to stop the process. “They were moving too fast,” he said. He was arrested and jailed, but when he got out, his son had recovered – a rare outcome.”
This should be a wake-up call for America. While situations like this have rarely occurred in states like Texas, there is little doubt they will become commonplace if we implement a single-payer healthcare system like Great Britain.
The wave of intrusive government control in our lives can only be halted by an electorate determined to stop it!