Good news and bad news

This time out I’m talking about good news and bad news on the medical front.

The good news is that one set of parents in the UK succeeded where the parents of Charie Gard and Alfie Evans failed. Is it a trend? I hope so.

The bad news is that, in Canada, if you can’t afford your health care, they’re certainly willing to help you die.

Mentioned links:

Parents of severely disabled Tafida Raqeeb, five, win the right to keep her on life support and take her to Italy for treatment despite doctors arguing she has permanent brain damage and no chance of recovery

Disabled 41-Year-Old Man is Euthanized After Funding for Home Health Care Runs Out

B.C. man receives assisted death after funding cut for in-home care

‘OK’ hand gesture added to list of white supremacist hate symbols

ASL sign for: nine

OK gesture [Wikipedia]

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Show transcript

Good news on the Medical front! No, I’m not talking about the latest cure or breakthrough. I’m talking about how a child in the UK is being taken to Italy for continuing treatment after the National Health Service, the NHS, wanted to withdraw life support.

Sound vaguely familiar? Yeah, but with a different ending. Finally. Here are the details.

A blood vessel burst in 5-year-old Tafida Raqeeb’s head in February and Royal London Hospital doctors concluded she could no longer move, see or feel. They said she had no prospect of getting better and asked the High Court for permission to withdraw her life support. During a five-day hearing in September, Tafida’s mother begged the judge to allow them to take her child out of the country for further treatment. Now, in this case, “further treatment” just means continuing life support; the Italian hospital has not, as far as I understand, made any promises about experimental treatments in this case. But these parents succeeded where those of Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans failed in that the judge granted them permission to do this. In fact, after making the ruling, after the proceedings were over, the judge said, “I want, now that my part of this being over, to wish you both well to wish Tafida well – you have all my best wishes for the future.”

So I guess I should have led with “Good news on the Parental Rights front.”

This is what I glean from all this. Socialized medicine strips you of your rights. You lose your parental rights if you want to give your child the best chance of living, even if you’re willing to pay for it yourself. You may not spend your own money to treat your own child. Well, but here’s the thing; if you can find a single soul in the judiciary, if you draw the right card or roll the right number on the dice and get someone sympathetic to you, only then can you try to save your child, or at least give them a chance.

When you let the government spend money on you and yours, they get to decide what to buy. And unless another government official allows you to, you’re out of luck if you need something, even if you’re willing to pay for it yourself.

This is not where I want to go. Do you?

Canadian Sean Tagert was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease, which reduced his ability to move his body, eat, or speak. However his mental awareness remained unaffected. Doctors recommended 24-hour in-home care to support him.

After all, that is Canada, where they have more socialized medicine than we do. However, Vancouver Coastal Health, VCH, the local government arm of the Canadian health care system, only offered Mr Tagert 15.5 hours of care a day, which was then raised to 20 hours a day, after a fight by Tagert and his family. But that meant that he had to pay $263.50 for the remaining care that he needed to survive. That’s $263.50 a day, just to stay alive.

He came to the point that he was just tired of it all, and filed the paperwork for a medically-assisted suicide. A month went by with no word, although some VCH personnel did come by to tell him that his hours were being cut. Finally, on August 6th, he was given his assisted suicide.

There’s more to the story, none of it mitigating to the Canadian health care system. Links, as usual, are in the show notes. I guess my question here is, how much was Sean Tagert’s life worth? Was it less than the $96,000 per year that the extra 4 hours a day would have cost? When proponents say that socialized medicine avoids big medical bills, is this what they’re referring to? If Sean had been rich, he could have afforded his care. Since he wasn’t, he couldn’t, but the system was certainly willing to kill him. Because savings!

Wow, there’s a “truth in advertising” motto for the Canadian system. “If you can’t afford your care, we’ll help. If you still can’t afford it, we’ll let you kill yourself.” Talk about culling the herd of the poorest among us! This is the opposite outcome that they sold us on.

Their answer will, of course, be that Canada’s system needs to be more properly socialized. A little poison will kill you, but a lot of poison, that will do the trick.

And finally, the number 9 is now racist. Well, only if you’re deaf. Allow me to explain.

The Anti-Defamation League, the ADL, added the OK sign to the list of symbols that are considered alt-right and racist. Never mind that it started as a joke on the notorious 4chan website. The problem is that white supremacists started taking it as their own, and have essentially spoiled it for everyone. Now, “OK” is racist.

You know the hand gesture. You put the tips of your index finger and thumb together to make a circle, and your other 3 fingers are up. That’s meant “OK” for 180 years or more, according to The Source Of All True Knowledge™, Wikipedia.

But listener Barb wrote me (at that this is also the sign in American Sign Language for the number 9. So she’s wondering if, at the next press conference where there is someone signing what the speaker says, will they have to be careful of a 9-car pileup or when 9 people were killed or injured? Will there have to be some sort of obligatory disclaimer for the signer? Welcome to the 21st century.

Filed under: Medicine