Black Flag, a company that makes roach traps, known as roach motels started an effective advertising campaign years ago:  ”Roaches check in, but they don’t check out.”  As a big fan of the free market, it had never occurred to me that a hospital would embrace the roach motel model for patients.  Welcome to Great Britain’s Staffordshire Hospital, where unlike death row where prisoners are fed, even given a last meal, patients are neglected to death, many dying of dehydration or starvation,  only to be found by family members lying dead in their own excrement.    

After reading this article, you Pharaohbamacare supporters have two philosophical options, I think:  admit that this whole idea of socialized, government-controlled medicine is a bad idea, or argue that this hospital mass-murder is acceptable collateral damage….you know…for the greater good.  It turns out that hundreds (they seriously don’t know how many, though they admit the number may be as high as 1200) of patients have died unnecessarily in this British hospital over a four year period.  These deaths are in excess of what they expected and include as causes starvation, dehydration, infection from lying in soiled sheets, to just pure neglect from a calloused staff.  

I am assuming that the number of deaths, in excess of “what they expected,” don’t include those patients who were murdered by the staff utilizing the Liverpool Care Pathway in an attempt to free up more hospital beds for more…victims.  I think it is interesting,too, that the prime minister insinuated that these neglectful murders were not confined to this one hospital.  I think it is clear from what he said in his remarks in the article that this style of “care” is widespread.  Interesting too, is that these murders occurred between 2005-2009.  That was four years ago!  I wonder who politically benefitted from the timing of this report?  I wonder how many murders might have been prevented had this report been released earlier?  

I can already hear the apologists:  ”It’s the price you must pay for everyone to have access.”  A friend of mine who lived in England for awhile told me of an old saying there:  ”The first thing you do if you get sick is buy a plane ticket.” I suppose this is one way a government can keep their health costs down….scare folks into becoming medical tourists to the greatest extent possible.  Maybe the U.K. should change the name hospital to “Hostel,” so patients will know they are about to enter a horror film not unlike a Black Flag poisonous box.

G. Keith Smith, M.D.