March 17, 2008

Brain surgery done with a common hardware store power drill.

The surgeon is British, but he is operating in Ukraine:
[Henry] Marsh’s life-saving exploits in Ukraine began 15 years ago when he visited a state hospital in the former Soviet republic to give a series of lectures....

Patients with benign tumours, which would have been diagnosed early and quickly dealt with in Britain, were only treated once they had caused blindness or were bulging grotesquely off the sides of patients’ heads.

In Ukraine so little money is invested in the state health system that Marsh has to drill through the skulls of patients under local anaesthetic because no one is sufficiently trained to fully sedate them.

Marsh said he had watched aghast as patients died while doctors were locked in bureaucratic meetings. “I couldn’t bear to stand by and do nothing,” said Marsh, 58. “A Ukrainian doctor told me I couldn’t do anything to help but I wasn’t prepared to accept that.”
Marsh has worked with a Ukrainian neurosurgeon, Igor Petrovich, to improve "the atrocious conditions in a climate where no one criticised the state," and now is saying that in some ways the UK is worse:
"Igor is now doing a huge amount of operating, far more than me, while I, as with all senior doctors on the NHS, am struggling under a tsunami of regulation and bureaucracy."

25 comments:

rastajenk said...

I think that was the basis for a recent episode of House.

George said...

American doctors used ice picks and local anesthesia....the transorbital lobotomy.

The procedure's creator Dr. Walter Freeman drove from asylum to asylum in his "lobotomobile."

MadisonMan said...

Okay, who's the guy from Baraboo commenting over there?

Getting surgery done in the EU is a full-time job for the patient. Good luck if you're sick. Or if you have an actual full-time job (or both).

If the USA goes the medical care route that Obama or Clinton tout, there will be plenty of jobs for people who can shepherd clients through the system.

Pete the Streak said...

What a wonderful testimonial for nationalized healthcare.

Elect either HRC or OHB, and we too can enjoy riding that 'tsunami of regulation and bureaucracy'as our lives slip away.

dbp said...

I imagine that in the modern OR, they like to use air powered tools because electric ones can spark and oxygen is often in use there.

It is hard to see why an air powered one would cost £30,000. I bet the air powered tools used in auto shops are much less than that.

AllenS said...

If I had doctor Henry Marsh’s address, I'd send him some duct tape.

Michael_H said...

At least it's a Bosch drill. Lesser government healthcare programs still require the use of a brace and bit.

ricpic said...

Going in with a drill is alright. I just don't want them using a spoon when they work on my actual brain.

Cedarford said...

Life expectancy in EU countries is higher and costs are 40-70% less than in the US because of less waste, overhead, elimination of the middleman, ability to negotiate drug prices. Some procedures involve longer waits, but at the same time, 1/6th of THEIR populations are not shut out of health care all together because they are working and not indigent, but lack employers health insurance.

Under the US model we are trying in Iraq, we quickly recognized that every Iraqi had a right to have health insurance as a matter of national policy - to be paid from national resource revenues. While they wait though, Iraqis are doing amzing things to one another's heads and bodies with electric drills under their free market, capitalist system.

Eli Blake said...

How is this about nationalized healthcare in the EU? It's about nationalized healthcare where it was put in place under Soviet communism, a system in which human life itself was cheap. Unlike former communist countries, people in western Europe (where Dr. Marsh is from) live longer and have less disease than Americans.

And if you think our system is so great, then I suggest you find someone who needs brain surgery but is uninsured and ask their perspective on it.

Further, I'd only point out that for the past quarter century, we've mostly lived under conservatism ('tax cut, trickle down, deregulate....tax cut, trickle down, deregulate) and the dominant paradigm has been how to cut government, not how to make it work. Which has gotten us what? The most expensive health care system in the world, that's what.

Simon said...

Eli Blake said...
"How is this about nationalized healthcare in the EU? It's about nationalized healthcare where it was put in place under Soviet communism...."

Read again, Eli. Pay particular attention to that last paragraph. It's about nationalized healthcare in Britain. The stuff about the ukraine is the setup, not the pitch. His background in the Ukraine is what gives his point bite.

I lived in Britain. Just as putting a child through the public school system will convince anyone of the case for vouchers, there's no experience that could more firmly embed the complete failure of socialized medicine on every level as experiencing it.

Pogo said...

The same people who put together the Florida and Michigan Democratic primaries, superdelegates, and an easily abused caucus system (and the same people like Eli who cannot seem to read an entire article all the way through before drawing a conclusion) wish to bring you National Health Care.

Meetings! Delays! Politcal threats! Strikes! Shortfalls and facility closures! Outmoded facilities and horiffic waste! Too many doctors! Not enough doctors! Steal doctors from the 3rd world! Sweetheart deals and earmarks for contributors!

And once in awhile, a patient gets treated, too. Thanks, Democrats, for promising to bring mediocrity to America.

SMGalbraith said...

All of this coming soon to a country near you.

Middle Class Guy said...

It iws the year 2010. Hillary Clinton is the benevolent Dictator of the United States.

Doctors have to purchase their tools for surgery at the nationalized state owned store, Home Depot. They argue between Bosche, Makita, and Dewalt. They debate battery life and accesories.

Gorilla glue cannot be kept in stock, as it is now used to seal wounds.

There is talk of opening state clinics in the Home Depot stores.

Home Depot has also come out with a comprehensive book on do it yourself surgery so the state will save money. It even has detailed photographs and illustrations. There is also a how to CD.

Bissage said...

I think we should look on the bright side.

National Health Care is guaranteed to save Social Security.

Middle Class Guy said...

Bissage said...
I think we should look on the bright side.

National Health Care is guaranteed to save Social Security.



Yep, we will all be dead before we are old enough to collect SS. If they keep raising the age, the government will be able to keep appropriating the money form SS and come up with more excuses why SS is going broke. It is the greatest con game in the world.

Palladian said...

In Cedarford's National Social Worker's America, I'm not sure how the health care system would function. Sure, it would all be free but since there wouldn't be any Jews, there'd be few doctors.

Simon said...

Middle Class Guy said...
"It iws the year 2010. Hillary Clinton is the benevolent Dictator of the United States. Doctors have to purchase their tools for surgery at the nationalized state owned store, Home Depot. They argue between Bosche, Makita, and Dewalt. They debate battery life and accesories."

You're quite the optimist if you think you're going to be able to choose between three brands of drills. You'll use the drill produced by the People's Patriotic Drill Factory of the Revolution. And why would doctors in the Red Banner J.K. Galbraith Hospital be debating such questions?! Do you not understand the simple beauty of our form of mind control? Comrade! The politburo has already [i]made[/i] such determinations!

(I'm only kidding, but I think you misunderstand how the soviet system worked - well, "worked" vel non - a little.)

Trooper York said...

"Sure, it would all be free but since there wouldn't be any Jews, there'd be few doctors."

There will be plenty of doctors, they will just all be Indians. (That's Newsstand Indian not casino Indian).

Middle Class Guy said...

Simon.
I projected to the year 2010. I did not get to 2012 and the second term. A woman can accomplish only so much.

Roger said...

Seems to me a couple of points are in order: nothing wrong with using a local during brain surgery as once you are thru the skin and skull, the brain itself does not require anathesia. it does not feel pain as we understand it. Second, someone suggested a link exists between a nation's health care system and life expectancy: would that it were so, but life expectacy barely correlates with any measure of the health care system. It correlates most strongly to life style choices, SES, maternal literacy and public health. And even those correlations are weak. But, of course, we could look that up.

Middle Class Guy said...

Trooper York said...
There will be plenty of doctors, they will just all be Indians. (That's Newsstand Indian not casino Indian).

But will they know how to use MODERN power tools?

Elliott A said...

National health care will work well with a small, homogeneous and highly educated populace, who are both able and willing to follow directions.

Here, we have a enourmous (75 times as many as Norway) population which is diverse, poorly educated (present company excepted) and is both unable and unwilling to follow directions. Just reducing the premiums by 2500 per year will cost 250 billion with a B. The other people (47 million) will cost that much additionally each year. Where does the economy come up with 500 Billion yearly? The taxes necessary will exceed the savings for everyone who pays taxes.

The left brought us HMO's (started in Boston) The right brought us Medicine as a Business. Both have to go.

There is no way a national system has the time or money to help the unable and unwilling. They will be pushed aside. The unwilling will be penalized (see: Mandate) The unable will be forgotten. I don't know the answer, but it ain't what they're sellin".

From Inwood said...

Guys

I just broke a HS drill bit. Should I borrow one from my neighbor, the doctor? I mean his drill bits may have a super bug on them...

More important, perhaps, if we get socialized medicine should I buy Home Depot stock?

Palladian

Good shot at C-fudd.

TY & MCG

When all the doctors are from India, it'll be better since they are better equipped linguistically to communicate with the power tool company's hot line about their power drills!

save_the_rustbelt said...

In the US orthopedic and neuro surgeons use an interesting variety of power and manual tools.

My favorite is the 18" bolt cutter, which the ortho's use when removing hardware that is bound up with calcium.

Interesting seeing that tool go into the sterilizer.