July 21, 2010

"NHS tells cancer boy, 5, he is 'too fat'... after putting on TWO POUNDS during chemotherapy."

Cancer boy... that's pretty insensitive... But this is really insensitive:
A gruelling course of chemotherapy caused his weight to plummet to just two stone. So when five-year-old cancer patient Lewis Mighty put on a few pounds, his mother was overjoyed. Until, that is, she received a letter from the NHS bluntly telling her that Lewis was overweight.

With astonishing insensitivity, it warned her that he was at risk of cancer - despite being just two pounds over his recommended weight. The letter suggested Lewis should take up swimming, even though an intravenous drip in his chest to deliver life-saving drugs prevents him from being in water.

54 comments:

RuyDiaz said...

1) Ah, the joys of mass mailings.

2) Why do they think it will stop the spread of obesity? Obesity has increase in much of the Western World through a number of powerful social factors. Sending a scolding letter could hardly affect outcomes.

ricpic said...

Hell is a world without caring and caring only comes in the private sphere.

Jason (the commenter) said...

It's one-size fit's all medicine. There's no room for treating patients like people, it's always about costs. Doctors under socialized medicine might as well be on an assembly line.

Not saying we don't sometimes see it in a market system, but in a socialized system the bureaucrats have no reason to do any different. It is funny that the socialized systems delivers exactly what we are supposed to fear in the market system.

bagoh20 said...

Chemo can be hell. I can't imagine a small child having to do it, or his parents watching him suffer. It's a good thing the NHS is there to help.

AJ Lynch said...

Jeez Alhouse - haven't you said you have a very large head? You may get a warning letter about that.

mesquito said...

This, we've been repeatedly and condescendingly assured, is the mark of a "civilized" nation and that we'll be heathen until we embrace it.

traditionalguy said...

National Health Care run by Harvard Phds on a statistical method will rob everyone of individual medical care that they need...unless their needs fit the mean of those with their height, weight, age, and sex. "Death Panels" are the essence of the Health Care that will be allowed to be given to us for free by the government.

Trooper York said...

Hey one of those letters is come to you soon beccause of Obamacare.

Get ready suckers.

Seven Machos said...

Of course, our rationing bureaucrats will be different and better.

A Lawyer Mom's Musings said...

Oh, I just can't wait for Obamacare to come to a theater near me.

Sixty Grit said...

RACISTS!

No particular reason, but Journolist said we needed to call everyone a racist, so there we go.

WV: shtstest - only Titus can pass that.

Trooper York said...

Hey if I am lucky maybe Shirley will be on my Death Panel and I will have to go to the end of the line.

Sweet.

There is always a silver lining.

rhhardin said...

That's two metric stones, I assume.

Seven Machos said...

Grit -- I hope that catches on. It could be the thing that puts us over the top race-relations wise.

Person #1: Pepperoni pizza is fine, just no mushrooms.

Person #2: Racist!


Person #1: Sure is hot out today, huh?

Person #2: Racist!


And so on...

amba said...

Is this what we're in for?

I've just been seeing over and over how little reason or motivation bureaucrats and other "tenured" public employees have to do a good job.

GMay said...

And didn't Obama just recess appoint a guy who "[is] romantic about the NHS; I love it."??

DADvocate said...

I get letters from my insurance company about peripheral artery disease because I have a venous closure on my lower left leg. The surgery was necessary due to a sports injury, not PAD. But, actually knowing the patient is too much to expect.

AJ Lynch said...

Dear Ms. Althouse:
It has come our attention that your headshot photo on your passport exceeds the maximum number of pixels allotment. Please report to sauna # 30007765 asap to determine a course of treatment.

Sincerely,
Your dedicated Obamacare agent

Jason (the commenter) said...

bagoh20: It's a good thing the NHS is there to help.

We can replicate that thought and send it out anytime anyone complains. It's all about depersonalization and cost cutting.

tim maguire said...

Generally speaking, I don't see how it's a big deal. If it's easier and cheaper to use broad categories and expect the people to whom the letter doesn't apply simply ignore it than to target the letters to people who do need it, then so be it. People can ignore the unnecessary letters.

But I have to wonder about a medical records system that knows when a child has put on two pounds, but doesn't know when that same child has cancer.

AC245 said...

If it's easier and cheaper to use broad categories and expect the people to whom the letter doesn't apply simply ignore it than to target the letters to people who do need it, then so be it. People can ignore the unnecessary letters.

If you assume that the people receiving the letters already know whether the medical advice/information it contains applies to them or not, then what is the purpose of sending out the letters to begin with?

Henry said...

If it's easier and cheaper to use broad categories and expect the people to whom the letter doesn't apply simply ignore it than to target the letters to people who do need it, then so be it. People can ignore the unnecessary letters.

You might as well send everyone a letter telling them they're fat. Monthly.

Skyler said...

Coming soon to a government medical facility near you.

edutcher said...

Trooper York said...

Hey if I am lucky maybe Shirley will be on my Death Panel and I will have to go to the end of the line.

Not if Laverne has anything to say about it.

GMay said...

And didn't Obama just recess appoint a guy who "[is] romantic about the NHS; I love it."??

The more things change, you know. We've gone from Josef Mengele to Donald Berwick.

Somewhere, Heinrich Himmler is laughing hysterically.

Pogo said...

Paging Dr. Shirley Sherrod!

""The first time I was faced with having to help a white patient save his life ... He had come to me for help. What he didn't know ... was I was still trying to decide how much help I was gonna give him ...so I didn't give him the full force of what I could do. I did enough.""

Pogo said...

But the real heartwarming stuff is later, after she shoves him off to the chiropractor who can't treat his heart attack, and she realizes that
Working with him made me see that it's really about those who have normal coronary arteries and those who have not... and it make me realize then that I need to work to help ischemic people.""

...from Soup for the Liberal Soul.

Pogo said...

I just made myself cry.

c3 said...

Speaking as someone who works for health plan you will want to send out health information to "members". To reduce costs you will make some communications automated. This is the result. Every health plan, health system, medical group, hospital, medical practice etc that has an automatic communication system (for whatever reason) will inevitably sent out a "heartless" communication.

c3 said...

PS You get what you pay for


(sorry couldn't resist....so shoot me)

Skyler said...

C3, I think an important point to emphasize is that the weight of my child or of me is not the business of anyone in the HMO or insurance company to comment on. It is something between me and my doctor, not some drone at the insurance company or the government.

Oh, wait. The health insurance privacy act was designed to let insurance companies have privacy, and let everyone except family have access to your medical records, especially insurance companies and the government.

Our country is so screwed up nowadays.

Almost Ali said...

My first thought was Michelle Obama.

Pogo said...

Of course, having your abnormal tests spark an automatic mailing will never be a problem here in the good ole US and A, especially with nice liberals like, say NPR producer Sarah Spitz (who would “Laugh loudly like a maniac and watch his eyes bug out” as Rush Limbaugh died of a heart attack) manning the leadership posts of our new national health care system.

I mean, what could possibly go wrong?
Nothing, that's what!

JAL said...

Dr. Berwick said he was in love with the letter the boy's mum got.

JAL said...

Did you know that Obamacare is the answer to the jobs problem in the US of A?

I just read that the UK NHS is the third largest employer IN THE WORLD.

And they still send letters (think of what the USPS will make off of that when it hit here) because some 5 year old kid weighs 2 lbs more than some chart says he should.

Maybe he hadn't pooped that morning when he was weighed. Did they think of that? Huh???

ABP said...

Does this kid think he's special? Lose weight, fatty!

Methadras said...

You know, it doesn't matter anymore. It just doesn't. These types of stories come and nothing happen. Oh, we are shocked and dismayed from time to time when we hear about these things, but nothing happens. People forget and now that we are going to be the beneficiaries of such a styled system of medicine and health-care, we will hear these stories over time as well, and then the fake indignation will occur and there may be some gnashing of teeth, but ultimately, nothing.

Chase said...

.

Just watch: in the future, there will be legal penalties for using "Death Panel" instead of "US Democratic Peoples Health Choice Committee".

.

Rod said...

Well, they could remove one of the boy's legs. That way the NHS computer will be happy with his weight.

alan markus said...

This says it all:
Obesity Rating for Every American Must Be Included in Stimulus-Mandated Electronic Health Records, Says HHS

NotYourTypicalNewYorker said...

We aren't under Obamacare yet, not just yet. Somehow I can't see this country just slipping into the Obamacare abyss so cleanly and silently without massive turmoil.

But,we'll see.

alan markus said...

Like the doctor told Johnny Optimism, "consider youth in Asia"
Johnny Optimism: Chinese

Clyde said...

Isn't that NICE? And isn't it nice to know that the new Medicare Mengele that Obama recess-appointed is so much in love with Britain's NHS that he wants to emulate it on our shores? (He and his wife will be exempt, of course; the elite are different from you and me.)

Coming soon to an Obamacare hospital near YOU!

Pogo said...

Dickens would like modern England where they have revived the idea that if they are going to die, they had better do it now, and decrease the surplus population.

Big Mike said...

I suppose it's too much to ask for Donald Berwick to comment on this story.

Lance said...

I thought this statement by the mother was very interesting...

If they pumped as much money into diagnosing cancer as they do into weighing and measuring the kids, we wouldn't be in this position.

Turns out I know something about neuroblastoma, which is an infant cancer that forms before the child is born. It's usually detected at age two or three, when the tumor begins to cause problems, but it's sometimes not detected until the child is older. Neuroblastoma can be detected earlier, but it requires a high-precision scan like an MRI or CAT.

The Japanese actually used to require MRI's for all children at six months. They caught a lot of neuroblastomas and other cancers that way. Catching them that early made them much easier to treat. Unfortunately MRI's are so expensive they had to stop.

It's the classic cost vs. benefit scenario. There's a definite health benefit to early MRI's, but the cost is substantial. I wonder though if the mother cited above is right: I wonder if the money currently being applied to obesity monitoring could be better spent on cancer monitoring. Don't have the numbers, so it's hard to say.

Whatever the case, I don't trust bureaucrats to figure it out.

Lance said...

Something else that occurs to me, I don't think the mother is saying "NHS sucks, we should find another way to provide and pay for health care," so much as she's saying "NHS is wrong to worry so much about obesity, infant cancers should take priority."

Here's the thing: that boy's cancer would almost certainly not have been detected any earlier in the U.S. The only way those cancers get detected early is if parents or doctors go looking for them, or just happen to find them while looking for something else.

This kinda suggests that parents should be spending more on their kids' health care (a lot more, if every baby gets an MRI). And ye the government-run health care systems around the world (at least two of them, Japan and NHS) don't currently spend this amount.

Heli said...

Heard this on Neal Boortz, relaying it to another producer. I blame the simple-minded morons who voted in Obama, it's coming our way and none of us want it, but the morons wanted to use government to punish people.

Bryan C said...

"It's the classic cost vs. benefit scenario. There's a definite health benefit to early MRI's, but the cost is substantial."

That confuses me. With almost any other product or service, the more you use it the cheaper it gets. Mass production and automation turn popular luxuries into commodities very, very quickly.

This happens with drugs, thanks to generics, but the medical industry as a whole seems to lack the incentive to capitalize on increased demand, instead concentrating on restricting demand to fit the existing constrained capacity. That doesn't work.

Anne B. said...

Two stone equals twenty-eight pounds. That's on the meager side for a five-year-old, isn't it?

shirley elizabeth said...

My doctor weighed me today and I have gained 4 pounds since my last appointment a month ago. He raved and said it was a great sign.

Of course, I am 3 months pregnant, but who's going to look up silly background like that?

Robin said...

In the government-run healthcare of the future, we don't own our bodies, we just get to lease them from the government.

Deborah said...

"[is] romantic about the NHS; I love it."
That's the problem right there. The romantic sees through rose tinted glasses what they want to see. And they see Cary Grant when they are really looking at Edward G. Robinson.

wv: uncizies.

Deborah said...

This kind of thing is not limited to socialized medicine. Three weeks after my mother died, we got a call from the nursing home telling us she had a doctor's appointment the next day.

wv: miess. Yes, it is.

Eric said...

I hope when my letter comes from the Obamacare bureaucracy I'm still lucid enough to remember there are three s's in "assholes" when I reply.