Health Care Perspective from the UK

I am taking the easy way out with my second blog.  A friend of mine on my email list shared the following letter, that she had sent to all of our Utah representatives, with me.  I thought it was very important, and with her permission, I am sharing it with you.  Anyone who doesn’t see our health care system heading towards this, under government control, it simply sticking their head in the sand.  Come on you little ostriches, pull your heads out, so to speak…..

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I understand what everyone is and should be busy with families and Christmas this week. I would not be taking the time required to write this letter if I did not feel it to be an extreme emergency.

I understand the government is attempting to pass this health care bill on Christmas Eve. I would like to take the time to share my story, and would appreciate your taking the few moments it will take to read it.  This will sum up the health care issue nicely, without your having to read that long bill.

My husband and I live in southern Utah. I attend school, in order to obtain an RN degree. My husband works for a local company.  He is originally from the UK, and gained his US citizenship only last July, after we had to work and save and pay huge fees to do this legally. He has been in the US for ten years.

We moved here in 2000. My husband’s father and mother both passed away in the last few years. Both were faithful British citizens. And of course, they were under the NHS. First, his father contracted cancer. He was put in the hospital, and placed on a morphine pump, and simply allowed to die. No efforts were made to help him or cure him. He was beyond retirement age, though still young enough to enjoy his remaining years with his family, had he been allowed to do so. He died in terrible pain.

Then my husband’s mother, who had just suffered the loss of her husband only two years before, also contracted cancer. Hers was treatable at the time, and my husband and I both went in with her when she got the terrible news from her NHS doctor. I watched in shocked silence as he informed her that she was terminal, and there would be no treatment. He did, however, offer her the morphine pump. Needless to say, she went into shock herself, on the spot. She remembered her husband’s terrible ordeal. I became angry, being a medical professional myself here in the US. I asked him why they would not treat her. Her tumor was operable, removable, and if done right away, her prognosis was very good. I had previously armed myself with this information and had asked my present employers in the US these very questions. Her doctor became very condescending, and addressed us as if she were not in the room. He said the surgery would be too costly, and would take months to schedule. He said she was really well beyond her years of “productivity”, and that she really ought to consider that the money could better be spent on those younger and still able to contribute to society. I asked him whether he had considered the fact that she had been a government employee all her life, and had faithfully paid her taxes, and into that very medical system, as had her husband. He said it simply could not be done.

While we were in that meeting with her doctor, I was really shocked to hear him offer (to us, not her) the option of the “cocktail” if she wanted it! He continued to speak as if she had suddenly become a non-person, or wasn’t even in the room. As if we were speaking of someone already deceased. Because she was already, to him. It was the most inhuman moment I can remember being present for in my life. I remember being so angry with him that I confronted him with the hypocratic oath! First, do no harm. I had to swear to it myself, and I had no trouble with it. He seemed to ascribe little value to that promise. He said this was for the best, for society as a whole!

She heard this last exchange, and never truly came back to herself. We thought about bringing her here to the states, where she could still be treated, but she deteriorated mentally after that meeting.  She was betrayed by her own country and she just gave up. She died months later, of slow starvation. I had asked her doctor if he would place a feeding tube, so she could be fed long enough to bring her here, and he refused even that. She could not swallow without choking, so we could not bring her on a plane. Once again, he said it was simply not “cost-effective”.  Her life had been reduced to numbers and finances. And she was not deemed worth saving.  The tumor grew slowly, further proving that it could indeed have been removed in time.  However, this only ensured that she starved that more slowly.

We still grieve her passing in such a terrible, needless way. Please read and carefully consider before voting on this bill. Please go home over Christmas, and reflect on the value of life. Please wait on this vote, and allow more people to speak out. Please do not be rushed into such a hasty decision. Please hear the voice of the majority of citizens who do not want this for our country. Please listen!


Derek and Eryn Whiting


14 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Lynn Merrill on December 28, 2009 at 8:04 am

    Thank you. This is exactly where we are heading.


  2. Posted by Sharilee Roper on December 28, 2009 at 10:25 am

    I see it coming–just as in the UK. I have friends there and I know of similar horror stories. We must do all we can to stop this health care bill that is really a death sentence and the diminishing of our security in many way. It is intended to control us at our most vulnerable point in life. It is not about real health issues and treatment so much as it is a power grab–power to decide who lives (is still productive) and who is no longer of use to the goals of our leaders!


  3. Posted by Cindi Ellis on December 28, 2009 at 10:34 am

    My father was in Scotland for a couple of years under this same health care system. He contracted pneumonia while there and the antibiotics that they treated him with didn’t work. After about a month, we had to send him some antibiotics from the US so he could get better. My parents both have stories about the long wait just to get into a specialist and then another long, long, long wait for needed surgeries. I don’t understand why people in Congress are so blind!


  4. Yes–thank you for posting this! This story contains a terrible truth and at some point people must listen. Just hopefully before it’s too late.


  5. Posted by janet on December 28, 2009 at 4:01 pm

    Sorry to hear your sad story. It certainly contradicts what UK official say about the system. IT CERTAINLY DOES NOT SUM UP OUR HEALTH CARE BILL IN ANY WAY SHAPE OR FORM. YOU SHOULD BE ASHAMED TO WRITE SUCH A COMPARISON! The current bill has NO public option in the Senate version & House Reps are resigned that the final bill will lose that option….. Quit watching Fox “news” & read/watch just about any other news source if you want to be informed.


    • I rarely, if ever, watch Fox News or any of the other TV networks, although overall, I believe they give a more balanced view than CNN or MSNBC. That being said, no one ought to be ashamed to relate their experience with health care. As of yet, you are correct, there is no public option. However, the final bill has not been settled. Currently, 40% of American support the health care legislation; 55% oppose it. That alone should slow down the passage of the bill.

      There are other ways to begin realizing savings in health care. Number one, in my opinion, should be tort reform. Texas passed such legislation a few years back, and the statistics in the Houston area show that costs decreased, and quality of health care increased.

      In addition, since you seem big on educating yourself, you may want to read this paper, written by a professor at Stanford (not exactly a right wing institution). It points out a few other ways that the costs of health care can be reduced. This type of information isn’t at easy as watching TV news and listening to your favorite political pundits, but by researching for yourself, you will get a more accurate picture of what needs to happen. The important thing is that you don’t rely on politicians or political websites to give you your information.

      Your response, not really containing any facts, but choosing rely upon condescending and insulting comments, does not contribute to the debate.


    • Posted by Tom on December 28, 2009 at 7:52 pm


      Shame on you for making such a hurtful comment. How would you feel if it had been you telling the story about losing your loved ones, and somebody made the same comment to you.

      My wife also has relatives in England. And what this lady said is similar to their experience. My wife’s step-mother went went to another country to have cataract surgery, because the doctor’s in the UK were going to put her on a list and make her wait 3 to 5 years, because she is over 60. This is only one of the instances that we are aware of. Basically she has to go elsewhere anytime she needs any thing other than basic medical care.

      These are first hand accounts of what it’s like under a National Health Care program. Not some rhetoric that somebody picked up of off Fox News. It’s amazing that almost every time I hear anybody make an argument against the health care bill, that people respond back and say you need to quit listening to those lies from Fox News, you find out for yourself. And yet you are the one who minimalizes what other people know from experience.

      Yes the current Senate bill does not contain a public option. Just because we are not getting it next year, does not mean that it’s not coming. The liberals are not going to stop until they get one passed.


    • Janet~

      Another paper on cost shifting in California hospitals. Fascinating…

      I am sure you will find this paper very informative, as well. As you can see (with a little time and effort on your part), spiraling costs are not entirely due to “evil” insurance companies.



    • Posted by Eryn W. on December 29, 2009 at 3:32 pm

      Janet, I am sorry you have been so misinformed. Of course UK officials, just like ours, would prop up their failing system. It is their job to do so. As for comparison, have you read the bill yourself? Death panels will not be required if doctors become like this one did. No, it does not contain the public option as of yet, but rest assured, it’s coming. And you are not going to like what you get, I promise.
      I will never be ashamed of my right to speak out against wrong, but you should indeed be ashamed to denounce it. For your further info, this all happened before I ever began watching Fox news. I am amazed that liberals are all so deathly afraid of free information. Are you afraid of the Truth?
      You are quite possibly as cold hearted and conscience-challenged as this doctor. I will say, however, that no matter what your standing on truth, may you or no one you love ever be put in this situation.


  6. Posted by ADRIEN SQUIRE on December 28, 2009 at 10:10 pm



  7. Posted by Willa H Van Hulten on December 29, 2009 at 2:27 am

    We are being used, not only by the present administration but by our own represenatives in congress.

    Where can we turn for help? Our voices and desires are being ignored. Time is not on our side.
    Term limits are called for and the grass roots movements are our only recourse.


  8. It really is dissapointing to be in this position right now, sadly with this administration I don’t see anything changing untill 2010 mid term elections.


  9. Posted by butchd on December 29, 2009 at 12:20 pm



  10. Posted by jimithy on December 31, 2009 at 3:07 pm

    I think it is about time we recalled most of the elite (in their minds) representatives as was done in either Iowa or Ohio, can’t remember, we citizens have the right to oppose their actions, because they still work for our states not themselves.
    I also propose that when a representative leaves office that he/she and their families should be subject to the same HC bill they made for us, without exception. They have assumed too much power and they all must be replaced. We must purge the system by replacing them until all of them who are present are gone then we can start with a clean slate.
    We must have term limits on the lot of them, whatever party the claim to represent. Now is the time to work together to turn this around, in fact since the HC bill affects all of us citizens I move that we should be the ones voting not congress.


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