Gone with the Wind


In Manchester, England, Barbara Collins went to the hospital five times complaining of crippling abdominal pain. Doctors diagnosed her with "trapped wind" and sent her home with laxatives. Finally, four months after her first visit to the hospital, a doctor determined that she had ovarian cancer. She died 10 days later. The National Health Service is investigating the case.

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  1. Well, better late than never . . . oh, right. Never mind.

  2. Well, if the UK didn’t have a national health service, she might not have been able to afford to die in a hospital. So there. I guess.

  3. Red herring. This sort of thing only matters if it happens in America and thus can be used to push for socialized medicine.

    1. In America, there’s still a profit in saving her life. But if we get any Nationalized Health plan, the money will be taken out of healthcare, and as such, there will be no profit in saving anyone’s life.

  4. Why don’t we combine healthcare reform with a climate bill and save the world all at once?

  5. Maybe she had both conditions, and they helped her with one of them.

  6. Pathetic use of anecdote.
    Great Britian is a robust democracy, and they choose natioanl health insurance.
    Why, why, why oh why don’t they listen to the Rush Limbaughs and Reasonettes and kill off their NHI?
    Our right-wing nut-job pundits surely know more than the citizens of Great Britian.

    1. Just because they chose it doesn’t mean they didn’t choose poorly. Remember the lesson from the end of the last (good) Indiana Jones movie.

      We’d be a nation of fools to not learn from others’ mistakes.

  7. Actually, Mr. Cole, when you combine it with the every other day Brickbats referencing the ineptitude of the NHS, they’re no longer anecdotes, but evidence of a pattern.

  8. With the first name of Rhett I feel obligated to comment on this article. But I just can’t give enough of a damn to read it.

  9. Barbara Collins, sure. But that never would have happened to Phil Collins.

  10. Okay, I heard today that there are 98,000 fatalities annually in USA hospitals due to hospital error.
    Due to our system of health care? Private profiteering translating into chintzey services?
    Who knows?
    It is almost impossible to be an intelligent consumer of health care.
    I used to get pamphletts from Blue Cross that were a half-inch thick, written in gibberish, when I was under Blue Cross.
    I did find out (retroactively) that the $60 a month I paid for dental covered everything–except anything that went wrong “below the gum line.”
    What does that mean?
    Roots,think roots. I was paying for coverage, except for the roots. They are not part of the teeth, I guess. $1,800 root canal, and I had to pay.

    Okay, time for a counter-anecdote.

    1. Would you rather be out $1800 unfairly, or dead unfairly?

      1. dead unfairly

    2. Guess who mandated that BCBS send you that information about all the regulations insurance companies have to follow, and in what format.

      Hint: It’s the same folks who will run the “public option.”

  11. This is driving me crazy today, and it seems like as good as any place to vent.

    I keep hearing “anecdotes are bad. Sure, the NHS/Canada/Medicare screwed up, but that’s just an anecdote and doesn’t mean anything about the system”.

    Then I hear “OMG, soandso was denied insurance for suchandsuch. Too big. Too small. Too old. EVIL EVIL INSURERS!”. In what world are these not anecdotes? Why the flipping double standard? Wait, I know why. I just needed to vent.

  12. Also, take a peek at the articles that Reason links to. There are plenty of similar stories told in the comments threads there. The Brits seem less and less happy with the choice they’ve made.

  13. Of course you cant just look at one anecdote and make a judgement about an entire system. I think the fact that these anecdotes are so repeated and highlight the exact problems that are discussed when discussing national health care does lend itself somewhat to the argument against the system. I will agree, though, that the only real thing that matters is real statistics on how often these things happen in either system, why its happening, etc. Only then will you actually know the effectivenes. These anecdotes certainly don’t hurt the argument, though.

  14. Some statistics on UK hospitals:


  15. Some statistics on US hospitals:

    Only about 18% of commuity hospitals in the US are “for profit” hospitals (http://www.aha.org/aha/resource-center/Statistics-and-Studies/fast-facts.html), so a good majority of the “best healthcare in the world” is already being managed and funded by nonprofit groups and your local, state, and federal governments.

    Also, most of the great strides in reducing patient mortality and complications in US hospitals since 2001 have come about because of the oversight, accreditation, and certification programs of the National Comiitte on Quality Assurance, a non-profit group that is funded primarily through–wait for it–federal grants.

    Before people start talking about “keepin’ da gubmint” out of healthcare, they should really learn facts.

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