I’ll admit that I’ve done it, and I’m sure we all have at some point. Admittedly when you are sitting in A&E, nursing a concussion only to look at the clock and realise you’ve already been here for 3 hours it is hard to see the rosy side of our healthcare system with it’s long waiting times and ever decreasing availability of services. However we shouldn’t be so fast to complain.
I learnt a couple of days ago that someone I know from America is dying. He has a congenital heart defect and requires a new pacemaker as well as a follow up surgery to try and reduce the defect. Unfortunately he cannot afford either of these things.
And that’s that.
The American healthcare system just watches whilst he dies from something completely preventable.
Now, the American system is fine for those people with insurance and it tries to help those who are the poorest and can’t afford healthcare but it misses a chunk of people in the middle. Unfortunately for my friend no insurance company will cover him with reasonable premiums because he has a congenital disease. So he can’t afford to pay the premiums, and certainly can’t afford to pay upfront for the surgery despite hardly missing a day of work in his life.
His family are very strong and are glad that they’ve had the time that they’ve had. They have accepted that at any day they could wake up and he could not be with them anymore but we have to ask ourselves why they should have to accept this? Both him and his wife work extremely hard, they are pillars of the community and yet because they don’t have the monetary means the healthcare system leaves them by the wayside.
Healthcare is there to alleviate suffering. My friend is suffering because he can’t afford care and his family are suffering with the knowledge that they can’t do anything and will suffer more when he eventually passes away. It’s pretty ironic don’t you think that it is a healthcare system which has caused this suffering?
I had strong and mixed emotions when I heard about this, I was mad that this is happening to such a young man and wonderful family, I was sad for them and then I was extremely grateful. The horrifying truth is that in the UK my friend wouldn’t be dying because we have a healthcare system that is free at the point of access and that does not discriminate based on economic standing.
So yes we may have to wait 4 hours in A&E or 6 weeks for our knee op and that’s annoying, but at least we get care and we don’t have to worry that we can’t afford it.
I have a new found respect for the NHS and the values it upholds and if anyone catches me moaning about it again, feel free to give me a slap!