In a country where the Hippocratic Oath is honored, it’s hard to imagine the rationing of care. Yet, it is a sad reality for those counties like England, who utilize QALY (Quality Adjusted Life Year), a measure index used to assess the quality / duration of survival in comparison to cost / outcome of medical procedure performed.
Eryn and her husband experienced firsthand how a system that embodies this measure could have such little regard for life as both of her husband’s parents contracted cancer.
“My husband’s parents were victims of the NHS (National Health Services). Both were retirees, who contracted cancer, and both were not treated.”
For us in America, this doesn’t make sense. There had to be some good, logical reason not to provide care, right? Maybe, the treatment would be too aggressive for their bodies to endure. Sadly, that was not the case. Eryn explains:
“I was there when the doctors told his mother the following: she was beyond retirement age and funds were limited. Her care would be too expensive, so she ought to just die and allow the funds to be used on others.”
Blunt words for a profession, which is to ‘first, do no harm.’ Eryn explained that her mother-in-law had very treatable cancer, yet the QALY didn’t work in her favor. Even if her mother-in-law was young, Eryn believes the system still would have failed her.
“I had a lump that was diagnosed and biopsied within one week, and declared benign. In England, I would have had to wait three months to see a specialist, an additional three months to have the biopsy, and if it turned out to be malignant, it would have been an additional nine months or so to begin treatment, if I were below retirement age. If I were older, it would be postponed and put off indefinitely. My husband has also been diagnosed with central sleep apnea. He was treated and placed on a machine at night within weeks. In England, with the NHS, he was diagnosed with only RLS and never treated at all. He would have died in his sleep, as the machine he requires costs thousands. Now he sleeps peacefully, and is much healthier.”
Eryn’s story is one of many in England and other countries where patients are perceived as a cost to the system rather than a human life. For this reason, she and her husband are fighting hard to make sure Obamacare and its IPAB (Independent Payment Advisory Board) – an unelected, bureaucratic board with rationing power in America – is fully repealed.
- Eryn W. from Cedar City, Utah