Monday, 9 October 2017

Writing - Talking of passing

It seems that in the 21st century nobody dies! Sorry I used the 'd' word. People 'pass', 'pass over' or journey to the other side!

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It also seems that our culture is becoming more neurotic about the subject of death. 

Consider medicine and the subject of health.

The NHS was introduced 70 years ago to give everyone the opportunity to free health care. Nowadays, thanks to 7 years of Tory money grabbing, this is one of the services that is failing, but there are side issues linked with capitalism that has brought about this situation. These issues are partly the result of the anti-ageing, anti-dying attitude that has developed in our culture.

It all began with cosmetic surgery. Initially, of course, this was the prerogative of the rich as it was only available to private patients, but now ordinary folk claiming mental traumas as a result of their nose having a rather Romanesque quality, or too small, too big or too saggy boobs, bottoms etc, can access physical alterations. The side effect - doctors were being paid for these procedures but now they are done on the NHS and therefore that time and money is not available for ordinary ailments that require doctors' attention.

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Then in South Africa in 1967 at the Groote Schuur Hospital, Cape Town, Dr Christiaan Barnard carried out a heart transplant successfully. This week it was announced that England are preparing an opt out organ donor system where it is assumed you are prepared to donate your organs after death unless you choose otherwise. I have a problem with the whole spare part surgery system.
(I must say at this point that if my offspring etc needed an organ and I was compatible I wouldn't hesitate.)
However, it is my belief that the practice should be scaled back and the energy and money placed into curing or better managing serious long term illnesses such as cancers, Motor neurone disease, Alzheimer's and the like. I know there will be huge moaning about this but it is dead end surgery. The people receiving organs will die at some point and in some cases the replacement organs don't last anyway. All this takes money and staff time out of the NHS.

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Nanny State

Finally, there is health care by the 'nanny state'. A decision is spreading across the country regarding operations for smokers or obese people. Health Care trusts are opting to refuse certain types of treatment if you smoke or are obese. Of course it is being introduced to save money and shorten waiting time lists, but I would argue that it is discriminatory. I am obese and if I needed a hip or knee replacement operation I would have to lose weight first. It seems reasonable on the surface but individual circumstances can bring about anomalies. I'm sure the powers that be would say they would be treated as individual cases but some would suffer as a result. The other detracting factor is the measure of obesity. BMI has been largely discredited as an accurate indicator. When I was in my early thirties I was a runner, covering 25 miles every week and taking part in many long distance races. The lightest I ever achieved was 12.5stone at a height of 5' 6.5''. On the BMI graph I was classed as well into the overweight category while running eight minute miles, but should still be down at 11 stone in weight. I would have to cut off a leg to get into the normal BMI category.

Irrespective of my problems the nanny state is trying to help prevent death by demonising smoking and drinking. My message is that the only thing that is certain in life is death. None of us are immune and we need to stop wasting money on the above and concentrate on the care of the unhealthy not extending the lives of the rich and healthy!

God Bless