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Annals of Government Medicine

Some Americans have warm and fuzzy feelings toward socialized (“single payer”) medicine. God knows why; the fact that they haven’t experienced it no doubt explains a lot. In the U.K., they have experience with the real thing, which means elderly patients left screaming in pain:

A dossier compiled by major charities says desperately sick elderly people have been left screaming in pain, with others given the wrong drugs, while families were denied crucial information about the health of their loved ones.

In detailed accounts, based on in-depth interviews with relatives of those in care homes, one family described how they and their elderly mother only learned that she had cancer when they asked care home staff what her tablets were for. …

Many relatives said elderly people were left to cry out in vain for pain relief.

Reporting a recent visit, one said: “They [staff] were rushed off their feet … People were screaming out for their drugs, you know, people with cancer, all sorts of really painful stuff going on. The nurses who should be giving out the drugs were doing breakfasts.”

Here in America, relatives presumably would complain about such dreadful care. But under socialized, non-competitive medicine, speaking up is dangerous:

The 26 interviewees spoke to the charities on condition of anonymity. Several expressed fears that making complaints lead to “repercussions” for their relatives or friends behind closed doors.

“If you start asking awkward questions, you’re labelled a troublemaker,” said one.

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