Big news out of the UK this weekend, as a poll of British doctors indicated that they have some somewhat controversial opinions on how far their treatment efforts should go. [Source: The Telegraph]
Smokers, heavy drinkers, the obese and the elderly should be barred from receiving some operations, according to doctors, with most saying the health service cannot afford to provide free care to everyone.
Amusing to see some U.S. medbloggers jumping on the "See, this proves that nationalized health care is evil and untenable" bandwagon.
As I commented over on InsureBlog, it's very convenient to forget that the same discussions happen here in the US (although it's true that it may be insurance companies, not doctors, driving them.) Think about transplant waiting lists...and who gets kicked to the curb. Perfect example of the same perspective. And it's those same kind of "some operations" that are cited in the article.
Further, I really think we are not entitled to be on our high horses here. Here, people go without medically necessary treatment simply because they can't pay or don't have good enough coverage. Is that really a better reason to deny treatment and hand out, in some cases, death sentences, than the ones cited in the article?
Now, here's the one part I did find a little creepy. The surveyed doctors thought:
One in three said that elderly patients should not be given free treatment if it were unlikely to do them good for long.
Can you say Logan's Run?
I'd feel a lot better if I had a better sense of what these doctors mean by "do them good" and "for long."
What do you think?