Thursday, June 25, 2009
What happened next could only happen with a nation that values life, innovation, technology and ingenuity. Powers' survival relied on the Army�s top vascular neurosurgeon guiding Iraq-based U.S. military physicians via laptop, the Air Force�s third nonstop medical evacuation from Central Command to America, and the best physicians Bethesda National Naval Medical Center in Maryland could offer. The entire story is here and the video is here.
I listened to Stephen Forbes on the radio a couple of days ago. He mentioned a critical point I'd not considered in the socialized medicine debate (or lack thereof). While we spend a substantial amount of money in the last 6 months of life, (and one must decide whether or not to pursue all alternatives), a benefit of pushing the last six months is this: we learn (because we Americans make a point of learning and asking questions, etc.) what does and does not work. Compiling what we discover in extensive treatments has lead to advances in medicine, for all to benefit.
Yes, there are times when extraordinary measures are not wise. But there are other times when, perhaps, extraordinary measures should be taken. If what we learn from these extraordinary measures turns out to extend lives by years for future patients, then is the extraordinary measure worthwhile? Perhaps these measures save lives in the future. And, perhaps, Obama and the Democrats just might want to consider what knowledge they will be missing by forcing the rest of us non-elites to settle for less medicine and a shorter life. I agree that we need to do something to address our medical costs but is rationing and a two-tier (one for thee but not for me) the answer? I don't think so. The Brits, Canadians, etc. don't really think so, either. Finally, what if tort law were changed, nationwide, to "loser pays"? Just how much would we save in reduced insurance costs, court costs and the avoidance of frivolous lawsuits?