Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Concerned about the kind of care under Obamacare?????

If you were wondering how our medical care would fare under 'Obamacare', since he likes the British National Healthcare System, the following ought to give you pause.

British Nurse Turned Off Quadriplegic's Life Support

LONDON (Oct. 26) -- A shocking video captured

What makes Merrett's story all the more tragic is that until that accident in January 2009, he had succeeded in living a comparatively active life, despite being paralyzed from the neck down since a 2002 car crash. He received around-the-clock care at home, but could operate an electric wheelchair and a computer through voice-activated technology.

In 2008, though, he started to become increasingly concerned over serious errors made by nurses operating his ventilator, his sister Karren Reynolds told the BBC. He sent off several e-mails to localhealth bosses, and -- after his concerns weren't acted on -- asked for a camera to be installed in his bedroom so he could record any accidents. 

Unfortunately, his fears were well-founded. Just a few days after the webcam was set up early last year, it filmed nurse Violetta Aylward accidentally switching off the ventilator. In the video, the life-support system can be heard emitting a long, loud beep, causing Aylward to shout for help. A care assistant rushes into the room and asks the nurse: "What have you done?" Aylward replies, "Switched this off."

Conscious of what's happening, but powerless to move, Merrett can only smack his lips together as a warning. The care worker then tells Aylward to use a resuscitation bag to keep the patient breathing. However, instead of connecting it to the hole in his neck, she places it over his mouth. She can be heard urging, "Jamie, breathe please."

After 21 minutes, paramedics arrive and restart the machine. By then, however, the damage had been done.

"His life is completely changed. He doesn't have a life now," Reynolds said. "He has an existence but it's nowhere near what it was before. He is very brain damaged compared to what he was before. He was a highly intelligent man and you could have long in-depth conversations with him and now it tends to be more simplistic." 

The grainy footage has caused outrage in the U.K. and left many Britons worried about the quality of care they might receive at the hands of the thousands of private-agency nurses hired each year by the National Health Service (NHS).

Aylward has since been suspended and placed under investigation by the nursing watchdog. Aylward will not face a criminal prosecution, The Telegraph reported today, as she did not intentionally set out to harm her patient.  the moment that an undertrained home health care nurse mistakenly turns off her quadriplegic patient's life-support machine. That disastrous action, and a succession of further medical blunders, caused 37-year-old Jamie Merrett to go without air for 21 minutes, leaving the Englishman severely brain damaged.

The agency that employed Aylward, Ambition 24hours,told the BBC that it couldn't comment on the case while an internal investigation was ongoing. However, a report into the accident by local social services -- which was leaked to the British broadcaster -- concluded that the company was fully aware it had been required to supply a nurse with training in the use of a ventilator, but that it didn't have adequate systems to check its employees' skill levels.

And the British Patients Association has criticized the NHS for failing to institute its own safety checks and follow up on Merrett's e-mails. "The NHS has been warned repeatedly about ensuring the staff it hires, agency or otherwise, are suitably trained to look after their patients, and we have campaigned for many years for an NHS that listen to its patients' concerns," Katherine Murphy, the organization's chief executive, said in a statement. "To think that this person was so worried that they installed a camera in their own home, but that their concerns were apparently ignored [is] outrageous."

NHS officials have apologized for the accident and said safeguards are now in place to ensure that such mistakes never happen again. Merrett's family, though, is continuing its long campaign for justice. "No one has come forward to make any admission," the family's lawyer, Seamus Edney, told the BBC, "so now almost two years after the event we are trying to get someone to admit liability for what has happened."

Since the NHS is a GOVERNMENT run program, do you think this will ever happen?

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