Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Britain is no country for sick old men in need of expensive medical care

A recent article in 'The Daily Mail' was entitled :

Sentenced to death for being old: The National Health Service denies life-saving treatment to the elderly, as one man's chilling story reveals

It told the story of 82 year old, Kenneth Warden who :

*  diagnosed with terminal bladder cancer, was sent home to die by his hospital consultant who ruled that he was too old to treat and the palliative surgery or chemotherapy which could have eased his distressing symptoms were declared off-limits because of his age.

* has a daughter, Michele, who accepted the sad prognosis, but was determined her father would spend his last months in comfort and, with the family, found nearly £3,000 to pay for private tests and a second opinion from a consultant in Birmingham.

* now received  the drugs and surgery he needed and as a result his cancer was cured and four years on, continues to work out at the gym, drive a sports car and compete in a rowing team.

Kenneth’s story is symptomatic of a dreadful truth in Britain today : that every year thousands of old men and women are routinely denied life-saving National Health Service treatments because their doctors write them off as 'too old to treat'.

'Macmillan Cancer Support', recently warned that every day up to 40 elderly cancer sufferers are dying needlessly because they are being denied the best treatments and this is particularly true for patients over the age of 70. It estimated that if the treatment of older patients matched that on offer in the U.S.A., as many as 14,000 lives could be saved every year.
Ciaran Devane, Chief Executive of Macmillan, pointed out that despite major advances in diagnosis and treatment, the survival chances for patients over the age of 75 have grown only by a fraction.
He said :: ‘Writing people off as too old for treatment is utterly shameful. We have a moral duty to treat people as individuals and give them the best chance of beating cancer, regardless of their age.’

What a sad country Britain has become.

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