Pink Phizz

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

The new "Deposits"

Last night, I was reading the Daily Telegraph, came across this article, and felt like crying while reading it. First we have abortion for any/all unwanted babies. Then along came partial-birth abortions, where a baby who is almost newborn can be taken out of the womb and killed. Now, doctors in the UK are announcing that premature babies are just taking up too much space, time, and money, and are not worthy to live.

"Baroness Warnock, the leading medical ethics expert, has said that Britain should follow the example of Holland, the only European country that says such babies should die. She believes that it would prevent doctors from competing to keep alive babies that may not survive in the long-term."

The op-ed of the Daily yesterday had an excellent comment about these esteem members of the Royal College of Obstetricians and Gynaecologists:

"But there is a huge difference between turning off a life-support machine and the Dutch model, in which the survival of a baby depends on subjective assessment of its chances of survival or degree of disability. There are healthy children alive today who would have been left to die under the Dutch model. The distinction between that and infanticide is wafer-thin.

Clearly, neonatal care needs more resources. But surely the NHS is "overstretched"? Only up to a point: although there have been some job losses, it is not overstretched when it comes to "race equality steering groups" and other instruments of social engineering. Something has gone badly wrong with a health service that vigorously creates non-jobs while entertaining a policy change that is reminiscent of nothing so much as Spartans leaving feeble babies to die on hillsides."

Eugenics is what the Spartans believed in.

Spartan eugenics
The first test came early. A ravine a few miles outside the centre of Sparta was known as the Apothetae – the 'Deposits'. It was also called the 'place of rejection', because newly born Spartan boys were thrown into the ravine if they were judged unfit to live.

Infanticide was common throughout ancient Greece. Unwanted babies – usually girls – were left on hillsides. Sometimes they would be placed in a basket or protective pot so that there was at least a chance of someone coming along and taking the child in.

In Sparta, things were, as ever, different. Boys rather than girls were the likeliest candidates for infanticide. The decision about whether the child lived or died was not left to the parents but was taken by the city elders. And there was no possibility of a kindly shepherd rescuing a newborn child after it had been 'placed' down here. The decision of the city elders was final, terminal and absolute.

Such state-sponsored eugenics has won Sparta many admirers over the years. Here's what one 20th-century leader had to say on the subject:

The abandonment of sick, puny and misshapen children by the Spartans was more humanitarian and, in reality, a thousand times more humane than the pitiful madness of our present time where the most sickly subjects are preserved at any price only to be followed by the breeding of a race from degenerates burdened with disease.


No prizes for guessing that these are the words of Adolf Hitler.

After reading those articles in the Daily Telegraph, all I can say is thank God that I am no longer capable of having a child. However, if I was still able, I would make sure that I had my child back in America. When I did have my children, I was considered "high-risk." What chance, nowadays, would my daughter or others like her have growing up to be the accomplished person that she is today with three healthy and robust boys of her own? It sounds like, if the high mucky-mucks of the NHS have their way about it, not much.

I wonder how Baroness Warnock would react if she or one of her children should have a pre-mature baby. Would she be so quick to condem that child to the rocky ravins, or will she make sure her would-be child/grandchild get the best care in a private hospital.

11 Comments:

At 1:17 PM , Blogger Jo said...

"Now, doctors in the UK are announcing that premature babies are just taking up too much space, time, and money, and are not worthy to live."

And this is the direct reult of trying to establish "marketplace" values in healthcare provision.

You're right, Alice, it is utterly, intrinsically sick.

 
At 3:42 PM , Blogger Alison said...

I read a report on line about research conducted of the same nature in the States. Basically it reported the same as Baroness Wotsit and is trying to work out the ethics of it all -it is a global ethics issue for doctors with improving neonatal facilities and escalating costs. If i was in a position where a child i might have needed extraordinary care, id find a way to pay. Just as I would have to in the US presumably. I mean if they are aware of the future costs in the US examined in this report (ill find and link to it - i just had it and blogger comments crashed) then this must be in relation to insurance and the end payer who will foot the bill.

 
At 7:29 AM , Blogger MonicaR said...

Oh - this is terrible. I know a little girl with CP who they said would never walk or talk when she was born.

She is 4 now and runs down the sidewalk playing with the other kids and every day you can understand her more and more.

In the US there are many private charities that help families dealing with this kind of thing. The family of the little miracle 4 y/old has had charitable help and that little girl endured many surgeries as a baby and toddler. They are not rich and they work hard for their precious children. My cousin's family dealt with a 1 pound baby - no private health insurance for this young mother! The spigots of several charities were turned on to save this baby and help this family. SHE is another miracle and developing normally and beautiful.

I don't like what is happening with this strange 'death culture' that seems to be arising. It's not just old people and Terri Schiavo - it's millions more. And abortions. Now babies. It's SICK!

 
At 8:09 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

Funny how things come back around and around (history repeating itself), and no one ever learns.

 
At 8:55 PM , Blogger Shooting Parrots said...

This is an incredibly difficult debate with rationality on one side and emotionality on the other.

Of course we focus on the babies who might have been given up as lost and who survived and thrived, but then they are the only ones we see. The ones that die are off our radar -- is it 9/10? 8/10? And so on. And what are they put through for their 'chance of life?'

It's a bit like defending smoking 'because my gran smoked all her life and lived until she was 96' ignoring that grandad died early of cancer.

What this is about is resources. Is the 1/10 chance baby blocking up the NICU cot for the 9/10 baby with the better chance of survival? A rational argument for sure, some will certainly brand it callous.

But ask yourself, if you had a pot of money, would it be best spent on NICU no matter how slim the chance of survival, or on care for the elderly as we have heard so much about lately? Emotionally, you'd be torn. Should we invest in the future or honour the past?

Rationally (callously?) you'd say neither. Society has invested little in a baby by way of education, health care etc until they become wage earners, on the other hand the elderly have made their contribution to society with the working population having to support through pension contributions.

It's an awful and irreconsilible argument and one I can't answer -- both are valid. I suppose that we do it because we can.

Medical boundaries have been pushed back and back. Good thing or bad thing? Discuss!

Sorry for rabbitting on!? And for being such a hard-hearted sob!

 
At 7:34 AM , Blogger MonicaR said...

The allocation of resources is a valid argument, Parrot. This is not an issue at this time, in America, the richest nation in the world, where charitable giving skyrockets when taxes are lowered. Where the technology available allows ever more and more premature babies to not only survive - but thrive. The elderly deserve our respect and care as well. The children are our future.

I can see performing triage in an emergency where the resources are stretched thin. We are not in an emergency here. Not in the US. Western Civilization values life. The commies and the Moslems value death.

 
At 1:15 AM , Blogger Skye said...

More of a strawman argument, actually. The issue has never been over the allocation of resources or NICU beds. Even in a one-payer system like Britain, it is not a zero-sum equation. Additionally, many nations with socialized healthcare have the option to send their citizens for treatment outside their country, particularly to the US. Recall the 8 organ transplant of this Italian infant?

This is not an economics issue, this is a eugenics issue. Can anyone answer why does this topic always crop up in a socialized medical scheme?



------------------------------
What this is about is resources. Is the 1/10 chance baby blocking up the NICU cot for the 9/10 baby with the better chance of survival? A rational argument for sure, some will certainly brand it callous.

 
At 1:37 AM , Blogger Skye said...

Again, why does these statements always crop up in a discussion regarding socialized healthcare?

The problem with socialized medicine is the government bureaucracy. If market forces were at work in your healtcare delivery system, then these statements would never have needed to made. Virtually all of the problems with your healthcare system are the inevitable consequences of the politicization of medicine.

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Now, doctors in the UK are announcing that premature babies are just taking up too much space, time, and money, and are not worthy to live."

And this is the direct reult of trying to establish "marketplace" values in healthcare provision.

 
At 2:02 AM , Blogger Skye said...

The real problem with this story is not in how many NICU beds are there in England, or are market forces the best thing since sliced bread.

No.

Decisions by medical professionals and goverment officials to restrict medical treatment to one segment of its citizens ultimately will affect the medical care for the rest of the population.

Restricting funding and treatment, in this case for low birthweight babies, will result in fewer physicians who possess the specialized training needed in this area of medicine. What other medical conditions are next to have restrictions placed on them?

In essence, this dumbs down the pool of medical knowledge that British physicians can partake.


The Brits are paying way too much in taxes for such shoddy medical care.

 
At 10:27 AM , Blogger "Alice" said...

The Brits are paying way too much in taxes for such shoddy medical care.

And yet, Skye, I keep hearing it's "free."
Right.
Nothing in life is free.

 
At 10:38 PM , Blogger Alison said...

Shoddy no. I disagree. were not paying nearly enough. I must be lucky but the care weve had has always been excellent overall. Id much rather see healthcare for all than only for those that can afford it. And on that basis id really rather we take the French route rather than the US. Healthcare is an issue in all western countries at the moment all with different issues.

 

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