This morning, a story out of England showing the weaknesses of their health system is drawing attention: a three-year-old girl, born with a critical heart defect, desperately needs corrective surgery. She underwent open heart surgery when she was nine days old, but her heart is in trouble again — she’s already had one stroke, and is in failing health. Therefore doctors scheduled her for another operation.
Then canceled it because of a lack of bed space. Then they rescheduled it, and canceled it a second time for the same reason. And a third time. Her parents are hoping that the fourth time will be the charm.
The story is reminiscent of a recent development out of Canada. An infant was born prematurely in Hamilton, Ontario (population: 500,000) and needed to be treated in a neonatal intensive-care-unit. Unfortunately, such bed space (or incubator space, more accurately) was lacking in Hamilton. The call went out: was there anywhere in the province (population: 13 million — the largest in Canada) where the infant could be cared for? Did any hospital in the land of guaranteed free health-care have enough space for a tiny baby?
Nope. Instead, the only hospital that could save the infant was in Buffalo, New York (population: 300,000). This example shows what England lacks for making its health-care system work: a bigger neighboring nation without socialized medicine to pick up the slack. So, if the United States adopted the Canadian model, who’s going to be to us what we are now to Canada? Who’s going to be our emergency go-to nation for health care?