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July 15, 2009

U.S. health care saves one young British woman

Lovely story: 19-year-old Meg Jones learned she had a malignant brain tumor. Her British neurosurgeon refused to operate. Her mom searched the Net looking for a surgeon who would. She found one who used an advanced procedure at Boston's Brigham and Woman's Hospital. Meg and her family and friends raised 50,000 pounds to pay for the surgery. Her surgery two years ago seems to have been successful; scans show no remaining cancer cells. (Also note that after an eight-hour brain surgery, she was out of the hospital in three days.)

An observation and a lesson.

The British surgeon's decision was debatable. Much more disturbing than his unwillingness to operate was that he apparently didn't know about the advanced procedure in Boston. And given what Meg's mom found on the Net, he apparently didn't think to search for options, either.

Technology is empowering. More and more people will be able to help themselves when they get bad medical news.


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Hey, not to worry!! Under ObamaCare, all the really important people will *still* have access to the very best health care (See: Castro, Fidel for examples).

It's only the "little people" (well, and the bitter, Bible-clinging gun-toters) who will have to make do with the second, well maybe third, or even fourth, but surely not the fifth best care. (Unless that gets too expensive, then all bets are off.)


Reading the headline I thought the story was going to be how nationalized health services rations medicine badly. Instead the moral of the story is that the M.D. isn't always right.

I've heard that the major benefit of electronic medical records is that when a doctor prescribes a drug the system will tell the MD that a generic is available and ask if that can prescribe instead of the name brand drug. M.D.'s are too busy (i.e. too lazy -- I would assume that they take Wednesdays off to keep current on such things) to keep up with generics and the cost savings using generics will pay for the electronic medical records in about a week.

Yet the medical journals spout the studies that it is the administrative costs of insurance companies that drive up our health care costs and universal health insurance is needed to save us.

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