Wednesday, January 7, 2009

In the UK, Having a Disability Might Make People Want to Kill You

Given the state of affairs in the UK related to futile care, the growing disregard of those who have medical and other disabilities, and the growing popularity of assisted suicide, I must admit I’m a little baffled at the fuss caused by a story in The Times.

The British press was all a-twitter because they got a glimpse of the reality of how the culture of death sees people with disabilities.

I’m shocked that they’re shocked.

Here’s what happened:

59 year-old Barry Baker, a pensioner who could only walk using two canes, called 999 and reported that he was having severe chest pain. He was pretty sure he was having a heart attack.

The emergency operator kept Baker on the line while EMTs were dispatched. By the time they arrived, Baker had collapsed.

One big problem. At least for the two EMTs: The phone line to 999 was still open, the tape rolling.

From The Times:

Two ambulancemen have been arrested by police after they were heard allegedly discussing whether they should bother to resuscitate a disabled man who had collapsed at home and subsequently died. . . . [and] making disparaging comments about the state of the house. . . . They are said to have discussed what to tell ambulance control and decided to say that Mr Baker was already dead when they got there.

I don’t see the problem. What the EMTs did is a perfectly logical outcome of a society that has

I’ll bet that the EMTs got a fair dose of futile care theory in their medical training.

I’d bet even further that their profession is riddled with the idea that “quality of life” has to be of the highest order or life’s not worth living - or saving. 

Best bet ‘til last: If you think this doesn’t happen everywhere, on many calls to people with medical and other disabilities, but which slip by because the tape’s not running, then I’m the Queen of England. 

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