Playing God

I just received an email regarding an infant by the name of Laith Joshua Dougherty in Portland, OR.  He has a congenital heart defect that cannot be repaired and unless he has a heart transplant, he will die.   The hospitals equipt with the ability to perform such a surgery have stated that unless the health insurance company can assure coverage of the costs est. at 1.5 million, they would not perform the surgery.  The health insurance company that the Dougherty family has denied the claim because it is beyond what the family has available for coverage. 

They checked out other facilities and were told the same thing.   The father writes on the website linked above, ” All of these facilities seem willing to accept the consequences of him not having this much needed surgery than to be responsible for any of the cost of treating him. It breaks my heart looking at him to realize that if money is more important than saving a life than our healthcare system is broken and needs to be fixed.” 

It certainly is broken.  It has been broken for quite some time. 

The family is using the internet to try to find people willing to donate to help pay for this vital heart transplant.  If you are able and willing to donate, please click on the link above and do so.  However, this only solves the dilemma for one family that found itself woefully underinsured.  How many other Laith’s are there out there that do not have the resources of the internet to make their plea?  The costs of this surgery would indeed bankrupt this family and any other family causing untold other problems. 

So while the hospitals did not do what the mortgage companies did and say yes to the surgery knowing it would have dire financial consequences, they are still playing God in this situation.   Were they right to do so?  Should they have said yes, knowing the family could not pay and how many times could they/ should they do that before they themselves risk  the collapse that the mortgage companies and the banking industry now faces? 

Sometimes broken things can no longer be repaired.  Sometimes broken things need to be replaced.  This system of health care with insurance companies calling the decisions of who receives medical care and who does not dates back to the Nixon Presidency, when he authorized the creation of the  Health Management Organizations to operate at a profit.  Our health care quality has been deteriorating ever since.  Our nation is currently 37th in quality health care.   It needs replacing not repairing. 

While Universal Health care has its flaws, the dilemma the Dougherty family is facing would not be occuring.  Their child would receive the operation.  The doctors would be guarenteed their salary. Hospitals are paid for their services.   Imagine that.    Here is a clip from Michael Moore’s documentary SICKO on hospital bills. 

Published in: on February 26, 2009 at 12:39 pm  Comments Off on Playing God  
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