Ever more articles are published suggesting that health care for the elder should be rationed or even refused on economic bases. This is not limited to a specific country. Such articles pop up all over the place in America and in Europe. The danger is that this may become part of the politically correct dogma and may push the elderly in a corner.
I find these reasonings scandalous in the extreme : health care cannot be and never should become part of the market system.
Today I found the following on http://revjph.blogspot.com/2009/07/swedish-patient-told-youre-not-worth-it.html.
I do not agree with its full content, but the following is right in the bullseye.
"... this has probably always been the case, most doctors regard their patients as imbeciles incapable of rational thought and/or making decisions for themselves. Worse than this, health workers tend to treat older people as if they are young children. Decisions concerning their treatment are made by the medical professionals and if they are discussed at all, it is the family of the patient who are consulted as if the patient was incapable of adult reasoning.
Final decisions regarding treatment, including surgery, should be taken away from doctors and given to the patient, regardless of their age. The doctor should give the patient as much information concerning risk and possible outcomes as possible and then let the patient decide if they wish to proceed or not. Only, if the patient is clinically incapable of making a rational decision should the decision be taken away from them. Even then, it should be passed to the next of kin who should be given exactly the same information and allowed to make the final choice. Personally, if I was in a lot of pain and was told that I would be for the rest of my life, and I was informed that an operation could relieve the pain but I would only have a 1% chance of surviving theatre, I would still want the right to take the risk if I so wished rather than face a life of constant pain.
One thing is for certain, cost shouldn't play any part in this. Old people have almost inevitably paid a fortune in taxes and national health insurance over their lives. They should have just as much right to make a claim on that insurance as a young person. Perhaps if ... doctors and surgeons weren't so greedy in their ... wage demands, there would be more money to spend on the people who pay their wages."