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PT and the Greater Good

The British Gasp

Published September 21, 2011 9:11 AM by Dean Metz

While I was on holiday last week, I read an editorial by Paul Krugman in the New York Times about Ron Paul, a surgeon by profession, and the Republican presidential debates. It so disturbed me that I had to look up the clip he was referring to on YouTube to see for myself if a candidate for the office of president actually thought allowing people to die was acceptable.

Mr. Krugman is a bit overly dramatic in his prose, but he did catch the essence of Mr. Paul's response and he also accurately stated that those who would be most affected by Mr. Paul's approach wouldn't be employed early middle-aged men; they would be the poor and children. What he doesn't mention is Mr. Paul's assertion that the churches would take care of sick people. Is he unaware that many churches are struggling in this hard economic time as well?

I played the clip for my colleagues here in the UK. They watched with abject horror, and no, I'm not being overly dramatic in that description. Here in the UK, health care is a right, not a privilege. They can't conceive of a society that won't provide necessary care to its citizens. I have learned in the course of studying for my master's in public health that the US is alone in not offering universal coverage among all developed westernized nations. What disturbed more than one person watching was the cheer of someone in the crowd and that not one other candidate spoke out against Mr. Paul. They think my home country is barbaric.

What would happen if suddenly Medicare and Medicaid disappeared? How would your business be affected? How would your parents or grandparents be affected? What if you lost your job as a result; how would you be affected?

Should health care continue to be a privilege? What role should the APTA play in this discussion?

3 comments

Interesting comment. In one instance a person should be allowed to die as a result of their choices, but in the case of a terminal illness, we don't allow them the choice to die.

Thanks Dr Patt, I'll be pondering this one for rather a while.

Dean Metz September 23, 2011 1:27 PM

I run into this every  day where I work.  Our neuro ICU gets the worst of the worst.  Sometimes I wonder how the person is even alive.  Every admission is kept alive period.  This only changes when the family makes a decision to withdraw or the patients dies nautrally.  That's great except no one stops and asks what quality of life some of the survivors will discharge to.  

We have 2 frequent flyer patients whos multiple admissions result from the inability of their families to care for such a devasted patient at home.  Both are non-verbal but one seems aware of his surroundings.   I wouldn't want to live that way.

I've considered this as a blog topic in the past.  I avoided it because I wanted to avoid something so politicially charged.  As I reflect on it now there is a direct link to PT as we're referred to treat those individuals.    Hmmm.

Toni Patt September 23, 2011 3:57 AM

This is a struggle.  Do we see every patient or should we cater to the people who "pay the bills" for a facility, ie, private and Med A.

Care for the indigent is severely lacking and rural health care is suffering.  A fix for this would be to open health care to everyone who needs it despite payor source.  

No more patient dumping at shelters in downtown LA.  Health care should be a right for citizens everywhere.  (Can I get off my small soapbox now)

Jason Marketti September 21, 2011 1:33 PM

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About this Blog


    Dean Metz
    Occupation: Staff Development Specialist
    Setting: New York, NY – Newcastle Upon Tyne, Great Britain
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