Monday, October 13, 2008

Health care compassion

Another soccer-related story, this time about a retired Irish soccer player who represented the Irish national team:
Today, the pain remains constant, but just about bearable. It is his withered, old left knee that now carries the most ominous threat. Langan has been told he will, eventually, lose the leg itself.

"I've had 10 operations on it and now, especially with the weather turning cold, the pain is terrible" he reveals.

"I've got no cartilage in there at all now. It's just bone rubbing against bone. There's quite a lot of fluid on the knee and my ankle is very swollen too because of it.

"They've told me I can have a new knee joint put in. An artificial knee.

"I'm told they cost about £10,000. I'm on the National Health waiting list and that's a hell of a long list. You can be on that list for years and years.

"Because of my age, if I have one now, I'll have to have another one six years later. Then six years after that, I'll need another one.

"You can only have two. After that, you have your leg off. That's what I was told. It shocked me when I heard that.

"They've said I'm going to lose the leg eventually anyway. So I'm just sticking it out for now."
Ireland, of course, employs a government-run (aka "free") health care system. In Ireland, just as everywhere else in the world, there is not an unlimited supply of health care. You can either distribute it via the marketplace or have it rationed by government bureaucrats. Say what you will, but don't tell me that such socialized systems have a monopoly on compassion.

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