Saturday, 6 January 2007
|1005 - European medical care is so fantastic, right?|
The Left constantly holds out Europe as a place where everyone gets medical treatment whether or not they can afford it and where workers' rights are protected far more than they are in the US. Only in Europe could those two clash:
The Sun reports that a man died in North London because ambulance crews were prohibited from responding by EU work time rules.
This is beyond nutty. It's downright criminal. Not once in my 17 years in emergency medicine did I ever refuse to respond, and certainly not because my break time wasn't over yet. One of the things you accept when you go on duty is that you can be interrupted at any time, while doing anything at all, by getting a call.
In the US, if it had happened in the first place - which I seriously doubt - it would lead at the very least to a huge lawsuit, and quite possibly criminal charges for someone. There is absolutely no excuse for that man to have died.
current mood: pissed off
Agreed. This would be one of those situations where you would think someone would have a shred of human decency. After all, even if it is a lunch period, that is free time for the employee to do as they wish - and I know *I* couldn't live with myself if I knowingly exacerbated someone's suffering! I mean, I work in a hospital. If someone is in, say, the cafeteria or a hall way and they see a person in distress (choking, seizure, falling - whatever) we're trained to get someone to call a code blue and assist to the best of our ability until a team arrives - regardless. (Granted, as an admin I don't know a lot, but I at least know BLS and have enough licensing behind me to not get into any trouble)
This isn't a matter of "refusing to respond" it's a matter of them potentially being up on criminal charges if they do.
It's a ridiculous situation but I can understand what it's like because Australia passed a workplace relations act that, supposedly meant to simplify the system, ended up creating a whole new bureaucracy, burdonsome new paperwork requirements for employers, and criminalised practically all manner of leave that had not been prior authorised with all the official paperwork.
It's insane and really quite sad, but that's how much of the western world operates. Please don't let America follow their bad example.
I don't particularly see what this has to do with free medical care, tbh. I also may have misunderstand what/who you're pissed off with; it could be the crews, but based on your known views I'm going to assume socialised medicine and labour laws are included. If I'm wrong, let me know. ;-)
To start with, you should note that the Sun is not a particularly reliable source of information. (i.e. they make things up.) They also tend to spin them to make the most dramatic story, particularly if it suits Murdoch's views.
From the BBC story at http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/london/6237307.stm
it seems there were two crews out of 6 on break at the time of the incident. At the time the second crew went on break, the other 4 ambulances were all free to respond. So it's not like anyone went "well, all the ambulances are needed but you must have a break". Probably also worth saying that at the time of the 999 call, the second crew only had 5 minutes to go on their break, which implies the first crew were virtually finished with theirs too. This makes me think there's probably more to this story than meets the eye.
The solution to this is to add more ambulances in the area, rather than abandoning the time directive. (I mean, does a 30 minute break in a 6-10 hour shift actually really seem unreasonable to you...?) Adding the flexibility to split it into two smaller chunks could be useful, though.
The Sun isn't the most reliable source of information (although it tends to be all right on sport). It would be better not to believe its stance on health care. I shall (hopefully) investigate the claims and (hopefully) get back to you.
All the best
People's Republic of South Devon