Mr. Perrin’s blog: “To treat or not to treat” that seems to be the question

Peter Perrin

Mr. Perrin’s blog: “A Word in Your Ear”.

“To treat or not to treat” that seems to be the question?

THE overriding principle of the National Health Service (NHS) is that EVERY citizen of the United Kingdom (UK) is entitled to free clinical care at the time it is needed. In so far as I am aware there are no exceptions, e.g. a doctor would be violating that principle if he/she were to refuse treatment to an alcoholic with serious kidney problems, who continues to excessively drink alcohol, or the smoker with serious breathing problems who continues to smoke, or the severely obese who, against all medical advice, continues to eat “junk” food

As the number of people suffering with Covid-19 symptoms continues too increase and more of them require hospitalisation and treatment, many in intensive care (ITU) units, there has been talk of doctors having to make “difficult” decisions regarding who should be treated and who should NOT be treated. To ask Doctors to arbitrary decide who is treated or not treated by simply applying an age ban, e.g. anyone aged 80 years or older, I believe comes very close to advocating a “cull”, though that word is only whispered behind closed doors, politicians, health experts and consultants preferring the word “prioritise”. However, a “cull” by any other name is still a “cull”.

I am not opposed to “prioritisation”. All those on the frontline of the battle, such as NHS Doctors, Nurses, Hospital ancillary staff, Para-medics, Ambulance Crews, Police, Firefighters and those working in Care Homes or caring for the elderly at home should, without question, be the first to receive adequate protection by means of speedy provision of Personal Protection Equipment (PPE) and, if required, Clinical treatment.

When we send soldiers into danger we expect, at the very least, they are adequately equipped and protected and every effort is made to minimise the risk to their health and safety. The same applies to those currently risking their own lives in the battle against Covid-19 in order to save the lives of others.

Another principle of the NHS is ”equality”, rich or poor, important or just an ordinary bloke,, every patients life is of equal value. When you start picking and choosing as to whose life is of greater value based upon status and perceived importance, and decide to treat that patient at the expense of another patient whose life is considered of lesser value, then you are proceeding down a very dangerous path indeed.

At the very least people will not trust the NHS, at worst they will consider it selective.

Monarchs, Prime Ministers, so called Very Important Persons (VIPs) die and all are replaceable.

Irreplaceable and invaluable is the loss of your own much loved Grandparents, Mums, Dads, Brothers, Sisters, Uncles and Aunts, Nephews and Nieces, Cousins and close friends.

If it is considered justifiable to treat a woman aged 92 years simply because she is the Queen, I believe, aged 87 years, I am not being unreasonable if I consider my life is of equal value to that of the Queen, or anyone else for that matter, and that my treatment, if required, should be freely available at time of need.

There will be some people who will consider me envious of treatment afforded to some at the expense of others. I ask them to ask themselves, if they had to choose between a much loved Mum or the Queen, who would they choose? My answer would be my Mum.

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