Archive for Smoking Related Disease

Will UK Doctor’s Deny Treatment To Smokers And The Obese?

Posted in America, Britain, Europe, Health, Obesity, UK, USA with tags , , , , on 30/04/2012 by floroy1942

According to a newspaper report, there has been a major shift in medical opinion in the UK towards denying non-emergency medical treatment to alcoholics, smokers and the obese.

In a website survey doctor’s were asked the following question: “Should the NHS be allowed to refuse non-emergency treatments to patients unless they lose weight or stop smoking?” Of the 1,096 doctors who participated, 54% said yes.

This indicates a major shift in doctor’s thinking in the current world, so are we setting a dangerous precedent for the future i.e. you will only get medical help if you deserve it (or can afford it of course)!

Doctors who agreed with the policy gave the examples of denying in-vitro fertilization to childless women who smoke because the procedure was only half as successful for them as for non-smokers, and also denying obese or alcoholic patients liver transplant surgery unless they change their behaviors.

Hippocratic Oath

In accordance with the Hippocratic Oath, taken by physicians since the late 5th century, and which lays down a specific code of ethics for doctors, no-one may be refused medical help that is in the power of the doctor to administer.

Line Two of the modern Hippocratic Oath reads: “I will apply, for the benefit of the sick, all measures [that] are required, avoiding those twin traps of over-treatment and  therapeutic nihilism (a contention that curing people, or societies, of their ills by treatment is impossible).” It does not state “some of the sick’ or ‘a few of the sick’!

Medical Graduates Take The Oath

Line Six of the Oath ends with the words: “……Above all, I must not play at God.” So what has changed that a doctor now feels he has the right to play God with his patients? I  for one would like to know how doctors equate the current thinking with these two parts of the oath taken by all doctor’s when they graduate!

To be fair, I can well imagine the frustration some doctors must feel. When they have before them a patient suffering from diabetes and major heart problems who is so obese they cannot be moved without the aid of a crane, what do they do? The same goes for the situation where a chronic alcoholic requires a liver transplant or a chain-smoker needs a heart by-pass.

The human lifestyle has changed drastically over the past forty years, and if you look for cases of ‘self-abuse’ before giving medical treatment you can eliminate around ninety percent of the world population.  Taken to absolute extremes, do you refuse a heart operation to someone for simply not doing enough regular exercise? Do you refuse surgery to a person who partakes in extremely dangerous sports and has been injured ten times before? Extremes yes, but once on the slippery slope….!

Dr. Clare Gerada, chair of the Royal College of General Practitioners is quoted as saying: “Clearly, giving up smoking is a good thing, but blackmailing people by telling them that they have to give up isn’t what doctors should be doing.”

John Saunders of the Royal College of Physicians ethics committees commented: “Lifestyles contribute to risk and sometimes they may make treatments too risky to undertake, but that’s quite different to saying, I’m not going to give you surgery because you smoke or are overweight.”

Dr. Michael Ingram, who heads the Red House Clinical Commissioning Group in Hertfordshire wrote in an article: “Rationing is dressed up as science. Where does this go next? Will we deny IVF to those who have had pelvic inflammatory disease because of its association with sexual promiscuity?”

There can be little doubt this debate will continue, but I for one would hate to come across a doctor who refuses to treat me because I smoke. You can rest assured I would not be very gracious in telling him what I think.

‘Nuff Said!

In this precarious age where we are poisoning ourselves with car fumes every time we walk in the street, and are digesting all sorts of unnatural chemicals and insecticides every time we put something in our mouths I find it a little short-sighted of the medical profession to pick on the obese, the alcoholics and smokers and say we are not worth their efforts. In my opinion, it is impossible to set boundaries in this manner, and the medical profession should continue adhering to the oath of Hippocrates.

Roy.

Smoking Versus Obesity – The Cost

Posted in Child Abuse, Children, Diabetes, England, Insanity, Modern World, Obesity, Overweight, Parenting, Teens, UK, USA with tags , , , , , , , , , on 29/08/2010 by floroy1942

For the last twenty years or so, smokers have been considered a legitimate target by health organizations, governments and ‘holier than thou’ pressure groups, all of whom have done their best to stop people lighting up. One of the many excuses touted was the cost to the health system of treating smoking related diseases.

Many years ago I gave my opinion on this issue and stated that the costs of obesity related diseases would eventually far outstrip those of smoking. Seems I was right!

A report issued this week by the British Medical Journal (BMJ) states that the number of Health Service patients receiving operations to reduce obesity in English hospitals has risen ten-fold in the last decade.

In 2000 the NHS performed just 238 operations to help people who were over-weight, this rose to 2,543 in 2007, the last year for which figures are available. You can bet your last dollar this number has increased significantly between 2007 and 2010.

The interesting point is, that these operations are only for those who need to lose weight, and do not cover operations and/or treatments for obesity related illnesses like diabetes, high blood pressure or heart problems.

Most of the operations were for ‘bypass’ or so-called ‘banding’, both of which are designed to reduce the amount of nutrients absorbed by the body. Put simply, a ‘bypass’ operation will re-route food into a small stomach pouch added by surgeons, and ‘banding’ entails placing an adjustable band around a portion of the stomach to reduce its size.

The reason given for this dramatic rise in operations is that obese patients are becoming more aware of the fact that surgical procedures can help them reduce weight.

Obesity in the UK, as in many other countries, has exploded during the last couple of decades as peoples standards of living increased, and they became less interested in their outward appearance. It is all about living the good life now-a-days and to hell with the consequences. The sad thing is, the consequences will not be denied.

Living on the Costa del Sol as I do, it amazes me how many of the tourists that come here are grossly overweight. They lay on the beaches like a herd of elephant seals endeavouring to get that perfect tan, before tottering back to their hamburgers, potato crisps and other fat laden foods, all the time wailing that it’s not their fault.

The most disturbing thing is the increase in tomorrow’s obese, i.e. the children. I find it scandalous that today’s parents do not make any effort to ensure their children don’t end up like them.

The number of obese people suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure and heart problems is rising year on year, and there are tens of thousands of future patients out there who will develop major health problems.

For the past half century, life expectancy has grown significantly in many nations, particularly the affluent west, but with the rise in obesity it is possible the trend will come to an abrupt halt until people realise the inherent dangers of eating too much.

In a few years time there is every possibility that the health system will be struggling to cope under the massive demand put on it by obese patients, and many an over-stretched hospital will be looking back at the ‘good old days’ when all they had to deal with were smoking related diseases.

Roy.

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