The parents of Charlie Gard have decided to end their legal fight to bring their son to the United States for an experimental treatment now that the window in which the treatment could have been at all effective has closed. The legal battle was made famous as a fight between the rights of the parents and the opinion of teams of experts that represent the U.K’s socialized medical system.
UK Guardian: Charlie Gard Case Justified As ‘Children Do Not Belong To Their Parents’ https://t.co/8K29pVDSv6
— Joe FreedomLover (@JoeFreedomLove) July 24, 2017
UCL health professor Ian Kennedy tried to justify the decision to reject the parents’ wish to try an experimental treatment by saying that “children do not belong to their parents.” He went on to imply that parents do not always have the best interests of their children in mind when making decisions, as evidenced by cases in which children show signs of malnutrition because their parents insist on feeding them a diet that does not suit the nutritional needs of their growing bodies. In cases like this, a third party that is capable of making decisions based on logic and reason instead of feelings and potentially harmful belief systems should be brought in to ensure that the rights of children take precedence even over the rights of their parents.
— CBS News (@CBSNews) July 26, 2017
The problem with this model, however, is that the U.K. is giving itself carte blanche to interfere with parents’ decision making even in cases where the parents are simply making a decision that will give their child a better chance at survival. It is true that parents can make mistakes when their children are involved and emotions can cloud judgment. However, these teams of “experts” are human, too, and may make poor decisions due to subconscious prejudices, privately held opinions that may include the perception that certain types of people “don’t deserve” medical treatment, or even just a severe headache that causes them to be in a foul mood while considering a case.
Charlie Gard’s mother is seeking permission to bring her terminally ill 11-month-old son home to die https://t.co/CVd6J20F2Q
— Wall Street Journal (@WSJ) July 25, 2017
The experimental treatment could have given Charlie a 10% chance of survival. This isn’t very high, but it’s certainly higher than the zero percent chance that the hospital where Charlie had been staying and the team of experts that had evaluated Charlie’s case had given him. This implies that the U.K. medical system prefers to allow a child in critical condition to die rather than admit that the system does not work and children like Charlie might have a better chance if they can use a medical system that hasn’t been socialized.
So all the hyperbole that we heard about “death panels” when Obamacare was still being considered by Congress may not be so far-fetched after all. Although it’s no surprise that health insurance companies might refuse to cover a “pre-existing condition” like Charlie’s if left to their own devices, a government-backed single payer system probably won’t be any better. Treatment could be delayed simply because approval will likely have to go through a labyrinthine bureaucratic process that takes weeks or months, and when a critical or possibly terminal condition is involved, the patient may not have that kind of time. The application could even be denied just because a bureaucrat doesn’t like somebody, even though the bureaucrat probably won’t admit it. Charlie didn’t, and now the window of opportunity has closed in this case.
— BBC Breaking News (@BBCBreaking) July 25, 2017
Charlie Gard’s parents have now decided that they just want to share the little time their son has with him. The U.K. has failed a patient with a terminally ill disease that could have been saved with this experimental treatment simply because its medical system did not want to admit that the U.S. system might have a shot at doing a better job. For reasons like the Charlie Gard case, socialized medicine should not be permitted to take root in the United States.