Capitalism Will Soon Kill My Father

My father is 87 years old, and the hospital has given him 2 weeks to live.
According to the vampires in the hospital, my father is a lost cause. They are washing their hands of him, and recommending hospice care. Hospice care is not available here (the beds are all full in the greatest health care system on Earth), so he is coming home to die, with the whole family around to witness the glorious spectacle.
If he dies, which is possible, it’s clear that the US health care system, and US capitalism, will have killed him prematurely.
We have already stated over and over on this blog that whatever the advantages of capitalism, bottom line is that capitalism kills, while conversely socialism saves lives. The more socialism, the more life, the more time on Earth, and the better your health while you are here. The more capitalism, the more death, the sooner and more premature death, the less time we have on Earth, and the sicker we are while we are here.
In other words, capitalism is bad for your health.
Not only that, but capitalism is dead serious deadly the same way that smoking and heavy drinking are. Socialism saves lives and prolongs life, the same way that cessation of smoking and moderate drinking do. It’s fascinating that public health authorities do not take note of this obvious fact. Our economic system is deadly in the same way as dope and cigs and cocktails.
How come capitalism doesn’t come with a warning label attached? How come when you go to the doctor, you don’t get warned about the dangers of capitalism the same way you get lectured about a few extra pounds, the occasional joint, a few too many drinks, or the pack a day habit?
Here is what happened:
My father fell in the kitchen, home alone, while my mother was working. The injury quickly became badly infected. He went to the hospital and was discharged early (For capitalist economic reasons?) with a still-active infection, which got dramatically worse at home, so he had to be readmitted, where it got much better again and actually was cured.
But in the hospital, he got pneumonia. Unbelievably, he was discharged early with “a touch of pneumonia”. He was sent home, and within a week the pneumonia had so accelerated that he nearly died at home in front of my eyes. He was readmitted to the ICU, where he spent two weeks on a respirator, and the pneumonia got better.
It was eventually diagnosed as BOOP. It’s a very interesting illness and those interested in health may wish to read the link. The BOOP got better, he was put on steroids to treat it, and the ventilator was removed. A breathing tube was inserted in the nose, but this is better, because a ventilator is pretty much life support, and a tube is just like an emphysema patient who needs an oxygen tank. The oxygen began to be reduced on the breathing tube.
He was also on a feeding tube. There were attempts to remove the feeding tube, but he was unable to swallow, probably from the Mother of All Sore Throats from having a breathing tube down his throat for 2 weeks. This was seen as a catastrophe and a death sentence by the vampires (I mean doctors!).
They kept saying that he would never swallow again. I did research on dysphagia, and AFAICT this is utter nonsense. A tube down your throat probably causes temporary dysphagia, but no way is it permanent. Almost all long term dysphagia in the US is either in stroke victims (swallowing part of the brain is killed), Alzheimer’s (one more thing they can’t do), or the terminal end-stage dying (one more thing that shuts down). He’s not in any category.
He got a blood clot in his leg, and it was treated with Coumadin, but eventually that caused gastric and rectal bleeding, so he had to be taken off of it. He got an atrial fibrillation from the pneumonia, but it went away.
Problem is the BOOP is only slowly getting better, but that’s par for the course. Contrary to the executioners (Excuse me, the doctors!) this is rarely a fatal disease. In a recent review, only one patient was actually killed by the disease, and it took 1 1/2 years to kill them. A few others died, but from other stuff. The illness itself has a low fatality rate in the modern era, but it can take up to 6 months to 1 year to get better.
The feeding tube is out because they are worried about aspiration pneumonia, and a gastric tube cannot be inserted due to gastric bleeding and an unwilling surgeon. He keeps pulling the tube out of his nose anyway.
He’s not really headed out, except he can’t swallow and all the artificial feeding methods are being rejected. So he’s got 2 weeks max to figure out how to swallow or he’s history. Hospice care gravediggers will be hovering about the home for the next couple of weeks doing their gruesome whatevers.
The hospital wants him out of there. It’s not a hospital really, it’s a fucking assembly line, and yeah it’s for profit, you better believe it man! Nursing home is out because Medicare won’t fork it over because according to them, he’s a lost cause. If you’re rich, you pay $4,700 anyway and get a bed. That’s just the beginning and as the months go by, the consumer-sodomizing by the nursing home capitalist scum never lets up. Nursing home care is a rich person’s luxury anymore.
As you can tell, I think this whole thing is absurd and retarded. We all have to die sometime, but I don’t think it’s my father’s time quite yet. A month ago, he was reading a book a day, watching TV avidly and enthusiastically, and home alone all day caring for himself quite adequately, moving around no problem whatsoever. This is a Dead Man Walking? Please.
He’s got a nasty acute illness that can kill you, and plus he’s quite old, but nasty acute illnesses can kill any of us. Underneath, he seems to have a pretty healthy body for someone his age.
Anymore in the US, dying is a relatively long-term affair. People often die over a 1-2 year period of slow and ugly decline. There are often multiple events, one heart attack, another, a stroke, another stroke, yet a third stroke, pneumonia, pneumonia yet again, even a third pneumonia. It’s like watching someone slide down a snowy slope on their butt, going faster and faster, with no way to stop til they hit the bottom of the hill.
Towards the end, things get ugly. They quit responding and move in and out of consciousness. The organs start shutting down, slowly, one after the other, another cascade. At some point, death in the near future is certain.
This doesn’t seem to be the picture here, but what do I know?
From the day he was admitted, the local necrophiliacs and graverobbers (I mean doctors and nurses!) were badgering the family. “So? Do you want to pull the plug or what?” This was what they really wanted to do from Day One. I guess he was hogging a bed or something. It’s hard to describe how angry this mentality made me. Kill the patient, clear the bed, keep the assembly line moving. GMAB.
Hell yeah I’m pissed.

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19 thoughts on “Capitalism Will Soon Kill My Father”

  1. Robert,
    Sorry about your dad. And you’re right about capitalism killing. This was made clear to me on a recent trip to England.
    For those of you who don’t know: England is very, very similar to the U.S. I constantly had this feeling that I was in an alternate universe version of the U.S., in fact. The big cities are at least as ethnically diverse as anywhere in the U.S.; I would argue more so, as in the U.S. “diversity” is just a code word for “few or no white people.”
    The major difference: Britain, even with years of Conservative rule followed by more years of rule by “New Labor,” retains some Socialist characteristics, including national health care. People there complain about it, but all you have to do is look around to see that British people of all races, genders, and ethnicities of origin are happier, healthier, prettier, and more relaxed than Americans. I traveled the length (if not the breadth) of the island and i saw four–count ’em–overweight people. You didn’t see people shambling around with advanced mobility issues. And no, they don’t have bad teeth either, except for one woman I saw, and to be fair, her teeth were *really* bad.
    Lafayette Sennacherib: BTW, I think it’s really cute how Scotland thinks it’s a country.

  2. Hi Robert, sorry about your dad. Yes, the US health system is sick. I saw it first hand when I was over there. A guy collapsed in this coffee shop I was in; he lies on the floor, people walking round him; 20 mins, an ambulance shows up, medics go through his pockets, check his wallet, then leave again; he was still lying there when I left. Unfortunately, the New Labour class traitors are still beavering away, with increasing success, to replace our health system with the US one ( including using the same US companies exposed by Michael Moore). I doubt if our system will survive the next government, which is likely to be a Tory one – I doubt that the UK people have any fight or any backbone left in them – as I’m disabled, this makes me very apprehensive.
    Mort – what’s that about? The whole world thinks Scotland is a country because it is. Scotland had about 700 years as an independent nation and kingdom (whatever that amounted to), and is therefore one of the oldest countries on Earth, before voluntarily (the elites volunteered) uniting with England – there was NEVER an Irish nation before the early 20th century. Most Scots, including me, are happy with the arrangement; but if the UK governments continue to move towards fascism ( destroying the NHS is one example) then separation is very possible.

  3. You have my sympathy. I too have been facing a lot of loss over the past few years as my relatives approach their late 80s and early 90s.
    However, I think you’re misplacing the blame. Capitalism, by incentivizing life-extending medical techniques and technologies, is probably largely responsible for your father living for so long. I assure you, the situation in countries with socialized medicine is much the same. The rich get private care, while the rest of us share limited resources and get processed as “efficiently” as possible.
    In truth, the blame rests on the endless breeding and population expansion along with numerous factors that de-incentivize the medical profession. The AMA and trial lawyers keep promising doctors out of the profession. Drug patents and a lack of oversight on the health industry drive up health care costs. Massive reform is absolutely necessary, but simply nationalizing the current system would have little benefit.
    Living to 87 is an accomplishment in itself, and raising a son like you is definitely something to be proud of. I hope your father recovers and lives many more happy years.

  4. I would argue more so, as in the U.S. “diversity” is just a code word for “few or no white people.”
    Jesus Christ Mort, I can’t believe you are saying that. At first I thought it was one of the WN’s making fun of you and pretending to be you.
    Of course you are right though.
    RR, I’m aware that you are a rightwinger who hates socialism. That’s perfectly ok. However, even the honest Right needs to acknowledge that capitalism kills and socialism means life. With the best capitalism, it takes away life and gives us stuff. It shortens our lives but we have the potential to get richer. Personally, I think that’s outrageous, but it’s a great intellectual debate. Life or stuff?
    The data to back up the argument that capitalism is bad for your health is enormous and to be honest, there is no debate about it at all. For-profit medicine is a killer. Think about it. How could it not be. It’s not about health or life; it’s about making money. Where $$$ clashes with health or life, $$$ is going to win every time.
    I don’t know that a socialist system would have behaved better in this case, but it seems to me that everything about this case has been about saving money. Two premature discharges from the hospital with disastrous consequences, a premature and medically dubious death sentence, etc.
    I realize most capitalists can’t bring themselves to agree that capitalism is bad for your health, but I wish they could at least be honest about the downside of their favorite system.

  5. RR, what I mean is that the more honest socialists (like me) are aware of the downside of the system, and they freely admit to the areas in which capitalism beats socialism. On the other hand, we socialists do do some things better.

  6. Personally I don’t see a big distinction between well-regulated capitalism and socialism. I don’t think that medicine should be run for a net profit, but I do think it should be run like a business (minimize cost, maximize output – output in this case being the health and well-being of patients). Most businesses would not tolerate the low-level “embezzling” that occurs in all health systems from unnecessary surgeries and high-priced “cutting-edge” technology. If individual insurers cannot provide adequate value-for-money, I think centralizing it more will make the problem worse.
    I’m not against the social safety net, and I do think that health care is a public good that should be provided for everyone. But I also think that the serious problems with health care are not largely the result of the corporate profit-motive but from all the leeches inside and outside the system. I also think that we must get serious about the illegal invasion before we can viably expand our social services, or our already-crippling debt will become a crushing and even destabilizing problem.
    I don’t see corporations or the government as the enemy. The true enemy is the inefficiency that comes with the bureaucracies in both. Perhaps it’s only because I live in Washington and work with the federal government, but in most cases I see corporate inefficiency as the lesser of two evils.

  7. To clarify, I don’t “hate” socialism, I just see our federal government in action every day I don’t trust them to do ANYTHING right. When our “socialist” president won’t send his kids to public school, because our nation’s capital has some of the worst public schools in the country, I shudder to think of what would happen if these same bureaucrats had complete control over health care or other industries.

  8. I’m not against the social safety net, and I do think that health care is a public good that should be provided for everyone.
    That’s socialism right there, pretty much, my friend.
    The statistics are quite clear on socialist medicine and health and AFAICT the debate is just over.
    You might do to look into the facts and figures. It’s true that when it comes to running an economy, socialism has some serious problems and capitalism seems to beat it in a lot of ways. But medicine and education are two things that the government does very very well and the private sector tends to do quite poorly.
    But the capitalists have never been able to prove that they do a better job at health care or education. The statistics are simply not in their favor, no matter how much the capitalists lie, twist them and distort as they always do.
    It’s probably true that if you have tons of $$$, capitalist medicine might be better for you than state care. But that is certainly not everyone’s situation. In nations with socialized medicine, you can typically buy private insurance, but almost no one does.
    If you’re not familiar with the debate or the facts and figures, perhaps you ought to poke around a bit.
    Medicare has overhead costs of 2%. Private insurance has overhead costs of 20%. Now where’s the waste. Medicare is 10 times more efficient than capitalist medicine.

  9. I know, I know. I saw the exhibit on the Scottish kings… Perhaps one of the most interesting things I saw there, as I knew next to nothing about them. I just said it to piss you off. I loved Edinburgh, possibly one of my favorite places on the trip. You have to love a place that has a whole store devoted to the Warhammer tabletop game, for one thing.
    For my comment, I have to blame our English tourguide.

  10. Sorry to hear about your father’s suffering.
    I’m not sure that Capitalism itself is to blame.
    If you look at the top countries in this list:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_life_expectancy
    ..you’ll see that those with the highest longevity are capitalist countries. What makes them different from the US is that they are not stupid enough to inject capitalism into their health service. Even hyper-capitalist Singapore has a universal health care system.
    At the same time, people in the UK are rather astonished by Michael Moore’s glowing report of Britain’s NHS. It’s far from perfect, but at least its there.
    Universal health care just seems to be one of the things the US has just missed out on. Why? Perhaps because the the great political issue in the mid-20th century was how to solve its race problems… the rest of the world, with less of these issues, could concentrate on health.

  11. I hope your father gets well and lives a long while longer – good luck to your father, yourself, and your family.
    I agree that the capitalist medical system in the USA is complete and utter bullshit, but it’s a bit of a stretch to blame capitalism for the illness and possible death of a man over 80 years old. People over 80 get sick often and die often…natural causes and all…the body breaks down quickly at that advanced age and general immunity is far below what it used to be, so it’s entirely natural for people to get what seems to be a minor illness and end up dying from it after the age of 75-80. It’s all a very normal part of growing old and dying.
    That being said, BRING ON SOCIALIZED MEDICINE IN THE USA [but only AFTER we permanently expel ALL illegal immigrants – yes, ALL 20-30-?? million of them].

  12. What might help is to get him out in the sunshine and the fresh air – also, if there is any way for him to get some very light exercise help him do that…probably impossible for him to walk because of his injury, but at least get him to try?

  13. With all due respect, this has to be one of the most baseless arguments against capitalism I’ve ever read. Through nature, we see signs of competition everywhere. Hell, Darwin even based his whole theory of evolution on capitalist principles. The strongest shall survive.
    Just like a herd of buffalo is made stronger when the weakest are attacked by predators, so is the case in a capitalist society, where the successful are rewarded.
    I’m not suggesting we should just throw your father to the wolves. If you should be upset at anything, be upset at the healthcare costs propped up by insurance costs and malpractice coverage. It’s insane that the same drug my dog takes costs me 10x or 100x just because I’m a human.

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