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Why Alfie Cannot Leave

 

Many around the world have expressed dismay, outrage and surprise that British doctors (and now, two British courts) have ruled that little Alfie Evans must be forcibly prevented from leaving the UK to receive the medical care offered to him (for free) in Italy, or even from being allowed to go home to die.

Instead, he must remain to die in Alder Hey Hospital, under the watchful eyes of those who have rightfully assumed ownership of his person.

Why have the British healthcare system and the British government been so shockingly unyielding in this matter? It’s not because of cost, since free transportation to Italy has been arranged for Alfie, and free healthcare (as well as Italian citizenship) offered when he arrives. Cost is a non-issue.

Is it fundamentally an assertion of the Progressive state’s right (as opposed to the parents’ right) to control the fate of children? That certainly is a substantial part of it. According to CNN, Dominic Wilkinson, professor and director of Medical Ethics at the University of Oxford offered this regarding Alfie: “Sometimes, the sad fact is that parents do not know what is best for their child. They are led by their grief and sadness…to request treatment that will not and cannot help.” Obviously, such non-objectivity must be brushed aside by the appropriate authorities, even when there are no financial reasons for doing so.

But at least arguably, the right of the state to control our children has been adequately established in the public education system, and there is no obvious need to make the case so callously and so publicly in this particular instance.

I believe there must be some other reason the British authorities have (again) asserted themselves in determining that an apparently terminally ill child must die when and where they say he must die, regardless of his parents’ wishes.

As I see it, the British healthcare system did exactly what it had to do. As a matter of bedrock principle, it had no choice but to slam the door on Alfie’s parents. Any truly universal healthcare system has to behave like this.

A universal healthcare system is “universal” in two senses. First, it covers all people. Second (and here’s where the trouble starts) it covers “all” healthcare services.

Fundamentally, this “universality of features” reflects a particular philosophy. The central authority is telling the individual that “everything” will be taken care of for them, from soup to nuts. So no need to worry your pretty little heads.

As always when the central authority assumes all responsibility for providing some aspect of security (in this case, healthcare security), it also assumes all control. I am among those who argue that gaining control of virtually every aspect of an individual’s life is the main reason Progressives have chosen the healthcare system as their main battleground. That is, the chief purpose of running the healthcare system is not to deliver healthcare, but to establish the central authority’s right to control individuals’ behavior.

Allowing individuals to make their own choices — even if they spend their own money, or some third party’s money — fundamentally undermines any universal healthcare system. It suggests that the central authority is actually not supplying all useful healthcare services to individuals (when, by definition, it is), and thus implies that the government may be doing some kind of rationing. When one is dedicated to rationing covertly, such an implication cannot be permitted.

More importantly, when individuals are permitted, by whatever means, to receive “extra” healthcare, that’s a graphic admission to the unwashed masses that there is extra healthcare to be had. It suggests that the healthcare authorities are holding back, that perhaps the system is not as universal as they insist it is.

Any universal healthcare system worth its salt will pull out all the stops to restrict individuals from going outside of the system. The methods they employ will, of course, be conducted only for the best of reasons — to have the fairest healthcare system possible, to have the most ethical healthcare system that can be devised, and to protect misled proletariats from throwing their hard-earned money away on unproven medical services. Whatever the reasons they might offer, their attempt to restrict individual prerogatives will become deadly serious, because doing so is absolutely essential to their real aims.

Alfie’s devastated parents, tearing up before the microphones and cameras, might make the British healthcare system look bad for a few days. The system can take it.

By next week we all will have forgotten Alfie. And the central authorities will have preserved the fiction that they provide universal healthcare — both the fiction that if it’s healthcare, we provide it; and (more importantly) the fiction that if we don’t provide it, it’s not healthcare.

Published in Healthcare
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There are 58 comments.

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  1. Member

    It’s interesting that in one sense we have gotten away from being agricultural societies. But in another, we’re becoming more agricultural. Now we’re farming people rather than cows and chickens. And the best farmers conduct rigorous herd management. There is no room for sentiment in a well-managed enterprise.

    • #1
    • April 26, 2018 at 12:55 pm
    • 9 likes
  2. Thatcher

    DrRich:

    Alfie’s devastated parents, tearing up before the microphones and cameras, might make the British healthcare system look bad for a few days. The system can take it.

    By next week we all will have forgotten Alfie. And the central authorities will have preserved the fiction that they provide universal healthcare — both the fiction that if it’s healthcare, we provide it; and (more importantly) the fiction that if we don’t provide it, it’s not healthcare.

    DrRich,

    You have the core of their motivation. However, you overestimate their capacity to weather any storm. Last time their deceitful stalling filled people with false hope and was effective in defusing protest. Last time people were late in realizing what was happening and gaining enough knowledge to comment intelligently.

    Both of these things weren’t true this time. Everybody knew that the intransigent NHS hiding behind stonewall courts had the worst intentions. Those that are new to the game have learned from this experience and won’t be sucked in next time. Also, many more people realized what was happening early on and started to comment and protest intelligently.

    I think this is building not diminishing. I think there will be another “next time” and anything is possible. This is fundamentally offensive to everyone. Both forcing the death of the child and destroying the custody rights of the parents are sickening evils that will not be accepted ever.

    Stay tuned there is more in store.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #2
    • April 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm
    • 9 likes
  3. Member

    DrRich: By next week we all will have forgotten Alfie.

    Everyone who vehemently opposed Obama care knew “Alfie” before we heard his name. He is us, and what the NHS has done to him is what we all knew could happen, and would happen. 

    #BlessAlfie

    • #3
    • April 26, 2018 at 12:57 pm
    • 17 likes
  4. Member
    DrRich Post author

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DrRich,

    You have the core of their motivation. However, you overestimate their capacity to weather any storm. Last time their deceitful stalling filled people with false hope and was effective in defusing protest. Last time people were late in realizing what was happening and gaining enough knowledge to comment intelligently.

    Both of these things weren’t true this time. Everybody knew that the intransigent NHS hiding behind stonewall courts had the worst intentions. Those that are new to the game have learned from this experience and won’t be sucked in next time. Also, many more people realized what was happening early on and started to comment and protest intelligently.

    I think this is building not diminishing. I think there will be another “next time” and anything is possible. This is fundamentally offensive to everyone. Both forcing the death of the child and destroying the custody rights of the parents are sickening evils that will not be accepted ever.

    Stay tuned there is more in store.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I pray you are correct, Jim.

    • #4
    • April 26, 2018 at 1:05 pm
    • 4 likes
  5. Member

    If what you write were true, there wouldn’t be a Harley Street. There is a Harley Street, so it’s not true.

    • #5
    • April 26, 2018 at 1:10 pm
    • Like
  6. Thatcher

    DrRich (View Comment):

    James Gawron (View Comment):

    DrRich,

    You have the core of their motivation. However, you overestimate their capacity to weather any storm. Last time their deceitful stalling filled people with false hope and was effective in defusing protest. Last time people were late in realizing what was happening and gaining enough knowledge to comment intelligently.

    Both of these things weren’t true this time. Everybody knew that the intransigent NHS hiding behind stonewall courts had the worst intentions. Those that are new to the game have learned from this experience and won’t be sucked in next time. Also, many more people realized what was happening early on and started to comment and protest intelligently.

    I think this is building not diminishing. I think there will be another “next time” and anything is possible. This is fundamentally offensive to everyone. Both forcing the death of the child and destroying the custody rights of the parents are sickening evils that will not be accepted ever.

    Stay tuned there is more in store.

    Regards,

    Jim

    I pray you are correct, Jim.

    Dr,

    I’ll second that prayer.

    Regards,

    Jim

    • #6
    • April 26, 2018 at 1:27 pm
    • 3 likes
  7. Member

    The British healthcare system has committed several high-profile atrocities of late, but what of the other socialistic healthcare systems which according to the left are working fine and in just about every first world country but the USA? Why will Italy give Alfie a chance where the Brits won’t? Is there something unique to Britain that is problematic?

    • #7
    • April 26, 2018 at 1:56 pm
    • 5 likes
  8. Member
    DrRich Post author

    Hang On (View Comment):

    If what you write were true, there wouldn’t be a Harley Street. There is a Harley Street, so it’s not true.

    True, the NHS is not a perfect universal healthcare system, as it has been forced to admit a certain amount of self-pay healthcare. However, this does not change the fact that returning to a completely universal system is the ultimate goal. 

    That goal is realistic: Once the USA has finally gone to a universal healthcare system, and therefore stops inventing new, expensive medical services which, in turn, create unfortunate expectations among British citizens, this goal will immediately become much more feasible. (The happiest people on earth, when the US at last goes single-payer, will be all the bureaucrats struggling to run universal healthcare systems across the globe.)

    In the meantime, the Brits are still obligated to maintain the fiction that they already have universal healthcare. It is especially critical to maintain this fiction when it comes to the hoi polloi (like Alfie’s parents), who typically have insufficient resources for any other option. If this sort can aspire to “extra” healthcare, the jig truly is up.

    I am arguing that it is this that explains what otherwise might seem to be truly inexplicable behavior.

    • #8
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:12 pm
    • 5 likes
  9. Member

    JoelB (View Comment):

    The British healthcare system has committed several high-profile atrocities of late, but what of the other socialistic healthcare systems which according to the left are working fine and in just about every first world country but the USA? Why will Italy give Alfie a chance where the Brits won’t? Is there something unique to Britain that is problematic?

    Or, alternatively, do we just not hear about the atrocities in other socialized systems?

    • #9
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:13 pm
    • 6 likes
  10. Member
    DrRich Post author

    JoelB (View Comment):

    The British healthcare system has committed several high-profile atrocities of late, but what of the other socialistic healthcare systems which according to the left are working fine and in just about every first world country but the USA? Why will Italy give Alfie a chance where the Brits won’t? Is there something unique to Britain that is problematic?

    I hold that it’s the pope. The pope has been trying to undermine the British government, with all manner of intrigue, since 1529.

    • #10
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:18 pm
    • 4 likes
  11. Member

    I find your generalization that “universal” both “covers everything” and that “everything must be contained within it” interesting. It can be applied to fields other than medical care (or “healthcare” in modern parlance), such as education, housing, employment, etc. It is a natural outcome of the premise that there are people who are more entitled to rule your life than you are, whether you call them royalty, aristocracy, technical experts, or some other term. 

    As to the need for a “universal” system to forbid going outside the system, I remember that one of the key features of “Hillarycare” in 1993 was that it would be prohibited not only to seek medical care outside “the system” in the US, but also that people would be prohibited from traveling to another country to seek medical care. 

    • #11
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:23 pm
    • 3 likes
  12. Member
    DrRich Post author

    Full Size Tabby (View Comment):

    As to the need for a “universal” system to forbid going outside the system, I remember that one of the key features of “Hillarycare” in 1993 was that it would be prohibited not only to seek medical care outside “the system” in the US, but also that people would be prohibited from traveling to another country to seek medical care.

    I remember Hillarycare well. The Hillarycare legislation was far more straightforward, even brutally honest, about the goal of eliminating individual prerogatives than the Obama legislation was. (The Obamacare bill was, intentionally, virtually unreadable — though it aimed at the same goals.)

    I understand how crazy this sounds, but ultimately, the Progressives’ plan for our healthcare — and even for our society — simply cannot succeed if individuals are allowed to retain the right to purchase healthcare with their own money. This could be where the entire war is won or lost. The elite Progressives understand this. Hence, the behavior of the British NHS regarding young Alfie. 

    Unfortunately, I don’t think people on our side get it yet. Not enough of us understand that the battle has started, or how important it is to reestablish our individual rights regarding our own healthcare.

    • #12
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:44 pm
    • 6 likes
  13. Thatcher

    DrRich (View Comment):
    Unfortunately, I don’t think people on our side get it yet. Not enough of us understand that the battle has started, or how important it is to reestablish our individual rights regarding our own healthcare.

    I didn’t, really, until this. Thanks for the heads-up.

    • #13
    • April 26, 2018 at 2:58 pm
    • 5 likes
  14. Member

    DrRich (View Comment):
    I am arguing that it is this that explains what otherwise might seem to be truly inexplicable behavior.

    In other words: Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

    • #14
    • April 26, 2018 at 3:02 pm
    • 7 likes
  15. Member

    , I remember that one of the key features of “Hillarycare” in 1993 was that it would be prohibited not only to seek medical care outside “the system” in the US, but also that people would be prohibited from traveling to another country to seek medical care.

    Yet another reason for rejecting HRC at the ballot box.

    • #15
    • April 26, 2018 at 3:13 pm
    • 1 like
  16. Member

    DrRich: More importantly, when individuals are permitted, by whatever means, to receive “extra” healthcare, that’s a graphic admission to the unwashed masses that there is extra healthcare to be had. It suggests that the healthcare authorities are holding back, that perhaps the system is not as universal as they insist it is.

    That, in a nutshell is the threat that little Alfie poses to NHS.

    • #16
    • April 26, 2018 at 3:21 pm
    • 4 likes
  17. Member

    I’d love to hear from an expert in British medical liability law.

    If a patient dies in hospital of a terminal disease, well, that’s just life. But if a patient dies after being discharged from a hospital, could the hospital be held legally liable for that death, even if the hospital discharged the patient under protest? If a British hospital allows a transfer of the patient to an out-of-country hospital, would the British hospital be liable for any malpractice on the part of the foreign hospital?

    It seems to me that it could hypothetically be entirely irrelevant whether the hospital is public or private if the liability law ties their hands.

    Of course, it’s a very big “if”, which is why I’d love to hear from an actual expert.

    • #17
    • April 26, 2018 at 3:32 pm
    • 5 likes
  18. Member

    DrRich (View Comment):

    JoelB (View Comment):

    The British healthcare system has committed several high-profile atrocities of late, but what of the other socialistic healthcare systems which according to the left are working fine and in just about every first world country but the USA? Why will Italy give Alfie a chance where the Brits won’t? Is there something unique to Britain that is problematic?

    I hold that it’s the pope. The pope has been trying to undermine the British government, with all manner of intrigue, since 1529.

    Unfortunately for Alfie none of it was successful.

     

    • #18
    • April 26, 2018 at 3:59 pm
    • 3 likes
  19. Member

    DrRich: Why have the British healthcare system and the British government been so shockingly unyielding in this matter?

    Because this is where secular progressive leftism leads. The dignity of the human person is of no consequence anymore. It is all utilitarianism and materialist.

    Had the mother aborted little Alfie, the secular leftists would have praised her; but now that the mother and father fight for their son’s life, the secular leftists want to kill him.

    It is sick, it is evil, it is satanic.

    Little Alfie is a baptized Catholic. When Alfie dies, as a baptized Catholic child, his pure soul will be with God. He will be a saint. One can only pray for those who are making the murderous decisions in this case. I fear a different fate awaits them.

    May God have mercy on us.

    • #19
    • April 26, 2018 at 4:24 pm
    • 7 likes
  20. Thatcher

    The decisions of the Death Panel are final.

    • #20
    • April 26, 2018 at 5:29 pm
    • 9 likes
  21. Member

    Misthiocracy, Joke Pending (View Comment):

    I’d love to hear from an expert in British medical liability law.

    If a patient dies in hospital of a terminal disease, well, that’s just life. But if a patient dies after being discharged from a hospital, could the hospital be held legally liable for that death, even if the hospital discharged the patient under protest? If a British hospital allows a transfer of the patient to an out-of-country hospital, would the British hospital be liable for any malpractice on the part of the foreign hospital?

    It seems to me that it could hypothetically be entirely irrelevant whether the hospital is public or private if the liability law ties their hands.

    Of course, it’s a very big “if”, which is why I’d love to hear from an actual expert.

    Who would have standing and a willingness to sue them for that? 

    • #21
    • April 26, 2018 at 5:45 pm
    • 1 like
  22. Coolidge

    The Reticulator (View Comment):

    DrRich (View Comment):
    I am arguing that it is this that explains what otherwise might seem to be truly inexplicable behavior.

    In other words: Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

    In other, other words….

    “I – the government – am god. Thou shalt have no other gods before me.”

    Every day I see more & more examples of Statis Progressivism as the theology of the Left.

    • #22
    • April 26, 2018 at 5:57 pm
    • 9 likes
  23. Member

    Making all those people pay a penalty that didn’t choose Obamacare (including my niece so most of her tax refund goes to the penalty) and tracking them through their taxes was the first red flag to loss of individual rights. My elderly mother in law said that they eliminated routine tests she normally used to get, like a mammogram, and her visits (she has several health issues) are now scheduled farther apart. My sister in law, a home healthcare nurse, said they allot only so many bandages, band-aids etc. per patient now. The premiums are out of sight and so are deductibles – so what’s improved.

    I was told by a co-worker years ago her mother in law who had cancer in Norway had to wait months to see the doctor and another Romanian co worker said you pay cash and lots of it to go to the head of the line – this is all wrong. Don’t they take a Hippocratic Oath? 

    I feel so so sorry for little Alfie and his family. 

    • #23
    • April 26, 2018 at 6:07 pm
    • 6 likes
  24. Thatcher

    Rachel Stoltzfoos at The Federalist quoting an article in The Telegraph.

    But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

    • #24
    • April 26, 2018 at 6:26 pm
    • 5 likes
  25. Member
    DrRich Post author

    Percival (View Comment):

    Rachel Stoltzfoos at The Federalist quoting an article in The Telegraph.

    But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

    Of course. Like Cosby, Alfie is a flight risk.

    • #25
    • April 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm
    • 8 likes
  26. Member

    Percival (View Comment):

    Rachel Stoltzfoos at The Federalist quoting an article in The Telegraph.

    But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

    So, technically, there are circumstances where they would be willing to discharge the child from hospital.

    Well, that blows my hypothesis all to heck. That’s the last time I ever give anybody the benefit of the doubt.
     

    • #26
    • April 26, 2018 at 6:35 pm
    • 4 likes
  27. Member

    DrRich (View Comment):

    Percival (View Comment):

    Rachel Stoltzfoos at The Federalist quoting an article in The Telegraph.

    But a doctor treating Alfie, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said that for Alfie to be allowed home would require a “sea change” in attitude from the child’s family, and they feared that in the “worst case” they would try to take the boy abroad.

    Of course. Like Cosby, Alfie is a flight risk.

    An iron curtain would help minimize such risks.

    • #27
    • April 26, 2018 at 6:45 pm
    • 6 likes
  28. Member

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

    This formuls sounds familiar. Italian, perhaps?

    • #28
    • April 26, 2018 at 7:20 pm
    • 2 likes
  29. Member

    Arthur Beare (View Comment):

    The Reticulator (View Comment):
    Everything within the state, nothing outside the state, nothing against the state.

    This formuls sounds familiar. Italian, perhaps?

    Totally.

    • #29
    • April 26, 2018 at 7:57 pm
    • 2 likes
  30. Member

    How much does English Arrogance, (think of those obnoxious, enabled, narcissistic aristocratic twits in shows like “Sharpe’s Rifles” ) contribute to this modern tragedy? Here the Pope sends a helicopter to take Alfie to the Vatican Hospital. The parents want that for the boy, and the State says “No” in thunder. They even threaten Alfie’s advocates on social media. Such hubris. To pretend you know what is best in a case where knowledge is not possible is pure arrogance. 

    Great post, btw. Very helpful, and sad.

     

    • #30
    • April 26, 2018 at 7:58 pm
    • 2 likes
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