Friday, October 3, 2014

Henry Dawson's Social Medicine vs The Holocaust

Sometimes anonymous online commentators glibly refer to Canada's Medicare (a system of taxpayer-supported medical care for all) as a holocaust.

It has plenty of problems but it is not a holocaust - in particular it is not The Holocaust.

That because Social Medicine , to use that term in its 1930s popular political sense rather than in today's restricted academic sense , was in fact the very antithesis of all the medical holocausts that WWII threw up.

The Holocaust , the Hunger Plan , Aktion T4 and certain German and Japanese medical experiments are merely the most infamous of those moral disasters.

Canadian Medicare is a good 21st century example of 1930s Social Medicine.

In theory (and hopefully in practise too) it says that a guilty war criminal with a life threatening infection is triaged to greater and earlier medical care than his innocent victim who has a broken finger - though both will be treated as promptly as we can , to the best extent we can.

Regardless whether or not that they can pay , regardless of whether they are criminal , regardless of whether they brought the illness upon themselves, regardless of their future economic contribution (or burden) to society.

It says all life has an intrinsic absolute right to life and the best health humanly possible and -crucially - it says this right is not contingent but is permanent.

All other medicines can also value any individual life as highly as Social Medicine does but when circumstances change against their own criteria, they are then inclined to view that same life as a 'life unworthy of life-saving medical care'.

Medicine for Profit has no inherent bias against any sexual orientation, race, gender, social class etc : their skin color may vary but the color of their money remains the same.

But if an injury causes someone to lose work and to be no longer able to afford medical care that could get them back to work , Medicine for Profit no longer want to treat them.

At a turn of a dime, an individual goes from "most favoured nation 1A" to "4F outlaw state".

Even in wartime, Medicine for Profit will continue to give the best possible care to people who can't or won't contribute anything to the war effort, - regardless of their race or gender - as long as they can pay handsomely.

But uniquely during wartime , War Medicine emerges and it is equally unbiased as Medicine for Profit seemingly is.

It is willing to give the best possible medical care - free or cheaply - as long as the person will be, after treatment , able to return to combat or can continue to provide a scarce skill vital to the war effort.

But if in wartime, one is both too poor and too permanently disabled to continue to do vital war work, one falls between two harsh cracks and becomes the 4Fs of the 4Fs, now becomes a life judged 'life unworthy of life-saving medicine'.

Dr (Martin) Henry Dawson successfully cured many such 4Fs of the 4Fs, public ward SBE patients regarded as having an invariably fatal disease , despite the wish of the Anglo American medical establishment that they be quietly Slow Coded to death.

They were to be denied the only medicine that could save them - penicillin - and instead deliberately given medical treatments that had always proven useless to stop their disease.

They were passively put to death because they judged - morally - as having no permanent inherent instrinsic value - only one contingent on their continuing to have lots of money or lots of health and scarce skills.

Others were actively put to death during wartime in America to aid the war effort.

Poor , confined, powerless people , 4Fs of the 4Fs, who were manipulated into contracting a potentially fatal disease that the scientists experimenting on them sometimes then proved unable to cure, despite their best medical efforts.

Prisoners, GIs, orphans, people in mental institutions or poorhouses, blacks, aboriginals, the rural poor and uneducated in foreign lands.

All varieties of the powerless, with families unlike to bite back effectively even when they awoke to what was happening to their relatives.

These poor subjects - not patients , because they did not start out with the disease that the experimenters were examining - were reduced to mere tools - on the moral level of the 100 million animals we kill annually for medical science or the countless disposable hand wipes we throw into the landfill.

All this Anglo American wartime abuse of inherently worthy life is a long way from today's Canadian Medicare.

But what it is morally very close to is the sort of values the Allies claimed they were willing to die to defeat - the medical values of Hitler and Tojo ....

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