England’s Socialized Medicine Is No Utopia

When Democrats propose “universal health coverage”, they are in reality talking about socialized medicine. Democrat activist & filmmaker Michael Moore's latest film, “Sicko,” touts the socialized medicine of countries such as England & deems it to be superior to the health care system currently employed in America. While health care in the USA indeed has its share of problems, socialized medicine is certainly no utopia. The following article published recently in England's Sunday Mirror newspaper hints at the reality of “universal health coverage”.

C-DIFF CRUSADER

A NURSE who watched her grandmother die in agony from hospital superbug C-diff has launched a one-woman campaign to expose the appalling hygiene standards in the NHS.

During visits to seven of Britain's biggest hospitals Graziella Kontowski found blood spattered on walls, dirty operating trolleys, rubbish piled up in sinks and doctors failing to wash their hands.

And she discovered these glaring breaches in basic hygiene AFTER giving the hospitals two days' warning of her visit.

“I've spent the last year investigating hospitals and I am appalled at what I have seen,” said Graziella, as new figures revealed that 1,000 patients are contracting the C-diff stomach bug every week.

“Simple things which take five minutes to put right, like washing hands and keeping wards clear of dirt, are not being done.”

Graziella, a nurse for 15 years, set up C-Diff Support to help those affected by the bug after seeing her gran Caterina Cotrulia, 93, die from C-diff in North Middlesex Hospital following a fall two years ago.

“I sat at her bedside and saw doctors examining patients without washing their hands and staff failing to keep the ward clean,” said the 45-year-old. “Yet when I spoke out, I didn't feel I was taken seriously.

“The C-diff my nan developed caused her so much needless pain. She went through a terrible ordeal.

“When she died there was the grief you feel when you lose someone you love, then came an overwhelming sense of anger.

“I didn't want people to go through what I did. I wanted things to change and for hospitals to clean up their act.”

Graziella has received more than 4,000 letters, emails and phone calls since she set up C-Diff Support – all with a similar story to her own. She then approached hospitals to get permission to carry out independent spot-checks.

“More often than not, they agreed,” she said. “They showed me around and then they let me go off on my own. Often I was alarmed at what I saw.”

She found the most shocking conditions at Chase Farm Hospital in Enfield, North London, which was given one month to clean up its act after the Healthcare Commission found a catalogue of hygiene problems, including no soap on the wards.

Yet when Graziella carried out a spot-check a fortnight ago she found blood smeared on walls in a lavatory outside one of the post-operation wards, leaving patients at risk of catching an infection. Urinals were in such a filthy state they were rotting away. And doctors and nurses went from patient to patient without washing their hands.

Graziella said: “The hospital knew of my visit because I wrote to them a couple of days before. When I mentioned what I had seen to the ward managers they told me they were doing all they could but were too busy with patients to see if cleaners were doing a proper job.”

She discovered that one reason hospitals are losing the fight against superbugs is there are not even enough sinks for people to wash their hands in. “A doctor told me the NHS have ordered special basins with no U-bends in, but there is a shortage,” said mum-of-three Graziella, who lives in North London with a retired doctor. “It is incredible that hospitals are not even able to get a basic thing like soap and hot water right.”

At Maidstone Hospital in Kent she discovered trolleys used to take patients to operating theatres, covered in dirt. At Whittington Hospital in Archway, North London, crisp packets and drink bottles had been dumped in washbasins in lavatories on wards.

At all seven hospitals Graziella spoke to patients who had gone in for routine operations but then been left in agony after contracting C-diff. Some elderly patients were discharged still suffering from the stomach bug.

There was a lack of awareness in staff at almost all the hospitals of cleaning “do's and dont's”. But she was impressed with the way doctors and nurses at Whipps Cross in East London checked the wards there to ensure they were kept clean.

“Each hospital seemed to have their own idea on how to combat superbugs,” she said. “There was an alarming lack of knowledge about the dangers of poor hygiene. At some hospitals nurses were told alcohol gel would combat C-diff. At others staff were told to use soap and water and that the gel did not work.

“Part of the problem is hospitals using private cleaning companies and staff not properly versed in NHS standards. There should be a single set of guidelines so everyone has a clear idea of what is needed. Patients are being put at an unnecessary risk of contracting a superbug. Getting basic hygiene right can be the difference between life and death.”

Geoff Martin, of campaign group Healthcare Emergency, said: “Graziella should be applauded for highlighting the work which needs to be done to clean up hospitals. When you talk to patients it is their number one concern.”

Graziella's MP David Burrowes also praised her. “She has worked tirelessly,” he said.

n.owens@sundaymirror.co.uk

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