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Received the following comment regarding my recent post, “More Single Payer Glories”:
The key word there is elective surgery. People don’t die from conditions requiring elective surgery. They could also have had treatment sooner if they had health insurance.
Some definitions of elective surgery do suggest that it is surgery for a condition that is not life-threatening. But governments that have waiting lists for elective surgery appear to be operating from the definition that elective surgery is surgery that is “subject to choice.” It “is beneficial to the patient but does not need be done at a particular time.” In other words, it is surgery that is “non-emergency” surgery.
But that doesn’t mean that such surgery isn’t vital to preserving life. Heart bypass surgery and cancer treatment are surely necessary to survival, but are often classified at elective.
Thus, people can, and do, die while on a waiting list for elective surgery.
+ May 2007
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