This must be the pride of socialized medicine.
Alder Hey Children’s Hospital in Liverpool, England, became notorious in international headlines last week as the site of the legal “execution” of a stricken toddler over the wishes of his parents, as well supporters of the parents on both sides of the Atlantic, and even in the Holy See.
But the hospital had a well-documented history of being the scene of abusive medical practices long before it admitted young Alfie Evans into what became his death chamber.
As the pro-life group Live Action reminded the public in a social media post Friday, Alder Hey was at the center of a British National Health Service scandal in the 1990s that involved hospitals throughout the national socialized medicine network harvesting and storing the organs of deceased children without the knowledge of the children’s parents.
A summary of a government report about the scandal, published by the U.K. Guardian in 2001, noted that the dead children’s “parents were distraught to find that thousands of body parts had been removed and kept in hospital storage.”
According to The Guardian, the organs in those cases were removed during autopsies, a standard practice. But the families were never informed that parts of the bodies of their children had been kept for research purposes.
But Alder Hey took that a step further by getting paid for some of the body parts it harvested.
The hospital actually transferred the thymus glands removed from living children during heart surgery to the French vaccine maker Aventis Pasteur in exchange for a small “donation.”
The hospital received about five British pounds for each gland (worth about $7.50 to $10 USD). An exact number of the organs wasn’t reported, but it was believed to be in the hundreds.
The thymus gland is an important part of the body’s immune system, so it’s easy to see why a vaccine research firm would be interested in a steady supply — even if the organs came from still-living children and essentially sold without the knowledge or consent of those children’s parents.
In January 2001, an Alder Hey spokeswoman confirmed to The Guardian the exchanges had taken place.
“The hospital can confirm that for a brief period between 1991 and 1993, (thymus glands) were made available to a pharmaceutical company for research, and that we are aware that during that period contributions were made to the trust’s cardiac department,” she told the newspaper.
At the time of that report, a pediatrician associated with Alder Hey tried to justify the obviously ghoulish practice of removing bodily organs from living children and selling them without the knowledge of the parents by saying the company produced a drug that helped treat children with anemia.
Maybe all of that is true. Obviously, medical research involves methods laypeople would consider gruesome, and the products pharmaceutical companies manufacture obviously save lives.
But the fact remains that a British hospital, part of the country’s vaunted system of socialized medicine, was harvesting organs from living children and selling them to a commercial company without the knowledge of the people who really mattered.
As Live Action pointed out, the pediatrician’s argument sounded awfully similar to the logic used by abortion giant Planned Parenthood after it was caught in a series of undercover videos literally selling the organs of children dismembered during abortions.
What it comes down to is this: The British hospital that essentially killed a helpless toddler last week by removing the boy from life support, then refusing to allow his parents to take him to seek treatment that was available elsewhere, has a documented history of shamefully using the bodies of its child patients.
And it did it by taking a step even further than other hospitals in Britain’s National Health Service.
Any American who might still be undecided about Obamacare and its death panels, or thinking about backing someone with the beliefs of Bernie “Single Payer” Sanders, should be watching the death of Alfie Evans and the hospital where it took place carefully.
Because this is the pride of socialized medicine.
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