My name is Fred and I am a gay conservative living in Ottawa. This blog supports limited government, the right of the State of Israel to live in peace and security, and tries to expose the threat to us all from cultural relativism, post-modernism, and radical Islam. I am also the founder of the Free Thinking Film Society in Ottawa (

Sunday, October 22, 2006

I can see this coming to Canada...

This is from the Daily Mail in the UK.
Smokers will be denied life-changing operations unless they agree to kick the habit, it was revealed today.

Cash-strapped hospitals say patients will not be given treatments such as hip and knee replacements until they try to give up. Those who fail could be denied treatment all together.

Managers in Norfolk and Newcastle, where trusts are millions of pounds in debt, say smokers are at a greater risk of complications and the move will help save them money on further care.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Have no doubt about this coming to canada. This will set a dangerous precedent if we allow this. Applying this rationale to who gets looked after will lead to all kinds of nonsense. Do we allow car thieves to bleed out on the side of the road after they have wrecked? Should gay men be denied treatment for AIDS because they didn't take precautions? Before you get excited about this being a reasoned approach, (denying smokers) consider this... who decides who's next in line?

12:57 AM  
Anonymous BKS said...

With now 4 leftist parties against one centrist-right, I can see this coming anytime now.

Some days it is downright discouraging!

3:45 AM  
Blogger Suricou Raven said...

Whats the great objection? Their fault. Whenever they light up a cigarette, they have to accept all of the consequences for doing so.

There is no suggestion of outright denying treatment to anyone here. Only of ordering smokers to quit before they underdo some treatments, for sound medical reasons.

As there was no suggestion of denying treatment altogether, Anonymous's slippery-slope arguement is meaningless.

Healthcare is not just a matter of accepting broken people into a hospital, opening them up and poking around inside like a mechanic working on a car. Lifestyle is an important element - smokers, the overweight and such are more likely to have health problems and to suffer complications after treatment. The NHS needs to consider that treatment does not end at the hospital doors.

6:26 AM  
Blogger Road Hammer said...

Recognizing the role that personal accountability plays in health outcomes is certainly one advantage of a more market-based health care system. It's similar to life insurance ... if you smoke, your premiums are higher.

9:26 AM  
Blogger mostlyfree said...

suricou raven, no offense, but if I want to smoke it's up to me, and you shouldn't have any say in how I live my life or punish me for it. Neither should your nanny-state. Living with the consequences is one thing - living with consequences that the government is making up is another thing altogether.

Besides, smokers more than pay for their health care through the taxes they pay.

Anyway, if this policy came here once again the problem would be that we have no alternative to the public system in Canada and smokers wouldn't be able to try to get care for themselves in other ways.

11:10 AM  
Anonymous DoorHold said...

First they denied healthcare to people who smoke, but I said nothing because I did not smoke. Then they denied healthcare to people who were overweight, but I said nothing because I was not overweight. Eventually they denied healthcare to me, and no one spoke out.

There are a lot of ways to "save money" in healthcare, denying care because you disapprove of someone's behavior is unnecessary and cruel. There are enough rabid non-smokers for this denial of service idea to proliferate, but even they cannot be stupid enough to believe it will stop at smoking.

12:55 PM  
Blogger Suricou Raven said...

You are still overlooking something: The smokers are not denied care. They are asked to quit. They are also given support in quiting. Only if they refuse or fail are they denied care. So they are given every possible chance to improve their health.

This is already the standard practice for lung transplants, for the fairly simple reason that lungs are in short supply - no point wasteing them on people who will only break the replacement as they broke the first.

2:53 PM  
Blogger deaner said...

My father required a heart operation (bypass), and his cardiologist (or the surgeon who was going to perform the operation) told him that he would have to quit smoking. As recounted by my dad, his words were:
"If you continue to smoke your heart and lungs will never recover properly so sooner or later you will be back in here - that means the operation will be a waste of my time and the public's money; both are in short supply and I am not going to waste them unless you make the effort to quit. You can last six months with your heart the way it is, and longer if you stop smoking - come back when if you can tell me you haven't had a smoke for six months."

That was in 1975. Dad quit, had the bypass, and lived to tell the story.

8:02 PM  
Anonymous DoorHold said...

"You are still overlooking something: The smokers are not denied care. ..."

Clearly, smokers are to be denied care. Non-smokers, that is, ex-smokers, will receive care, but smokers will not.

As for smoking causing complications during, say, knee surgery, the same can be said for people who are overweight, or a dozen other non-related issues.

If saving money is the goal there are less cruel ways to do it than to pick and choose who gets care based on criteria other than medical need. And I restate that this will not end with smokers.

I hope you have your house in perfect order and are certain there can be no possible reason to deny you care, because eventually they'll find a reason to "save money" on your healthcare too, or of someone you love.

Re: Heart & Lung replacements. Cigarette smoking has been linked directly to heart and lung disease, so I can accept that transplants of these organs places certain responsibilities upon the person who receives them.

The denial of care issue here is not on whether or not the behavior causes or may continue to cause a disease, but that it might cause complications.

6:41 PM  

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