Oh Really? Save Our Hospital! Hospitals Save Lives! This may well be true.

Hospitals are instituted to restore people to health and even to save lives. This is the argument brought forward by those who protest the closure of country hospitals for budgetary reasons. Yet, the argument is considerably weakened when the success rates are measured against the real figures. The Australia based Health Roundtable has concluded that many (detailed figures are not available in the public domain) preventable deaths occur in hospitals. The New Zealand Herald, on September 17, 2012, reported candidly on the concern with which District Health Boards wrestle regarding this phenomenon. The number of lives actually saved through hospital intervention is hard to gauge, but the number of deaths in hospitals that could be prevented is significant. Reports the New Zealand Herald: "So-called "in-hospital" deaths within 30 days of admission number nearly 8000 patients each year, around 1.5 per cent of all people admitted to hospital, including day patients." Now, it is a given that where people work, people make mistakes and, in the case of health care, such mistakes may result in death. This does not mean that we should not encourage hospitalization for those who need it. However, the argument that 'hospitals save lives' becomes harder to maintain as entirely credible. Of far greater concern to this author is the other activity in which hospitals engage, an activity which definitely puts paid to the protesters' argument that 'hospitals save lives.' In Australia alone (and this is not a nation with a large population), the number of clinically performed abortions number above 90 000 per year. This does not include the aborting of babies through other means such as the morning-after pill. In the USA more than 1.2 million children were aborted according to the 2008 figures. In New Zealand just under 16 000, Europe can pride itself in committing 4.2 million clinical abortions (2008 figures). According to statistics the pro rata percentages are pretty much the same throughout the Western world. These figures would cause one to declare that it appears that the termination of lives in hospitals actually far outweighs the saving of lives. It is ironic - I would say even oxymoronic - that at the same time all these massacres happen, politicians and social scientists express concern that the population is becoming increasingly grey. This in turn places immense pressure on national budgets as there are not enough young people to keep the economy turning over and put enough money in the Inland Revenue kitty. If the feminist agenda regarding the woman's self-determination were reversed, many a nation would be rejuvenated and many concomitant social ills would be ameliorated. In saying this, I am not glossing over the tragedy of unwanted pregnancies, especially in the case of rape (it would seem to me that death would be preferable to such an invasion of privacy - an entirely personal, emotional perception which the reader is welcome to dispute). In deciding upon an abortion, however, at least two persons suffer tragically, i.e. the woman who is being raped and the innocent child which has been conceived as a result. In such a case, I would like to promote the slogan I read during an anti-abortion rally which read 'Adoption, not Abortion' (acknowledging that much government red tape makes adoption sometimes difficult and expensive; still much to be chosen over abortion).

The notion that human life is holy still resonates in our society, even though people do not own the concept rationally in many cases. It shows, for instance, in the manner news reports report tragic road accidents, the death of a teenager during post-school exam celebrations, the effort made to rebuild the damage done to a person in a fire through plastic surgery, the efforts made to find those bush walkers who are lost, the mercy flights to take people out of ravaged areas hit by volcanic eruptions or cyclones. The list goes on. Nary is a cost spared to save human lives in difficult circumstances. Yet, simultaneously young children are routinely killed, then burnt in designer ovens at hospitals. (One friend of mine left his job as a mechanic at one hospital in New Zealand when he discovered, while clearing ashes in an oven receptacle, many small-sized human remains; he actually threw up right there and then.) Genesis 1:26-27 relates that God created man in His image and likeness: ‘And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.’ The idea of human dignity, that we are created in the image of God (1:27), supports the theological basis for the sanctity of human life, human equality, and the fundamental principle of liberty in any Christian civilization. Man is still aware of God; God’s image bearing influence still works in all. It shows in body language, spoken language (see my previous essay Keep Your Fingers Crossed), in the manner that people react when some one suffers or dies in catastrophes. That man is also a fallen creature is evident, for instance, in the inconsistency displayed where unborn children are concerned. In an effort to play down or dismiss the fact that from the moment of conception children are actually just that, descriptions such as foetus and embryo are efforts to obfuscate what doctors are really dealing with in an abortion theatre. ‘Hospitals save lives.’ Perhaps they do, but statistical evidence shows that they are more the institutions of death than the restorers of life in our day and age. This may well come as a surprise, and so it should. In a world where a United Nations outfit tries to do away with death and misery, most of the member states engage in daily murder of its citizens. In the country from which I come (another guilty nation in this context) there is the saying: ‘If you wish to improve the world, start with sweeping your own door step.’ Would it not be wonderful if we could declare with statistically backed truth that, indeed, ‘hospitals save lives?’ A baby is God's opinion that life should go on. (Carl Sandburg, American Poet, 1878-1967) Dr Herm JG Zandman 4/06/2013

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