Future of Obamacare? UK Man Waits Six Hours for Care as Virus Kills Him

International   |   Steven Ertelt   |   Jun 3, 2013   |   4:57PM   |   London, England

With the implementation of Obamacare in full-swing, Americans are worried about the prospects of government-run health care. To see the damage centralized health care can do to patients, Americans need only look “across the pond” to England.

There, the British government-run health care system — which pays for abortions with taxpayer funds and has been criticized for pushing euthanasia — is literally leaving patients needing lifesaving medical treatment to die.

The London Daily Mail newspaper profiles Stewart Fleming, whose wife Sarah took a picture on her smartphone as he waited six agonizing hours for medical care and attention for a lethal stomach virus that eventually killed him.

The picture Sarah Fleming took of her husband Stewart is one that will haunt her for ever.

Taken on her mobile phone, it shows him sitting in a hospital cubicle, a hand clutching his stomach, his face a vivid reflection of the agony he was in, as he waited to be seen by doctors.

Tragically, that picture is a heartrending reminder of the circumstances leading up to the railway signalman’s death. It is also a vivid illustration of the turmoil unfolding in overstretched hospital emergency departments.

For the father-of-two, 37, from Rainham, in Kent, had to endure a six–hour wait to see a doctor in A&E at Gillingham’s Medway Maritime Hospital. He had a letter from his GP asking him to be admitted immediately.

He had been to see his GP that day because the antibiotics he had been taking for flu-like systems had failed to work. He was referred straight to hospital. But when he arrived, on December 15, 2008, the hospital was facing an unusually busy period. Staff sickness, a cold weather snap and an increase in GP referrals meant the hospital was under pressure.

He was admitted at 5.30pm, but was not seen until 11.15pm. By then, the mystery virus Stewart had contracted was attacking his heart, kidneys and liver. Despite being transferred to London’s Harefield Hospital, where he was placed into a drug-induced coma, he died on December 27.

Following his death, Stewart’s devastated wife said she could not understand why the ‘fantastic father’ had not been seen immediately. ‘He could have had all those hours on a monitor and they might have been able to stop the virus.’

Following the death, Andrew Horne, chief executive of Medway NHS Foundation Trust, admitted Stewart had waited too long to see a doctor. ‘That evening was very busy, the hospital was full,’ he said.