More Than Just A Heart Transplant: America’s Excellence Defined


News Channel 8 photo by JIM FARQUHAR

News Channel 8 photo by JIM FARQUHAR

At 16, most boys are hoping to find a used car for when they get their license. With a car and license, the exuberance of youth takes a great stride forward.  However, for 16-year-old Michael Quinn of Oldsmar, FL, the dream was not for a used car. It was a new heart. His own heart had been weakened by a disease that prevented it from pumping blood properly.

As reported on TampaBayOnline, in March doctors thought they had found a match, only to dash Michael’s hopes when it was discovered the donor had mononucleosis, which could have proven fatal to Michael.

But Sunday, word came of the availability of another heart… and this time it was a healthy match. Surgery was performed at All Children’s Hospital in St. Petersburg.  The operation went without a hitch and Michael is already feeling “100% better” than he did before the surgery and is counting the days before he can go home.

A miracle? Not in the US.  According to the American Heart Association

  • There were 2,210 heart transplants performed in the United States in 2007 and 2,192 in 2006.
  • Each year thousands more adults would benefit from a heart transplant if more donated hearts were available.
  • In the United States, 73.7 percent of heart transplant patients are male; 67.6 percent are white; 19.9 percent are ages 35–49 and 54.7 percent are age 50 or older.
  • As of May 30, 2008, the one-year survival rate was 87.5 percent for males and 85.5 percent for females; the three-year survival rate was about 78.8 percent for males and 76.0 percent for females. The five-year survival rate was 72.3 percent for males and 67.4 percent for females. 

This is the excellence we have come to expect from America’s medical system. Healthbase, an award-winning medical tourism facilitator in the US, reports that a large number of foreigners travel to the United States each year due to the availability of advanced medical technology and the high level of sophistication amongst physicians.

In many cases, this is because equivilent care is not available in their homelands, or governmental restrictions of socialized medicine programs make the process difficult and time-consuming.  Indeed, because of the freer atmosphere for health, medical, and pharmaceutical companies, many medical breakthroughs are developed in this country.

The question then becomes, how would this change if the Obama administration realizes its goal of converting the beacon of hope that is the United States’ medical system into a Socialist program similar to the ones in countries whose citizens flock to the US for critical care? 

Extreme liberals like the current President will claim the system we currently have discriminates against the poor because of the cost.  Yet, the truth be told, one of the reasons health care in the United States costs as much as it does is to help fill the void for the massive number of people who are treated each year who have no insurance and are unable to pay. And as in so many other areas, the vast majority of us who do have health insurance carry the burden for those who don’t.

I fear the President is on the verge of a horrible mistake.  And so are we, if we stand by and do nothing to protest as the Obama administration disembowels our health care system, one which is the envy of the rest of the world.  And anyone who questions the viability of our health care need only talk to Michael Quinn’s family.   

H/T: Peter Bernard, TampaBay Online 

Gerry Ashley

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