Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Where you should live if you don't want to die unnecessarily...

...of treatable conditions.

Answer: France, Japan or Australia.

Well, they only looked at statistics for 19 nations - but I doubt if Malaysia does as well as the last country, number 19 - which was the USA. But then, you never know. Not so long ago we did better on infant mortality than the USA did.

I reckon, though, superstition on the part of a large segment of our population would bring our statistics down. You only have to see all those good folk
from all over Malaysia, lining up a couple of times a week, to have their flagons of water blessed at the shaman's place down the road from me, in the hope of curing their ills and getting rid of their bad luck - when they should be going to the doctor instead.

According to this report, if the U.S. health care system performed as well as the three countries named above, there would be 101,000 fewer deaths in the United States per year. [The researchers wondered if the fact that 47 million Americans lack health insurance might have something to do with that...]

France had 64.8 deaths deemed preventable by timely and effective health care per 100,000 people in the study period of 2002 and 2003. The US had 109.7 such deaths.

After Australia (71.3) came Spain, Italy, Canada, Norway, the Netherlands, Sweden, Greece, Austria, Germany, Finland, New Zealand, Denmark, Britain, Ireland and Portugal. And the United States last.

2 comments:

hrugaar said...

I couldn't find the report (maybe one has to be a subscriber).

What interested me was whether the report divided the statistical information into age ranges. I mean, taking the US stats, saving 101,000 extra people per year means those people have to be housed, fed, administered and provided for. But is that 101,000 spread equally across the whole age range, or what proportion are between say the ages of 25-55 (those more likely to be working and contributing to the country's resources and economy), or over the age of 70 or under the age of majority (and thus likely to be more dependent and requiring state support or a greater amount of health care etc.)? It does make a difference.

Of course I'm not saying that we shouldn't save lives just because people are older or weaker, or of less benefit to the economy. But I live on a rock where over 10% of our population are now over 70 years of age and resources to provide for them are limited, because one also has to care for the needs of the children, the sick, the unemployed, single parent families etc.

Saving lives and prolonging life expectancy brings new obligations, it impacts on the whole of society (not just the government). It is changing the face of our everday culture. I'm not saying that's a bad thing. But it requires some fairly major re-thinking and adapting for everyone - taking on board the consequences of our actions - which most people are loth to tackle (humans specialise in inertia, complacency and expediency, do they not?) :\

Glenda Larke said...

Hmm...that's funny - a number of pages all have the same URL. You click on the link, then go to the box that says "consumer" and click on the one that says France best, US worst. It's not the original paper, just a summary.

The researchers "considered deaths before age 75 from numerous causes, including heart disease, stroke, certain cancers, diabetes, certain bacterial infections and complications of common surgical procedures." Presumably all forms of the diseases that one need not die from with proper attention.

Maybe you had better leave your rock before you get old, hmmm? BTW, does everyone call it the rock? Or is that just you?