One of the most popular debates in America right now is that of healthcare. We have for the last seven years whitnessed the GOP kick, scream, and make countless promises to repeal Obamacare. Yet nothing has happened so far to date.
The same recycled excuses are coming from the left in attempts to defend Obamacare, in that it did not go far enough. Insurance companies are too greedy, they say. What America really needs is a Medicare for all program.
Added to this debate is the despicable Senator from Vermont running around telling anyone who will listen that America is not a compassionate society, that America sucks, and that the country refuses to follow the example of the rest of the world.
Today, I wish to share some stories with you. I ask you to read until the end and notice a common thread in them.
The following are healthcare stories from Ireland. Ireland is a heavily socialist nation and has “free” healthcare for all. If Sanders is right, these healthcare stories should be wonderful, right?
Little Ben, who's only five, is being treated at the Dublin children's hospital for a rare form of cancer. Ben is suffering from a form of cancer where the cells in his body are making his tumor particularly hard to treat. He was diagnosed with a rare form of cancer on Christmas Eve 2015. He has a stage IV Wilms tumor, which doctors here are struggling to treat, despite having given the boy 19 rounds of radiotherapy.
"We are in the devastating position where our options are limited and have all but run out in Ireland," says Valerie. "His treatment in Ireland is not working and we need to raise a lot of money in a short time for a clinical trial in America."
Caolan, age 2, is battling Neuroblastoma, a rare form of aggressive childhood cancer. He is hoping to go to the US for treatment to prevent relapse and his parents are trying to raise thousands of euros for their eldest son. The family was overjoyed when Caolan’s scans came back all clear in June 2016. Three months later, the cancer was back.
"Caolan was placed on a trial medication that was to prevent a relapse in July 2016. Unfortunately treatment here in Ireland for relapse is very limited so it meant we had to travel to the US for treatment at a cost of €20,000 each time". "He went to America but Caolan took a seizure and things turned for the worst. He's currently in his sixth cycle of chemo but after that Ireland has nothing else to offer him. We're trying to see if America can offer us something to prevent a relapse.
The parents of a Belfast child diagnosed with a rare form of cancer are asking for help to fund pioneering treatment in America for their son. Just over a year ago Dundonald toddler Zak Brennan was diagnosed with the rare childhood cancer Neuroblastoma, days before his third birthday.
After a devastating year of chemotherapy, surgery, stem cell transplants and radiotherapy, time is running out to find a more permanent cure for the four-year-old's condition- with the best possible chance offered by cutting-edge trials in America. His parents have launched the Zakky Brennan Fund in a bid to raise £134,000 to help fund the ground-breaking new treatment and to date have received almost half the amount in donations.
“The treatment Zak has had with the NHS has been exceptional but this cancer is really aggressive and to give him the best chance, we need to get this treatment in the US," his father said. "Thankfully, he has been accepted onto this clinical trial pending end of treatment scans, but now we have to raise this huge sum of money to get him there.”
Little Billy Caldwell is in America with his mum Charlotte. Life should be wonderful, but it’s far from it. In fact, life is terrifying and is testing their every bit of the family’s love, strength, and faith.
At just 11 years old, Billy, from Co. Tyrone, could die at any moment. His mother is battling to prevent his next breath being his last. She rests on the bed beside him every time he sleeps; her arm around his shoulders, her eyes flickering as she desperately tries to stay awake so she can help him if he slips into a seizure.
Today Charlotte is asking for help for her boy as he awaits test results at the Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. The prospect of surgery, which is intended to prevent Billy’s dangerous seizures recurring, is daunting. But the prospect of not having the surgery is much worse despite the £300,000 bill it will involve. “When Billy was two years old he was sent home to die from the Royal Hospital for Sick Children in Belfast. I just couldn’t accept that, and I researched places all over the world to try to get him help.
“We traveled to Chicago and Billy had brain surgery which not only saved his life, but allowed him to lead the life of any other little boy, enjoying the beach, horse riding and the love of his family. “Dr Nordli operated and literally gave me back my boy and now, nine years on we’ve had to return to his care to see if he can operate again.”
Billy suffers from intractable and status epilepsy which means the seizures cannot be controlled by medication or diet. When they occur, the youngster needs help to come out of them. During every episode, his mother has to give him a relaxant and oxygen as she prays firstly that he comes round, and that he recovers without suffering brain damage.
The mother of a Cork toddler who had to temporarily move to the United States so her son could receive cannabis treatment for debilitating epileptic seizures is campaigning to make medical marijuana legal in Ireland. In December year, Yvonne and her two-year-old son, Tristan, relocated to Colorado to begin the much-needed treatment, which uses cannabis oil.
Tristan was born with Dravet syndrome, a severe and incurable form of epilepsy. He began having seizures when he was five months old and the condition escalated over time. At one point, he was experiencing twenty seizures a day. His condition combined with the side-effects from his prescribed medications resulted in numerous neurological and cognitive problems that affected his speech, movement, appetite and behavior.
Since receiving the cannabis treatment in the U.S. Tristan’s condition has been remarkably improved. He has not had a seizure in three months, and he has not needed rescue medication or oxygen since beginning his cannabis oil. He has also been weaned off three pharmaceutical drugs and is about to begin removing a fourth. Previous attempts to wean off the medications in Ireland before the cannabis treatment always resulted in Tristan being hospitalized. His treatment consists of whole-plant medicine oil, with a full spectrum of therapeutic compounds that is administrated orally.
“Tristan was suddenly able to make eye contact and became more alert. He began to babble, repeat sounds and say new words. All of which had vanished since his spate of violent seizures last May when he stopped talking altogether. During the second week he began to get steadier on his feet, he wasn’t falling after a few steps, he was bending with stability. He would sit down without help and he began to kick a ball. He was 99% seizure free and has been ever since.”
Tributes have poured in for a young boy whose bravery touched the hearts of many friends, neighbors and even the odd celebrity. Seven-year-old Órán Nibbs passed away on January 20 after a heroic battle with Mitochondrial disease. The youngster had been inspirational to all who met him in his native Trentagh, Donegal and beyond. Back in 2015, Colin Farrell said he was moved to tears when he met Oran and his mother Ashling at an event for children suffering from the rare disease.
Oran’s condition was very challenging one and included severe muscle weakness, seizures and choking fits. There is no cure for Mitochondrial disease. Oran’s community rallied around him in life too as they raised funds to make sure he had the chance in life by sending him to the USA and Britain for treatment.
These are just six tragic stories I found easily by spending a few minutes on Google looking for Irish people traveling stateside looking for treatment. Sadly I found countless others which you can read about by clicking on their names - Courtney Manning, Lorraine O’Brien, Baby Norah and Orla.
When you read the stories above, did you notice a common theme? They are six stories of people living under socialized medicine where healthcare is classed as a right, yet they had to travel to another country for treatment. And not just any country, but a country where a portion of the population knows you do not have the right to someone else’s labor. I wonder that, if the Senator from Vermont got to speak to these people, would they share his view that America is uncompassionate and cruel?
Jonathon Dunne is an Irishman who dreams of one day living becoming an American. He has a weekly podcast featured on the Blaze which you can find by searching for Freedoms Disciple on Soundcloud, ITunes & Google Play. He is also a writer, public speaker and the CCO of Lanterns Buzz Radio Network.