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The NHS and the disabled

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      11.12.2004 00:02
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      Our son harry arrived on my daughters 6th birthday, born two weeks premature, would not feed, and could not maintain his body temperature.

      Little did we know how our life would change!

      I will not insult everyones intelligence by explaining in detail the genetic explanations of Downs syndrome or the triad of impairments that are used to diagnose Autism, but rather give an insight into how it affects a family and how your values of what is important in life change.

      At this stage we were only having to cope with Downs syndrome, but this involved Physiotherapy twice a week and visits from the portage service once a week as everyone said early intevention was the watchword.

      There are issues we had with the medical profession during the first year of Harrys' life over the way we were treated and thehelp we did not receive, all of this was published in Womans Own as part of Downs Syndrome awareness week just as Harry was approaching 2 Years of age.

      Many of these problems resolved themselves when we moved house and were covered by a different GP/Hospital.

      Harry attended a "Normal" Playgroup with the help of a one to one helper for one year before moving to a Special Needs Nursery.

      As this was 10 miles away and Harry was a bit of a handful we decided that I would give up work to help with Harry and our other children.

      Two problems arose out of this the first was a major battle with the benefits agencies:

      INCOME SUPPORT: extremely helpful and bent over backwards to help wherever they could.

      DISABILITY LIVING ALLOWANCE{
      I am sure simply try it on, their form took 3 days to complete with the help of Harrys portage worker, explaining in detail all the problems we encounter and the fact Harry had not once slept through the night, their reply was low rate!! And so after a long chat with the DSA we decided to appeal and we were promptly informed that it would take 11 weeks, I was fuming and contacted our local MP complete with about 40 pages of copies of their forms and supporting letters from Harrys support workers and Hey Presto 6 days later we had our award backdated for almost a year.

      The other problem was self inflicted, but we were unaware it was happening, as we had a younger child feeding and bedtime routines were split between me and my wife with me dealing with Harry, these routines have become engrained with Harry and now 5 years later we are still trying to break them.

      I could continue rambling and ranting about problems, but I would also like to emphasise the good points.

      I remember that on New Years day Harry rolled over for the first time! (at the time a feeling of joy swept over me!)

      At 20 months he walked and 2 months later he learned how to crawl.

      He is single minded, only interested in his self, but when he gives you a smile or giggles you can forgive him anything.

      He now attends Icknield School in Andover (80 miles a day travelling for us) and I work as a volounteer once a week. and is about to appear in his second school christmas play, an event so significant in our lives that my other 2 children will have time off of school to see it.

      I hope with all my heart that one day Harry will be able to use the gift of speech and achieve some level of independance, but until that day his family will always be ther for him.

      I will try to rewite this one day soon so it is not quite so rambling

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        01.05.2002 08:35
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        Oh dear, it's such a shame. The NHS is such a good idea in theory and indispensable we would hope. The nation pays a proportion of tax to fund it resulting in "free" or subsidised (in the case of dentists and prescriptions) treatment for all. Unfortunately the reality isn't as rosy as the theory. I have been disabled since December 1999 and the onset of Myalgic Encephalomyletis (M.E.) and my treatment is certainly no better, if not worse, than the avereage able-bodied person. I waited 6 months to see an Endocronolist consultant (hormones) then a further 6 months to see a Neurologist (nervous system) - in between my various appointments were cancelled FOUR times with no reason until a friend and collegue intervened complaining both to the hospital and our local MP. Not much good came of that either. I was passed from pillar to post for about a year with no reasonable explanation. Finally I was told I would be referred to a specialist clinic in London just over a year ago. Well...I waited and waited... a couple of weeks ago I had an appointment with my GP and enquired after the latest referral. Horror! An important letter had been "overlooked" and my referral had been refused pending yet another appointment with yet another so-called "specialist" so the waiting had in effect been put back another year. If I had not gone to my GP for a routine appointment this would not have been pciked up...how long would I have been waiting then?? On another note I simply needed a walking stick to aid my poor mobility but was told a physiotherapist would need to see and assess me first - a THREE month wait just for that!! To get a wheelchair for temporary or long term loan you are generally either encouraged to buy one or contact your local hospital or Red Cross for a loan - again a potentially lengthy procedure. So, from my own personal experience and point of view, as far as the NHS and the dis
        abled go treatment is poor and involves a long wait the same as anybody and they seem no further in solving this problem. Without the support of friends and colleagues I don't know how I would have managed for the last couple of years or so...the NHS has certainly been no real help.

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          06.03.2002 15:26
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          The word Disabled, literally means less able, so that is why I decided to right this op about the treatment of the elderly in this section. What do you see nurses What do you see? Are you thinking When you look at me, A crabbit old woman Not very wise, Uncertain of habit With far away eyes, Who dribbles her food And makes no reply, When you say in a loud voice I do wish you would try Who seems not to notice the things that you do, And is forever losing a stocking or shoe, Who unresisting or not lets you do as you will with bathing and feeding the long day to fill, Is that what you are thinking, is that what you see? Then open your eyes nurse, You?re not looking at me. I?ll tell you who I am As I sit here so still, I am a child of ten With a father and mother, Brothers and sisters who love one another, A young girl of sixteen With wings on her feet, Dreaming that soon now A lover she?ll meet; A bride soon at twenty, My heart gives a leap, Remembering the vows that I promised to keep; At twenty five now I have young of my own Who need me to build A secure happy home A young woman of thirty My young now grow fast, Bound to each other With ties that should last; At forty my young ones now grown will soon be gone, But my man stays beside me to see I don?t mourn; At fifty once more babies play round my knee, Again we know children My loved one and me. Dark days are upon me, My husband is dead, I look to the future I shudder with dread, For my young are all busy With young of their own, And I think of the years And the love I have known. I am an old woman now And nature is cruel 'Tis her jest to make old age look a fool. The body it crumbles, Grace and vigour depart, There i
          s now as stone Where once I had a heart: But inside this old carcass a young girl still dwells, And now and again My battered heart swells, I remember the joys I remember the pain, And I?m loving and living life over again, I think of the years all too few - gone too fast, And accept the stark fact that nothing can last. So open your eyes nurses Open and see, Not a crabbit old woman look closer - see me By Phyliss McCormak This poem says a lot about how older people are treated and how they are not recognised as an individual person. Originally it was thought the poem had been written by a patient because a hand written copy of it was found in her locker when she died, and so for many years it was accredited to her. In fact, a nurse wrote it in the early sixties and published in a magazine in the hospital where she worked. The patient, who was unable to speak, had copied it out and as she was known to write poetry, it was thought she had written it. An article in the Daily mail in 1998 said that Help the Aged had used it in a commercial, but I could not find details of the context it was used in. The fact that this was written by a nurse shows that at least some recognise that inside an old body there is real person. I feel that many nurses would benefit from reading this, but I fear that many would not learn from it ? not really see what it was saying to them, and so still treat the patients in the same way. It must be a frightening experience for many old people; getting old and knowing you are going to die, possibly alone in the world, and then to be treated in such an awful way. In my experience, many stereotype all old people as deaf, confused and unable to do anything for themselves. On a personal note, I am very lucky to still have all my grandparents. They are aged between 80 and 85 and none of them are deaf, confused or unable to do thi
          ngs for themselves. Their health is not what is was, but they all still live in their own homes, do their own shopping, cooking, housework, and still drive a car. They have all had recent hospital stays and have encountered stereotypical, ageist behaviour in the nurses. The lady in the poem, obviously was unable to look after herself, but still deserved decent treatment and the realisation that she was once like the rest of us. She should be treated with respect and spoken to politely even if she is unable to respond, she still has feelings and is obviously upset by her treatment, but is unable to say so. In my experience, many elderly people accept the way they are treated even if they can voice their feelings. They begin to feel that is how they should be treated and these people that are looking after them are in charge and so must know what they are doing. The danger is that this behaviour causes depression and low self esteem, which is added to their physical frailty. Do people not realise what it is like to be treated this way and how frustrating it must be for the person who cannot say what they want. Why are people stereotyped and stigmatised for being old or disabled? During my first degree I wrote a dissertation about people who have Achondroplasia (short arms and legs), and they way they are stigmatised and feel pressured into having barbaric surgery to lengthen their legs so that they will be accepted by society. Society deems it unacceptable to discriminate of stereotype on the grounds of race or sex; so much so that this is enshrined in law. However, many still seem to find it acceptable to stereotype and ridicule the elderly, the difference being that whilst rude and unprofessional, it is not illegal. What does this say about our supposedly civilised society?

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            22.01.2002 06:28
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            In an ideal world there would be no waiting for replacement organs to become available. We all hear about how scientists can now grow all manner of things from cells, remember the mouse with an ear on its back? In years to come I am sure even those most opposed to such advances will be able to see the advantages to life. While we only have the human to human donation system there is going to be priority lists. Unfortunately someone normally has to die before an organ becomes available for transplant/donation. It is because of the shortages of such donors our doctors have to decide who, if anyone is going to benefit most from its use. Clearly everyone on the waiting list has a dire need but many are not well enough, not expected to survive the operation or, in the case of some disabled people, not expected to live as long or have a much improved life than, other people. There is no easy way for our doctors to decide who is best suited for a donation, other than by type match, and I know many would rather see all people as equal, it is not, unfortunately, as simple as that however. I do feel that it is right for our doctors to consider all the facts before deciding on a recipient of a donor organ and age, life expectancy and quality of life following donation must form a part of this. I have no doubt that every doctor hates to choose but choose they must. If it were a choice between a 10yr old child or a 90yr old man where would you place your x in the vote? Doctors have this, and all the other factors we hear of to consider and that simply can not be easy. I am disabled, physically, and would not like to think this would be held against me if I needed a transplant but I would also want someone that could make better use of the organ to have it before me. Yes I might get another few years of life, maybe even better quality of life but it could well be that someone else would get many years of quality, how, or why, should I expect my doctor t
            o put me in front of them? All in all there is, as I say, no easy way to choose but what we have to accept is that doctors do have to choose and we must trust their judgement and accept they will consider ALL the factors. By paying for a private transplant we are, quite possibly, preventing someone else, maybe in more urgent need, from living. Can that be right? Should organ donation be a commercial business? Should human organs be up for sale? Or should we continue to place our life in the hands of the professionals, as we have for many years? I happen to believe that doctors do not deliberately discriminate between able bodied and disabled people. I believe that they make their judgements on facts and conditions at the time the organ becomes available. It is also a fact that some of us may never be right for a transplant, it isn’t nice but it is a fact of life I am afraid. It is simply a process of priority and need.

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              14.10.2001 08:34
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              This is my confessional and apology and I can only put it here in the most applicable area of Dooyoo. I did something very bad last night and want to tell the world that I am sorry. I never had any trouble with disabled people. I just usually felt sorry for them and wished them well. I sometimes resented their position that the whole world had to accomondate them for their bad luck and misfortune in such matters as wanting us to destroy the architectural beauty of some of our finest buildings to make accessibility ramps. But I guess on the other hand what good is a building in a free country that is only there for some people but not all? I do not feel that I bear any prejudice towards disabled people but last night I majorly discriminated against one. I know it sounds petty, people in the racial chat rooms always want to talk about their one black friend or when a white guy works with a black guy he feels the need to declare how he has a black friend somewhere liek to prove they are not a bigot. So I will say this Stephen Hawking rules, especially as he left his wife for his nurse and my mom's cousin is a brilliant man who got MS and is in a wheelchair and I like him. So what did I do? I was riding a train last night, actually I was running it and I had to go very slow, 10 mph through a rusty siding in a small burnt out town. It was about 1 in the morning. Suddenly I see a guy walk out onto the rail and put something on the rail, I am about 1200 feet away. Then I saw a white blur glide alongside him and I was incensed, I assumed it was a small child with him on the tracks. I was just furious. But then I noticed the white shirt was gliding like a ghost. I was confused. Then I saw it was a guy in a wheelchair. As I got closer they got off the tracks and started throwing rocks and bottles and what not. Pelting the hell out of the engine. I was astonished, nobody in a wheelchair ever did that before. I get bom
              bed everyday. We take it for granted...going through the city I close the windows. It is that simple. Now other people get creative and hang things like dead skunks from ropes on overpasses at the height of our cabs and others put furniture out on the tracks but we never get blasted by people in wheelchairs. Honestly we really don't care, it makes our day more interesting. Don't throw stuff at our persons is all. I take offense when our cabs get bombed but I don't care if people get crazy on the goods wagons. I am not a nark. I have only reported people twice. Once it was teh skinheads near Detroit who got my window with a beer bottle and almost hit me and the other time it was on Halloween and I called the dispatcher on some kids. See they ask if anyone is hurt, then they ask if the equipment is damaged. Then they ask if we can describe the perps, colour, size, age, clothes, etc. So the dispatcher asked what these kids who threw eggs at me looked like and I said, now this is on an open radio that all railroaders for miles will hear as well as all the railfans who keep scanners on at home, "I can do better than that I can tell you their names...Cartman, Madonna and a mediocre Pinnochio" The dispatcher got mad at me. They found no humor in it at all. So I guess I would not have blown these guys in had the man not been in wheels. All they did is lay some coins on the track. It is so hyppocritical to nark them down for that. Just last week we were stopped in a siding and we were putting all our change on the track and running over it with the engines. I think the CSX corp gives their men 5 million dollars worth of locomotives so they can amuse themselves by running over their nickles. The funny thing is I went to the bank to cash my check that day and it was like $1759.92. So the teller asks me if I have 8 cents and I start laughing like a hyena with tourettes and I had to tell her why I had no coinage. So anyway
              s I narked on this guy in wheels just because I wanted to tell everyone in radio range that a guy in a wheelchair was out vandalizing the railroad stuff. I just wanted to hear myself tell the dispatcher that one of the guys was in a wheelchair since it was so absurd. I am sure the cops caught them. They have police all over the tracks now with this Taliban crap going down and the dispatcher was already getting people out there to inspect the track. I cost the railroad a lot of money over this. But I think it is funny. Coming back home today all we could talk about was the guy in the wheelchair throwing rocks at us. I think they should make a poster of him promoting tolerance and showing he can do everything an able bodied bloke can do. I hope his friends don't realize he is why we reported them and quit being his friend. How do the cops take in a guy in wheels? I just wonder, but I hope he doesn't lose his friends. I am sorry for treating people different because of their bodies. I am sorry. Please leave comments telling me what I must do to make up for this. I think I will donate my Dooyooo miles to invalids or something. I feel like a terd for treating someone different based solely on their disability. please don't hate me

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                06.07.2001 05:33
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                I personally feels that NHS had failed big time to both the society as well as the British Public. First of all, the government had ignored the problem of shortage of nurses and GPS, since donkey years ago (during Margaret Thatcher era). Then we see Tony Blair giving all interesting manifestos during 97 election campaign, addressing the need for increase in funding in the NHS system as a whole. But immediately that year, we witnessed the worse winter disaster of all, where the real sick were being sent home due to bed and staff shortages in hospital. I'm sure the level of casualty were higher than reported, but due to some bureaucracy, it's being covered up nicely to fit the hole. Many people were fed up with what the government had to offer in terms of health care, because most of us had seen the result of the "All Free Medical Care" the government had provided, and hey, a cancer patient here is 50% more likely not to survive than a patient of the same condition in US. So, what more could I say......

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                  28.05.2001 00:21
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                  I am outraged about reports that able bodied people get priority over disabled people. How dare some office bound faceless wonder decide on the fate of a human life. I thought, stupidly i suppose thatwe lived in an equal society. When are human beings going to be treated the same. Its already enough of a lottery,being an N.H.S patient,as we have seen with the post code lottery for fertility treatment etc. I personally would not donate,but thats a choice i have made.However disabled people do not choose to be disabled,and we have to fight for their rights to get equal treatment. By giving priority to able bodied people,is discrimination and also makes the disabled population second class citizens. Surely we cannot sit by and let this happen.what will it be next?.People over 30 or people on low incomes ?. We must fight this discrimination to the last.I personally am able bodied,but my mother was not. How dare we decide who lives and who dies. i think the person recieving the donated organ should be the next in line and the perfect match,not on their abilities and usefullness to society.we are all human and as such deserve equal rights and treatment.

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                    19.05.2001 00:56
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                    THE NHS and the DISABLED As one of those unfortunate people who are considered disabled I would like to say that the lengthy times I have spent in NHS hospitals have been one hundred percent better than that of other countries I have lived and worked in. In my times with the NHS the care given has been very good and the food reasonable. What do people want for free? I know people will say that they have been paying for it all their working lives but when you consider the cost for equivalent private care there is no comparison. Being disabled through a fall and stroke I had plenty of time to witness the stress that the nursing staff is put through by the patients attitudes it does not surprise me they are looking for better employment, it is a wonder we have got any nurses in the NHS. After a fall in Spain I was told by one of their top surgeons that I would never walk again but I decided to let the NHS give me a second opinion and they just laughed when I told them what had been said. That was eight years ago and I am still walking around after treatment, but the stroke put paid to a complete recovery although the treatment from the NHS was superb with follow up after leaving hospital. I agree that there is a lot to be done but how about praising the good side of our unique system for once. I have just been listening to the press conference given by our present minister, and all he could speak about was what the opposition would not do. When are these politicians going to understand that people want to see and hear about results which so far is sourly lacking. Things that would get my vote is like the immediate introduction of the old type Matrons with power to hire and fire when being responsible for a ward or group of wards. This way perhaps the patients and doctors will see sweeping reforms in the maintenance of our hospitals. Another immediate visual and beneficial effect, would be the revamp of the drab facilities pro
                    vided for the walking wounded like recreation equipment i.e. pool tables, cardtables, large screen tv's etc. etc. I'm sure the spirits of patients would improve which would help their recovery times. Let us see some improvements instead of being allways told that millions is being spent and nobody could do better.

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                      26.01.2001 00:33
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                      Our NHS is among the worst in Europe. The same excuses come out every time but now people are waking up. The usual one is : There are not enough nurses. This is absolutely pathetic. There must be hundreds of people that are unemployed that are trained doctors or nurses and if not, lets use some of our taxes to pay for people to have medical training. The disabled facilities in this country have vastly improved over the last five years but I still think that they could be better. I am very grateful that shop owners and public places are recognising the fact that disabled people are part of society and they are trying their best to help and make things easier. I am not disabled and I do not rely on the NHS but I do believe in people being treated the same and not being discriminated just because they are in a wheelchair. I like the fact that there are lifts in most places and ramps leading up and down to places instead of stairs. But companies do this without the government supporting them so I think the government should do their bit and start injecting some of our taxes into the NHS and make this a better country to live in for everyone. When I go to my local GP I have to wait about 30 minutes on average and this is just a small surgery in a run down area. When I do have to go to the hospital I have to wait about 2–3 hours before being told what is wrong, this should not be the case and I think its about time the government realised that.

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                        18.12.2000 22:45
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                        Surely the decision between donating an organ to an able-bodied person or a disabled person should not have to be made. Let's face it - why not just make it compulsory for everybody to donate organs? I for one am more than willing and able to donate any of my organs if it's going to help somebody else to live a longer life. I mean, if it was you lying there needing a transplant you would want somebody to have donated their organs, but unfortunately people don't see it from the other side. If surgeons were allowed to take any organ then surely there wouldn't be a shortage. The same goes for giving blood: I haven't given blood before, only because I forget or don't know where to go etc but if everybody had to go, was sent a regular reminder and told where to attend, then they would tell you if you were suitable to give blood, and there wouldn't be a worry of running out. I have a donor card myself and have told everybody I am willing to donate organs; if you're dead don't you just think it's selfish to deny another person to carry on their life? Everybody should donate.

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                          18.12.2000 17:02
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                          As far as the NHS is concerned, in every area, demand will always outweigh supply. Concerning priority being given to the able bodied over the disabled – what constitutes able and disabled in this context? Is an able bodied person one who has smoked 40 Senior Service everyday for 60 years? Is an able bodied person under 70? It is important to note that the life expectancy of an able bodied person is definitely not necessarily more than that of a disabled person. Organs for transplant will always be scarce. There are simply not enough healthy people who die. There never will be, by definition. And of those that do, not enough carry donor cards. And if they don’t carry a donor card and the family is asked its permission, being that they have probably just lost a healthy member of the family completely unexpectedly and are in shock, the chances are that they are going to say no. So, let’s take it for granted that we will always have this problem of a shortage of donors. Now, when an organ comes up for donation I would like to think that the decision regarding who it should go to is not simply made on the basis of which patients are able or disabled. For example, I know that a liver transplant is much less likely to be given to someone who has a history of alcohol use (not abuse or mis-use, just slightly more than recommended use). I also know that smokers who need heart or lung operations or transplants are told by doctors that if they continue to smoke they will not be treated in the future. I happen to think that this is probably fair. I reckon that if you are given the gift of an elongated life, then you should not abuse it by covering it with tar. But, and this is a big but, the selection process is obviously not thorough enough if Down’s syndrome people are either continually moved to the bottom of a list or told they will never get a place on the list. Something is obviously going wrong in our socie
                          ty. In terms of the Jo issue, I believe that she should have had just as much chance as anyone else. Let’s go one step further. Let’s imagine that there is one heart transplant available but two people needing it. Both are able (or disabled, it doesn’t make a difference for this example) but one will probably live about 5 years after the operation, and the other probably ten years. Is this enough to make the decision, or should we look at what they are likely to achieve or put back into society in the remainder of their lives. I mean, if one is a doctor and the other works for British American Tobacco, should we review our selection criteria? It would seem obvious to me that we cannot factor subjective or possible information into a decision making process like this. Surely, we should work only on fact, on what can be proven and seen in black and white. It is not fact that an able bodied person will live longer than a disabled person, any able bodied person could get run over by a bus or take an interest in collecting fatally poisonous spiders. My point is that it is impossible to look into the future and predict these things. Fact is things like waiting lists and how long a person has been on them. Fact is things like drinking alcohol in between dialysis sessions (can be seen in the blood). I do not think that the NHS is being callous. I do not think that the NHS is doing the best thing by ALL of its patients. Do not forget that transplants are not the only contentious issue. The NHS has written guidelines (all surrounded in jargon so deep that the meaning is unclear) that delay them from giving a diagnosis to lots and lots of complaints and illnesses. The reason? It’s cheaper to keep getting the patient back in for consultations than it is to start giving them the relevant treatment. Drugs are expensive and for conditions that are not immediately fatal without treatment, just painful, stressful, wo
                          rrying etc, the NHS will delay a clinical diagnosis for as long as possible so that the length of time that you take the drug is shortened. Does this sound callous or pragmatic? Yes the NHS is free but we do pay for it. No it doesn’t work properly. Yes it’s callous and yes it’s pragmatic. To be pragmatic in this case is to be callous. I’ll be disabled one day and I don’t want to give up my spot on whatever waiting list to someone who is not considered disabled. And I don’t know what I’ll do when that day comes. Except fight. Or maybe move to another country.

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                            23.11.2000 21:07
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                            I feel very strongly towards helping those who are not as fortunate as me as I have a younger sister who has downsyndrome. My parents have always had an open house to help young children from the moment they started 13yrs of foster caring. They mostly have young babies whom are not wanted by the natural parents of for much more harrowing reasons have been taken away from there family’s. I remember exactly the day my younger sister came home to die with us. She was born with downsyndrome and her natural parents did not want her, so social services contacted my mother to say that the baby needed a home (I say baby because the natural parents did not even want to name her, so hospital records showed her name as Infant). This call would be an important one for it was to change my family forever. The child who we called Lucy was sent to us when she was just 2 days old, the hospital sent her to us to die. She had downsyndrome as I previously stated, but the poor girl’s problem did not stop there, she had an ASD this is when the wall between the two chambers of your heart has a hole in it. She also had internal bleeding in her kidney's (a problem that lasted until she was about 5 yrs. The reason she was sent to us was it was believed by everyone involved that although she had a life expectancy of just 6-10 days, we as a family could at least make it a happier time rather than her just staying in hospital and never being remembered. What was to happen was described as a miracle by all the doctors involved. As they said her condition got worse, but some how she pulled through and is now 9yrs old. At the time everyone said it was a miracle and praise was put on us as a family, but know I believe it is more down to my sister being (even from that age) the bravest and strongest person I have ever had the privilege to meet (some statement considering I joined the para’s). Obviously it was not as easy as I made it sound,
                            her happy life is the reward for 9yrs of the most stressful hard work and dedication to my sister by my parents. (Whom I would like to thank, as I love my sister to bits) As I said when she first came to us we were her foster family but as you might have guessed we later adopted her. Through her life she has proved to me time and time again of her bravery. We are talking about a girl that should have died at the age of 10 days. But now at 9yrs old she goes to a mainstream school 2 days a week the other 3 at a special needs school. She can ride a horse without help, she can swim, write read count and recite the alphabet but probably the most amazing considering her heart problems, is that she is a very good and accomplished Gymnast, that is at a level that a fit and healthy child would be at about 7-8yrs. As with all handicapped people she is the most generous and helpful of people, she always wears a broad smile and has the ability to make the coldest day fell like 90degrees. I love my sister dearly and would not want to be without her. So my only request of anyone reading this is to remember that there are those less fortunate than you are, so why not try and do something for them. I am 100% sure that she would not be here to day without all the hard work and effort of those around her and the financial help from charities such as children in need.

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                              23.11.2000 19:49
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                              As you probably know, there is always an extremely long waiting list for organ donation. Some people have to wait months or years for a new heart or whatever. So surely if getting an organ donation is so hard, shouldn't there be a priority system of some sort? I mean, if you have two people, both wanting a new heart, one who needs it to live and someone who has a considerably low life expectancy, who would you give the heart to? How it works is that you sign your name and details onto a waiting list, and then wait till the hospital or whatever phones you. But that means that people with a low life expectancy could get a perfectly good heart and then die and a person below them has to then wait for another heart - that could be FOREVER! Personally if I had a low life expectancy, I wouldn't bother getting a new heart or whatever. I'd rather someone who has their whole life ahead of them to get it, and live a good life. I think that people with low life expectancy should only be allowed organ donation if they pay a lot or there are enough to go around for everyone. Now, maybe some people think that this isn't fair, but life isn't fair! So let's make a little fairer by giving people who deserve to live a better chance. Thank you for your time.

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                                16.11.2000 08:03

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                                It is disgusting that disabled people are overlooked by the NHS for certain procedures - these people are human beings not items that will go away (or in this case die) if ignored. It makes me so mad to see things like this, the priorities are completely wrong. When you see people suffering - handicapped or not - who cannot get the treatment they so rightly deserve because of funding etc. it makes my blood boil. If however you are a drug addict, your treatment will be paid for, you will receive your daily dose of Methodone and you will be looked after - great for these people that choose to shoot up Heroin etc - not so great for others. If you require a sex change and show the necessary emotions etc through counselling (paid of course by the NHS), you will be granted this procedure and treatment drugs etc. - once again courtesy of the good old National Health Service - great isn't it? The priorities need to be examined properly and put into perspective and then we may see a change.

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                                14.11.2000 04:09
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                                This is not strictly a Disabled opinion, but is to do with the NHS. Should the NHS be used for cosmetic operations, which increase our height when they are not a priority? This question has arisen with 16 year old Emma Richards from Cornwall, being given an operation to increase her height, so she may fulfil her ambition to become an air hostess in the future. Emma Richards who is 4ft 9inches tall and had stopped growing had a 6 hour operation, to break her leg's in two places. She had her legs pinned and in traction. The treatment has ment her bones grow at 1mm per day, and so far the treatment has taken 4 months and has cost the NHS £12,000. To date she has grown to 5ft 2inches tall, and now has to hope she has a growth spurt to gain the extra height she needs to fulfil her dream. But not with out complications, which I know all operation come with. But this operation has ment risks, of infection and spontaneous fractures of which Emma has suffered both, meaning more time in hospital, and more medication, her weight even dropped to 3 and a half stone at one point. Other complications come with the stretching of the nerves, blood vessels and muscles. Should the NHS be paying for this operation, which was not strictly a priority, when their funds and bed's are so grossly over stretched as it is. I do not begrudge Emma this operation. I am only 5 ft tall myself, and I wish I was taller. What I am wondering is should the NHS have paid for it? Surely the family should have funded it themselves, and therefore allowing this £12,000 to be spent on needed medical help for priority cases.

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