Thursday, 30 April 2009

What's the panic?

I can't really take this pig flu that seriously I'm afraid. I understand the seriousness of a flu pandemic but when I worked in hospitals I saw people die of flu every year. In fact it was the only time any beds became vacant in the nursing homes. Okay, I know it sounds a bit grim but that is how it is. There will still be more people killed by 'normal' flu that the pig variety and it seems to me that the panic here is that rather than just affecting the old and infirm pandemic flu kills young people as well. So that makes it more of a tragedy? Perhaps it does but I suppose it depends on your point of view. We seem to have this idea in our Western and privileged society that it is only okay to die when you are old. I wonder if it is the same in Mexico where infant mortality is high and in many parts life expectancy is low. What kills people is poverty, poor nutrition and poor sanitation and I would guess that in parts of Mexico they have all three. So far pig flu in the West has been a relatively mild illness. Things may change and I may live to have to rewrite my words but my bet is if you want to reduce the mortality rate then it is better to try to eradicate overcrowding, poor sanitation and poverty, and to provide free health care to the poor, than it is to waste money telling us all how to blow our own noses.

I also find it a sad indictment on our culture that the couple from Scotland who contracted flu on their honeymoon are now being represented by the publicist Max Clifford. I can only wish that any money they make from their unfortunate experience is paid back into the health service that looked after them in their hour of need.

1 comment:

Chairman Bill said...

"I can only wish that any money they make from their unfortunate experience is paid back into the health service that looked after them in their hour of need. "

Indeed!