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MRSA and Ireland’s Euro Health Consumer Index score

In 2006 the Euro Health Consumer Index put Ireland second from the bottom in a ranking of European states on the delivery of health care to its citizens.

Was this a Pass mark for Ireland?

Ireland subscribes to the concept of failure and applies it to its citizens in, for instance the Leaving Certificate examination now underway.

What of Ireland’s health care system? How do we know if it is failing? More correctly, how do we know that Ireland has failed in the delivery of a health care system?

Why not rank Ireland with its peers? After all that is what Ireland does to its citizens.

In that 2006 the Euro Health Consumer Index only Lithuania was below Ireland. Ireland scored 359 points from a total available of 750 points.

That’s less than 50%.

The Index pinpointed, among other things, the widespread MRSA infections in Irish hospitals as a defect in the Irish system.

With severe waiting list problems and less than fantastic outcomes
quality Ireland does not score very well. The Health Service Executive
reform can hopefully start changing this.

By implication, the level of infection in Irish hospitals is avoidable.

How can it be said that any particular case of infection was unavoidable?

Have we arrived at a point where the legal maxim “res ipsa loquitur��? (the thing speaks for itself) applies?

What the legal system is not good at is attributing motivation to action or inaction. Does anybody think that Irish authorities are less able or more cack-handed than health authorities in other European countries? Hardly. In the absence of a claimed motivation the legal system assumes actual outcomes were intended. Economists have broken through this notion. In Cameroon the road from Buea to Bamenda is so bad it is quicker to travel indirectly than directly. Drive east for two hours; then drive north for two hours; then drive west for two hours and you are there!

The clue to the explanation lies in the police roadblocks along the road. They are there to extort bribes. The police and other officials of Cameroon support the President; he in turn facilitates them to make a living.

The required inference is this: systems have objectives. When the objectives are not achieved it is because they have been displaced by other objectives.

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