Video: Bachmann zaps heckler over maternity care

posted at 1:36 pm on August 28, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

Courtesy of The College Politico, who captures Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN)’s quick-witted reply to a heckler at her contentious town-hall forum on health care. Bachmann held up a stack of headlines about the health-care crisis in the UK, especially a report about how 4,000 women had to give birth in corridors due to a resource shortage in the NHS. When the heckler tries to disrupt her, Bachmann offers her version of Complete Moral Authority:

“I’ve given birth here probably more times than you, sir.”

I’d say. She has given birth to five children, and a home to 23 foster children. It’s hard to argue against her on maternity-care expertise.

It’s even more difficult to dismiss the report Bachmann wanted to highlight:

The lives of mothers and babies are being put at risk as births in locations ranging from lifts to toilets – even a caravan – went up 15 per cent last year to almost 4,000.

Health chiefs admit a lack of maternity beds is partly to blame for the crisis, with hundreds of women in labour being turned away from hospitals because they are full.

Latest figures show that over the past two years there were at least:

* 63 births in ambulances and 608 in transit to hospitals;
* 117 births in A&E departments, four in minor injury units and two in medical assessment areas;
* 115 births on other hospital wards and 36 in other unspecified areas including corridors;
* 399 in parts of maternity units other than labour beds, including postnatal and antenatal wards and reception areas.

Additionally, overstretched maternity units shut their doors to any more women in labour on 553 occasions last year.

On top of that, an NHS patient-advocacy group’s study shows that more than a million NHS patients received “appalling care” from the government-run health-care system:

The charity has disclosed a horrifying catalogue of elderly people left in pain, in soiled bed clothes, denied adequate food and drink, and suffering from repeatedly cancelled operations, missed diagnoses and dismissive staff.

The Patients Association said the dossier proves that while the scale of the scandal at Mid-Staffordshire NHS Foundation Trust – where up to 1,200 people died through failings in urgent care – was a one off, there are repeated examples they have uncovered of the same appalling standards throughout the NHS.

While the criticisms cover all aspects of hospital care, the treatment and attitude of nurses stands out as a repeated theme across almost all of the cases.

Update: Fixed the quote.

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