A plumber whose arm was left twisted grotesquely out of shape in an accident ten months ago has had an operation to correct it 'cancelled four times'.
Nick Carver, the chief executive of the East and North Hertfordshire NHS Trust, insisted computer records showed the trust had only cancelled two operations and that proceeding with the operations could have put Mr Eeles's life at risk.
'The first time was back in February when his blood pressure was found to be high.
'As his surgery was not an emergency, our surgeons took the right action in referring Mr Eeles to his GP so his blood pressure could be brought under control.
'His second operation in May 2009 was also cancelled, this time because he had failed to act on our surgeon's advice that Mr Eeles that he should give up smoking.
'In cancelling Mr Eeles' two operation dates, our surgeons were acting on clinical grounds only.
'If they are guilty of anything, then it is of having the best clinical interests of their patients at heart.'
This isn't the first time this has happened within our wonderful NHS, either.
A man with a broken ankle is facing a lifetime of pain because a Health Service hospital has refused to treat him unless he gives up smoking.
John Nuttall, 57, needs surgery to set the ankle which he broke in three places two years ago because it did not mend naturally with a plaster cast.
Doctors at the Royal Cornwall Hospital in Truro have refused to operate because they say his heavy smoking would reduce the chance of healing, and there is a risk of complications which could lead to amputation.
Wouldn't it be helpful if we knew how this sort of thing would be handled under the current American healthcare system. Oh, here you go, an anti-smoking US doctor can tell us.
This is disgusting. There are no valid clinical grounds to deny a patient surgery to repair a severely broken bone on the basis of his being a smoker. All this amounts to is the surgeons and health trust punishing this poor man for failing to follow their advice. But you don't punish someone by denying them a necessary surgery. If we punished all patients who fail to heed their doctor's advice in this way, we would perform almost no surgeries.
While I'm not familiar with clinical treatment in Great Britain, I am quite familiar with surgery for broken bones in the United States, and I have never seen a patient refused surgery to repair a severely broken bone because he or she smokes. In fact, to delay the surgery for that reason would likely put the surgeon at risk for a malpractice suit, because the longer you wait to repair the broken bones, the more damage that is done and the more difficult it becomes to do the repair successfully.
In my view, this represents medical malpractice.
But then, once the state takes over healthcare and mixes it with the politics, prejudices, and bigotry of the day, these things will happen.
I've been to the US a couple of times, and they seem to be quite large on the whole. Once Obamacare is all bedded in and fat people begin to be turned away from health centres, there could be some seriously pissed off yanks.
Still, it's their choice I suppose. Who are we to warn them?