This every-parent’s-nightmare story out of Venezuela brings to mind my fears when the forces of big government make a gain in the United States, as they did with ObamaCare:
Two surgical residents sterilized a used needle and injected Ashley with anesthetic. It took them half an hour to clean and drain her knee. They had become experts in the procedure over the summer, as more children come in with complications from simple injuries. The only thing unique about Ashley was how well-fed she seemed; healthy enough to fight to save.
The family celebrated a week later as Ashley was able to breathe without her oxygen mask. Her fever was running below 100 degrees (37.8 degrees Celsius). With any luck, she would soon be back to dancing on her bed to music videos.
But the next day, the fever was inexplicably worse again, 102 degrees. By the end of the week, she was quaking under her Dora the Explorer sheets, drenched in sweat, with a fever of 106 (41 Celsius).
Ashley is three years old, and her months’ long ordeal resulted from the infection of a scraped knee and would have ended very differently without the effort of parents and an extended family scouring the region for hospitals and clinics with the ability and the remaining resources to help. A basic medical machine that costs $100 in the United States meant hours of calls and searching. Inadequate supplies of drugs turn into new complications, like the rare heart infection with the symptoms in the above quotation.
The United States is a long way from Venezuela, in its condition… or at least we can still reasonably believe that it is… but as we make decisions, we have to look farther down the slippery hill. The shortages threatening children like Ashley are not the result of some natural disaster or disappearance of natural resources; they result from a lack of freedom and rule of law, preventing people from figuring out ways to produce or import products and services. They are unnatural, and for the most part they result from a too-heavy reliance on government.
Add in the damage that Americans have done to family and community structures, and we may not have to fall as far as Venezuela before we find ourselves in our own nightmare stories.