Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Infant Mortality

Dr. Linda Halderman tackles this frequently asked question:
If socialized medicine is so bad, why are infant mortality rates higher in the U.S. than in other developed nations with government or single-payer health care?
In particular, she discusses some of the reasons that these comparisons showing the alleged superiority of single-payer care are misleading. Here are a few excerpts:
...According to the way statistics are calculated in Canada, Germany, and Austria, a premature baby weighing <500g is not considered a living child.

But in the U.S., such very low birth weight babies are considered live births. The mortality rate of such babies -- considered "unsalvageable" outside of the U.S. and therefore never alive -- is extraordinarily high; up to 869 per 1,000 in the first month of life alone. This skews U.S. infant mortality statistics.

...Forty percent of all infant deaths occur in the first 24 hours of life.

In the United States, all infants who show signs of life at birth (take a breath, move voluntarily, have a heartbeat) are considered alive.

If a child in Hong Kong or Japan is born alive but dies within the first 24 hours of birth, he or she is reported as a "miscarriage" and does not affect the country’s reported infant mortality rates.
Thank you, Dr. Halderman! (Via J.Lewis.)