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Incompatible With Life and Death

"Incompatible with Life" is a phrase I first heard whilst watching a brilliant episode of a BBC show called Ambulance. I strongly suggest you track it down on the iplayer, or Youtube, find season 3 episode 6, if, after watching that you are not of the opinion that all those medical teams should have their pay immediately doubled then I despise you .


Anyway, that phrase has stuck in my mind since, and it got me thinking ( never a good thing). Within the context of the show it signifies that no more time and resource should be spent on certain cases, the effort and resource would be wasted because the patient is going to expire anyway. So, this could actually be applied right across the globe to those who, by accidents of birth, find themselves growing into lives which are low grade, and in many instances they end without any particular importance being attached. I have been reading this week about a council which is not allowing relatives to attend because the end of life ceremony has not been paid for. Also, if the deceased is cremated, the Ashes are not released, because of money. This shocking situation exists today, now, in the 21st century UK. I often receive abusive messages for saying stuff that some see as extreme. Well, here is the thing, this sordid situation proves beyond any reasonable doubt that this country is now more Victorian than it has EVER been.

Our 21st century world

I do not have much money to fall back upon, I was not so long ago told by a senior consultant that if I "gave up" there was a good chance that I may not leave the Northern General Hospital, so, it is not a huge stretch to reach the conclusion that the next "Incompatible with Death" statistic could well have been me. Lets just picture one of these "end of life" unpaid for services. No relatives present, cold wind blowing, very likely no church involved, maybe even no priest. Just bored council employees wishing they had listened at school. Would there be mention in the local paper obituary column?

Is this the end that greeted all those people who froze to death over last Winter? If anyone can, I would like that question answered.


This is a stark but honest view of the uncaring society that we now have, and have endured for quite some years now here in the UK. I really do not have the imagination to outline a more shocking scenario. However, more shocking scenarios do actually exist. Many of the worlds societies are shockingly poor. Huge countries who have no wealth. By wealth I mean the means to provide hospitals for most of the population. Or, even the means to record properly the number of births and deaths. I can only guess at the number of people alive today who do not know how old they are. This may well sound like fantasy. It is not. A few years ago a professional rugby league club that I followed signed a Pacific Islander, he actually did not know his age. I also wonder how many people are dying in the so called "modern age" and nobody actually knows that it has happened? It is not difficult to guess at the places where this could happen.

We are all born equal

How many children are born on dusty hillsides, just a mother and a hot breeze to witness the event. Can she read or write, is there some sort of civic centre within two days walk, with the newborn? Is the mother well enough? was there a problem with the birth? Will they both starve to death without anyone knowing? Just think about the Yemen, or any of all those other countries and regions that sometimes get mentioned on the news. Day after day certain societies are being left behind, now.


Back to our green and pleasant land, what are the things which register a newborn instantly "incompatible with life?". Let me put my mind to work on that question. And again, I am talking about today. Now. In the UK.

First one that springs to mind is a Postcode. This geographical millstone dictates quite a few things. Standard of healthcare being one. As soon as the parent(s) push open the doors of the Maternity Unit, it sets in. Quite possibly shoddy housing-if any at all- followed by a shoddy education. Lower standards of food, and quite possibly not enough of it, free school meals seem to be the latest vital cut. The innocent newborn is, by a geographical accident at birth, immediately a part of a sharp downward spiral. You may have assumed that this new human is fit and healthy and sharp of mind. The outlined scenario would hamper that anyway.

Let us assume the new human is not. Maybe the new human is not fit, has a long term nagging health problem, we will say it is Asthma, will need an inhaler for years, so, will struggle with physical tasks. Will not excel at sports. Will always tire quickly. The postcode blight magnifies the problem, new human starts to fall behind all the others.

Day comes when new human wants to work. New Human applies for jobs, in an office letters are opened and read, HR officer spots a postcode. New Human does not receive a reply. Feels tired and lethargic again.

Too much greed

What if the new human is perfectly fit, but a little slow of thought. Same scenario as above. Lovely and pleasant new human wastes away, no future , no hope. New Human, may well be a slightly different colour to you or me, or more importantly the ones who decide who gets a chance to become "Compatible with Life". Same scenario as above.


Why is it like this? All those deaths, each one signifying a complete failure of the human race. I often hear the phrase "Third World", what is it that defines the first two? A stock exchange, a huge trade deficit, having access to 6,800 nukes, owning a gun? It seems to me that depth of concern for other humans is certainly not a part of that equation.


When that consultant informed me that things had become very serious, I started to think about the things I would like to ask God. It came down to this. "Why are you so very sadistic ?" The world keeps on turning. Day after day after day we see glaring examples of just how sadistic we have become. Somewhere on this damned planet deaths will have occurred while I have been writing this. Just how many of those were always going to be wasted lives, unnoticed existences, exercises in seeing just how much suffering can be inflicted? Our evolution has stopped.


So, Third World, yeah, people die there and nobody knows. There are no ceremonies to mark the passing. Our world, people die. People know it has happened. Thing is, unless you have a certain amount of cash, it makes no difference. Nobody can attend. Simply put, the UK is no more advanced than those places where death equals nothing.


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© 2020 Bill Stewardson