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Child Who Underscored The Price Of Living Dies

May 22, 1996

LONDON (AP) _ A girl denied state-funded treatment for leukemia has died 14 months after an anonymous donor paid her medical bills. The case prompted a national debate over Britain’s financially strapped health service, which had balked at paying $112,500 for her care.

Jaymee Bowen, 11, known in court proceedings only as Child B, died Tuesday night in the private Portland Hospital in London after suffering a relapse, the hospital said.

The case underscored the moral quandaries of doctors and health administrators throughout the Western world as the cost of state health care soars because of increasingly sophisticated treatments and aging populations.

Her father, David Bowen, went to the Appeal Court in April 1995 after his local state health authority refused to pay $112,500 for another bone marrow transplant or experimental treatment for the critically ill child.

The Cambridge and Huntingdon Health Authority argued that Jaymee had endured enough chemotherapy, that her chances for survival were remote, and that the money could be better spent on other patients.

``It was perhaps a good thing she got the treatment her father wanted her to get,″ the Cambridge authority’s health director, Dr. Ron Zimmern, said Wednesday.

``And it was perhaps a good thing that it was not necessary for the state to have funded that treatment because the need to set priorities ... is going to be a major issue over the next decade.″

In the private treatment, Jaymee received white blood cells from her younger sister.

Her father identified her publicly to help raise money for the treatment. Jaymee was the center of a television program and gave interviews that showed her as self-assured and thoughtful.

``I never say give up hope unless you are just on the last little drop of life,″ Jaymee said soon after starting the new treatment.

Recently, discussing the long months of treatment, Jaymee told a reporter, ``I would rather have gone through more suffering to live than not to go through anything and die.″

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