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Posted: Apr 5 2012, 06:22 AM
Group: Senior Member
Member No.: 35
Joined: 7-August 08
This is an interesting article. It doesn't belong on this particular board, or does it? Truth is, I don't really know where to put it, but I do want to share it with you.
My mother wanted to die, but the doctors wouldn't let her. At least that's the way it seemed to me as I stood by her bed in an intensive-care unit at a hospital in Hilton Head, S.C., five years ago. My mother was 79, a longtime smoker who was dying of emphysema. She knew that her quality of life was increasingly tethered to an oxygen tank, that she was losing her ability to get about, and that she was slowly drowning. The doctors at her bedside were recommending various tests and procedures to keep her alive, but my mother, with a certain firmness I recognized, said no. She seemed puzzled and a bit frustrated that she had to be so insistent on her own demise.
The hospital at my mother's assisted-living facility was sustained by Medicare, which pays by the procedure. I don't think the doctors were trying to be greedy by pushing more treatments on my mother. That's just the way the system works. The doctors were responding to the expectations of almost all patients. As a doctor friend of mine puts it, "Americans want the best, they want the latest, and they want it now." We expect doctors to make heroic efforts—especially to save our lives and the lives of our loved ones.
The idea that we might ration health care to seniors (or anyone else) is political anathema. Politicians do not dare breathe the R word, lest they be accused—however wrongly—of trying to pull the plug on Grandma. But the need to spend less money on the elderly at the end of life is the elephant in the room in the health-reform debate. Everyone sees it but no one wants to talk about it. At a more basic level, Americans are afraid not just of dying, but of talking and thinking about death. Until Americans learn to contemplate death as more than a scientific challenge to be overcome, our health-care system will remain unfixable.
Posted: Apr 6 2012, 04:45 AM
Member No.: 4
Joined: 5-July 08
There are times when tos best interest or according too much medical intervention is NOT in the patient best interests or wishes.however as soon as you start puttng the pen to paper and legally allowing doctors to limit the amount of care /meds etc then you are on a VERY short road to hell. How many poloticians have agreed to this as long as it doesnt affect them???
As for the argument that the money is best spent on the young ...who paid in the money in the first place ?????