Well, I have a lot to say about this right-wing claim that Obama’s health plan is evil because it includes money to cover consultations for people who want to discuss end of life care with their doctors. I’ll get down and dirty presently, but I have a question for the Palin supporters, and those Catholic clergy who said that all people who can’t take nourishment must be put on feeding tubes.
Is this what you want for yourself? You should write up an advance directive to make sure that if you become apathetic, and lose your appetite in your dying days, a feeding tube will be placed. This will remove all risk that a spouse or child will tell the doctors to just keep you comfortable.
And what should we do with the spouses and children who tell the doctors to stop treatment. Who claim that they know what their loved one would want done, who speak for them. Is political slander sufficient? Public naming and shaming? Or should we prosecute? Why should some elderly widow be let off the hook?
The truth is that everyone wants to have control of their own body and their own care. People who are facing their own mortality have a right to have their wishes respected, and to designate someone they trust to serve as their power of attorney.
I’ve seen people make decisions that I might not agree with, and have good outcomes. Some refused care, some opted to have everything possible done. It was their right to make that choice.
The default plan, when a person does not specify otherwise, is to do everything. CPR, ventilator, feeding tube. Sometimes this succeeds in winning time and quality of life. The patient recovers and weans off the vent. Often it ends with an undignified death on a stretcher in the ER, or days of suffering and decline before death cannot be prevented. People have a right to know what the options are and to state their own wishes. It’s not ‘evil’ to talk about it.
Newt Gingrich is talking about it. He’s with Sarah Palin. He claims that the Obama health plan will lead to euthanasia. This is based on his perception of the evilness of the Democrats generally. He doesn’t offer any plan to help the Americans who don’t have access to health care. This is our present system at work–
Twelve-year-old Deamonte Driver died of a toothache Sunday.
A routine, $80 tooth extraction might have saved him.
If his mother had been insured.
If his family had not lost its Medicaid.
If Medicaid dentists weren’t so hard to find.
If his mother hadn’t been focused on getting a dentist for his brother, who had six rotted teeth.
By the time Deamonte’s own aching tooth got any attention, the bacteria from the abscess had spread to his brain, doctors said. After two operations and more than six weeks of hospital care, the Prince George’s County boy died.
Deamonte’s death and the ultimate cost of his care, which could total more than $250,000, underscore an often-overlooked concern in the debate over universal health coverage: dental care.
This is an example of an utterly broken system that is letting people die. Malignant neglect and heartless stupidity. Trig Palin could fall victim to this kind of thing if health care reform fails. Sarah Palin waves him around fending off imaginary Nazis, but real troubles may await him in the future if the Palins fall out of the upper class and Trig has to depend on what’s left of the safety net.