No one wants to talk about it? OH REALLY?
is the contribution from Newsweek, a fairly large & influential American magazine, to what is called the health care debate.
The Case for Killing Granny
Rethinking end-of-life care.
By Evan Thomas | NEWSWEEK
Published Sep 12, 2009
From the magazine issue dated Sep 21, 2009
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.
My comment: very well, I will be more than happy to think and to talk about it. As a preliminary, let me call you a liar as you have called me, and all Americans, cowards. You casually assume, nameless Mouth of the Dark Lord of Newsweek, that no one can disagree with your political program except through an unwillingness to think about the issue due to quaking fear. Let me also call you a liar again, for claiming our health care system is broken. It is not even sick. But all this to one side, let us talk about this anathema idea, shall we? Let's.
First, let us review a few facts. ( Collapse )