Wednesday, July 29, 2009

SOHC 15: End of Life Care

Charles Krauthammer, during Special Report: (emphases mine)

    Byron talked about Obama's answer about the 100-year-old woman who... had the pacemaker, and he said, well, perhaps she should have had a painkiller.

    Well, that not only is chilling, it is a revelation of abysmal ignorance on the part of the president. You don't treat an arrhythmia with a painkiller.

    This is a guy who wants to run one-sixth of our economy in health care, and he doesn't know the most elementary things about it.

    But on the larger issue here having to deal with end-of-life care, I looked at the language [in the House bill]. There is no requirement that you be counseled, because it would be inherently coercive. If you're dying and a government official shows up and says I want to discuss options including your death, that obviously is going to be kind of a coercion.

    But the idea that it is important to do it [end-of-life counseling] years in advance is nonsense. We heard Senator Grassley say this stuff ought to be decided when you're 50 and not when you're 80. What doctor, when he has an 80-year-old with pneumonia, will look at a document signed 30 years earlier and say he [the patient] decided he didn't want to have extra treatment, so I'll pull the plug?

    The idea of advanced directives (as it is called in the [medical] lingo) or living wills are determinative, is absolutely false. It almost never applies. It only [applies] if you are in a coma or demented, and even in those cases, it's the wishes of the family which almost always override everything in writing.

1 comment:

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