Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Come for the Teaser - Stay for the Truth!!

Since I'm getting hits from people looking for Chaplin Gordon James Klingenschmitt's little manifesto I thought it only fair to tear his little talking points apart one by one.

I mean, why not? If you're interested in the truth someone might as well be willing to break it down into common-speak for you and hope you're willing to read the truth and at least consider it.

Who knows? Maybe you'll even be moved enough to research on your own in an attempt to prove me wrong.

I'll welcome the attempt. Maybe we'll all learn something.

1) EUTHANASIA is the first result of Obama's socialist government "health" care plan.

False. Not only is it not the first result - it won't even be the last one. It won't be a result at all. Whatever sinister plan you're looking for - look elsewhere. The wording in question refers to a patient's ability to request (I repeat request) if HE/SHE SO DESIRES to make such a request for a consultation regarding the patient's OWN wishes for his/her end of life care.

I gotta tell you - this has been available for a long time now. It was available years ago when I first started working in The Emergency Room. It's called "having a living will" and it protects the patient more than any other single document in the world does. It is up to the PATIENT, not the insurance company, not the doctor, not the hospital and certainly not the government to decide what, if any, measures he/she would want taken if his/her life was seriously threatened by illness or injury. The bad thing is - if it's not written down and witnessed, it's not possible for any of those people to honor it.

The only thing the new health bill would have to with this whole process would be to exlain your options in language you can easily understand and to pay for it. BUT YOU ONLY GET IT IF YOU REQUEST IT. If the patient doesn't request it, it doesn't happen. There is absolutely nothing in the current bill which mandates this admittedly delicate but utmostly important consultation. Nothing, I repeat, NOTHING says you have to take advantage of it.

Personally, from what I've seen of serious illness and grave accidents (and I've seen a lot of both - much more than most people have seen,) anyone who doesn't take advantage of the offer is either a fool or insane.

Making an Advance Directive is just plain common sense - and kindness. It absolves your family from making agonizing decisions regarding your care should you become unable to make your own wishes known plus it prevents the doctors and medical staff from doing anything you, yourself, have not already decided you would want done in advance.

Plus (here's the good part) it WORKS BOTH WAYS!!! People get hysterical easy, apparently, and they've all decided that the only thing an Advance Directive or a Living Will is good for is choosing the death option. WRONG!! It's as much about life as it is death. If you say "I wish for all possible resources to be used to extend my life" then by golly, that's what the doctor's will do - everything. Your family can't override it, the doctor can't override it, the insurance company can't override it and the government can't override it.

On the other hand, if you DON'T have a living will or an advance directive (like, say, Terry Schiavo didn't have one) then, and only then, will your family and/or maybe your doctor and/or the local courts, and/or the State Supreme Court and/or The US Supreme Court be forced into making that decision for you.

In other words, regardless of what you want done - be it a peaceful death without machinery or a full out fight to the finish - if YOU want to make that decision and spare the rest of the world from getting involved then this little "write in" co-written and co-sponsored by two Republicans, House Rep.Charles Boustany (R-La.), a physician, and Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) which is currently causing so much false alarum and being bandied about like so much Nazi-ism is exactly what you need and want.

It's a good thing even now (thanks in no small part to President Bush who, in 2003, had the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality issue a 20-page report outlining a five-part process for physicians to discuss end-of-life care with their patients with nary a whisper about euthanasia or "death panels") when the options have to be figured out alone or, if you're lucky, with a kindly doctor or nurse who's willing to explain it all to you without benefit of payment.

It's an even better thing when your insurance is going to have to pay for the professional to explain those options to you.

And that, in a truthful nutshell, is what all this needless hysteria stems from.

How sad for everyone out there who either wants to hold onto life with a vengence for as long as possible as well as for those who wish nothing more than to be allowed to die with dignity.

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