September 19, 2008

"If you're demented, you're wasting people's lives -- your family's lives -- and you're wasting the resources of the National Health Service."

And so it begins:
"I'm absolutely, fully in agreement with the argument that if pain is insufferable, then someone should be given help to die, but I feel there's a wider argument that if somebody absolutely, desperately wants to die because they're a burden to their family, or the state, then I think they too should be allowed to die.

"Actually I've just written an article called 'A Duty to Die?' for a Norwegian periodical. I wrote it really suggesting that there's nothing wrong with feeling you ought to do so for the sake of others as well as yourself."

[British moral philosopher Lady Warnock] went on: "If you've an advance directive, appointing someone else to act on your behalf, if you become incapacitated, then I think there is a hope that your advocate may say that you would not wish to live in this condition so please try to help her die.

"I think that's the way the future will go, putting it rather brutally, you'd be licensing people to put others down."
She would like you to sign a document that says you want to be killed if you develop Alzheimer's Syndrome and can no longer care for yourself. And she wants it to be legal to off you if the circumstances arise.

Much outrage is being expressed, but I have no doubt that many people calculating the economics of government-provided health care think about how terribly useful this option would be and look forward to the day when people will no longer be outraged and will, in fact, feel guilty if they do not sign up for the program. Quite aside from guilt and a sense of duty, it would be easy to wrest consent out of people by offering high quality health care to those who agree in advance to be murdered if they get too expensive.

ADDED: The Anchoress sees value in long, drawn out dying.


Anonymous said...

We're getting so cleaver as a society that we're figuring out how to eradicate all opportunities for the rest of us to grow in spirit, compassion, and selflessness by caring for others on a one-on-one basis.

"Let them each cyanide"

Paddy O said...

Actually, I find the quite ill often to have a lot of wisdom and insight. Caring for them, as Nouwen so poignantly writes about, can also be a profound activity.

So, I say we keep those folks.

However, I say we should be rid of the merely irritating and annoying. Not the great fiends or foes, nor the mighty heroes, or great doers of deeds. Just the folks who live in a cocoon of their own selfishness and make never a mark on this world, even within their own small circles.

Let's get rid of them. We could have a ten year review of what each person has done with themselves.

Busybodies too. Let's get rid of all the busybodies and chickenshits.

Such people are wasting the resources of the universe.

We'd all be better off with just the sick and the enlightened, and with all the resource saving and rampant do-gooding we probably wouldn't even need a National Health Service to make such uninformed decisions for society. Which means that whole bureaucracy could likely be... eliminated.

bleeper said...

I would rather be a burden to the state. They have burdened me my whole life, the least I can do is return the favor.

Peter V. Bella said...

If I remember correctly, it sounds like some portions of the Hillary Health Care plan.

Patm said...

Soylent Green is people.

This stuff has been coming for a while. Really, if you ever read Humane Vitae that pope predicted this back in the '60's

And of course both Hitler and Stalin had policies promoting the "humane" deaths of those who burden society.

UWS guy said...

haha, that's pretty good bleeper!

Honestly though, Before my father died last year we moved him from the hospital to the house (under hospice) because he knew that the doctors would be able to keep his body alive for weeks or months at the cost of ultimately bankrupting our family with bills.

He chose a quick albiet painful death in our living room rather than put our family through the financial ruin the hospital would have extracted.

Would I have been willing to pay 100,000 dollars so he could have an extra month? Possibly, but it wasn't up to me, it was up to my father.

I remember feeding him the morphine pills and wishing I could ease his pain, if there were a way to have made it less painful given his wishes not to receive hospital care I would hope the state wouldn't decide they knew my fathers will better than he.

The Democrats want to control everyone with a socialized system and the Republicans want to control everyone via the Terry Schaivo doctrine.

Help make healthcare affordable and leave the moral decisions to the individuals.

Jim said...

...and if people don't sign up for it voluntarily, then by God we'll just decide for them that it's time for them to shuffle off the mortal coil...

This is the same basis on which Biden's "it's patriotic to pay more taxes" argument rests. That if you, as an individual, don't volunteer to off yourself, pay more taxes, submit to mandatory enslavement, or anything else our Leftist, statist superiors have told us is in the best interest of the government; then, by God, we'll just make you do under threat of imprisonment if you dare dissent.

As I stated in a previous thread, this is all well and good if you're the person at the top of the ladder making the decisions who lives and dies, who pays more and who doesn't, etc. But what happens when you aren't? What happens when the people are in charge decide that it's your turn to "take one for the team."

There's a name for it: it's totalitarianism, and they name is Democrat.

Jim said...

uws -

The "Terry Schiavo doctrine" as you describe it is that you - not people who have a financial interest in offing you - decide when it's time to go. What was lost in the whole Schiavo situation was that the people who wanted her life terminated were people who stood to benefit financially when she did. Kind of like the government under a government-run health care system.

If you fill out a living will, then you decide whether or not extraordinary measures would be taken. No Republican has ever said that living wills shouldn't be honored or that they should be illegal.

You raise a straw man by claiming that Republicans want to control your life through the "Terry Schiavo Doctrine" which doesn't, in fact, exist. To the extent that there is an overriding principle in play for Republicans it is simply this:

In the absence of a clearly expressed wish by the person in question, the law should err in favor of preserving the life of a person who can not speak for himself.

If you would argue that this is "an attempt to control your life," then I would suggest that you seek medical treatment for your extreme paranoia.

P_J said...

One of the uglier things vomited up from the left regarding Trig Palin was how irresponsible his parents were to knowingly give birth to a Down Syndrome child.

chuck b. said...

Being allowed to die because you're a burden on the state--is that a new idea in the world?

The "absolutely, desperately" qualification is risible. If you absolutely, desperately want to die, there's nothing anyone can do to stop you. (Unless you're paralyzed, in which case you're fucked.) Just don't tell anyone.

Zaplito said...

What they allow you to do today they will obligate you to do tomorrow.

The idea of freedom from pain for the terminally suffering was the foot in the door (camel's nose in the tent). It's really about removing the undesirable, the non-contributing members of the society.

How can you not make the obvious comparison to the Nazis?

P_J said...

Even though I find Lady Warnock's ideas morally abhorrent, and she is old and arguably past her usefulness, I will still defend her right to exist.

bleeper said...

Soylent Green is people.

UWS guy said...

No Jim. The republicans are against physician assisted suicide also. My fathers choice was a gun or agony for 8 days with me feeding him useless morphine by hand. The first choice would have broken my mother, so my father was left with the second.

go fuck yourself.

Revenant said...

UWS is correct. Republicans -- or the Bush administration, at any rate -- have been against assisted suicide and "living will"-endorsed euthanasia as well, and have used the power of the federal government in an attempt to force states into compliance with this view.

The Schiavo case was merely an extreme example. It was obvious to rational thinkers that what made Terry "Terry" was long-since gone, and indeed an autopsy confirmed this. The battle was over allowing a lifeless husk to perish.

Anonymous said...

It's funny. Healthy people theorize all the time about how other people whose lives are full of pain and suffering must want to die. Yet most people who are actually in pain and experiencing suffering don't want to die at all. They want to live, as most everyone wants to live, in spite of life's pain.

Do we ever hear about the millions of people who are in pain and experiencing suffering who summon the will to live? No. Why? It's because that's not news. That's dog-bites-man.

Suicide of all kinds is and will always be exceedingly rare unless, of course, some grotesque society mandates it.

UWS guy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
P_J said...

Seven, you're no doubt right, but there are also plenty of cases where people with end-stage illness want less intervention than their families want for them.

Larry Sheldon said...

Why not just get rid of the murder and homicide laws completely?

Her in Omaha you can kill incnvenient people up unto the onset of natural labor, then you have to take them to a dropzone to get rid of them (11 year old and a teenager this week).

What a drain on Society.

People like me that have slowed up a step and aren't earning any new income to tax? A crime. Bring the Dempster around and truck us off to the biofuel plant.

An Edjamikated Redneck said...

I'm suprised you don't see teh small step from allowing an assisted, self proscribed euthanasia and a state perscribed euthanasia.

UWS Guy- my sincere sympathies on your father. I went through a similar experience with my own father 5 years ago, although not as drastic as your situation.

I don't know which was harder- watching him die by degrees or knowing that soon I would be without him.

Anyone who thinks this would be a simple decision has never faced it. I, like you, would have spent any amount for another week with him, yet at the same time I wished him gone and out of his suffering.

The Schiavo case was an extreme example, and only made headlines because of disagreement between the family, and yet is an example of how both sides think of the individual, and how each sees what they want in the same subject person.

UWS guy said...

Thanks redneck.

George M. Spencer said...

"What intrigues me is the similarity between pleasant dementia and the state that spiritual teachers encourage people to cultivate: acceptance, letting go, being fully present now. Dr. Peter Whitehouse, professor of neurology at Case Western Reserve, says he's a Buddhist practitioner and finds it "fascinating to consider what it means to live in the moment, because in many ways that's what dementia brings."

Pleasant dementia...Sara Davidson essay in Newsweek. is a good website for adult children who are caregivers of a parent or parents with dementia or Alzheimers or who are otherwise infirm.

The Drill SGT said...

I happen to be moderately pro-choice though I understand the po-life view of things.
This approach was expected

whenever the government runs health care, it ultimately becomes an issue of rationing. what procedures wll be funded and to what sorts of people.

Next comes the issue of reducing the queues for services by removing the demented, or elderly, or the suffering, or the handicapped or the geneticly likely to suffer...

How are these people different from Nazi's?

(prays for a Godwin exemption for this real need to make the comparison)

Donna B. said...

I helped care for my stepmother in the last two months of life. She was at home and we had hospice. She was in tremendous pain, and morphine, methadone, and xanax combined did little to comfort her.

She had lucid moments until the day she died, and her last words were: "It's so hard to let go."

To the very end, she wanted to live.

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

I can't think of a better reason to stave off government health insurance. Then maybe the doctors will want me to stay alive.

Dead men pay no bills.

EnigmatiCore said...

Forget the economics of it, as far as the country goes.

If it happens to me, I want to have my wife drop me off somewhere and never have to be burdened by it.

And when it gets to be so bad that I never have a day where I am me, then I want to be put down.

I won't get what I want, but it is what I want.

Jim said...

There is a HUGE difference between taking an affirmative step to end your life voluntarily as in physician-assisted suicide and Terry Schiavo's case.

What I said was absolutely, 100% correct. What UWS said was 100% wrong. Terry Schiavo did not enlist a physician to help her end her suffering. Nor did she have a living will that indicated her desire to have her life ended should she remain in a vegetative state.

The whole point of the Terry Schiavo ordeal was that there she had expressed absolutely zero desire to end her life. Her husband, who was trying to claim her life insurance policy, said that she did - with absolutely no proof other than his word to back him up. To deliberately conflate these two situations is distasteful, and I will not be deliberately taken out of context so that you can score some kind of faux outrage points at my expense.

Accordingly, UWS - you can go fuck yourself for deliberately twisting my words for your own purposes. You're the one who tried to make a political point - and you were way off base. I corrected your error, and if you want to take offense because you were wrong, then so be it.

Revenant - Show me even ONE instance where a Republican has even PROPOSED a law to make illegal a living will which states that extraordinary measures should not be taken. Until you can, what I said stands.

MadisonMan said...

My ward is 65. She has been at the approx. mental age of 6 months for most of her life due to severe seizures. It's only in the past 5 years that she displays any sort of calmness that suggests she's not in pain (nefedepine, I think it was called, soothed all the swallowing problems she was having that caused her so much discomfort).

If anyone is a burden on society, it is she. (On Milwaukee County, technically). But she deserves a comfortable life and she's getting it, and I'm thankful to taxpayers for that.

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Revenant said...

I'm suprised you don't see teh small step from allowing an assisted, self proscribed euthanasia and a state perscribed euthanasia.

That's like saying there's only a small step from "legalizing extramarital sex" to the formation of state rape squads. There's more than one step there, and none of the steps involved are small ones.

Jim said...

madisonman -

I had no quarrel with his statement about his father, why would I?

If he had left it at that, I wouldn't have bothered to respond. But he went on to talk about Republicans and a "Terry Schiavo Doctrine." He was the one who injected the argument by trying to score political points. I corrected his error, and I never made a single comment re: his father.

Thanks for your advice about what I "should have said," but if you have a quarrel with what should or should not have been said it is with UWS. We all have our own stories of personal loss and tragedy, but I don't usually end mine with trying to score political points, and then pretend outrage when someone calls me on it...

NotWhoIUsedtoBe said...

And we seem to be moving toward a world where anything but perfect health is not only unfortunate but reprehensible.

That's what happens when you put yourself in the care of people who don't really care about you, and mistake the government for your family.

The government does not care about you. The people paying taxes don't care about you. They do it because they must. Why do we pretend otherwise?

Give them control of health care, and they will soon be running your life. No smoking, no drinking, no eating cheeseburgers, and definitely no getting sick despite all that.

Giving health care to the same institution that can legally force us to obey is a bad idea. They should be separate, for everyone's sake.

UWS guy said...

I'm not Cindy Sheehan, Jim is being fair enough.

He can still go fuck himself however!

Revenant said...

Revenant - Show me even ONE instance where a Republican has even PROPOSED a law to make illegal a living will which states that extraordinary measures should not be taken.

Nice try at rewording my claim.

The most obvious example of Republican hostility to letting people decide to end their own lives was the Bush Administration's flagrantly unconstitutional (and anti-federalist) attempt to shut down the Oregon "Death with Dignity" act in 2001.

You can talk all you want about how the Schiavo case was supposedly about Terry's desires, but that's a load of horseshit and everybody on both sides of the argument knows it. Neither the Republican Party nor the right-to-lifers who crawled out of the woodwork to gather around Terry's mindless husk care about what the sick person wants. So far as that crowd's concerned the answer is always "you have to keep clinging to life" -- no matter how much pain you're in, no matter how miserable your existence, no matter if you even have a mind left to life WITH.

Revenant said...

And we seem to be moving toward a world where anything but perfect health is not only unfortunate but reprehensible.

Well, we're moving towards a world where having less than perfect health is strictly optional. :)

Larry Sheldon said...

Small step or large? The term is pretty much undefined.

The River Styx flows between a world where I can write and expect see obeyed a durable power of attorney, or Living Will, or Last Instructions; and, a world where the State or its agents decide what to with, about, or to me.

And crossing that river is a one-way trip.

I've said before--I don't understand why the libs don't just repeal the murder and homicide statutes.

It is already legal to kill an inconvenient person up to the onset of labor, why draw the line there?

Here in Omaha we a deal where you drop off inconvenient people after they are born, if you didn't start to kill them before. (I guess if you started before and botched it you can finish--not sure how that works.)

An 11 year-old and a teenager got dropped off this week--what a waste. Society would be so much better off if they were just dropped off at the biofuels plant.

I note the latest eugenics expert (yes, the earliest I know of the Science is from the early days of the National Socialist Workers Party {I hope that is Godwin -exempt]) is 84 years old.

Why didn't she cash in the last time she had a cold?

rhhardin said...

I take it nobody quietly goes out on the ice floes anymore.

Larry Sheldon said...

"And we seem to be moving toward a world where anything but perfect
health is not only unfortunate but reprehensible."

And largely undefined.

What is absodamlutly The Precise Definition of Perfect Health turns out to be pretty much wrong the next day.

I'm kind of from the place that says "we can't predict with much accuracy what the weather is ging to be in a few hours, where do we get off saying we know what it is going to be 20 years from now.

I'm almost 70. How long will I live?

I know don't know--ask my wife at the funeral.

But as long as there is a me in here, I'll make and leave my own instructions, if you please.

Ann Althouse said...

UWS guy, Donna B., I'm very sorry to hear about your parents, especially to know that they were denied adequate pain treatment. I think it is crucial that there be full pain treatment, and I'm terribly suspicious of medical professionals who do not provide it. You should not be tricked along the way to death by denial of pain treatment. That is torturing you to submit to murder.

MadisonMan said...

I reflected while walking the dog that my 6:02 comment was a little presumptuous, and for that I apologize. I should not expect others to behave as I might.

I'm going to delete it. That will make jim's and uws guy's subsequent comments a little mysterious.

Revenant said...

I think it is crucial that there be full pain treatment, and I'm terribly suspicious of medical professionals who do not provide it.

Doctors are periodically prosecuted under anti-drug laws for giving their patients too many painkillers. Thus far, none have ever been prosecuted for giving their patients too little.

Derek Kite said...

This situation illustrates the perversity of possibilities.

The british state cares for medical needs. It has to allocate resources based on some principle. It can care for people, so then has to decide who doesn't get care. Hence the perversity of having to decide on a policy of bumping off old dementia victims instead of being a bit short on the budget for something else.

The Canadian medical system handles things differently. They have a fixed amount of money, and what doesn't get done, isn't done. Or you wait for it. No need for fine parsing of ethics, just wait your turn. If you pack it in, hey.

Having gone through a family situation with an elderly parent, any government involvement was unwelcome. We have no choice up here; there isn't any other system. Individuals were wonderful, the system sucked.

Is it not possible to make a societal decision not to make a decision? Any decision becomes perverse.

Condolences and full sympathies to all who described their circumstances. Caring for an elderly parent is the hardest thing we will ever do.


theotherjimmyolson said...

You neglected to list "language" under labels.since you are twisting the meaning of the word murder as a stand-in for the word euthanasia.

Larry Sheldon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Bruce Hayden said...

What I see already with our current health care system, is a health insurance company that prefers feeding pain meds to insured over paying for back surgeries, regardless of how much that will reduce lifespan. It also requires unneeded tests that guarantee antipathetic shock to an insured who is known to be allergic to the iodine in the tests, before authorizing surgery (and, yes, said insured had to paddle marks on her chest as a result).

At least we can still get those needed surgeries, as compared to many of those countries held out to us as sterling examples of socialized medicine. A lifetime supply of pain meds is far cheaper than surgery in many cases to whoever is paying for the medical care, and arguably may have the added benefit of reducing lifespan (and thus costs).

I still cannot fathom why anyone would want the government making this sort of decisions for them and theirs.

Larry Sheldon said...

Actually "euthanasia" is a euphemism for "murder". Implies State approval.

Jeff with one 'f' said...

We can all look forward to the Left's idea of a progressive future! (ca. 1973, which is where the "Change" platform wants to return us...)

s1c said...

As I read this I think about the movie Logan's Run. Good movie, but not sure I want society to head in that direction.

kimsch said...

This kind of thing scares me silly. I have a disabled daughter, almost 18 years old. She is developmentally delayed, has epilepsy, a moderate hearing impairment, and was diagnosed with lupus two years ago.

She can recognize some written words. She tries to write her name. She loves watching Barney and Blues Clues. She loves the movie Transformers and Bumblebee. She sings along with Anne Hathaway in Elle Enchanted and puts cds in her TV/DVD player so it's a radio as she calls it.

She calls the movie Ice Age "elephant" and Ice Age 2 is "elephant water".

Trig Palin will probably be more functional than my baby girl will. She probably is not going to be a "productive member of society".

This is why this scares me. Why socialized medicine scares me. She needs daily medication to control the seizures and the lupus. But I can see someone, somewhere, deciding that the resources she uses could be better used by someone who is or will be more productive.

What will happen to her after I'm gone? Who will make decisions for her? Who will decide she'd be cheaper dead?

Joan said...

Don't have time for a search now, but I recall hearing stories from the Netherlands about inconvenient but still competent grandparents being euthanized by the state. My understanding is that the laws in the Netherlands are written along the lines that the Baroness described, but the fact is, they're useful cover for offing people who are just too old.

This isn't Soylent Green, it's Logan's Run.

Chip Ahoy said...

Your many varied comments are heartening and enlightening.

Joan said...

Here is a link to the abstract of a research study on voluntary euthanasia in the Netherlands (abstract). The results of the study are discussed here; at that time, as many as one in five instances of euthanasia in the Netherlands were involuntary. There's no reason to think the situation has improved in the time since, and there's little reason to think we would not be on the same slippery slope were we to implement such laws.

kimsch said...

The Groningen Protocol.

Cedarford said...

The problem is medical technology is outstripping our ability to economically support the brain-impaired to the almost brain-dead without extraodinary expense. No longer just 1-2 years years max, but with extensive heroic care costing thousands a week - out in some cases to 20-30 years.

The Right to Life fanatics Terri Schiavo case is a good example. The husk of her lasted 17 years with her brain rotted down to the stem. The normal ways Alzheimer, comatose patients die - bedsore infections, colonic backups, aspiration of food when the brain no longer knows when to breath or swallow - were eliminated by machines and tubes and extensive nursing home care.

The Schiavo vegetable was kept "living" because of two demanding nurses, one her husband...and over a million in malpractice lawsuit rewards. Which were lodged against the hospital and paramedics whose "err on the side of maintaining life at all costs" came back to screw them in Court.

My read is that reality is slowly sinking home on aging Baby Boomers. All the money they and other generations were taxed on for FICA was pissed away in DC on other Fed Gov't spending. Be it pork earmarks for the rich on top of their tax cuts, or new housing for parasites that wrecked 3 other public housing projects and demanded they be torn down/

No Fed money is saved for a brain-rotted Boomer to be cared for at Terri Schiavo 2,200 a week levels.

Without adding "Schiavo" level of care, Gen X and Gen Y are facing 59.8 trillion in long-term deficit to have to pay off to China and other lenders. That is, not to just pay for all Bush's deficit spending once he leaves office, but unfunded ss and Medicare obligations passed on Ponzi-style, since 75 years ago when FDRs NYC money-people realized FICA was an unaccountable money stream easily spent away on non-FICA expenditures.

Without the FICA tax charge, which has paid for so much pork to Ted Stevens and Robert Byrd's donors, the Fed Gov't deficit would be nearly 3 trillion, not the official Bush declaration of 500 billion that the Saudis and Chinese must prop up with IOU's.

Right-to Life for decades for basic Rutabagas does not appear to be sustainable by the government. Maybe the long term solution is for people to join a Church of Perpetual Schiavohood, where if everyone chips in 1700- 3,000 or so a month in vegetative care insurance - that brain-rotted members can be sustained for 2-3 decades with "miracle technolgy" and 24 hour intensive care.

We also have a world where for 30 years, baby boomers assumed there was endless resources available for elective wars, cradle to grave entitlements of black inner city parasites, endless money to fuel "rights" to as much lawyers, medical care, disaster relief, foreign aid as we cared to demand.

That world ended when spoiled boomers finally faced reality this historical week that artifical fiscal bubbbles all collapse eventually if not backed by real wealth creation, and the export of our competive wealth generating jobs has not created "even better jobs" than sustain wealth consuming sectors like medical care, law, gov't employees.

No more belief that "love of veggies" comes without huge opportunity costs. Want to spend our declining wealth on 2 decades of life extension for Rutagagas instead of education or new fossil free energy or "liberation and nation-building" of exploding 3rd World nations?

OK. Make your choices.

But the era of pretending we can afford it all and still worship the nutty Reagan creed of endless tax cuts and surefire trickledown of the rich peoples coffers to the masses for great new ChinaMart goods....

It's over.

Paying for 100 Schiavos or funding a top surgery/trauma center.

Take your pick.

Or 100 Schiavos vs, having 2,000 trained Marines.

Take your pick.

Or 100 Schiavos vs. tax subsidies for 500 windfarms that cut our loss of wealth to the Saudis by 9 million a year.

Take your pick.

America no longer has the wealth to pretend we can do it all. Private citizens do, but only when they are willing to make painful choices.

College education for the kids or private Schiavo insurance to keep older senile or demented relatives living long past when they would have died naturally.

Larry Sheldon said...

I don't mind making choices.

I do mind the Staat making the choices for me.

Donna B. said...

Ann, thank you for your kind words. I just want to point out that I don't think my stepmother was DENIED adequate pain treatment, but that there is a fine line between killing the pain and killing the patient.

We also had difficulty with her inability to swallow during the last week. We were discussing whether we could be allowed to give her medication by shot under hospice care in the home or whether she would have to be hospitalized for that, when she died.

I was struck by how quickly she died after choking on some jello -- within 24 hours. Up until that time, she had seemed stable for 3 or 4 weeks.

Perhaps that is because we had established a stable routine for caring for her, not that her health was stable.

It can't be denied that some end of life care is done for the benefit of the survivors.

I totally agree with you that no one be denied adequate pain treatment. Had my stepmother ever begged us to do "anything in our power" to relieve her pain, I'm not sure what we would have done and frankly do not want to think too hard about it.

She did not do that, possibly to spare us. As I said, she had lucid moments all along. Her non-lucid moments were thinking that I was her mother, or that my father was a long-dead uncle, re-living long ago experiences as if they were happening right now.

I cannot imagine how her last days could be considered as wasting people's or her family's lives. She managed to bring us all closer together (neighbors and family) and remind us how much we love each other. How can that be a waste?

Donna B. said...

Cedarford, you can sometimes be a real jerk, ya know?

Schiavo was an extreme case. What's that saying? Extreme cases make for bad law?

Anonymous said...


*shrug* it's already going on. This is just post-justification by "ethicists".

In the UK, and other countries with socialized medicine, there is an age limit to *every* treatment.

If you're over that age line for that treatment, then treatment is refused.

Anonymous said...


@ cedarford

Your argument is punctured by facts.

1. Her family was willing to take care of her.

2. No accounting was made of the money from the medical award.

3. It's entirely possible that she would still be alive and well had guardianship been given to her parents.

4. There is no single diagnosis for PVS and any number of people have come out of PVS sane and whole.

Donna B. said...

kimsch, I can understand your fear a little bit. My son suffered a severe closed head injury in an accident 20+ years ago.

He's capable of taking care of all his "ADLs" but he's not capable of holding down a full-time job.

I am fortunate that he does not have the needs of the intensity your daughter does. And I'm fortunate he's alive. If his accident had been 30+ years ago or if there hadn't been someone on the scene who knew artificial respiration techniques, he'd be dead.

He would certainly be on this crazy lady's list of those who are a waste of resources.

I am fortunate and secure in the knowledge that his sisters, brothers, and cousins will watch out for him after I'm gone.

You have every reason to be scared silly.

Unknown said...

My mom has Alzheimer's, and she's not my mom any more. I want someone to kill me if I'm like she is now. I wish that were an available option. But it's a choice each person should make for themselves.

kimsch said...

Thanks Donna.

She can dress herself, feed herself, go to the bathroom herself. All those things are a boon to me. But she needs help showering and brushing her teeth and at that time of the month.

She likes to color and play and watch TV.

She can't be a bagger at the grocery store though.

She signs some to help us understand what she wants because she doesn't speak well even though we had her at a school for the deaf for a semester, but she was kicked out for talking too much and not signing enough.

Donna B. said...

"She signs some to help us understand what she wants because she doesn't speak well even though we had her at a school for the deaf for a semester, but she was kicked out for talking too much and not signing enough." -- kimsch

That's one of the best examples of "falling through the cracks" of the system as I've ever heard.

former law student said...

Warnock is a monster. But all you libertarians, consider: Unless cared for by family members, dementia sufferers in America today live in nursing homes until their money is gone, and then the taxpayers support them via Medicaid until their death.

I'm curious what types of financial provision people are making for their disabled children, to provide for them after they pass on.

Just so you can count your blessings: The mother of a coworker was diagnosed with premature dementia, and died some three years later at the age of 46.

John Stodder said...

I have been told that Alzheimer's diagnosis is only made conclusively post-mortem.

From watching my father during these years, what's clear to me is that dementia is more a trend than a straight line. If the National Health examined him on Tuesday, they might decide he is hopelessly out of his gourd. If they examined him on Wednesday, they'd think he was sharp.

My issue is how easy it has been for him to keep driving. He shouldn't be driving. But the government puts few obstacles in his place.

Before we even start talking about assisted suicide or duty to die, can we deal with first things first, and get old, blind and confused drivers off the roads?

Methadras said...

Gene Roddenberry had it right.

chuck b. said...

"My issue is how easy it has been for him to keep driving. He shouldn't be driving. But the government puts few obstacles in his place."

We resorted to cunning, deception, manipulation, and lies to get my grandfather off the road. It was the right thing to do, and we all slept easier at night after we turned that page.

Palladian said...

"Cedarford, you can sometimes be a real jerk, ya know?"

His favorite Doktor to consult on ethical matters is Mengele.

Unknown said...

It's patriotic to pay your "fair share" (i.e. higher) taxes, and patriotic not to use more than your "fair share" of national resources.

knox said...

Help make healthcare affordable and leave the moral decisions to the individuals.

Agreed. The only possible way to do that is to keep the State out of it.

KCFleming said...

I quit doing hospice care because of these problems.

In end-of-life care, I am completely pro-choice. You want drugs for pain. I gave you drugs. You happen to take way too many? I understood. You're stoic? That's cool. Whatever. I'm just here to help.

Then an oncologist got his license yanked and had to go to re-education classes to get his head straight and act right. Then it happened in several other states. Then the Schiavo case with your name getting into the paper for being a killer.

Hell with that.

George M. Spencer said...

"Much outrage is being expressed, but I have no doubt that many people calculating the economics of government-provided health care think about how terribly useful this option would be and look forward to the day when people will no longer be outraged and will, in fact, feel guilty if they do not sign up for the program. Quite aside from guilt and a sense of duty, it would be easy to wrest consent out of people by offering high quality health care to those who agree in advance to be murdered if they get too expensive."

Professor, I love it when you play devil's advocate.

One day we'll have booths like those on Eminiar 7.

Or will it be like the way old Rico goes. If only Thorn had gotten there on time.

"A full 20 minutes. Guaranteed."

KCFleming said...

I forgot to add, the last straw was when Medicare (which does nursing home surveillance) put in various penalties for undertreating pain (how that was determined I dunno), and at the same time penalizing for overtreatment (determined by causing delirium or if the patient falls).

So just as long as you do everything so that really old people never get sick, fall down, or die, you're good.

Anyway, I no longer practice geriatrics or hospice care as a result of State meddling. And yes, it will become your patriotic duty to die in a nationalized system. After you've paid your taxes, of course.

Jason said...

I think anyone who can refer to Terri Schiavo or anyone else as "a mindless husk" is already dead.

Jason said...

Just many people here have purchased long term care insurance for themselves or for a loved one?

If not, why not? Have you looked into it and it is unaffordable? Did you not know it exists? Did you try to get it and were turned down? Or are you making a calculated decision to spend down all your assets and become a Medicaid patient?

KCFleming said...

I have it.