Monday, August 23, 2010

Coming Soon - Death Panels!

Hospice, Living Wills, Futile Care: Hospice, Hospitals & Nursing Homes Have License To Kill
Culture of death
By Daniel T. Zanoza
Wednesday, October 6, 2010
-Illinois Family Institute
If you think the story I’m about to tell you sounds sensational, it is. If you think the information provided in this column sounds unbelievable, unfortunately, it is not. The fact of the matter is: America’s health care system has gone far beyond the madness demonstrated by Dr. Jack Kevorkian who was convicted of murder in 1999. “Dr. Death” Kevorkian received a sentence of 10 to 25 years for the role he played in a nine-year crusade which led to the deaths of over 130 human beings.
Many hospitals and nursing homes are now the new “killing fields” in America, especially when it comes to the care of senior citizens. The truth is, the older a patient is, the more likely death will be the outcome as a result of an agenda which places little, if any, value on life.
Earlier this year, during the debate over health care reform, former Alaskan governor, Sarah Palin, addressed the issue of death panels which would be a part of the health care reform package passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama. But, in a way, Palin was far behind the curve, as were most Americans, including myself, when it comes to end-of-life issues.
“Most people believe a death panel is a panel, but it’s not,” said Dr. Tonimarie Vincent of North Carolina, an associate member of the Catholic Medical Association. “A death panel is one doctor. The American public does not understand this. You can go into an emergency room for an acute condition and if you have a chronic diagnosis that already exists, that doctor will look at you and, if you’re elderly or you don’t have the right insurance, they’ll say: ‘Well, it’s just not worth treating the patient.’ So, that’s the death panel. Therefore, they’re executing the futility protocol and they’re saying: ‘This is a futile case, the patient is going to die anyway, they have a chronic condition, forget the acute condition that brought them in here, let’s just not treat them.’ So, whether the health care provider practices slow medicine, exit treatment or whatever, they just don’t provide the patient with the care they need.”
Dr. Vincent is part of a growing number of activists in the legal and medical professions who are exposing and documenting what has become entrenched in our nation’s health care system.
I believe what Dr. Vincent is talking about here is part of the “culture of death” which now permeates our society. But there are some fine people and organizations who are shining a bright and cleansing light on end-of-life issues. One such organization is called LifeTree whose Executive Director is Elizabeth Wickham of North Carolina. Also, Bill Beckman, Executive Director of the Illinois Right to Life Committee has written extensively on issues which include the dangers of living wills, hospice care and futile care. I suggest those of you who have parents, grandparents, siblings or loved ones who are reaching their golden years look at the information provided at both of these web sites.
To make matters worse, recently, the implementation of hospice care—which was originally meant to ease the pain of terminally ill patients—has now become an instrument designed to hasten death in America. I believe God has been speaking to me and not with quiet whispers in the midst of spiritual contemplation. Of late, His voice has been loud and clear regarding some of the end-of-life issues addressed in this column.
I believe in Providence. As I was writing this column, I received a phone call from a friend. I am totally blind, and my wife, Julie, who edits my work, was looking through some of the e-mails that we received today while I was on the phone. Something amazing happened. I received a touching and poignant e-mail from Christina Bowen, a woman whose Mother had just passed. To say this message came to my attention by coincidence would be foolish on my part. Christina Bowen sent me a comment in regards to one in a series of columns written by Bill Beckman on end-of-life issues which were posted on my website/blog ( in August of 2008. The series also included a commentary written by Stephen Bloom, a Christian lawyer and author of many books, including “The Believer’s Guide to Legal Issues”. His website is
Here is what Ms. Bowen wrote:
“I honestly believe with all my heart that if Hospice had not been in charge of my mother’s care, that she would still be alive today. My mom was 70 years old and had cancer. We are well aware that this is a terminal disease, yet she was no where near the end of her life.
My mom had bone cancer in both of her upper legs. She was in a wheel chair so it was hard for her to travel. She was also on bottled oxygen. After several months of consideration she decided not to take any more chemotherapy or radiation. The only thing she needed was something to control her pain, because the cancer was not going to go away. On September the first, I took her to see her oncologist for the last time. They decided together that Hospice could provide her with the care she needed from here on out. On that day my mom was of sound mind and doing well. We left the doctor’s office and went out to dinner together.
The next day the Hospice nurses came to the house for an evaluation. They took control over all of mom’s medications and instructed us not to call 911 in case of an emergency. Everything from here on out was to be determined by the Hospice physician. They immediately increased her fentynol patch from 50mcg to 100mcg. They increased her oral pain medicine from 30mg of oxycodone to 100-120mg oxycodone per day.
The changes started immediately. At first she seemed to be “high”. She was sleepier than normal, kind of nodding out all the time. Started being confused, loss of appetite, and had trouble swallowing. We called the Hospice nurses and reported the side effects. My sister and I were convinced that she was receiving too much pain medicine and that she might even overdose from it. They insisted that it was just a part of the final stages of life. Even though no one ever came to the house to check her out.
As time went by, the side effects worsened. She started having trouble breathing, sweating, and even hallucinations. She finally went into a coma. We were on the phone with Hospice constantly trying to seek help for our mom. We knew that she was being overdosed, but again was told that it was a normal part of the death cycle.
On Sept. the 8th Hospice finally showed up at the house. Mom was in a coma and unable to take her medicines. They insisted that she was just in her final stages of life and the morphine had nothing to do with what we were seeing. They said she must continue to take her morphine, so they went to the pharmacy and ordered a liquid form to be administered. She died later that evening.
I know cancer kills people. I know that my mom was going to eventually lose her battle and die, too. But I also know that she was not there yet. She was just in pain, she wasn’t dying. So in a time span of 5-6 days, our mom went from being an independent, strong willed woman, to a childlike infant, and then finally, just gone.
I blame myself for allowing this to happen. Looking back I know I could have done something to have prevented this. I should have followed my instincts and removed the patch, stopped the oral drugs, and took her to the hospital against their instructions. But I didn’t. I let them kill my mom.
So, for anyone reading this, I beg you to please, please, think long and hard about signing a loved one up for Hospice. And make sure that you are ready to say goodbye when you do.”
To say I was stunned after my wife read me these words would be an understatement of the greatest proportion. In the past, many cultures cherished their elders. Those in their senior years were highly revered and seen as depositories of great wisdom who helped guide their respective families and communities because of their life experiences. Today in America, those approaching (and in) their later years are now seen as burdens on society and a culture which has lost its way.
I plead with Illinois Family Institute readers to heed the warnings. Perhaps you can look back and remember the passing of one of your loved ones who seemed to fade away too quickly, while they were in the “care” of those who, supposedly, were looking out for their best interests and well-being. I have looked back and I now believe my Mother was also a victim of what Christina Bowen wrote about above.
It must be noted that not all hospice care providers are bad. Also, there are ways to protect yourself and your loved ones, including downloading the Patient Self-Protection Document (from the Illinois Right to Life Committee website) which includes a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care Document which may one day save your life or the life of a loved one. But, most important, be aware of the dangers which lurk in places which once were sanctuaries meant for our well-being, but many no longer are.
If your parent or grandparent is hospitalized, ask questions of their doctors, nurses, pharmacists and anyone else involved with their health care. Ask what medications they are taking and why? Do not be intimidated. Do not let them dismiss your concerns. If they do not respond positively, go elsewhere for medical care…IMMEDIATELY. Ms. Bowen blames herself for what happened to her mother, but she is not to blame. The blame lies within a system which hastened her mother’s premature death, instead of making her comfortable before her ultimate passing.
I hope this column is a service to you all. Please share this information with everyone you know. My thanks to the Illinois Family Institute for its work in defense of the defenseless and for giving hope to the hopeless. I pray you all peace.
What is a death panel?
Best Answer - Chosen by Voters
Although we don't actually call them "death panels", we do have them here in Britain. We have a socialized healthcare system called the NHS here which is managed and run by the government and which everyone pays for in their taxes. There is never enough money to go around in the NHS, so if a patient is very old for instance and is dying of cancer and would die in a year or two anyway, then a panel of doctors often decides whether it is worth them being given treatment or having an operation or not in terms of cost. If it isn't worth it then they won't get the treatment and the treatment will be set aside for someone who is younger. The same goes for people who smoke. If you smoke and need a heart or lung operation, for instance, at a lot of hospitals where the funds are tight, the panel will put you to the back of the waiting list and spend the money treating someone who doesn't smoke but has the same illness or needs the same operation. The same thing also applies for alcoholics.
Death Panels ... They’re Baaack!!
Fundamental Transformation: "Death Panels" - Round II
By William R. Mann
Thursday, August 19, 2010
While this Fox News Channel Interview: is not nearly tough enough, it re-exposes one of the the Big Lies about Obamacare. This is not a bright set of prospects out there for patients with life threatening illnesses. Since when did we become a Utilitarian Nation?
But first a Riddle: Which do you think will happen first, the Rapture, or the Fundamental Transformation of America? Perhaps with the right set of pills, denial, and rationing of care, Obamacare will conveniently enable both to happen simultaneously. Riddle solved!
America was warned about “Death Panels,” but, because the criticism was championed by Sarah Palin and certain Right to Life groups, the idea was ridiculed. Obama was able to tell this Big Lie before a Joint Session of Congress and blow-off the issue for a while. Donald Berwick, his nominee to be Head Rationer and Death Panel CEO, will get cream puff treatment and be confirmed. I wonder if Obama also has in mind some future “Mengele Award for Fundamentally Transformational Achievements in Healthcare?”
BTW: Where does the Constitution even begin to enumerate Universal Health Care as a Right, much less the Right to Die? Piffle! ... no matter! The Constitution has apparently become a mere decoration to be hauled out for display on certain National Holidays along with the Declaration of Independence. But even that Tradition will end during the Fundamental Transformation. Remember: Michelle Obama has told us that Barack wants to create “new traditions” and a “new history.” for America
Maybe soon we may also have new, enlightened holidays in the US of A: How about these two: a “New Progressive Bill of Rights Day,” or a “World Citizen Day” in the United States. The first would involve cell group committees [no, not Soviets], ever re-writing the Constitution to list ever more rights for the Workers [no, not the Proletariat]. The latter would create Free Citizenship for the First 10 Million Illegal Aliens to cross into America each year. This would come with a Complimentary Lifetime Membership in the new, Transformed Democrat Party, and define lifetime, compulsory voting obligations for all Brave New Party Members. Yes Comrade, they see a glorious future for a new America, a Brave New World.
As we watch this banana being unpeeled, Obama will still stand unquestioned and unscathed by his fawning media. He’ll still be blaming Bush, calling us racists, and chastising us all with his wagging finger for not trusting him more. Shame on us.
But I digress ...
I hope voters have learned a lesson, but somehow I have my doubts. It’s almost as if the Democrats have applied a certain gene therapy that gives a majority of voters the memory span of an unsexed California Fruit Fly. But they are not smart enough to do that ... are they?
The main problem, as I see it, is that the “Stupid Party” never confronts the Big Lie with the “Big Truth” because they don’t obey the US Constitution either!
We should all be wondering why that is so, but I just can’t seem to recall why….
No ‘death panel’ in health care bill
Provision would finance end-of-life care counselling — if patient wants it
The Associated Press
08 August 2009
WASHINGTON — Former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin says the health care overhaul bill would set up a "death panel." Federal bureaucrats would play God, ruling on whether ailing seniors are worth enough to society to deserve life-sustaining medical care. Palin and other critics are wrong.
Nothing in the legislation would carry out such a bleak vision. The provision that has caused the uproar would instead authorize Medicare to pay doctors for counseling patients about end-of-life care, if the patient wishes. Here are some questions and answers on the controversy:
Q: Does the health care legislation bill promote "mercy killing," or euthanasia?
A: No.
Q: Then what's all the fuss about?
A: A provision in the House bill written by Rep. Earl Blumenauer, D-Ore., would allow Medicare to pay doctors for voluntary counseling sessions that address end-of-life issues. The conversations between doctor and patient would include living wills, making a close relative or a trusted friend your health care proxy, learning about hospice as an option for the terminally ill and information about pain medications for people suffering chronic discomfort.
The sessions would be covered every five years, more frequently if someone is gravely ill.
Q: Is anything required?
A. Monsignor Charles Fahey, 76, a Catholic priest who is chairman of the board of the National Council on Aging, a nonprofit service and advocacy group, says no.
"We have to make decisions that are deliberative about our health care at every moment," Fahey said. "What I have said is that if I cannot say another prayer, if I cannot give or get another hug, and if I cannot have another martini — then let me go."
Q: Does the bill advocate assisted suicide?
A: No. It would block funds for counseling that presents suicide or assisted suicide as an option.
Q: Who supports the provision?
A: The American Medical Association, the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization and Consumers Union are among the groups supporting the provision. AARP, the seniors' lobby, is taking out print advertisements this week that label as false the claim that the legislation will empower the government to take over life-and-death decisions from individuals.
Q: Should the federal government be getting involved with living wills and end-of-life questions — decisions that are highly personal and really difficult?
A: It already is.
The government requires hospitals to ask adult patients if they have a living will, or "advance directive." If the patient doesn't have one, and wants one, the hospital has to provide assistance. The mandate on hospitals was instituted during a Republican administration, in 1992, under then-President George H.W. Bush.
Q: How does a living will work, and how is it different from a health care proxy?
A: A living will — also called an advance directive — spells out a patient's wishes if he or she becomes incapacitated. Often people say they don't want to be kept alive on breathing machines if their condition is terminal and irreversible.
A health care proxy empowers another person to make medical decisions should the patient become incapacitated.
There's also a power-of-attorney, which authorizes another person to make financial decisions for someone who is incapacitated.
Such legal documents have become standard estate-planning tools in the last twenty years.
Q: Would the health overhaul legislation change the way people now deal with making end-of-life decisions?
A: It very well could.
Supporters of the provision say the main consequence would be to formally bring doctors into a discussion that now takes place mainly among family members and lawyers.
"When you execute a legal document with your lawyer, it ends up in your files and in the lawyer's files," said John Rother, a senior policy and strategy adviser for AARP. "Unless the doctor is part of this discussion, it's unlikely that your wishes will be respected. The doctor will be the one involved in any decisions."
The American Medical Association says involving doctors is simple commonsense.
"There has been a lot of misinformation about the advance care planning provisions in the bill," AMA President Dr. James Rohack said in a statement. "It's plain, old-fashioned medical care."
Q: So why are some people upset?
A. Some social conservatives say stronger language is needed to protect seniors from being pressured into signing away their rights to medical treatment in a moment of depression or despair.
"I'm not aware of 'death panels' in the bill," said David O'Steen, executive director of the National Right to Life Committee. "I'm not aware of anything that says you will be hauled before a government bureaucrat. But we are concerned ... it doesn't take a lot to push a vulnerable person — perhaps unwittingly — to give up their right to life-sustaining treatment."
Death panels and other cheap ways to save money fast
By Dana Blankenhorn
Aug 2, 2010
Atul Gawande of The New Yorker is drawing considerable attention this week for his analysis of a 2009 Aetna study on hospices, published in the Journal of Palliative Health, showing the option saves money and is more humane.
The key takeaway was that talking to people who are dying, and dealing with them humanely, can save insurers money and provide what consumers consider a better service.
Whether the hospice was made a standard option or an expensive add-on, palliative care (as opposed to curative care) was seen as very attractive. The study encouraged “comprehensive case management” as a way to increase hospice use.
The bottom line. Offering hospice saves money and eases the final passage.
Unfortunately, this option was taken out of the new health reform law. Opponents called it the “death panel.” But the study shows insurers will likely find a way to offer this service, because it boosts the bottom line.
I can speak to this from personal experience. I had a relative who was offered hospice care when it became obvious his disease was fatal. His passing was almost a celebration, in contrast to that of my own father, who died in a hospital alone. What the Aetna study shows is that the first case also cost less, so with insurers now having incentives to save money expect to see more of it.
Another way to save big money is to integrate clinic Electronic Health Records (EHRs) with best practices, especially with regard to drug choices. Nearly $20 billion has been budgeted by the government to improve health IT, and this is one of the definitions for “meaningful use” that will drive the spending.
Take hypertension, for instance. If more doctors knew that niacin supplements from the supermarket could be as effective as a licensed drug version, or that many combination therapies cost less than name brand counterparts, if this knowledge were there at the point of prescription, they would use these options, saving their chronically ill patients a lot of money.
A lot of new money can also be saved with old drugs.
Substances like Misoprostol, once seen only as an ulcer cure, are finding new uses, saving lives as well as money around the world. The point here is that new breakthroughs don’t have to come from new compounds. They can come from finding new uses for old ones.
All this amounts to health reform on the ground. By just being given an incentive to save money, insurers gravitate toward these solutions, just as they’re looking to gain more control over their networks, or encourage wellness.
Expect health inflation in the U.S. to slow, relative to that in the rest of the world, as this takes hold. There is an enormous amount of low-hanging fruit when it comes to saving money in American health care, and insurers now have a real incentive to pick it.
Socialised medicine and death panels: business as usual
Jim Giles, correspondent
14 August 2009
How did the debate over US healthcare descend into crazy rumours about "death panels" and bizarre rants about Britain's "socialised" medicine?
It wasn't meant to be like this. In June, the New Yorker ran a superb piece on US healthcare. It described how doctors are using tests and treatments that have not shown to be effective, in part because they are paid every time they do so. The article is said have become "required reading" in the White House.
But discussion about the overuse of medicine, which we covered in this video, has been sidelined. Sarah Palin caused a storm earlier this month by falsely claiming that Barack Obama wants to create a "death panel" of bureaucrats to decide who is worthy of healthcare.
Other Republicans have used tabloid stories about problems with the National Health Service (NHS) - like one about a man who superglued a crown back on after he failed to find an NHS dentist - to warn of what will happen in America if Obama gets his way.
Then there was this piece of lunacy: a claim by a FOX News commentator that the NHS is a recruiting ground for terrorists.
In a sense, this is back to business as usual.
False rumours, such as claims that Obama is not an American citizen, dogged the president during his election campaign. The lies bounced around what media commentators call the echo chamber: the network of right-wing radio talk shows, bloggers and cable news programmes that oppose Obama.
That network was relatively quiet after his election victory in November, but has now seized on the healthcare as a means of wresting back control of the political debate. And with Obama's target date for a finished healthcare bill now just over a month away, the echoes are only likely to get louder.
Also See:
The Last Word on ObamaCare - Maybe!
 Saturday, March 20, 2010
ObamaCare - Health, Euthnasia, Life in Jeopardy
Part 1
Part 2
Part 3