Why we need Death Panels

 At a ripe, young age of 52, I have experienced both the quick, unexpected loss of friends and family, as well as the slow, lingering, painful, disgustingly slow, (did I say slow) and agonizing death of many elder family and friends. Frankly, if I were in their shoes, I choose the former. 

When you look into the eyes of a terminal case, knowing that pain wracks their bodies every single minute, and that current FDA rules preclude their doctor from providing large enough doses of opiates to deal with their pain, you know our system is fucked up.  The FDA’s response? THEY WILL BECOME ADDICTED! 

Pardon mois? A terminal case, often non-communicative, mostly inert, dying, immobile,  pain-ridden, future corpse, with no chance of survival BECOMES AN ADDICT?  Talk about moronic maroon morans. Who the hell cares? Give them what they need. Anything else is simply cruel.

It only gets worse. A very good friend is an administrator at a large, Chicago-based, educational medical center. She has the inside numbers. Her speciality causes her to treat those in critical care. And her findings are horrific. 

Here is the bald, uncomfortable truth: 40% of every individual’s health care costs  – for your entire lifetime – are incurred in the last month of life. Wrap your head around that fact for a bit. People who have no chance of survival, people in unremitting, constant, and horrific pain (with inadequate pain relief) people in irreversible comas, and brain-dead corpses that can only be maintained by our great new technologies, THESE PEOPLE EAT UP 40% of the total costs of the total health care costs for every single person in America. Medical costs incurred when there is absolutely no hope for remission or survival. And not just for them, individually, but for every American. 

Some reasons are scary, others are simply criminal. In one case she described, many expensive machines were keeping "alive" a corpse, a collection of otherwise inanimate flesh, a brainless, thoughtless piece of maggot food,  because of the family’s religious views.

In several other cases, the pension or disability  income for the future corpse was so large, that they refused to even consider disconnecting a brain dead parent or loved one. And they threaten to sue.

In other cases, people simply had no clue that their loved ones’ conditions were a one way street. There was no magic cure. There was not future technology that would cure them. They would linger, often in pain, until even the machines could not keep a lump of flesh alive any further. 

40% of all health care costs incurred in the last month of life. Per person. 

Let’s repeat that horrific fact. 40% of all health care costs incurred in the last month of life. Per person. 

And now the translation: At the end of all too many people’s lives, there is no hope of a cure. There is no possibility of further normal life. There is nothing ahead but death. And frankly, most of the sufferers would welcome the end. Except their families refuse. 

Think of the wasted resources. We have comatose people in line for transplants, even though a new kidney, heart or lung will not reverse their fatal condition. We have brain-dead lumps of inanimate flesh wasting the most expensive, high tech, and rather rare and dear machinery, keeping those machines away from newly injured or diseased folks who could actually gain a huge benefit from their intended use. And worst of all, we keep people alive who really have no interest in more pain and suffering. 

To some extent, Senator Grassley is correct. We DO need to talk about death panels. Because our society has a very strong need for them. 

Too many people fail to have wills, much less powers of attorney, living wills, or written instructions of how to deal with their ultimately fatal conditions. A death panel would solve much of that, and lower health care costs tremendously. 

a) If you are brain dead, pull the plug. Any other response is sick and inhuman. 

b) If your disease is terminal, provide adequate levels of pain meds to STOP THE EFFING PAIN. Period. And if an OD by choice provide the ultimate relief, well, that is their choice. 

c) If shyteheels are keeping a family member alive, solely by artificial means, and for the sole reason that they gain financially by keeping an individual alive, fine. They can continue to do so. BUT EVERY CENT FOR TREATMENT COMES OUT OF THEIR POCKETS. 

There are other suggestions and recommendations, but I suspect that these few points might excite a few folks. 

Comments

  1. onlinenilanjan

    Since healthcare for the elderly has been socialized in the US for 45 years without the elderly facing “death panels”, it’s hard to understand how president’s “public option” might lead to such an outcome for the younger folks.

    || rehab centers ||

  2. Rob Kezelis

    absolutely true. 

    A doctor friend keeps harping about the family that earns $20k a month by keeping the family corpse alive by machine, using precious resources that more viable bags of mostly water could use. 

     

    Living in non-stop, excruciating pain is not living. 

  3. imp2009

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with death panels and we need to stop having to defend them. Death panels are a part of the quality in a healthcare system. Death panels are good supportive care panels that do the toughest job in healthcare. We educate terminal patients about the most difficult decision, letting go of life, ending their suffering, and having a good quality death.
    Narconon Vistabay ||

  4. John1172002

    I had stage 3B urinary tract cancer, and was told I had a 3 in 10 chance of being alive at the end of 5 years. That was 14 years ago. I’m living on one kidney just fine, thank you. I had a “silent” heart attack which could have killed me. It didn’t, and now I’m 66 years old.

    I have a Living Will, and any time I have to be admitted to a hospital, I sign a Do Not Resuscitate order. I made my peace with death long ago. My wife has my health care proxy, and I have hers. I have made it extremely clear that I want enough painkillers to keep me out of pain, even if it shortens my life. I have told my wife in all seriousness that if she does not pull the plug, I will come back and haunt her every day of her life.

    Not enough painkillers because the patient might become addicted? Gimme a break!

    John1172002

  5. giving-up-in-nc

    Our government also runs the military, police, fire departments, and came up with the internet that we are communicating on right now. You got a problem with those government products?

    And as far as the three you seem to think despairingly of.

    You don’t think Social Security is a good idea? Try telling that to Seniors. And I betcha you aint going to turn down your check when it comes time for you to collect it.

    You don’t think Amtrak is any good. Shut it down and watch the North East grind to a halt.

    I have never understood why people complain about the post office. I am in my early 50s and it always worked fine for me. I cant recall ever having it loose an important piece of mail on me, and sometimes I was down right amazed on how fast it delivered things.

    Times they are a changing and less mail is being delivered because of email, etc. So some post offices are going to have to shutdown and some people get laid off. But I see no other underlying problems with the post office.

  6. Naturalist111

    The fact that anyone states that they will not give enough pain medication because they would become addicted is undeniable proof of their insanity and stupidity or a liar. Out of one side of their mouths they are saying the patient is terminal then the other they are afraid they might become addicted. Just what do they believe? They are going to live and become addicted or are they going to die and take their addiction with them? The human condition as it stands is insane. An above post makes one of those points. Liberation. If you truly believe in a after life then why on earth prolong the suffering. When a person is 70 plus years or older what do you expect to happen? A miracle and they recover and what then? They act and look like they are 50 again? I have yet to see this in a terminally ill case such as fourth stage cancer. They say someone wins the publishers clearing house grand prize but I haven’t met them either. The planet, plants and animals are enjoyable but you people are some piece of messed up work. It should only be decided by the person chosen in their will or anything else so decreed.

  7. lriggs

    To have a personal choice of whether to increase medication or to end it all with an overdose, would certainly be gained ground in this country. For the government or one of it’s agencies to determine through regulations when they euthanasia or withhold care is pure crazy. To tolerate the practice of eugenics under the watchful eye of the Government or NGO is insane. Yea, let’s give our health and welfare/healthcare monies to same visionaries, that created and oversee, the Social Security, Amtrak and the Postal Service.