Friday, September 4, 2009

Britain's "Death Panels" should be a warning to us

Once the government invades health care, it will soon be making life and death decisions for your family.
This aspect of HR 3200 was denied last Wednesday by my Congressman Joe Courtney(D-CT) who told a town hall meeting, "don't get hung up with this small piece of the legislation" (referring to the mandated annual discussion between doctors and elderly patients about end of life decisions). There was a roar of disapproval from the crowd, many quoting Sarah Palin's term "death panels". Is this hyperbole incited by right-wing fear mongers like Glenn Beck?
Far from it, read this chilling post on the National Catholic Register blog about how such death panels are far overreaching their authority in Britain and denying food and fluid to patients based on erroneous judgements that they are dying. Several doctors have written a letter to "The Daily Telegraph" expressing their concern that patients' lives are being ended.
Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.
But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.
“Forecasting death is an inexact science,” they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong. “As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”