End-of-Life Choice, Palliative Care and Counseling

Editorials Support End-of-Life Consultation Provisionby Blaine

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Health Care Reform and Death
Paul Gewirtz and Matthew S. Ellman, Huffington Post, September 15, 2009

Although President Obama gave new momentum to health care reform in his recent speech to Congress, he unfortunately ignored one key topic: end-of-life issues. Now there are rumors that the Senate Finance Committee will drop all provisions on end-of-life issues from the bill it unveils this week. But it’s not too late for the new legislation to address end-of-life issues appropriately. And no topic better tests our country’s maturity about health care reform.
The issues are much deeper than any particular legislative provision, such as Section 1233 of the House’s proposed legislation, which sensibly supports end-of-life medical counseling.
The basic issue is death itself. Death is essentially a taboo topic in public debates, and serious discussion about terminal illness and death has been almost completely lacking in the recent health care debates.

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End-of-Life Choice
Lynn Mensch Anderson – Lawrence, Lawrence Journal-World, September 17, 2009

I am the 84-year-old person with congestive heart failure, for whom the plug will be pulled under the Democrats’ health care plan, according to Sarah Palin.
In my 50-some years of working with doctors in medical and mental health facilities, I have found that doctors view their professional duty as saving lives, and when they err, it is on the side of doing too much to maintain life.
End-of-life counseling is a wonderful thing. Giving thought to how one might want to end life should start when one is still young and the thought is not threatening.

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End-of-Life Conversations With Dad
By Peg McEntee, Tribune Columnist, The Salt Lake Tribune, September 17, 2009

Here’s how I remember my dad: in a fishing boat, rods out for trolling, at a reservoir high in the Sierra Nevada. And driving through tule fog in the San Joaquin Valley at 4 in the morning during duck hunting season, the cracked window siphoning off his cigarette smoke.
Those days are long past, so here are more recent memories: he has a bad back and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease. He’s in a hospital bed, on oxygen, a feeding tube in his belly, his face betraying confusion and anger. He’s 84 years old. He was a combat veteran of World War II, serving on a little tub of a ship that dropped soldiers onto the beach at Normandy. In his final years, he relied on Veterans Administration hospitals for most of his care.

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