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Atul Gawande: Letting Go


dcollon
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This is too bad :

 

Given how prolonged some of these conversations have to be, many people argue that the key problem has been the financial incentives: we pay doctors to give chemotherapy and to do surgery, but not to take the time required to sort out when doing so is unwise. This certainly is a factor. (The new health-reform act was to have added Medicare coverage for these conversations, until it was deemed funding for “death panels” and stripped out of the legislation.)

 

I may be incorrect, but I believe it was the Conservatives who were upset over the "death panels" -- it is ironic if they pushed up the size of government health care spending, meanwhile they complain about the size of government.

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You are correct; the conservative party was clearly upset by possible "death panels".  I believe Sarah Pain-in-the-ass was harping incessantly about it in the media.

 

I'm a medical physician in California, and I see this kind of irrational fear of death in society all the time.  Health care workers, though, have a ribald sense of humor when it comes to mortality.  I'm not sure if this is a self defense mechanism of ours, or if we're truly desensitized to this crap.  Regardless, I think fear of death does society great injustice.  It's unfortunate that the very young can die tragically, but if you're over 50 years of age, I think you've had enough time on this planet.  You just have know this at a very young age, and live every day like it will be your last.  Who knows, though.  Maybe our society is coming to grips with this idea.  In the past few months, I've read many articles similar to the one posted by the OP. 

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Opihiman,

 

Just checking here, but are you saying you believe anyone over the age of 50 has lived long enough, and therefore they should be afforded less healthcare than those younger? 

 

Doesn't that sound exactly like being in favor of "death panels"?  How else would you determine the level of health care that these oldsters over 50 deserve to get?

 

You are correct; the conservative party was clearly upset by possible "death panels".  I believe Sarah Pain-in-the-ass was harping incessantly about it in the media.

 

I'm a medical physician in California, and I see this kind of irrational fear of death in society all the time.  Health care workers, though, have a ribald sense of humor when it comes to mortality.  I'm not sure if this is a self defense mechanism of ours, or if we're truly desensitized to this crap.  Regardless, I think fear of death does society great injustice.  It's unfortunate that the very young can die tragically, but if you're over 50 years of age, I think you've had enough time on this planet.  You just have know this at a very young age, and live every day like it will be your last.  Who knows, though.  Maybe our society is coming to grips with this idea.  In the past few months, I've read many articles similar to the one posted by the OP. 

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Opihiman,

 

Just checking here, but are you saying you believe anyone over the age of 50 has lived long enough, and therefore they should be afforded less healthcare than those younger? 

 

Doesn't that sound exactly like being in favor of "death panels"?  How else would you determine the level of health care that these oldsters over 50 deserve to get?

 

You are correct; the conservative party was clearly upset by possible "death panels".  I believe Sarah Pain-in-the-ass was harping incessantly about it in the media.

 

I'm a medical physician in California, and I see this kind of irrational fear of death in society all the time.  Health care workers, though, have a ribald sense of humor when it comes to mortality.  I'm not sure if this is a self defense mechanism of ours, or if we're truly desensitized to this crap.  Regardless, I think fear of death does society great injustice.  It's unfortunate that the very young can die tragically, but if you're over 50 years of age, I think you've had enough time on this planet.  You just have know this at a very young age, and live every day like it will be your last.  Who knows, though.  Maybe our society is coming to grips with this idea.  In the past few months, I've read many articles similar to the one posted by the OP. 

 

I hope the discussion won't degenerate.  I enjoyed the article enormously, and will make sure to have/trigger this discussion with my family (spouse, parents...)

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RRJ,

 

Opihiman is another guy; I'm opihiman2.  Don't confuse us.  >:(

 

I've never made a clear stance regarding "death panels".  To be frank, I really don't know what it entails.  Sarah Palin, bless her idiotic mind, never clearly defined what it is.  I think I have a general idea about it, though.  I'm not opposed to the idea of rationing health care.  Canada and many other countries with universal health care already take this approach.  Their median lifespans are no different than the U.S.'s--in fact, they exceed it.  I've also made it very clear that I believe in legalizing euthanasia with informed consent.  I think it would help lower health care costs to medicare and medicaid.  It would also allow people freedom of choice in their health care options.  You have to agree that for the terminally ill and chronically debilitated, "health care" is generally a euphemism for torture.  Death should be considered an option in these cases.

 

I have to emphasize the point that I'm talking about the terminally ill.  In terms of chronically debilitated, they should have their options and access to whatever health care that will sustain them as they see fit.  If they're willing to endure the agony and cruelty of their diagnosis(es), so be it.  We can throw lots of health care at them to sustain them. 

 

Sorry, I can't elaborate any further.  I should be getting ready for work.  More dying patients to see.

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