Are “culture of health” and “culture of death” mutually exclusive? Ask most refugees from 1930s socialist Europe, and my guess is their answer will not only be “no,” but more likely “the former ushers in the latter.” That is to say, it is difficult to imagine a culture that assigns a value on human beings based upon their health, without questioning what that culture does to human beings who are judged to be “not healthy.” Continue reading
Once again the administration is trying to push through by fiat — with a few new twists — what Congress and the American public have already rejected.
Not only is the government offering an incentive to physicians (and presumably the hospitals and clinics and nursing homes that hire them) to have “end-of-life” conversations with their sickest patients, but there is question as to which other “qualified professionals” might be be paid to introduce end-of-life discussions to patients. Continue reading
Last month the National Catholic Bioethics Center posted an article that was meant to guide Catholic clinicians on what to do when a patient or proxy or government requests treatment that the clinician considers to be morally wrong [“Transfer of Care vs. Referral: A Crucial Moral Distinction”]
The subject is important and timely, and I looked forward to reading the piece, but unfortunately it misses the mark when it comes to issues where withholding/withdrawing treatment and palliative care would be involved. Continue reading
Last month I wrote about the Lobby Day hosted by the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) and American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network (ACS-CAN). The Coalition invited representatives of a variety of non-profits and professional organizations to Capitol Hill to lobby for two pieces of legislation:
- HR 1339 / S. 641 an education bill known as PCHETA; and
- HR 1666, the so-called “Patient-Centered Quality Care for Life Act.“
The legislation would focus federal money on marketing palliative care to the public, educating teams of professionals in Continue reading
The bills (H.R. 1339 / S. 641; and H.R. 1666) would authorize (to start) roughly $300 million for advertising to the public, training navigators, educating health professionals, establishing a national supervisory board, and promoting research, all with the goal of replacing standard care with palliative care (symptom treatment and hospice) for sick people, in lieu of costly life-saving treatments.
Veteran lobbyist Dick Woodruff explained why the urgency: “Because these people who have these illnesses . . . are the ones who are driving healthcare costs more than anybody else . . if we can figure out a way to manage their care, we can make life better for them, but then save the system money. . . . [These bills] could have major returns over the next 25-45 years.” [my emphasis]