University of Geneva invites Ezekiel Emanuel to make the case for dying at age 75

Ezekiel Emanuel is taking his I-Hope-To-Die-at-75 road show to Switzerland at the invitation of the University of Geneva, where he will be speaking today.

In an interview with Le Temps, Emanuel emphasized that he is opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide:  [translation from French with the help of Google Translate]

I am opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. I feel that people who want that recourse mainly suffer from depression and fear of losing their dignity; we must first provide them with care and compassion. I will not put an end to my life intentionally. But I will not try to prolong it either! From age 75, I will accept neither predictive tests nor care – except for palliative care that reduces pain. I’ll do no more cardiac tests. I will not take more antibiotics and I will not be vaccinated against the flu. If I have cancer, I will refuse any treatment.

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Scripting the Conversation, Part 2: The provider-patient dialogue

My last post —  Scripting “the Conversation” — discussed scripted dialogue at the national level.  It demonstrated how a few academics, so-called health policy experts, special interest groups, and foundations can stage a national dialogue — frame a conversation — with the help of their media allies.

The same group of academics and foundations have been at work on the micro level, generating scripts — literally word-for-word scripts — to be used by providers when they encounter difficult situations with patients and families, mostly in the context of patients and families who want life-sustaining treatment. Continue reading

Scripting “The Conversation”

They’re at it again. NPR hosted another sham debate. On the left we have Ira Byock, hospice and palliative care advocate; and on the far left we have Compassion & Choices, the radical pro-assisted suicide/euthanasia group.

They are debating a subject that no one would have noticed if it weren’t for well-coordinated media hype from MSNBC, People Magazine and the like.

This is a staged “dialogue” on assisted suicide. Compassion & Choices presents the thesis (assisted suicide should be legal), then Ira Byock comes in with a straw man antithesis (traditional medicine will let you suffer) and then the synthesis: palliative care.

Here’s the dirty little secret: Ira Byock is, himself, a euthanasia advocate. Continue reading

Progressives lobby for end-of-life funding “to change health care delivery”

On July 23 a new pro-Obamacare coalition called the Patient Quality of Life Coalition (PQLC) lobbied on Capitol Hill for “two bills to change health care delivery.”

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.

Dick Woodruff -- former chief of staff to Rosa DeLauro; former legislative advisor for Alliance for Justice -- gives the PQLC lobbyists some final instructions.

Dick Woodruff — former chief of staff to Rosa DeLauro; former legislative advisor for Alliance for Justice — gives the PQLC lobbyists some final instructions.

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]

Woodruff, who served as chief of staff for Rosa DeLauro (of EMILY’s List fame), and later as senior Continue reading

5 Things You Should Know About Palliative Care

On Saturday, May 17, 2014, I had the pleasure of speaking at a conference in Wooster, Ohio.  The conference, titled “The Healthcare Trojan Horse,” was sponsored by the Pro-life Healthcare Alliance and Wayne/Homes Right to Life.  Following is the presentation as it was written; the actual talk was abbreviated due to time constraints. —Ione Whitlock

The promise of hospice palliative care was that it would provide comfort to the dying, ease symptoms, and help grieving loved ones.  Modern palliative care promises to be Continue reading