Death Panels: To Be Deemed the Most Non-Existent Reality of 2010?

Over and over and over again, we hear how fear mongers and wing-nuts are falsely claiming there are “death panels” where death panels do not exist. Keith Olbermann goes so far as to claim that rather than death panels, there are “life panels.” He just doesn’t seem to get it that not everyone’s experience is like the one he had with his father’s passing, where his father’s wishes were upheld. Olbermann just doesn’t seem to get it that some people, instead, get to find out just how real the “death panel” concept is and has been for some time now.

I’m sorry for Olbermann’s loss on the one hand, but quite offended on the other. How dare he suggest his situation is proof there are no death panels and we are all just paranoid, if we say they do exist? (My interpretation of the Politico article, “Olbermann’s father dies” .) Not everyone is privileged to have a son in such a vocal position, or to have everything work out as the person and family wishes it to. There are actually some who find the so-called non-existent “death panels” stepping right into the middle of a fight for life situation and deeming it is time for them or their loved one to be dead.

Let’s talk Andrea Clark down there in Texas a few years ago.

The so-called ethic’s committee decided she was a futile care case and it was time to put her down. Didn’t seem to matter that wasn’t her wish or her family’s wish or that she was fully aware of what was transpiring.

This was the action of a “life panel”?

What about Ted Stith, Sr., from New York?

Ted goes on vacation down there in Florida, has a stroke and, immediately after he does, it is suggested that he be starved and dehydrated to death? Didn’t seem to matter that a friend is reported to have said he was aware, was reaching for water and was trying to communicate. On second thought, I guess it did matter. According to reports, she was banned from his room and the possibility of giving him food or water, even if it was his rightful request to be made, and so he was denied the mere necessities for survival.

This is what Olbermann considers the “life panel” process?

We also have Terri Schiavo, who was put to death by court order. A case where she, a brained damaged but otherwise healthy individual, was starved and dehydrated to death based upon heavily conflicted testimony. Perhaps the conflict itself should have been taken more seriously, as would have been, if the people fighting for her life had been considered of importance to the right audience.

Olbermann considers starving and dehydrating a healthy person to death to be what “life panels” do?

More recent in the news is the Gary Harvey case.

The so-called ethics committee decided Gary Harvey should be starved and dehydrated to death as well and put it before the court. He was, after all, at death’s door, wasn’t he? The order to put Gary Harvey to death was suddenly pulled after the media picked up on the story. Gary Harvey, who was supposedly at death’s door and needing to be starved and dehydrated to death last summer, is still alive. Looks like someone got something wrong about Gary being unable to survive and ready to die, and needing to be put down, especially by such a hideous method as starving and dehydrating him to death.

The fight for Gary’s life, by his wife, while a system suggests it’s time to kill him off, is Olbermann’s opinion of a “life panel” in motion?

Just how would Olbermann have felt, if he went up against a committee that decided they knew better and was going to disregard his father’s wishes?

Just how would Olbermann have felt, if his dad could have been saved, but the “system” decided otherwise?

No doubt, it would have been quite different if Olbermann was fighting for his father’s life, per his father’s wishes, and he came up against a system that does have so-called ethics committees (death panels), or the court system that makes mistakes and doesn’t necessarily listen to the truth and rule accordingly, or an insurance company that was refusing to pay for rightful care, or even a nurse that didn’t see the fight still in his dad.

Bet it would be different then!

Maybe Keith Olbermann ought to get out of the studio and talk with the people who have lost family members to his wondrous “life panel” concept that is actually what is becoming the non-existent reality of the 21st century.

Whether it be by denial of coverage, denial of care or courts deciding to kill people off, because of conflicted testimony…

Death panels do exist — and under the NewWorldCare proposal, they will become far more common!

Carrie Hutchens is a former law enforcement officer and a freelance writer who is active in fighting against the death culture movement and the injustices within the judicial and law enforcement systems.

47 Responses to “Death Panels: To Be Deemed the Most Non-Existent Reality of 2010?”

  1. Carrie,
    How more to the facts can this get. I pray that our government will wake up. Maybe if this happened to those in power then these death warrants would stop.

  2. Maybe you need to spend some time as a hospice volunteer? You seem to be confusing prolonging death – via medical advancements that can palpitate a heart and inflate lungs indefinitely – and prolonging life. Most terminal patients want to die at home, 90% die in hospitals. Once was a time when death meant almost simultaneous cessation of breathing, heart rate, and brain activity. In a world where we can sustain the former two, what is left? A new definition of death is necessary. You would benefit from spending more time with the dying. And perhaps contemplating your own impending death. We all would.

  3. Haveing been involved in a Nurseing Home Ministry for the last eight years in Oklahoma and i see how these homes could get away with haveing these Death Panels without almost no anyone knowing.
    I have watched as the older employees that have cared for these people, some for years are being replaced by a younger generation that is so wraped up in themselves that they almost have to be forced to do their jobs.Being almost all High School drop outs, or Children that have so much so called Body Art or Pierceings they cant get work anywhere else.This is the only kind of person thats avilable for these low paying very hard thankless jobs.These people dont care what goes on around them they just want to get through the day.That is how our Government can get by without anyone knowing what goes on in these homes.Most of the Residents, if they have Familys dont bother to come to visit anymore or are to far away to come unless theres an emergency and by then its to late.Theres comeing a day when they are going to be sorry they didnt take the time to visit those relatives in the Nurseing Homes.
    Iam afraid if this so called Health Care Bill passes Death Panels will be in every Nurseing home in the Country, although they will have better sounding name,but this is one of the ways along with Abortion that this so called plan is suppose to save so much money. I feel sorry for these people that does these things because we are all going to have to bow before God and explain our actions while here on Earth,whether we believe it or not.

  4. We cannot prolong death; once it occurs, it is forever. We can only prolong life, and as long as there is a person inside the body, that is what we should do whenever possible.

    Carrie isn't talking about keeping brain-dead people alive on artificial life support; she is talking about people who still have brain activity and even some consciousness.

    It is certainly a person's right to refuse resuscitation efforts, etc. in the face of a catastrophic failure of their own body's ability to keep them alive. My parents have made their wishes known in this area, and my brother and I respect it and will abide by it.

    It's interesting to note, however, that my mother had a stroke about a month ago, and the hospital initially the hospital gave her little chance of surviving. She was on oxygen because her lungs were too weak to continue breathing on her own…but she was not brain dead, there was some consciousness left (though very minimal), and because the hospital seemed to be leaning toward turning off the oxygen and letting her go, my brother (I was out of the state, and it was up to him to make the on-scene decision) decided to seek a second opinion.

    Because he sought that second opinion (by having her moved to a nearby hospital with better facilities), my mother survived and is now walking and talking again; she should come home after physical therapy in a few weeks.

    Had she truly been too far gone (i.e. brain dead, etc), my brother and I would have let her go. But because we decided to give her body a little more time to recover (and we believe she supports our decision, even though I haven't talked to her about it yet–I had to leave the state again), she is now living and returning to a functional life.

    We cannot treat human life so cavalierly.

  5. Yeah, 'cause tattoos and piercings means you have no heart and like neglecting the elderly. This is an emotional post but the facts remain that end of life decisions belong to the patient and the patient's family. Anything we do to misinform or take that decision out of their hands is against a human's rights.

  6. There's nothing cavalier about supporting informed consent for patients. A patient and their family have a right to know the facts about how death is managed in medical facilities and to make their own choices according to their conscience; not your conscience nor mine but their own. We can all cite miracles and exceptions – Great news about your mother! – but the fact remains that most of us receive care at the end of life that we don't want and that does nothing to improve quality of life.

  7. Ann, you seem to be in an awful big hurry to usher people into a casket.

    I don't think anyone here is talking about keeping people hanging onto a body that has been vacated by its spirit, and probably not even against using extraordinary means to keep people alive beyond their wishes.

    I believe what Carrie is talking about is when euthanasia enthusiasts take it upon themselves to push people toward death without the consent of the patient and against the wishes of the family when that decision falls to them.

    Numbers seem to be growing where “authorities” are making decisions for patients and families against their will and forcing these decisions on people. I would think that even you would recognize this is wrong.

  8. Like the article harvey50. She says it all. Having been in the situation putting my dad in a nursing home, I found the younger generation does not give a hoot as to the care of the residents. This has to change. It is difficult on the families as we are told they are treated like family. This is not true as our family did not treat these people like they are no-one. Just slap them in bed and force food down them. CARING is not in their job description.
    Personal dept. please do your job and hire help with feeling

  9. Neither alternative (starvation/dehydration or prolonged suffering via artificial means) is pleasant or particularly humane…

    If you were to ask just about any random person on the street how they would want to go, you'd likely get a unanimous “Quick and painless!” answer.

    Why can't we just honor that and allow folks to die in peace and with dignity?

  10. Excuse me, Ann, didn't you say, “…end of life decisions belong to the patient and the patient's family.”???? If the decision is in the hands of the family and patient, why do we need so-called ethics committees to step in and over-ride them? In Andrea's case, the so-called ethics committee went against the family and Andrea's wishes. The family had to hire an attorney to fight for her wishes.

  11. Hospice isn't all warm and fuzzy, Ann. There are people in the hospice field who perform a great service when all options are exhausted and it's a matter of trying to keep the patient comfortable until death. But, hospice is also big business with big profits and wherever there is a wealth of money to be made, there is abuse. Not all hospice is what you think.

    This article is about starving and dehydrating human beings to death purposely – human beings who are not facing impending natural death.

  12. Give me stats, Elaine. How much does hospice earn annually? Let's compare that to Medicare. What is the average last-year cost of a hospice patient, a Medicare patient, and a private health insurance patient? What examples of big profit do you have? What examples of abuse do you have? Not anecdotal stuff, I mean.

    When a law is passed that says a provider can refuse to remove or can override a patient's refusal of a feeding tube, everybody gets busy with the definition of death. So was Terri Schiavo dying or not? Are the 300,000 who receive feeding tubes each year dying or not? And why then did we have court cases regarding feeding tube removal?

    As far as most patients and families are concerned, if a feeding tube is needed for survival, it's a matter of recovery and life or a matter of death.

    And please tell me what natural death is. Cessation of breathing (which a respirator can cure); cessation of heart beat (which a defibrillator can cure); or cessation of brain function? All three at once?

  13. Sorry Carrie. I don't know who Andrea is, I got lost in the comments somehow. These laws vary by state, unfortunately.

    In New York state, until this week, a patient had to designate a medical proxy. Family members were not allowed to make medical decisions for unconscious patients without that document. I don't know what state's laws you're discussing.

    In Catholic hospitals, the Ethical and Religious Directives determine what care a patient will get because an institutional provider refusal law says that the Catholic church makes decisions for patient's there (Catholic church is 2nd larges provider of health care in the country.)

    I believe that patients should decide their health care or should appoint someone to do so for them. Any override of a patient's choice is discrimination and a violation of rights so long as that patient is mentally healthy.

  14. What “euthanasia enthusiasts” do you mean? Final Exit? Those individuals are subject to prosecution.

    Please cite examples of who is pushing whom into the casket.

    If you mean hospital boards or insurance executives, I agree that patients are denied services. But take that up with meaningful health care reform and a patients' bill of rights, not aid in dying advocates.

    I perhaps would agree that something is wrong if you could cite reports or examples.

  15. Monetary “conflicts of interest” go both ways, though…

    While some family members may have more to gain if a patient is allowed to die (inheritance), others may have more to gain by keeping a patient alive indefinitely by artificial means (retirement checks, spousal benefits, etc).

    Similarly, the hospital itself could potentially have monetary reasons to either terminate or sustain a patient.

    In these regards, a completely uninvolved third party may be the only way for a truly unbiased decision to be made in the best interest of a patient.

  16. Mr. Hutchens starts off by giving several examples of patients and then in the last sentence says these examples are evidence that death panels do indeed exist. In the case of Andrea Clark he says a 'so-called' ethics committee served as an example of one these death panels. So-called ?

    He leaves out that it was a law passed under George Bush ( then govenor) that when family is at odds with each other and the doctors feel nothing else could be done, that the case must be sent to the hospitals ethics committee or 'so-called' ethics committee by Mr. Hutchens nomenclature.He makes it sound like these committees are trolling around deciding who lives or dies. It is a law.

    I wonder if Mr. Hutchens has served on one of the so-called death panels that allows him to be so knowledgeable about it. I served on one for 5 years and it was composed of 5 doctors, a Priest, a Rabbi and a lawyer who couldn't vote, but gave legal advice.

    All were compassionate people and we reviewed the cases, talked with the doctors, talked with the family, nurses etc and struggled to make the right decisions when one family member wanted one thing done and another wanted the opposite. Every case was difficult and heart wrenching and usually were the result of family members disagreeing and arguing with each other on what to do for the patient.

    Mt Hutchens leaves out much more to make it seem llike some sort of heinous affair. He owes an apology to the Ethics Committees who are mandated by the state to deal with cases where there is family discord and disharmony. He should be ashamed for referring to these compassionate people as Death Panels.Many times we felt it was prudent to keep all treatment going. Would Mr. Hutchens then refer to us Life Panels.

    Our one goal was to do what is best for the patient when the patient couldn't decide and the family was in disarray, even if there was just a slight glimmer of hope. Mr Hutchens is ignorant about Ethics Panels and knows not of what he speaks

  17. Well Ms. Rutledge just kiddiing Mr. Rutledge like Carrie is a female not Mr. it is Ms. Please correct this in your future comments.

    For your information the ethics committee regarding Gary Harvey;s case consisted of ONE doctor, a nurse, risk care manager,social worker and his appointed guardian. No family was asked or involved until after THEY decided to end his life in a Catholic hospital. After a week informing non family memebers first they told the current wife what they were going to do last. They did not ask her what her husbands wishes were nor did they care to listen. Perhaps Gary Harvey would have had better chances with odds you give instead of it going to court then getting dismissed for LACK of medical information to execute the man.. But in NEW YORK if the well runs dry it is time to end ones life.

    It is all about the money….

  18. The “euthanasia enthusiasts” are those people who are enthusiastically promoting euthanasia for any and all people they deem aren't worth allowing to live.

    Some examples include those provided by Carrie (with the hell-bent effort to kill Terri Schiavo being among the worst). You might also read some statements made by President Obama's “science” advisor John Holdren; he thinks we have too many human beings floating around using up resources. President Obama's medical advisor Ezekiel Emanuel has even worked out a complex matrix for determining the value of a human life; if you're very young or very old, you're out of luck since you don't contribute as much to the almighty state.

  19. Can't give you stats, Ann, without research. But I can refer you to a good organization that I think could give you stats and some insight into abusive hospice:

    You don't actually think hospice doesn't make a profit, do you? They bill Medicare, Medicaid, or insurance companies. Their services are not free. And I'm not saying they should be free – don't get me wrong. What I said was where there are big profits, there is abuse.

    Terri Schiavo was not dying until her life was purposely terminated by court order to remove her feeding tube and starve and dehydrate her to death.

    Of course a feeding tube is needed for survival of some people, but what's wrong with that? The debate on feeding tubes centers around the old and disabled and many people are quick to feeding tubes a means of life support and justify starving and dehydrating these people to death as a humane act. But, here's the kicker, premature babies often have feeding tubes, some for several years until they are able to eat on their own, and those who would label feeding tubes as life support aren't so quick to do so with babies — because “that's different.” Really?

    I know a personally woman has had problems swallowing all her life and her condition became acute about 3 years ago. She's in her 60's — works, is very active, and you wouldn't know she had a feeding tube unless you knew her well. Is she on life support? Should she be terminated because she has a feeding tube? Well, I certainly don't think so. I'm glad she's alive and doing well.

    I don't think it matters overall what the defination of death is in regard to this article, Ann.
    This article is about others making decisions to end someone's life against the person's or the person's family's will.

  20. I don't know the details of that case and I am sure ethics committees have made bad decisions. But the truth is unless any of us were there during the patients care or present at the Ethics Committee meetings, things can get distorted quickly by thr press etc..

    All I can talk about is my own experience on an Ethics Committee. Mr Hutchens was not present at any of these cases and can only go by what he has read. He makes his case on second knowledge. But no matter, through second hand information, he doesn't take the time to state the examples he gave could be the exceptions. How would he know anyway ?

    He plunges ignorantly ahead and leaves the implication that these ” so-called” ehtics commitees are Death Panels. He should clarify the fact that he has litlle expertise in ethics committees in general or apologize for leaving such ignorance based assumptions.

  21. I don't think Carrie is even trying to make the case that all ethics committees and authorities are pushing death, only that some are. I don't know some of these cases as well as I know the Schiavo case, but the Terri Schiavo case was an appalling case of some people–husband and authorities alike–who were hell-bent on killing someone they considered “inconvenient.”

  22. Well I do. I was there and saw and heard myself. Not all are bad..All Carrie is saying that they do exist whether you want to admit it or not. How do you know that Carrie does not have this experience? The order was sealed why? what is there to hide? the public has a right to know if the vulernable/disabled are being protected don't they?

    It is a shame that you have to make such a hasty opinion of Carrie. She does investigate like most journalist do not do these days.

    Do you call second knowledge from the horses mouth?

  23. Like this comment Elaine. This is so true.

  24. Brian, I couldn't care less who signed the bill into law. On the other hand, I was told by someone (involved with such things) in Texas that the purpose of that particular law was to protect the doctors and hospitals and allow them to stop futile care for people who could not speak for themselves and had no one to speak for them. That's a far cry from making the decisions for people such as Andrea Clark.

    Contrary to what you said, Andrea's family wasn't in disagreement. Everyone was supportive and hoping that Andrea would recover from the surgery — including Andrea herself. So, tell me do… why did the “so-called” ethics committee step in?

    You even admitted that you aren't familiar with the Harvey case either.

    Also, contrary to what you said, I have discussed all these cases, but one, with the actual family and the attorneys involved. I've seen actual documentation regarding many aspects of events that transpired, but here you are trying to suggest I am basing what I say on assumptions. Well, your assumptions were wrong.

  25. Bob, don't forget that the “only” people who even suggested that Terri made comments about her end-of-life desires was her huband (who stood to inherit a million or so dollars), his brother and his sister-in-law and even they didn't remember these alleged utterings until years later. Guess they all took a memory pill at the same time.

  26. That's right, there was a financial sum that had been set aside for her medical care, and it would become his at her death. He also had a new honey, with several children by her. For all intents and purposes, this man had not been her “husband” for many years, yet he was allowed to force the decision to end her life, even though her parents begged repeatedly to be allowed to take care of her.

  27. Yes, Ann, I agree! The patient's choice should not be over-ridden by these outsiders. And I do call them “so-called” ethics committees when they ignore the will of the family or patient — especially the patient. It isn't ethical that they do that and that is the point I was trying to make.

    I'm not trying to take away a dying person's right to refuse care or stop them from going to hospice. (The concept of hospice is very nobel.) I'm just saying that if a person wants to stay alive and wants to fight to do so — they ought to have that choice and chance, too, rather than someone that doesn't even know them deciding against their wishes.

  28. Barb, I think if the bad hospitals, bad nursing homes and bad hospices were truly held accountable, not only by the system, but citizens who care and pay attention to what is actually transpiring — things would start changing for the better. I also believe it would help the good hospitals, good nursing homes and good hospices, who are really out there trying to make a positive difference and — of course — it would definitely help the clientel and family members.

  29. preradstudent, yep… most people you stop on the street would say that. However, we aren't discussing “dying”. We are discussing people making decisions to make us dead, contrary to our wishes or the wishes of a family member we are trying to defend.

  30. One other point I forgot to make before I hit “post”…

    I don't believe in starving and dehydrating people to death.

    Just because someone has a stroke and might not be able to communicate at the onset, does not necessarily mean the person cannot “FEEL EVERY SINGLE THING ABOUT HIS/HER EXPERIENCE.”

    When someone is taken off a ventilator, unless they are actually brain dead, the person has a chance to start breathing on their own. However, take food and water from someone and they are definitely going to die — it's only a matter of how many days.

    Some states still have the death penalty. To-date, there are none that utilize death by starvation and dehydration. Doesn't it seem odd that we can't starve and dehydrate convicted murderers or animals, but we can a helpless person whose only crime is to be ill, injured or disabled?

  31. Yep! And that is a “conflict of interest” that should have been taken seriously!

  32. Carrie,

    Since you say that you have personally talked to the people and the lawyers, I will apologize for what I said. I assume you talked to the physicians and nurses on the case to get the 'full' story as well.

    You ask why did the Ethics Committee step in. We, meaning Ethics Committees, are only ask in when the doctor requests it.That is important to understand. It is almost always when the family just can't emotionally accept that their loved ones are going to die. Doctors are hard wired to do everything they can to save a patient.Doctors are also sometimes wrong about their prognosis.

    The doctor uses the best judgement they can and are sometimes wrong. But when a doctor feels he/she has done everything possible and the family can't accept it, the doctor also has an obligation not to put put the patient through needless and painful treatments. The problem is none of has a crystal ball.I have seen many, many cases when the patient is put through hell, by family demands, and dies

    Yes the Advanced Directives Act does protect the doctor and hospital from lawsuits, but when II served on the committee we had a different role. Our role was to try and determine, with as much facts as we could and talking to all involved, IF what was being done was best for the patient. We didn't have a stake in anything else.

    The cases you mentioned were indeed unusual and maybe wrong decisions were made. But my real problem was this generalization of Ethics Committees being Death Panels.That is the feeling i got from the article since you never mentioned the side i present. My personal experience was that most of the time, we erred on the side of life, unless the faimlies were way way way out of bounds and the patient was suffering needlessly.

    It is easy to pick out the controversial cases in retrospect as you did, but in doing so impugning the many cases and Ethics Committees where great good is done.

  33. Yes, Brian, you do owe me an apology. Beyond that…

    I'm not going to go into all your beliefs why ethics committees are needed and how they do all this good decision-making over and above family/patient wishes, because we know it is not an absolute that either the committee or doctor will always be correct anyways… so what's the point?

    On the other hand, let's assume that the committee you served/serve on consists of nothing but people of integrity. Let's assume that each and every one of these people (you included) would always err on the side of life, if ever there was a question and you would always make sure there were no questions left unanswered. Let's make your committee the ultimate in perfection and goodness. What about the others that aren't so full of goodness and perfection? Do you defend them as well?

  34. Absolutely not. I even agree with you that these committees have way overstepped their boundaries and have acted egregiously in the past. My only concern is the perception of Ethics Committees as Death Panels. My experience is that they can often go good and are necessary in certain situations, but many people today get knee-jerk reactions that they are all Death Panels when not presented with all sides of the story.

  35. I regularly hear from someone whose family member was hastened to death in the health care system, either in a hospital, nursing home or hospice. Many methods are used, but sedating a non-agitated patient and overdosing them with morphine is becoming the classic method of imposing death. Sometimes, they simply sedate the patient into a medically-induced coma (“terminal sedation”) and make them die by dehydration. The circulatory system collapses due to a lack of adequate fluid in the system.

    Whether it is a “panel” of futile care protocol committee members in a hospital, a “panel” at the health insurance level (managed care/HMO care) that decides not to authorize needed treatments or medications (for profit), or nurses and doctors who act independently to impose death, Carrie, you are right on!

    Ezekiel Emmanuel, a health policy advisor to the President, is specifically calling for uniformly denying the elderly needed treatments (which will result in their earlier deaths). Mr. Emmanuel says that this is NOT discrimination as ALL elderly will be treated the same way! And all who get to be elderly will be treated the same.

    Anyone who thinks there will be no death panels is in dreamland! There already are such things and patients' rights are routinely ignored in health care settings. NO police department will investigate if a patient is hastened to their death in these ways, and NO district attorney will investigate. It all gets swept under the rug, and hidden behind the “privacy rule” of HIPAA.

  36. Just adding to comment on some of the input from people: Those who think that “designating a health care proxy” is going to solve the problem are quite, quite naive. We hear reports regularly from family members whose wishes (and the patient's) were ignored by the health care providers and nobody was prosecuted. As mentioned before, the police will not investigate and the district attorneys will not prosecute violations of the rights of the patient. They simply say, “take it up with the state health department.” Well, the state does not go after agencies who are allowing these imposed deaths to go on.

    Terri Schiavo's case is the classic example where a NON-terminal patient was fraudulently admitted to the hospice (she was healthy but for the major brain injury according to her own attending physician's statement under oath). She was dehydrated to death knowingly by hospice staff. She had been abused and neglected for years in nursing homes since her guardian (husband) forbade any rehab be provided to her, even handrolls, or brushing of her teeth! If the public knew the real facts of her case, they would have been up in arms over the execution of a victim who was not allowed normal care in the nursing home.

    The euthanasia movement has infiltrated the hospice industry, though not all hospices condone hastening death. This is a fact: the corporate successors to the Euthanasia Society of America (Choice In Dying, Partnership for Caring, Last Acts, Last Acts Partnership) all merged successively and then was absorbed by the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization. This is fact. History.

    I have heard from nurses who are being harassed out of the field of hospice because they refused to give a lethal dose of morphine to a patient who was not in pain (but whose health care proxy wished to hasten to death!).

    People with their heads in the sand need to wake up. Prolife nurses and doctors are in dismay all over the country. Anyone who is knowledgeable about hospice knows this. Prolife hospice people (and there are some) are WELL aware of the problems in non-prolife hospices.

  37. Only the blind of mind (or personally interested in participating) could ever deny the existence of 'population control efforts' on the part of death panels in Florida, the White House. or elsewhere.

  38. Quick note: the dying process involves ending food and hydration naturally. Patients lose interest in eating and drinking when they are actively dying.

  39. All sides of the “story” should be written in support of Life. The “Panels” should be shifted towrds the denial of these services-for-profit and political gains. Due to the O-Administration's presence of noted pro-deathers > no panel should be active, which could be swayed towards killing innocent people for their convenient decision-making processes.

  40. Good reply Mr. Panzer. How true this is and could not agree more.

    My personal experience with the death panel is speaking as a wife to “end of life” where a decision made last year by this, and it is not “so called” it was very indeed real to me, to end my husband's life without my input run by government agencies that made such a “hasty, hap hazzard” court ordered pulling the plug on him panel. My husband is still by all means alive and fighting to live, he is not shutting down by far and wants to live from my observations. He is not on “life support”. Like Elaine Reniore mentioned about babies in above comment.

    One person on this commitee not knowing at the time for I was left out, and considered a friend was thrown into this commitee not knowing what was really going on. After all said and done this friend of ours declined to participate in any thing like this again. In a Catholic hospital to boot. To err to the side of life? not with my husband. This also includes many others this hospital ethics commitee tried doing. A man in his 70's had the very same issues with his feedings. The commitee just wanted to let him go, Starve and dehydrate him.

    I spoke to the family and told them do not let them to this..get another opinion..which they did…This man was sent to another hospital 45 minutes later after surgery he is home, safe and surrounded by his loving family again instead of facing a slow starving to death process. Not such the case with my husband where they have him isolated and visits are restricted. Why? did he committ a such a terrible crime to deserve such punishment? No! He served his country.

    In my husbands case he is not allowed to get another opinion..he is forced to have the government agencies make this decision for him.

  41. Good point Elaine!

  42. Here's the point I am trying to make. I am currently the primary care Internal Medicine doc on an elderly patient(88) in the intensive care unit with four specilists on the case.The patient has been in the hospital 6 weeks and all the doctors now feel she is terminal and that medical care has nothing else to offer.

    There are five children and four agree with us, but one simply can't let go and is demanding continued care and I understand that. If this were to go to an ethics committee more than likely they would agree with the doctors and the four children and we would move the patient to 'comfort' care where she will die most likely.

    Now the one child will be very upset and might even feel a 'death panel' did his mother in.He might even present his case on this blog as an example of a death panel,but we would never hear from the other four children on this particular site. We need to be mindful of that when reading about medical cases on blogs.

  43. Your story is compelling and I am sorry about your dilemma, but I don't think the ethics committee was a 'government agency' as you stated. This was in a Catholic Hospital where Ethics committees are set up by the hospital and made of private citizens. Seem like your complaint should be against the private Catholic hospital and the Catholic Church since the government had nothing to do with this.

  44. It was the government who seeked a court order, it was the govenment who wanted to hold a meeting with this panel at the hospital, a panel of one doctor, a nurse, social worker, the famous risk care patient manager, and a deacon who personally knew and was a boss to my husbands ex-wife, who hastily wanted to end his life. A scorned ex-wife what do you think she wanted? That's right the insurance policies..

    It was the governemnt agency that signed sealed and delivered this order to terminate. I believe the hospital was pushed into it. They take their orders from the guardian, Who has declared that he is restricted..”no visitors allowed” Why? Why is that they will not allow my husband the basic right to visit with his frineds and family who care about him? They are the ones who tried to end his life.

    I respect your input and the hospital did have a hand in this but it was the government agency that seeked the order and did not even ask me my opinion, or what my husband would wish or even want. The hospital did include me in the meeting at first site but the guardian said “NO”, so I was not allowed to this “death panel” meeting. They did not want to hear what I had to say. Now I am being ruled as the “bad guy” in all this because I did not go along with their plan. I am all my husband has. He has no other family that has been actively a part of his life for over 20 years.

    Visited in the past 4 years maybe 2 or 3 times…very supportive don't you think?

  45. Ann, there is a big difference between someone that is going through the dying process naturally and someone that is made to die by denying them food and water.

  46. True!

  47. Thank you, Ron, for sharing your expertise and experience with the system and the victims of it. If only more people were aware of the abuses… if only…