Victor Davis Hanson (at around 14:00):
What Thomas Friedman would need to do is get on a bicycle and go across rural China, and then compare that with biking across Nebraska, and see which society is more resilient and stable.
Well, you will pull the plug on grandma, but only after grandma has signed the document the doctor explained to her long before she got into the situation she’s in now, back when it seemed like autonomy and control.
“Using unwanted procedures in terminal illness is a form of assault,” [said Dr. Donald M. Berwick, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Service].
The question is what do patients want and how what they want will be determined. It seems to me that the effort is to get people to commit in advance to death-hastening choices, by getting everyone to sign these documents. Now, all the new regulation seems to do is to authorize Medicare reimbursements for the time health care professionals spend counseling patients about the value and importance of signing the document. It’s hard to see what’s wrong with that. If treatments are covered but advice about forgoing treatment is not covered, then there’s an incentive to do expensive things.
In a recent study of 3,700 people near the end of life, Dr. Maria J. Silveira of the University of Michigan found that many had “treatable, life-threatening conditions” but lacked decision-making capacity in their final days. With the new Medicare coverage, doctors can learn a patient’s wishes before a crisis occurs.
Treatable? You have a condition that can be treated, but you can’t think well enough anymore to decide whether you’d prefer to die? If you’ve signed the document, the answer is you’d rather let the condition kill you, because you allowed the doctors to “learn [your] wishes before” this “crisis” occurred. You didn’t know what the crisis would be or how you would feel when it happened, but you had “wishes” then and these will be taken as your “wishes” now.
(Many of the comments are also worth reading, particularly the one by Bender at 10:21 AM on 12/26/10 and the one by Ann Althouse at 2:21 PM on 12/26/10.)
* Why do those who object to tampering with the environment approve of tampering with the economy? Isn’t the economy also a fragile ecosystem where a sudden change can trigger a devastating chain reaction?
* Isn’t the latest economic crisis such a chain reaction?
* Aren’t most of today’s social ills the result of tampering with social ecosystems?
* Why is bioengineering bad, but social engineering good?