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They Laughed at Us When We Raised Hell Over Obamacare’s Death Panels

They Laughed at Us When We Raised Hell Over Obamacare’s Death Panels

This is the end result of a culture that worked diligently to devalue human life.

In February, Republicans used the awful budget deal to kill an Obamacare provision that was never implemented — the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

During the great Obamacare debates, then-Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin referred to IPAB as a ‘death panel.’ IPAB, if triggered, would’ve granted Medicare cutting authority to 15 unelected bureaucrats if spending exceeded certain thresholds. This board would’ve been able to prioritize cost-cutting measures over care. Hypothetically and in the worst case scenarios, a tiny group of oversight immune government employees would be able to decide someone’s fate if the price tag were deemed too hefty.

Republicans were mocked and accused of concocting a nefarious ‘death panel’ to fear monger their way into an electoral win.

But then you look at what’s happening in the U.K., first with Charlie Gard and now with Alfie Evans. In both cases, a court, not a doctor and caretaker, decided it was in the best interest of the baby to pull the plug.

I’ve read extensively about terminal illnesses and the ethical issues with pulling the plug on a body that is kept alive only by a machine. But it’s happened that even individuals pronounced dead but for a ventilator become responsive to certain stimuli under the right care and circumstances, begging the question, what does it mean to die?

With both Charlie Gard and Alfie Evans, guards were stationed outside of the room to prevent the baby’s parents from removing their child from the hospital.

In both cases, other hospitals volunteered to give these children a chance to live, even if that chance was minuscule.

Alfie Evans was granted Italian citizenship and the support of a Vatican-backed hospital in Rome. But he can’t leave. Not unless the court allows it. The Italian ambassador is working to convince the judge to let the child receive care elsewhere.

This attitude is not limited by age or geography. Our northern neighbors are warming to the idea of medically assisted death for those with chronic and debilitating illness.

And this is the ‘death panel’ we feared — government deciding when we die and why, deciding what’s more human — the chance to live or die due to the absence of care. More terrifying is that the power to judge life and death is allowed and even encouraged in a western culture often looked to by American progressives as the pinnacle of good governance and healthcare.

The normalization of abortion (it’s nothing more than a medical procedure, dontchaknow!) was the gateway drug. It’s how we ended up in this godawful and completely heartless acceptance of government-induced death.

This is the end result of a culture that worked diligently to devalue human life.

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Comments

The Friendly Grizzly | April 23, 2018 at 10:04 pm

Something tells me that when the time comes, Queen Elizabeth will not face these issues.

This is the kind of heartbreaking situations where I would understand, approve and support if the parents did something “really stupid”.
And by really stupid I mean violently discharging their anger, baseball bat in hand, on each and every one of the a-holes doing this to the kid, and to the family.
Each and every one of them deserve the worst possible form of punishment, as in my view they are worth less than chewed tobacco. I don’t count them as humans. And the doctors, they deserve a special spot in the hottest corner of hell.

    pwaldoch in reply to Exiliado. | April 24, 2018 at 8:19 am

    I agree. I’d support a breakout of the child by overpowering the guards with a few friends help and some distractions to quickly get the kid out of the hospital and to the Italian embassy to then get him out of the country.

    MikeT in reply to Exiliado. | April 24, 2018 at 11:47 am

    It is amazing that you think insurance companies are not the arbiters of life and death in complex situations. That had nothing to do with the Affordable Care Act. It has been going on for decades. As have long waits for certain procedures and poor health care outcomes for basic procedures.
    So keep your bat ready in case you are so unfortunate as to have to deal with such a situation with your insurance company.

      scaulen in reply to MikeT. | April 24, 2018 at 12:08 pm

      So your saying insurance companies in the states would put armed guards on the door and keep me from taking my child elsewhere for care? If lets say a charity tells me they will take on my child’s case because they are experts in what is affecting my child the insurance company will make sure I am not allowed to do that?? Or am I missing the point?

        MikeT in reply to scaulen. | April 24, 2018 at 12:47 pm

        If you research this situation a little, you won’t find any reference to “armed guards”. But, if there was a need for guards, they would have been placed at the door. The insurance company would not have sent them but the court would. Insurance companies will not pay for care when the diagnosis is as dire as Charlie’s. They would want resolution. What was being done was upholding the court order which was decreed based on medical expert testimony. The child had an incurable genetic disorder. He would never breath, move or respond in any way. Only technology could keep him in some sort of “alive” condition.
        The parents could not have moved him safely, nor does it seem they wanted to do so. They were suffering from the fact that they had, at delivery, what seemed like a normal healthy bay. It was at two months they realized the child had big problems and he was diagnosed with a rare genetic disorder. The entire process was difficult for all involved, parents, hospital, courts….

      Joe-dallas in reply to MikeT. | April 25, 2018 at 11:06 am

      Several things wrong with your comment (and common and missinterepted talking point)

      1) There is no qualified immunity for health insurance as compared with government employees,
      2) insurance companies make their money via maintaining or increasing market share. Denying coverage causes bad publicity, bad customer relations and puts serious dents in market share which is the real driver of profitability.
      3) The insurance companies are not denying treatment.

Someday one could require a “life permit” much like some states/locales require a renewable gun permit to possess a firearm. Take it to the level of a permit to live… have a medical and background check to see if any worth to the community… too “old”, too “infirmed”… 20 year old with quadriplegia? No renewal of permit… 60 yo with end stage renal… no permit (hint.. UK).

    gospace in reply to alaskabob. | April 23, 2018 at 11:38 pm

    Or just have everyone’s birth certificate expire at age 65- renewable on a yearly basis by paying a princely sum to the government.

    MikeT in reply to alaskabob. | April 24, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Basically, we already do have the equivalent of “life Permits”. Many middle class Americans cannot afford health insurance. The working poor for sure can’t. They depend on various state subsidies and/or Medicaid. Also, prior to the ACA, insured parties had limits that the insurer would spend covering the person. Fortunately that provision wasn’t eliminated by the Republican rush to eliminate the ACA. Too bad both parties didn’t work on improving it over the past half dozen years.

      nordic_prince in reply to MikeT. | April 24, 2018 at 10:21 pm

      Gee, it’s a wonder the human race has survived for millennia without health insurance! You do realize that “health insurance” is not equivalent to “health care,” don’t you? Lack of health insurance is nowhere near the same as a “life permit.”

      And saying that too bad both parties didn’t work on improving Zerocare is like saying too bad the school lunch lady didn’t work on improving a $#!+ sandwich. There’s no improving crap.

JusticeDelivered | April 23, 2018 at 10:28 pm

I spent quite a bit of time early in my career designing medical instrumentation. Part of that was doing beta testing in hospitals.
There are things far worse than death, I have seen it firsthand, horrible suffering.
Don’t try to make decisions for other people’s medical situations, and they won’t interfere in yours.

    Stupid reply. The GOVERNMENT would be making the decision for people. Don’t you understand the difference? A b7nch if people who have never met you, don’t understand your particular situation, will be determining your fate. Yeah, just walk down the street, knock on nine random doors and let those people decide when you die.

      healthguyfsu in reply to JoAnne. | April 24, 2018 at 12:59 am

      Unless I misread, I think he doesn’t disagree with you.

        Edward in reply to healthguyfsu. | April 24, 2018 at 8:09 am

        I could be mistaken, but certainly there is an indicated preference for death over continued life in what the writer considers “horrible suffering” “worse than death”. The open question is whether the writer objects to government making the decision, or others (including the parents of minor children) interfering with a decision made for a terminally ill patient.

        There is absolutely no question that in the instant case the child is not capable of making the determination so to whom are the writer’s comments applicable: the government/courts, the parents/Italian government/Vatican/other medical facilities or those commenting here?

          JusticeDelivered in reply to Edward. | April 24, 2018 at 9:30 am

          To be clear, people or their immediate families if they are unable, should be making their own life and death decisions. Government,the medical profession which profits handsomely from extending suffering, should not have any say in the matter.

          JusticeDelivered in reply to Edward. | April 24, 2018 at 9:43 am

          On the issue of suffering, it is one thing to suffer when there is a reasonable chance of recovery, it is completely different when people suffer with death being the only possible outcome.
          In some cases, especially with terminal cancers, I saw doctors arguing about doses being high enough to be addictive, death cures all addictions, so it is unreasonable to limit pain meds.
          I have also seen them argue that a dose would likely hasten death, and therefore not be given. That should solely be patient or family decision if the patient is unable to communicate.

          MikeT in reply to Edward. | April 24, 2018 at 12:25 pm

          I agree with what you are saying but I always wonder why we use the phrase “worse than death”? What is so bad about dying? Sure, you miss out on some fun times and great new experiences but once you die, you die. It seems we should embrace death as we do life. Certainly in many case, death is preferable to life. We try to keep people alive when they are miserable, not for them but for yourself. If you really love someone, let them go.

          MikeT in reply to Edward. | April 24, 2018 at 7:51 pm

          This instance was determined by the courts based on expert witnesses. It was not based on emotion nor was it dictated by some governmental body.

      MikeT in reply to JoAnne. | April 24, 2018 at 11:48 am

      You prefer your insurance company makes the decision?

Regarding the Independent Payment Advisory Board: “The proposal shall not include any recommendation to ration health care, raise revenues or Medicare beneficiary premiums under section 1818, 1818A, or 1839, increase Medicare beneficiary cost sharing (including deductibles, coinsurance, and co-payments), or otherwise restrict benefits or modify eligibility criteria.”

    Kimberlee Kaye: This board would’ve been able to prioritize cost-cutting measures over care. Hypothetically and in the worst case scenarios, a tiny group of oversight immune government employees would be able to decide someone’s fate if the price tag were deemed to hefty.

    That claim is not consistent with the statute.

      Voyager in reply to Zachriel. | April 23, 2018 at 11:01 pm

      And when they do, in spite of the language of the statute, what shall your recourse be?

      When the EPA planned to re-engineer the closed mines near the Animas River, they were acting in flagrant disregard of their controlling language as well, yet, no rational engineer was able to reign them in, the way a PE might have been able to call the police on similar misconduct by a non-governmental authority.

      Once they have the proximity of that power, they will exercise it, and who shall you call when it is the police doing the mayhem? Far better to bound their powers to the minimum for a functioning society than to obligate that all arbiters of the law be the better angels.

        Voyager: And when they do, in spite of the language of the statute, what shall your recourse be?

        Go to court, because any such regulation would be a clear violation of the law.

        Voyager: When the EPA planned to re-engineer the closed mines near the Animas River, they were acting in flagrant disregard of their controlling language

        Please provide a citation that the EPA was violating the law.

          Voyager in reply to Zachriel. | April 24, 2018 at 11:04 pm

          A court settlement makes a poor grave market. Is it wise or just to open resuscitation to emergency stays?

          To put it another way, is it wise, or even safe, to place the law between someone and what a reasonable person would believe may save their life?

          Voyager: A court settlement makes a poor grave market.

          Regulations are subject to court challenge before implementation.

          Voyager: To put it another way, is it wise, or even safe, to place the law between someone and what a reasonable person would believe may save their life?

          The old-fashioned way was to use up all their money, then send them to the curb.

      Edward in reply to Zachriel. | April 24, 2018 at 8:15 am

      Your statement makes clear that you have never written, or been involved in writing, implementing regulations. What the statute in the US Code (USC) states, and what the implementing regulations in the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) states often seem to be totally different views of reality. And the courts will defer to the CFR absent there being a totally gross misinterpretation of the USC.

        Edward: And the courts will defer to the CFR absent there being a totally gross misinterpretation of the USC.

        The relevant precedent is Chevron, which requires regulations be reasonable within the context of the law. In this case, the law is quite clear, the IPAB “shall not include any recommendation to ration health care”.

      Hi Zachs, this is an interesting (if now moot) point. The statute is loosely written and does not actually prohibit some means of health care rationing.

      Howard Dean articulated this point in 2013:

      “One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body. By setting doctor reimbursement rates for Medicare and determining which procedures and drugs will be covered and at what price, the IPAB will be able to stop certain treatments its members do not favor by simply setting rates to levels where no doctor or hospital will perform them.”

      I wrote about this here: https://legalinsurrection.com/2013/07/howard-dean-the-ipab-is-essentially-a-health-care-rationing-body/

      As to your flippant point about a patient’s recourse against such a government body being the court system: that’s a huge problem with government-run healthcare. Your ONLY recourse is the courts, and unless you have the money to fight the federal government and are not on death’s door (likely to die before the first motion can be filed), you lose before you start to fight. Having a recourse that is not available to the majority of Americans due to costs, terminal illness / time constraints is effectively the same as having no recourse at all.

        Fuzzy Slippers: “One major problem is the so-called Independent Payment Advisory Board. The IPAB is essentially a health-care rationing body.

        Administrative price setting has always been part of Medicare reimbursement. That’s not a “death panel”.

        Fuzzy Slippers: As to your flippant point about a patient’s recourse against such a government body being the court system: that’s a huge problem with government-run healthcare.

        New regulations can either be overruled by Congress, or organizations can go to court before they take effect. In any case, Medicare already sets prices administratively.

        But yes, Medicare is a government-run healthcare system. That’s because modern medicine can be very expensive and few people could afford unregulated private insurance when they are over 65 or if they have preexisting conditions, which is pretty typical for those over 65.

          MikeT in reply to Zachriel. | April 24, 2018 at 2:22 pm

          Medicare simply does not pay for some medicines and/or procedures. In particular, they generally exclude anything that is experimental. Most for profit insurance companies also restrict access to these things. You really never know what your insurance coverage will be until you need it.

          Yes, actually, it is a death panel. How many poor people and minorities do you think die every day because Medicaid won’t fund further treatment? Look, if you want to back a “what can they contribute to the collective?” death assessment, fine, just say so.

          Your point appears (now) to be not that the IPAB wasn’t actually a health-care rationing body (you ditched your argument that it was not when you realized we all know it was just that) but that healthcare rationing is okay because Medicaid and Medicare ration health care. How does that work exactly? In your brain? How is it okay for the government to decide who lives and dies, who receives treatment and who doesn’t?

          Fuzzy Slippers: How many poor people and minorities do you think die every day because Medicaid won’t fund further treatment?

          Far fewer than would die without Medicaid. We presume you would support providing more medical funding for poor and minorities. The current problem is long waiting lists in some states to qualify for Medicaid. But that wasn’t the original concern, was it? Rather it was the claim about so-called death-panels.

          Fuzzy Slippers: healthcare rationing is okay because Medicaid and Medicare ration health care.

          If you use your broad definition of rationing, then markets ration healthcare: if you don’t have money, you don’t get healthcare. Insurance companies used to engage in rationing, cutting off your treatment when you exceeded the limit of expenditures. Nowadays, the vast majority of such decisions are based on medical utility.

          Fuzzy Slippers: How is it okay for the government to decide who lives and dies, who receives treatment and who doesn’t?

          How is it okay for your banker to decide who lives and who dies? How is it okay for your insurance company to decide?

          In any case, your question is falsely loaded. If someone is dying, then further treatment is not medically indicated other than as necessary to provide comfort. People die. It’s part of life. No one should be denied life-saving medical treatment, so we’re glad you support legislation to end caps on insurance, and more funding to provide medical care for the poor.

          MikeT in reply to Zachriel. | April 26, 2018 at 7:35 pm

          Medicare is another subsidy for the wealthy. The maximum monthly cost for Medicare is ridiculously low. If a person makes more than some arbitrary amount, maybe $200,000, they should be paying market rates for their insurance. Instead they get the super cheap medicare and then a supplemental plan that covers what Medicare doesn’t. Poorer people don’t have the option to buy the expensive supplemental plans.
          The system is always stacked in favor of the well off.

    Andy in reply to Zachriel. | April 24, 2018 at 11:21 am

    …and if you like your current insurance and your current doctor, you can keep them.

      Andy: …and if you like your current insurance and your current doctor, you can keep them.

      You are conflating written law with a political statement about the law. While most people could and did keep their insurance, some disruption was inevitable, and that should have been made clear during the process.

      MikeT in reply to Andy. | April 24, 2018 at 11:52 am

      Of course that was a stupid comment. But, Andy, has your company changed insurers? If they have you probably had to change some things too. Obama should have simply referred to the circumstances that occur when anyone changes insurance companies. Some allow you to stay in the same network and others do not. They all negotiate different deals with different providers.

THIS is ONE reason that “health care” simply CANNOT be made a question for the state to meddle in.

Life is so far beyond any court to determine (except for the incident of a death sentence for murder) that it simply can’t be made a matter for determination in a legal proceeding. The clumsy hammer of the law is not a scalpel. The interests of the “state” should never, EVER, be weighed against the most basic of civil rights.

If that were my kid, I would engineer an escape plan. I would tie up the guard and stash him in a closet and have another person in his clothes stand guard while I and my child took a private plane to Italy.
No way I am sitting by to watch him die without going balls to the Wall.

    Kemberlee Kaye in reply to gonzotx. | April 23, 2018 at 11:51 pm

    Same.

    jpwcpa in reply to gonzotx. | April 24, 2018 at 1:35 pm

    And since this is taking place in the UK, the guards that are stationed in front of the hospital room are almost certainly not armed.

    MikeT in reply to gonzotx. | April 24, 2018 at 7:54 pm

    Maybe you could crowd fund the $75 to $100,000 such a flight might cost? The Italian hospital acknowledged that their treatment wasn’t a cure. Just more technological life support.

And yes I am sure there is medical equipment I would need to keep Him alive till I got to Italy

That’s where you get by with a little help from your friends and medical Personal

*Gard, not Guard. His name was Charlie Gard.

This is just horrible

Reminds me of Terri Schiavo, only far worse.

Well, at least it hasn’t reached the soylent green status.

Close The Fed | April 24, 2018 at 5:41 am

This treatment of a patient is just what we hear about. There’s so much we don’t hear about, but you will know about if you start talking with friends about experiences with “hospice.”

I tell my clients we now live in the age of veterinarian medicine for human beings. When the dog is at the vet’s, the owner and the vet are making the decisions, not the dog. For us, it’s the insurance company or the government who makes the decisions, if we’re content to let them do it because we pay a monthly premium and that’s all the financial exposure and commitment we want to have.

As a result, the insurer and government implement their own priorities all the time about care. Case in point, in some (most?) “hospice” situations, once a patient is committed to a hospice facility, no doctor meets with the patients or the patients’ families to discuss care. The hospice medical director will meet with staff to discuss various items, but not family. Thus the family is left to make decisions about which they are completely unable to make without guidance, lacking a medical background. There may be a nurse practitioner present, but the hospice he works for will have its own agenda.

Interestingly, I spoke with a hospice physician medical director a few weeks ago, and he said the hospice facilities get a “lump sum” when a patient is admitted, so their incentive is for a patient to die sooner rather than later. If true, it explains a lot, such as why we are now allowing patients to die of dehydration which is an unforgivable. How would you feel without water after a day, much less several days? Horrifying.

When I speak with clients about advance health directives, I suggest to them that when they’re vulnerable, miserable and incapable of acting for themselves, they should have already instructed their families to spend whatever it takes to get a doctor to regularly visit them at their bedside and give the family advice about care. You’re not taking your money with you, it’s better spent getting needed advice so that you’re as comfortable at the end as you can be, rather than saving the government money by having you die of thirst.

It’s easy when you feel good to mark up a document stating they shouldn’t give you hydration and nutrition by medical means when you feel good. It’s when you’re on your death bed that you’ll regret it, but be unable to do a damn thing about it.

If there’s anyone reading familiar with other policies, rules, regulations on payments that incentiveize poor care, I would like to hear about them.

I believe there’s also a system put in place the last few years that penalizes a doctor if he readmits a patient to a hospital within 30 days of discharge from a hospital. That’s going to cause more deaths as well.

So, little Alfie Evans is “the” end result of the culture of death, he’s “a” result of the culture of death. The end results are everywhere, and it’s almost never revealed.

    Close The Fed in reply to Close The Fed. | April 24, 2018 at 5:44 am

    Correction: *So, little Aflie Evans isn’t “the” end result….

    Immolate in reply to Close The Fed. | April 24, 2018 at 10:19 am

    Is “hospice” now a code word for “we’re done with them, please help them die quickly and painlessly”?

    Two people I knew well were both dead within 24 hours of being taken to hospice. Too small a dataset, I know, but enough to raise my fur.

      scaulen in reply to Immolate. | April 24, 2018 at 12:17 pm

      Hospice is to put them out of their misery. My father in law was in and out of good days and bad days. Eventually it was recommended that Hospice visit him in the hospital. They talked about letting him pass, not keeping him in pain, that the body is not strong enough even though his will won’t give in. A couple of injections of morphine later….

      oldgoat36 in reply to Immolate. | April 24, 2018 at 7:19 pm

      Hospice care is recommended when the patient is in the last stage of life. Palliative care is what should be given, hospice care is when they are dying and no means of having their life extended through “heroic” means would be considered.

      My Dad was put in hospice care, and it was about 38 hours he was under that care. His kidneys shut down, his internal organs were all failing, he was being given care and a stronger dose of morphine to make him as comfortable as possible.

      In some cases the hospice care can last longer. I had a friend who was in hospice care for three months. He had terminal cancer and it was eating him alive. No operations would save him, nor chemo or any other treatment. This hospice care was through the Catholic Church, and from all I saw, he was given treatment that kept him dignified as possible, able to say his goodbyes to friends and family, and he gently faded from his life. There are places that do hurry along death, but not all of them do.

      In my father’s case, he was given the best care he could have been given up to when his organs were failing and there was nothing more that could be done. He was suffering with dementia, the type was undetermined because of a fairly rapid onset and decline, and it affected his organs. Hospice care, at the time he was moved to it, was known to be his last hours of life. The medical staff were attentive, watched closely enough to give what comfort they could, but it was more about easing him as best as possible into death.

      We are all going to die. Everyone’s life ends at some point. It is the toughest part of life, as we cling to wanting our loved ones to remain. At some point the emotional aspect needs to be placed on the person dying. This is why living wills are important. You get to put your wishes on paper to say how far care is to be tried to keep you alive. My grandfather had a similar experience. He had asbestosis, one and a half lungs were removed. What heroic measures could be done would have prolonged him laying in bed, with limited awake time, while his body failed. Keeping him alive while unresponsive and clearly near his end seems in some ways cruel.

      Not all cases are the same, if recovery is a possibility, where they can have a prolonged life, even if it is reduced quality, then care should be given and not decided by court or government control. When it is known that the recovery is short term, and quality of life is reduced to counting seconds till the next dose of pain medication, shouldn’t the care be switched to a type which allows the patient to die in as much comfort as possible? It is a tough ethical issue, one people face all the time, with no easy pat answer. Yet, I don’t want some remote panel deciding blanket coverage matters for specific care to give at the end of a person’s life.

    Maybe it is time to legalize suicide. In fact, why is it illegal? If someone is miserable and wants out, why is their preference defined by some archaic law? I hope they have a bedside pill when i am ready to check out.

      Voyager in reply to MikeT. | April 24, 2018 at 11:08 pm

      Because once it is legal, it will become mandatory.

      Arminius in reply to MikeT. | April 26, 2018 at 4:02 am

      Voyager is exactly correct. Once countries pass “right to die” was they quickly transform into “duty to die” laws.

      Britain’s NHS has been rocked by several scandals in the past decade. For instance, general practitioners were paid 50 pounds per every patient, mostly elderly, that they could convince to agree to an “end of life plan” that included convincing them to die at home rather than going to the hospital. Why? Money of course. Every patient who died at home saved the NHS 1,000 pounds compared to a patient who died in the hospital. The list of patients who agreed to these end of life plans was informally known within the NHS as “death list patients.” Once these people agreed to these plans there was no changing their minds. Ambulance drivers/attendants were instructed NOT to bring “death list patients” to the hospital even if they asked to go.

      The NHS attempted to publicly defend the payments to the GPs by claiming it was for the extra time they spent discussing the “end of life plans” with their patients, which included what sort of drugs they would want in their final days and where they wished to die. Of course, most observers wondered why these doctors were being paid extra simply for having a difficult conversation with their patients. The answer was obvious as the doctors did not receive any extra payments for patients that insisted on going to the hospital. Basically, the payment was a kickback; they received part of the money the NHS was saving by convincing the patient to die at home.

      In other money-saving news coming out of the NHS:

      http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2161869/Top-doctors-chilling-claim-The-NHS-kills-130-000-elderly-patients-year.html

      “NHS doctors are prematurely ending the lives of thousands of elderly hospital patients because they are difficult to manage or to free up beds, a senior consultant claimed yesterday.

      Professor Patrick Pullicino said doctors had turned the use of a controversial ‘death pathway’ into the equivalent of euthanasia of the elderly.

      He claimed there was often a lack of clear evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway, a method of looking after terminally ill patients that is used in hospitals across the country.

      It is designed to come into force when doctors believe it is impossible for a patient to recover and death is imminent.

      There are around 450,000 deaths in Britain each year of people who are in hospital or under NHS care. Around 29 per cent – 130,000 – are of patients who were on the LCP.

      Professor Pullicino claimed that far too often elderly patients who could live longer are placed on the LCP and it had now become an ‘assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway’.

      …Professor Pullicino revealed he had personally intervened to take a patient off the LCP who went on to be successfully treated.

      He said this showed that claims they had hours or days left are ‘palpably false’.

      …‘I removed the patient from the LCP despite significant resistance,’ he said.

      ‘His seizures came under control and four weeks later he was discharged home to his family,’ he said.

      …He said: ‘The lack of evidence for initiating the Liverpool Care Pathway makes it an assisted death pathway rather than a care pathway.

      ‘Very likely many elderly patients who could live substantially longer are being killed by the LCP.

      ‘Patients are frequently put on the pathway without a proper analysis of their condition.

      ‘Predicting death in a time frame of three to four days, or even at any other specific time, is not possible scientifically. ”

      Why the “significant resistance?”

      “…In the example of the 71-year-old, Professor Pullicino revealed he had given the patient another 14 months of life by demanding the man be removed from the LCP.

      …The patient’s extra 14 months of life came at considerable cost to the NHS and the taxpayer, Professor Pullicino indicated…”

      The patient wasn’t ready to die yet. He lived with a “supportive wife and daughter” who didn’t want him to die yet. But NHS wanted him dead to free up the bed and save all that money. So the other doctors said the man only had hours or days to live. It turned out he had over a year to live.

      And the UK hasn’t even legalized assisted suicide. But they were withdrawing food, water, and medicine (except sedatives/pain killers like morphine, mostly for the convenience of staff who didn’t like hearing the patients they were killing beg for water).

      It’s even worse in European countries that have assisted suicide. The doctors are supposed to get permission from the patient or next of kin to administer the life-ending drugs. But doctors don’t wait for that. Even though that’s still considered murder in countries like the Netherlands no doctor has ever been charged with a crime. The doctor simply says he received the necessary permission, and the only witness is dead.

goddessoftheclassroom | April 24, 2018 at 6:53 am

As much as I object to the principle, I can understand a health service deciding there are no more treatment options; however, I don’t understand why the hospital won’t discharge him–it’s false imprisonment.

    This isn’t about the cost; they’re doing this out of the goodness and kindness of their hearts. They’ve decided it’s in his best interest to die, therefore his parents who don’t want him to die are acting against his interest and he needs to be protected from them.

      oldgoat36 in reply to Milhouse. | April 24, 2018 at 7:31 pm

      Milhouse, possibly, yet a place was willing to give care to him, a young child, is that protecting the child from his parents or taking away the last option for any other possible care? In this case there was an option that is refused, which seems to be at odds with giving up any hope for care to be given.

      There does come a time, as painful and heartbreaking as it is, where you have to let go. Yet, especially with one this young, should any further avenues of care be cut off, even though there was one such avenue? Wouldn’t it be better to allow that chance, however unlikely, when it involves a child? Imagine your own life long torment of having your own child die when you had an option left that you weren’t allowed to take.

      When you are so emotionally tied to this matter, you have a harder time accepting defeat, and that is understandable, but where there is life there is hope, however slight. Doctors are not infallible, and medical wonders can and do happen. It just seems to me that it is terribly cruel to the parents to deny them taking the last chance for a different outcome when it is offered. Isn’t that the more ethical choice, to allow the last gasp effort over stopping it through a court order?

        Milhouse in reply to oldgoat36. | April 24, 2018 at 7:44 pm

        Oldgoat, you’re not getting it. The state determined that it was in Alfie’s best interest to die. Therefore any offer to take him in and care for him and possibly save his life was contrary to his interests, and he had to be protected from that offer.

    The reason they are forbidding the family from seeking help elsewhere is because if the child manages to pull through it would call into question every similar decision NHS has made. A child’s life is not worth making the state look fallible.

FYI, the Queen of the Culture of Death (PlannedParenthood), is investigating getting into the euthanasia business. They’re professionals as ushering people from the land of the living into the realms death. Surprised they haven’t opened up a Hospice branch to facilitate their killing. Does anyone wonder where the balance of new workers will come from in the future? I don’t know either, but I know where they won’t come from…this constant drip-drip-drip of America’s human wealth will eventually play a big part in destroying our nation. Leaky boats always sink….

Planned Parenthood Federation of America (PPFA) is the primary provider of abortions in the U.S. According to PPFA’s most recent 2016-2017 annual report, it committed 321,384 abortions in fiscal year 2016, down by 6,964 abortions since 2015.

According to these numbers, Planned Parenthood aborted 881 babies every single day in fiscal year 2016.

In other words, a baby was aborted every 98 seconds at a Planned Parenthood facility in the U.S. in 2016.

According to a January 2017 Guttmacher Institute report, 926,200 abortions were committed in 2014.[ii] In 2014, 323,999 abortions were committed by Planned Parenthood and its affiliates. Therefore, in 2014 Planned Parenthood was responsible for 35% of all abortions committed in the U.S., an increase from 31.5%in 2011.

From 2011-2016, Planned Parenthood committed over 1.9 million abortions (1,962,514).

Additionally, between 2011-2016 Planned Parenthood gave out an average of 1.16 million emergency contraception kits annually. Emergency contraception, such as Plan B, can kill a human embryo if fertilization has already occurred.

In their 2015-2016 report, Planned Parenthood reported having nearly 650 health centers. In 2016-2017, they reported having just over 600, though did not disclose how many closed this past year in addition to 56 regional affiliates. Both the numbers of facilities and affiliates continue to drop each year and are at an all-time low. In 2016 alone, 20 Planned Parenthood facilities closed. At its height in 1995, there were 938 Planned Parenthood facilities. With just over 600 facilities in 2017, there was more than a one-third decrease in the number of facilities. Affiliates have also consistently dropped from 190 in 1983 to 56 in 2017, a 71% decrease.

The doctors at Alder Hey Hospital have once again proven to be a disgrace to the medical profession and for humanity.
They said he could not survive more than a few minutes, but Alfie Evans survived 15 hours disconnected from the ventilator and during all this the doctors refused to reconnect him.
What kind of monster would do this?
Why? To prove that they were right?
It’s heartbreaking to see this little champ having to fight for his life against such shameless, unethical doctors.

CaliforniaJimbo | April 24, 2018 at 8:06 am

I read a science fiction series “midshipman’s hope” by David feintuch. In it, the national health system issued health cards based upon value to society. If you were part of the highly productive class (some would say preferred class) you received all services including longevity treatments. If you were just an average joe or Jane well you were cut off and allows to die so you wouldn’t be a drain on the system.
Hmmmm

American Human | April 24, 2018 at 8:41 am

I believe one of the problems is that The Government is making the decisions and have essentially removed the parents from the picture by fiat. The parents have done nothing wrong, have only tried to do their best, and hold an infinite amount of love for this little fellow. The Government only sees wasted resources. But even if the Italians will take over the entire affair including payment, treatment, and care all in Italy at Italian/Vatican expense, The Government will not even let them…because??? Well, because “They” are The Government and it is inconceivable to them that anyone else should make these decisions.
I’m subtly reminded how leftists will spend millions defending a duly convicted man on death row for years and years pulling every heart string they can and costing society pain and confusion, all so a murderer can sit in prison for 50 – 60 years at taxpayer expense yet here is a poor innocent life with possible treatment options to at least try, yet The Government and their embedded requisite socialists doing their best to rid them of this pesky little brat.

I got news for you all, medicaid and medicare patients already are being rationed as to their care. The drs. are required by their particular group to maintain certain levels of types of treatment and costs by NOT telling their patients about their availability. For instance a person may appear healthy and feel so but should probably get certain tests done to anticipate problems down the road. Those tests aren’t told to the patient unless they bring it up or have symptoms that point to having them done. There are many other situations similar where they ration health care to the elderly and those on state or federal aid. Because they won’t pay as much to the recommending doctor. Simple as that.

I’ve tried to look up all the possible stuff I should be getting but I’m afraid to bring some of it up because they can always say NO for some reason and then I might make my care worse due to being a trouble maker.

So don’t sit and smugly think it hasn’t or won’t happen here.

It already is.

    Valerie in reply to jakee308. | April 24, 2018 at 11:10 am

    The entire notion of medical care as practiced in this country is biased toward the treatment of clinical symptoms after they arise, principally through drugs and surgery. Subclinical symptoms are considered to be non-treatable, in part because drugs and surgery nearly always result in a certain level of harm to the patient.

    This leaves millions of people with untreated pain. Then the drugmakers got the great idea of concocting “physically non-addictive” drugs and using them to treat pain as a symptom in and of itself. That resulted in the government pushing opioids on doctors against their better judgment, followed by the opioid crisis.

    The good news is that many, many clinical and subclinical conditions (and a lot of pain) are amenable to treatment through diet, exercise, massage, chiropractic, and acupuncture treatments. These resources are also are cheap relative to medical treatments, possibly because they are not subsidized by insurance.

Not surprising as Communists/Commiecrats assign little value to life.

    MikeT in reply to jmccandles. | April 24, 2018 at 12:00 pm

    We are sure lucky that the Republicans are doing such a great job with their health care plans and reforms. We should all be thankful it has been their priority.

      It is not the government’s job to be in charge of your healthcare and decide what you’re “deserving of.” This is our thing right here. We don’t want MORE government control of healthcare. We want LESS.

When I watched the vile commentary surrounding Sarah Palin’s decision to keep her Downs baby, I knew that the proposal to have Death Panels was real, and the intent was exactly as she had pointed out.

This is one of the reasons I keep pointing out the converse application of Roe v. Wade to pro-lifers, and telling them to be careful what they wish for.

The opinion in Roe v. Wade has a bias toward life that is persistently ignored by the pro-lifers, to our great peril. That is because the framework for the opinion places the power to make the abortion decision entirely in the hands of the one human being most affected, the mother, at least during the first trimester, with continuing rights throughout the pregnancy. This opinion is a fairly effective block against abortions coerced by the government.

There is also a discussion of the consequences of a grant of power to the government, how difficult it is to walk back such a grant, and how, once granted, the power to make a decision includes the power to make that decision either way. That is, granting the government the power to intervene in the abortion decision, ostensibly to stop abortions, carries with it the power to coerce them.

I remember the fiery repudiations of this opinion at the time, some of them along the lines of “it can’t happen here.” A few short years later, it happened in China, which enacted the One Child policy, supported by the rationing of benefits and medical care along the lines of the Death Panels favored by the Democrats.

Those policies worked, and they ultimately yielded a population imbalance in China, where baby girls were aborted at higher rates than baby boys. Now they have a severe shortage of women.

I do not believe the people who put together the Obamacare legislation failed to comprehend the example of China: I think they meant to follow that example, because they really, truly, do not care what happens to plebes. I suspect that they would like to see Roe v. Wade overturned, because that opinion stands in the way of fully functioning Death Panels.

A far bigger problem with the death panels is deciding who gets care and when

One of the provisions in HillaryCare circa 1993, were the provisions that made it a criminal offense for a medical professional to circumvent the anticipated bottlenecks that socialized medicine was going to create.

One specific provision was the prohibition of mamograms for women under the age of 50 since the cost benefit / detection rate was low below that age for all women. A former employee of my office developed an aggressive form of breast cancer at age 34. Under ACA/obamacare and/or hillarycare, she would have been barred from obtaining the very medical tool that saved her life.

“Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence.

Used to mean important stuff for the people. Sadly it hardly seems to matter.

I hate articles like this: they tug at the heart strings and raise emotional responses, but do not fully prevent the facts.
This poor child does not have a disease that could be cured. Transfer to Italy would not offer a cure (or even a treatment that might change his underlying disease). He has a progressive neurodegenerative disorder that has been imaged by MRI and serial EEGs (EEGs display the electrical activity of the brain). The reported purposeful activity that the parents describe by EEG has been shown to be seizure activity induced by stimuli with very limited brain activity beyond that seizure activity. Over time, this child’s brain function has progressively declined. Transfer to Italy would be for the sole purpose of placing a feeding tube and tracheostomy (for permanent ventilation). This child has no gag reflex, so even with a feeding tube, he will have a risk of pneumonia caused by reflux of feedings. The doctor who suggested the transfer to Italy acknowledged that the transfer may destabilize the child. (The concern is that for this child, stimulation causes seizures and obviously a transfer would be a long series of stimulating events). The care proposed in Italy would do nothing to stop/delay the progressive neurodegenerative decay. The care they propose is to try to set the child up for home care (with a ventilator).
In the judicial opinion, there is a quote taken from Pope Francis (taken from an open letter written to an Academy, not specifically addressing this case), “The growing therapeutic capabilities of medical science have made it possible to eliminate many diseases, to improve health and to prolong people’s life span. While these developments have proved quite positive, it has also become possible nowadays to extend life by means that were inconceivable in the past. Surgery and other medical interventions have become ever more effective, but they are not always beneficial: they can sustain, or even replace, failing vital functions, but that is not the same as promoting health. Greater wisdom is called for today, because of the temptation to insist on treatments that have powerful effects on the body, yet at times do not serve the integral good of the person.”.
I found the full opinion here: https://www.judiciary.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2018/02/alder-hey-v-evans.pdf
Per the EEG, this child has no purposeful interaction with the world. He has very limited reflexes (no gag reflex, very limited pupil reflexes, etc). Over the past year, his condition has only declined, and even the Italian doctor agreed that there is no obvious intervention to prevent this decay. The quote from Pope Francis is longer (and toward the end of the judicial statement). I would encourage people to read it and consider the power of our technology to sustain life with no “integral good of the person.” When one sees pictures of a child, sleeping on the shoulder of a parent, heart strings are pulled……however, there does come a place when “zealous intervention” really does no good. This is not about euthanasia. This is about aggressive prolongation of the dying process (to what benefit?). Do not equate this child to a child with Down’s or a person with a spinal cord injury.

    Milhouse in reply to Mati. | April 25, 2018 at 9:29 am

    That is his parents’ decision to make, not the state’s. He does not belong to the state, and no court has the right to express an opinion on how long he should live.

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