pushing folks out the door at the NHS

The National Health Service in Britain is being criticized by “palliative care experts” (doctors who care for terminally ill patients) because of prematurely pushing patients out the door by withholding medicine and intravenous fluids while drugging them up.

In a letter to The Daily Telegraph, a group of experts who care for the terminally ill claim that some patients are being wrongly judged as close to death.

Under NHS guidance introduced across England to help doctors and medical staff deal with dying patients, they can then have fluid and drugs withdrawn and many are put on continuous sedation until they pass away.

But this approach can also mask the signs that their condition is improving, the experts warn.

As a result the scheme is causing a “national crisis” in patient care, the letter states. It has been signed palliative care experts including Professor Peter Millard, Emeritus Professor of Geriatrics, University of London, Dr Peter Hargreaves, a consultant in Palliative Medicine at St Luke’s cancer centre in Guildford, and four others.

“Forecasting death is an inexact science,”they say. Patients are being diagnosed as being close to death “without regard to the fact that the diagnosis could be wrong.

“As a result a national wave of discontent is building up, as family and friends witness the denial of fluids and food to patients.”
The scheme, called the Liverpool Care Pathway (LCP), was designed to reduce patient suffering in their final hours.
It has been gradually adopted nationwide and more than 300 hospitals, 130 hospices and 560 care homes in England currently use the system.

Dr Hargreaves said that this depended, however, on constant assessment of a patient’s condition.

He added that some patients were being “wrongly” put on the pathway, which created a “self-fulfilling prophecy” that they would die.

He said: “I have been practising palliative medicine for more than 20 years and I am getting more concerned about this “death pathway” that is coming in.

“It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy.

“Patients who are allowed to become dehydrated and then become confused can be wrongly put on this pathway.”

He added: “What they are trying to do is stop people being overtreated as they are dying.

“It is a very laudable idea. But the concern is that it is tick box medicine that stops people thinking.”

He said that he had personally taken patients off the pathway who went on to live for “significant” amounts of time and warned that many doctors were not checking the progress of patients enough to notice improvement in their condition.

Prof Millard said that it was “worrying” that patients were being “terminally” sedated, using syringe drivers, which continually empty their contents into a patient over the course of 24 hours.

Now why in the world would Sarah Palin be concerned about “end of life counseling” panels under Obamacare becoming vehicles for rationing care and prescribing pain killers to ease passage? Silly Sarah.

When Government gets involved, this is the result. “Tickbox medicine that stops thinking.” It is inevitable. When the incentive is to cut costs, then errors in judgment will almost always be against continuing care.

Is this what we need to do to our health care system in this country? Really?


letter to the editor

maybe this is why Sarah Palin drives some people right over the edge.

When federal judges in San Francisco ruled in 2002 that reciting the Pledge of Allegiance in public schools was unconstitutional because it included the phrase “under God,” Sarah Palin was not amused. Palin, who at the time was Mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, quickly drafted a terse letter to the editor of a San Francisco newspaper.

“Dear Editor,” Palin wrote in 2002. “San Francisco judges forbidding our Pledge of Allegiance? They will take the phrase ‘under God’ away from me when my cold, dead lips can no longer utter those words,” Palin wrote.

“God Bless America,” she concluded.

Naomi Wolf has come undone

there is something weird about Sarah Palin that causes people to lose their minds. Here is the latest example.

the piece is entitled in a classically understated modest and unassuming way as, “The Battle Plan II: Sarah “Evita” Palin, the Muse of the Coming Police State”

It is very difficult to make enough sense of what follows the title to pick a piece to slice and bring over here for a representative sample, but here are a couple of paragraphs to give you the flavor.

Do you think that spying like this will ever end under a Palin-Rove regime? Dream on. If she and McCain are elected, then every single strategy memo and speech and debate prep note from every opposition candidate from now and on into forever will be read by the regime in power while it is still in the computers of the challengers.

Under the Palin-Rove police state, citizens will be targeted with state cyberterrorism. Bruce Fein of the American Freedom Agenda, a former Reagan official, warned me three years ago that the Bush team went after a Republican who had crossed them through cyberstalking: they messed with his email, messed with his phones and I believe messed with his bank account — he became a cyber-pariah, unemployable and haunted. With modern technology, there really is less place to hide from the state than there was in East Germany in the Cold War era. I remember feeling a chill: of course. That is the wave of the future once we breach the protections around citizens of FISA and the fourth amendment. That way lies the abyss for us all.

Am I trying to scare you? I am. I am trying to scare you to death and ask you to scare your Republican and independent friends most of all. How do you know when it is war on citizens? When there are mass arrests, journalists are jailed, the opposition is infiltrated, rights are stripped and leaders start to ignore the rule of law.

Man oh man. talk about dehumanizing “the other.” just wow. It gets worse after this clip. She really thinks that she is worthy of special attention from the palin/rove brownshirts.

more hate

I have to say that I really am not understanding this phenomenon.  Aren’t these people who are filled with such nasty bile the ones who claim to be more loving and tolerant than the rest of us?  

What is up with this?

I sat outside a 7-Eleven and had a sacramental Dove chocolate bar. Jeez: Here we are again. A man and a woman whose values we loathe and despise — lying, rageful and incompetent, so dangerous to children and old people, to innocent people in every part of the world — are being worshiped, exalted by the media, in a position to take a swing at all that is loveliest about this earth and what’s left of our precious freedoms.

When I got home from church, I drank a bunch of water to metabolize the Dove bar and called my Jesuit friend, who I know hates these people, too. I asked, “Don’t you think God finds these smug egomaniacs morally repellent? Recoils from their smugness as from hot flame?”

And he said, “Absolutely. They are everything He or She hates in a Christian.”

I have been in a better mood ever since, and have decided not to even say this woman’s name anymore, because she fills me with such existential doubt, such a sense of impending doom and disbelief, that only the Germans could possibly have words for it. Nor am I going to say the word “lipstick” again until after the election, as it would only be used against me. Or “polar bear,” because that one image makes me sadder than even horrible old I can stand.

I hate to criticize. And I love to kill wolves as much as the next person does. But this woman takes such pride in her ignorance, doesn’t have a doubt in the world about her messianic calling, that it makes anyone of decency feel nauseated — spiritually, emotionally and physically ill.

I say that with love. As we say in Texas. (Also, we say, “Bless her heart.”)

Just wow. wow. wow.

what else can you say?

Hat tip to James Taranto

why the hate

why does Sarah Palin evoke such a visceral reaction of hatred by other women?

Two data points. First we have a personal story from Jay Nordlinger:

I myself have a tale to relate. An episode left me kind of shaken, honestly. Last week, I was talking to a friend of mine — a very warm and humane woman. We’ve been friends for years. I had been away, and we hadn’t talked politics — but then, we never do. We never had. She’s a liberal, of course — virtually everyone here in NYC is. And I never, ever bring up politics (with pretty much anyone — not worth the trouble) (and, of course, I do it professionally).

But she said to me, out of the blue, “What do you think of Sarah Palin?” And while I was drawing breath to answer, she said, “I hate her.”

That kind of took my breath away — because this friend of mine is no hater. But she said it with firm, horrible conviction. She said it with true emotion in her eyes. Frankly, I was too taken aback to reply, other than to say, “Well, my feeling is the exact opposite.”

Next we have a story in the New York Sun describing the reaction to Palin by several New York women.

A posting on a New York-based Web site for women, Jezebel.com, spoke of unbridled anger. “What I feel for her privately could be described as violent, nay, murderous, rage,” an associate editor at Jezebel, Jessica Grose, wrote just after the Republican convention wrapped up. “When Palin spoke on Wednesday night, my head almost exploded from the incandescent anger boiling in my skull.”

Ms. Grose was not alone. More than 700 comments poured in, many from women who said they were experiencing a visceral hostility to Mrs. Palin that they were struggling to explain.
“I am shocked by the depths of my hatred for this woman,” another commenter, CJWeimar, wrote.

“It is impossible for me not to read about her in the newspaper in the subway every morning on my way to work and not come into the office angry and wanting to kick things,” a commenter using the name ChampagneofBeers wrote. “My boxing class definitely helps.”

My question is why? Why hatred? why is it so intense and visceral?

the shape of evil

here is the shape of evil. Get a good look at its contours. Nicholas Provenzo has bought the Lie in its entirety.

Like many, I am troubled by the implications of Alaska governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Sarah Palin’s decision to knowingly give birth to a child disabled with Down syndrome. Given that Palin’s decision is being celebrated in some quarters, it is crucial to reaffirm the morality of aborting a fetus diagnosed with Down syndrome (or by extension, any unborn fetus)—a freedom that anti-abortion advocates seek to deny.

A parent has a moral obligation to provide for his or her children until these children are equipped to provide for themselves. Because a person afflicted with Down syndrome is only capable of being marginally productive (if at all) and requires constant care and supervision, unless a parent enjoys the wealth to provide for the lifetime of assistance that their child will require, they are essentially stranding the cost of their child’s life upon others.

So while anti-abortion commentators such as Michael Franc of the National Review sees Down syndrome’s victims as “ambassadors of God” who “offer us the opportunity to rise to that greatest of all challenges,” for many, that opportunity for challenge is little more than a lifetime of endless burden. In this light, it is completely legitimate for a woman to look at the circumstances of her life and decide that having a child with Down syndrome (or any child for that matter) is not an obligation that she can accept. After all, the choice to have a child is a profoundly selfish choice; that is, a choice that is an expression of the parent’s personal desire to create new life.

yes, up is down and black is white. in nicholas’ deceived worldview having a child is “a profoundly selfish choice”.

But wait, there’s more:

So in the anti-abortion advocate’s eyes, a parent’s desire to raise healthy children by squelching unhealthy fetuses while the are still in the womb is little more than a pernicious quest, but it is not considered a pernicious quest to knowingly bring severely disabled children into this world. On the contrary, such a choice is held out as an great example of upstanding morality. For example, consider this recent press release from a conservative anti-abortion advocacy group which celebrated Plain’s birth announcement:

The Palin family is a wonderful example of a family who made the right choice to embrace their child and his future. Wendy Wright, President of Concerned Women for America (CWA), commends Governor Palin, saying, “She is even more beautiful inside than out. Her proud and warm announcement of the birth of their special child revealed the depth of love and faith of this extraordinary woman. May God give America more women and statesmen like her.

“Special needs children can bring out the best in people. They draw out compassion, patience, a joy for the simple things in life in people around them,” says Wright. “In some ways, we need special needs people more than they need us.”

That is, we need the mentally retarded to teach us how to better sacrifice our lives and divest ourselves of our self-interested ways more than they need us to care for them. At Noodlefood, Diana Hsieh condemns such a stand as “the worship of retardation.” Given that Palin had complete foreknowledge of her child’s severe disability yet nevertheless chose to have it, it is hard not to see her choice as anything less.

two stories

Two stories from the campaign trail. One of them involves Baby A and the other involves Chloe.

Chloe’s dad Kurt called in to the Rush Limbaugh show and told Rush the story. He then sent Rush pictures. The whole thing is moving and the pictures are awesome. Here is a bit of it, but go read the whole thing.

CALLER: Right. So we accompanied them up the hill, we went right to the bus, where it was, and Governor Palin, Senator McCain, Cindy, Todd Palin, they’re all standing there. We’re in this inner circle with just us and them, and the Secret Service agent, and they came right up to us and thanked us for coming out, said they loved our sign, and Governor Palin immediately said, “May I hold your daughter?” and our daughter Chloe, who’s five, went right to her, and I have some pictures I’d love to send you maybe when I’m done here, but Governor Palin was hugging Chloe, and then her little daughter brought their baby Trig who has Down syndrome from the bus, he was napping, and Chloe went right over and kissed him on the cheek, and my son Nolan who’s nine, he thanked her.

Tracy’s cousin had a similar story also with pictures. Here is a bit, but you have to go read it all. It is wonderful.

Finally, Sarah approached. More from my cousin:

I can’t give you the conversation by word, but she said, “Awwww” and kind of melted when she saw A. She asked her name and age. Then she hugged her. She actually got watery eyes (ed. 3rd and 4th pictures below, you can kind of see that). Remember, even though she is Governor, VP candidate, she is still new to the world of DS. She said she was so glad we brought A to see her. She just kept smiling and looking at A. I told her we brought a gift for Trig and gave her the t-shirt. (ed. Cousin ordered a t-shirt for Trig that said “fearfully and wonderfully made.” I thought that was sweet.) I told her that I have such admiration for her because when A was Trig’s age, I was still crying …. Oh yeah, I just remembered – A blew kisses to both John McCain and to Sarah during our little visits.

Hat tip to the Anchoress for the Baby A story.

Update: the last picture on tracy’s blog post above was taken by Roger Baumgarten who has more (look on pages 7 and 8 of his gallery).