Friday, May 09, 2008

Making lists and checking them twice...

Will this list affect your family?

A complete "Moral and Legal" medical slippery slope!

I’ve been away, returning home yesterday. We spent time with my husband while he was working out of town this week, a family time together surrounding his work days. While gone, I was able to sit each morning at our hotel with a cup of coffee and leisure time reading the newspapers offered in the breakfast buffet dining area.

Canada’s “Globe and Mail” newspaper and the “USA Today” were the choice copies available to patrons each day.

This past Tuesday, May 6th, while reading the “world section” I was astonished to read the headlines; “U.S. MDs advise on whom to aid, whom to let die in next pandemic”. (You can access the original article yourself by clicking onto the article link)

“Doctors know some patients needing lifesaving care won’t get it in a flu pandemic or other disaster. The gut-wrenching dilemma will be deciding who to let die”

“To prepare, hospitals should designate a triage team with the Godlike task of deciding who will and who won’t get lifesaving care, the task force wrote. Those out of luck are the people at high risk of death and a slim chance of long term survival. But the recommendations get much more specific, and include;

  • People older than 85
  • Those with severe trauma, which could include critical injuries from car crashes and shootings
  • Severely burned patients older than 60
  • Those with severe mental impairment, which could include advanced Alzheimer’s disease.
  • Those with severe chronic disease, such as advanced heart failure, lung disease or poorly controlled diabetes.

I knew my coffee wasn’t hot enough to create the intense heat pulsating from my face when I became engrossed in the details of such a list. I blinked daring not to be wrong about what I had just read. No, this list just didn’t seem right.

Do this group of so called professionals have any idea how many millions of people this will affect, or at least how about the last group mentioned above? One has to wonder, come on now - has something so wicked come this way as to liken the whole disgusting creation of such a list to something reminiscent of Hitler’s philosophies and ideals for a perfect world, a population cleansing perhaps. Is this a big dream where the select few will be chosen to live if they fall under the “list”, or possibly a "sublist" not yet mentioned? And you can bet your bottom booties there just has to be a sublist because this is all far too vague!

"Public health law expert Lawrence Gostin of Georgetown University called the report an important initiative, but also "a political minefield and a legal minefield."

It has hit such a raw nerve in this family. It hit such a raw nerve somehow sending this very relaxed woman into a mental and emotional anxiety like I’ve never experienced before. We just came from Chicago where this has all been decided for medical reasons. Just viewing such a list seems extreme and almost terrifying to me.

As well while reading the “list”, I could envision many loved ones falling into categories presented. One might ask, what isn’t mentioned because of not being politically correct? It's just far too vague! And, I am completed disgusted by this "playing God list"!

Over the years we’ve seen firsthand how medical professionals work, living near and around them while my husband has been in hospital walking his medical journey. They work long hours hoping to keep saving lives, or attempting to do so. Many judgment calls with life or death issues are in their face every day. It’s part of their profession to take patient care to the next realm and they do their best, in part because of the reality all medical doctors have pledged an oath to recall their “Hippocratic Oath” when dealing with patient care. One has to wonder if such a list supersede their oaths? Would the triage unit itself make the call on whom to treat and whom to let die without a doctor present to keep this oath? What happens if the unit isn't filled to capacity with emergent needs of other trauma patients? What then? Would this list still prevail, or not? Who decides that? For instance, when it mentions a "lung disease", which type exactly would be affected, there are many of them. Where are the detailed parameters of rendered care specifics? Who makes that call? A doctor, a nurse, a hospital volunteer?

Rules are rules! Generally rules are created as safeguards for the most part, avoiding complete and utter chaos in the event of an emergency. However it’s my personal opinion this list crosses the line and sends everyone on it into a spin on whether or not they will be marked in the event of a medical crisis. I see a list such as this posted in triage units eventually wreaking havoc by presenting a slippery slope, especially when medical personnel are influenced by its very presence. If you fall into the health or specific categories above (age?), one might wonder if there is a need to watch your back and be certain to have an additional person with you at all times, a spokesperson, or perhaps with such a list, a witness for your medical walk in the future.

We can only surmise thoughts of a battle field are ahead, though this isn't a bloody war raged field, it's a mind bending list from a bunch of people who are indeed playing God before a battle even exists.

Check out some of the remarks from this article HERE If you feel outraged by anything presented on such a list, or feel as we do that doctors should be left to do their own job without the interference of such a list to follow as protocol, or you're spitting upset and boiling with sincere cautionary care in general, why not get over and comment yourself to get your voice heard.

Moreover, keep this specific health care initiative in your prayers, because I remember well when the world watched New York City in the aftermath of the World Trade Center trauma. There was chaos, there were burn victims, but absent was a list such as this one to decide who to let live or die. Every single individual was important, and there are many stories to tell of heroes who saved lives. We must continue to pray, remembering well those who will be affected during such a possible time as someone deciding if we should live or die based on our medical predicament. Jesus, we trust in Thee!