Thursday, August 28, 2008

Universal Healthcare....9/01

In case you haven't noticed, when the government owns a program, they really own it.

Healthcare. Something that we've taken for granted that we have some choice in. But, would that be true in a single payor environment? I ran across a blog post that casts some doubt towards that assumption.

It was mentioned in the Coyote Blog, which pulled it from Qando, which sourced the Jewish World Review. I went to the source. What it boils down to is the wishes of the patient, and his family were ignored.

"Golubchuk is an Orthodox Jew, as are his children. The latter have adamantly opposed his removal from the ventilator and feeding tube, on the grounds that Jewish law expressly forbids any action designed to shorten life, and that if their father could express his wishes, he would oppose the doctors acting to deliberately terminate his life."
One would think that a patient's religious beliefs would hold some weight, but not so:
In response, the director of the ICU informed Golubchuk's children that neither their father's wishes nor their own are relevant, and he would do whatever he decided was appropriate. Bill Olson, counsel for the ICU director, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company that physicians have the sole right to make decisions about treatment — even if it goes against a patient's religious beliefs — and that "there is no right to a continuation of treatment."

Notice, this was in Canada...not Russia, not a dictatatorship. But, in some ways it is. The moral of the story is, in bumper sticker logic: "Those who would trade freedom for security deserve neither" -- Benjamin Franklin

But, you say, I'm not Jewish. True, but does your faith have tenants that impact your healthcare? Say, against transfusions? Autopsies? Surgery, or other treatments? I can think of many that do. Separation of Church and State can have an interesting consequence in that situation.

When it happens to my neighbor, it's a shame. When it happens to me, it's a tragedy.


Anonymous said...

Sounds similar to the guy in Oregon with cancer who the state won't pay for his treatment - BUT it will pay for his suicide (since they allow assisted departure).

Anonymous said...

The Golobchuk case has absolutely nothing to do with socialized medicine or a single payer system and everything to do with medical ethics and the issue of medical futility. Physicians are not obligated to provide care that they believe is futile in the US either. In both countries, guidelines clearly state that if there is not consensus with the patient / family, the physician should attempt to find another physician who is willing to assume care, and can't just withdraw life support unilaterally.

Finally, keep in mind that the US also has a single payer system: it's called Medicare (as is Canada's system) and it covers virtually every person over the age of 65.

fac_p said...

In reverse order:
Then why are there Medicare suppliments?

When was the last time a physician went directly against the religious tenants as well as the family's wishes to terminate a life? Or fired a patient on life support?

Note: It did not say that it was his physician, it was the ICU director deciding what was appropriate.

Why is it that we are willing to support convicted murderers on death row, staying their executions, because there might be a chance of an incorrect conviction? With patients reviving from acute vegetative states, isn't that a like senario?

Admittedly, that really goes far afield, but I'm far less for the government making healthcare decisions as to what constitutes timely and necessary care. We've been treated to numerous incidents in Canada in which treatment was denied because of age, or the red tape was so extensive that the testing and the remedial surgery was so delayed that the patient would expire before it could be had. Several have been mentioned previously in the blog.