Gut Rumbles

August 25, 2005

re: the post below this one

Go read the comments. They come from every direction and all parts of the political spectrum. I quoted Kim on a very touchy topic.

Maybe I need to explain myself better.

1) Understand one thing right off the bat--- doctors run a business, just like some guy who sells shoes or pizza. They are in business to make money. The more "treatment" they give you, the more money they make.

2) I DO NOT support euthenasia, but I DO believe in doctor-assisted suicide. Sound contradictory? I don't think so. There's a BIG difference. I don't want some public official or a greedy family member with my will on his mind to tell a doctor to kill me. But if I'm worn out and in constant pain, I should have the right to cash my chips when I'm ready.

3) My grandmother is still fairly self-sufficient. She's very healthy for her age and she is capable of enjoying life. I'm not advocating dragging off and shooting anyone over the age of 50. That's bullshit.

4) I watched both of my parents die of cancer. I don't know how much money was poured down a bottomless rat-hole for "treatment" that didn't do anything but (especially in my father's case) extend the life of a person, bound surely for death, a few more months. And THAT TIME was spent in absolute misery.

5) My mama went through two rounds of chemo and radiation. That shit made her feel worse than the cancer did, and the fact was obvious to all involved that it wasn't doing any good. The doctors wanted to do a third round. Mama said "NO," and let nature take its course. More people should do that when the time comes.

6) Anybody who thinks "insurance" pays a $500,000 medical bill to keep an 80 year-old alive when he can't remember his own name anymore is a fool. Why do you think YOUR medical insurance costs so much?

7) Death is just as natural as childbirth. Everybody's expiration date arrives some day. Why cling by a thread and spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to buy another couple of months in a hospital bed? If that's "life," I want no part of it.

8) Organ transplants should be given to children ahead of old folks, and I don't care how much money you've got. Period. A child may have died so that dottering old fart Pat Summerall could squeeze a few more years out of his already long life. I think that's criminal.

9) I'm an organ donor. Says so right on the front of my Georgia driver's license. I figure that by the time I croak, not many of my organs will be fit for transplant (definitely NOT my liver), but if I could save a kid's eyesight or give him (or her) a kidney, I'm all for that. I DO NOT want my organs going to some geriatric fuck with a lot of money so that he can play golf again.

10) There's a BIG difference between being "alive" and "living." Medical science has a lot of ways to keep your heart beating and your lungs breathing long after the lights went off upstairs. It's incredibly expensive and I see no real purpose in it.

I hope I cleared up a few questions here.


I agree with every one of Acidman's points, 100%. My ire is up because of the abuse by the medical profession of points 1, 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, and 10.
I have experienced physicians making more $$ due to their incompetence. I HATE LAWYERS. I also hate the medical profession failing to police the criminally incompetent of their own ranks.

Posted by: TomR on August 25, 2005 01:53 PM

I will agree with that.

Posted by: James Old Guy on August 25, 2005 02:05 PM

Well, when you put it like're right.

I actually like the quote that Sam had on her website as a better explanation for that, know?

Posted by: Kelly on August 25, 2005 02:06 PM

Most nurses that I talk to feel that the reason to extend life is to give the patient a chance to take care of final matters before they go--not as a "treatment", but more as a chance for 'em to say goodbye. That sounds pretty decent to me.

Posted by: Marty Pfeiffer on August 25, 2005 02:08 PM

i don't agree with everything you've said, but i do agree with this part wholeheartedly:

//9) I'm an organ doner. Says so right on the front of my Georgia driver's license. I figure that by the time I croak, not many of my organs will be fit for transplant (definitely NOT my liver), but if I could save a kid's eyesight or give him (or her) a kidney, I'm all for that. I DO NOT want my organs going to some geriatric fuck with a lot of money so that he can play golf again.//

Posted by: beth on August 25, 2005 02:19 PM

Re #6--which is why I think group health insurance is almost as bad as outright socialized medicine. But if you're 85 and can afford the premiums on your individual policy at the levels of coverage that you have chosen, then why not? No one else is bearing or sharing your burden (except the other 85 year olds in your actuarial category). It comes down to your personal decision and ultimately a marketplace decision.

Who else but you ought to be vested with the power to decide if that last year of your life is worth what you spent to live it?

Posted by: Desert Cat on August 25, 2005 02:22 PM

That's what hospice is for.

I have a friend who had a surgically induced stroke. She is a prisoner inside her own body. She is aware of what happened to her and her long term memory is intact. But her short term memory is not. She cannot speak, or communicate in any way. She cannot feed herself. She is not being kept alive by any artificial means, other than a feeding tube.

She had a living will. Her husband tried to execute it. They advised him that she would make a FULL and COMPLETE recovery. They lied.

Because it was a training hospital, her husband cannot sue for malpractice or anything. She is not eligible for any programs although if she had been, there was a chance at one point that she could have recovered ..but her husband is only one man.

Her husband takes care of her. He had to quit his job and find a way to work out of the house in order to do so...and he has. But life is over for the both of them because a greedy, bastard doctor lied to them and didn't want to take responsibility for his screw up.

Anyway...I hate thinking that this woman is alive and in so much misery. Her husband takes wonderful care of her, but who could ask him to euthenize her when she is still aware of him and her surroundings? It's just sad...very sad.

This woman was like a mother to me.

Posted by: Kelly on August 25, 2005 02:24 PM

I was an organ donor until I decided to donate my body to science. What the hell, it'll make a whole nother generation laugh for years to come.

Posted by: maggot on August 25, 2005 03:14 PM

Organ Donation? Until a major re-evaluation of the process happens, fuck that.

There is a huge profit for the Procurement industry on "donated" organs/body parts.

Of course, by law, the company can only charge for their "costs" to obtain the item. So supposedly they're not actually making any money on the actual donated tissues.

I work in the medical field. Last week I looked at the invoice for a cadaver donated Tibialis Anterior tendon we were using for an Anterior Cruciate Ligament reconstruction.

That fucker was $1700.

Until there is some profit sharing by the company with the families, they will never see my tissues. Since I've invested time (my life), energy (exercise), and money (food) into cultivating these tissues, those thieving bastards should have to compensate my family for their 'donation.'

How about some assistance with funeral costs, or perhaps tax incentives for the estate?

Posted by: brian on August 25, 2005 05:52 PM

Kevin, despite the govt trying to break his ass, gives the best answers to it all.

:-) P.S. It's a part of that "history" thing . . .

Posted by: jb on August 25, 2005 08:08 PM

Organ transplants should be given to children ahead of old folks, and I don't care how much money you've got. Period.

Not that I disagree with that, but some food for thought: Why should age be the only metric in determining who gets to the head of the line? Should an 18 year old drug dealer who is likely to get his donor heart filled with lead inside of a decade be given priority over a 60-something businessman whose small business employs a hundred people?

I don't see age as being the end all be all demographic of worth.

Posted by: Mr. Lion on August 25, 2005 11:07 PM

Shockingly, I mostly agree more with Mr. Lion.

Don't use age as a measurement of worth. But don't use any other criteria as well. I don't know of anyone who I think should be in a position to judge between an 18 year old drug dealer and a 60 year old businessman. I am too much of an atheist to believe that *anyone* should play god.

Pat Summerall's liver transplant occurred because the system is impartial--well, as impartial as flawed humans can make it. To me, that's the best solution we can come up with. Personally, I consider the transplant a moral error on Mr. Summerall's part but I can't blame a dying man for being afraid to die. I just hope I'd make a different decision if I was in his place. I *think* I would but....

Posted by: susan on August 26, 2005 12:54 AM

It is clear that if government is moved out of the way, and the patient/doctor/market relationship is allowed to occur unimpaired within the uderstanding of freedom, little, if any, commentary is necessary.

And all wanna-be "who lives or dies" judges can retire to other matters of inconsequence.


Posted by: jb on August 26, 2005 01:24 AM

Thanks for #3, I turned 51 in June. I'm on board with #9, in the words of John Prine (?) "Please don't bury me, down in the cold, cold ground. I'd rather have 'em cut me up and pass me all around." Any body know the rest of the words? I used to be able to sing along with it all but, I was probably in my cups when I did. Maybe if I have another beer it will come back to me.

Posted by: Jim on August 26, 2005 11:07 AM

"Throw my brain in a hurricane,
The blind can have my eyes.
And the deaf can take both of my ears
If they don't mind the size."

One of my favorites....

Posted by: Acidman on August 26, 2005 01:20 PM
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