Thursday, September 17, 2009

Super Tab Dump: Death, Dying and Health Care This Week.

(Image via

*The infamous Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State and Family Research Council Fellow, gets called out by Ed Brayton at Dispatches From the Culture Wars for his attempt in the Washington Examiner to keep the Veterans' Affairs "death book" lies going. Brayton takes down Blackwell's loony accusations point by point.

*Not a subscriber to National Review (blech) and so unable to read Wesley J Smith's cover article, "The Culture of Death?" No worries. You can sample the fever in this redstate post.

*Jeff Diamant at Religion News reports on religious support for health care reform and all it's variations. "Clergy focus on ethical aspects of health reform."

*William Saunders at The Catholic Thing has got the state's back in their case against the constitutionality of aid in dying in the Baxter v Montana case. But don't be taken in by the lies. Death with Dignity requires that a terminal patient of sound mind ask a physician for a lethal prescription and self-administer the dose. Saunders gets most of his facts wrong while making wild suppositions like this winner: "Legalizing assisted suicide will actually diminish compassionate treatment of pain."

*From Family Research Council, John Koewn poses 7 arguments and pretends he has no God to answer them! I love it when the religious put on their secular hats to prove that an argument isn't just about God:

This paper aims to promote a more accurate and informed understanding of the issues. It sets out seven arguments which are commonly advanced by advocates of decriminalization and offers corresponding counter-arguments. The arguments for decriminalization undoubtedly merit a reply. However, as will become apparent, cogent replies are available. Moreover, these replies need rest on no religious basis, "fundamentalist" or otherwise.

*Australia's "Dr. Death" Philip Nitschke takes his Exit International assisted suicide show to Hong Kong. And from Bloomberg.

*Wesley J Smith at SecondHandSmoke reports on a new study about suicide in American and uses it as a chance to equate depression and assisted suicide, missing the point that assisted suicide patients don't want to die but they're going to anyway.

*Finally! Dr. Charles at the Examining Room takes down all the mythology surrounding the Hippocratic Oath, forever deeming those, "First, do no harm" chanters tall tale tellers.

*A new study, highlighted at, from two doctors out of University of Chicago, looks at moral and religious conviction and authority:

As the findings suggest in a recent issue of Psychological Science, a journal of the Association for Psychological Science, the more religious participants tended to trust the Supreme Court's ability to make the right decision while the group with strong moral convictions felt distrust. And both groups, as it turned out, based their beliefs on a gut reaction rather than on thoughtful, careful deliberation.

And from Science Codex. And from Physorg.

*Ricardo Alonzo-Zaldivar of San Francisco Examiner reports more "slippery slope" concerns regarding health care: Obama is going to ration or euthanize my disabled child. And from the Kansas City Star.

*Jesse Ellison recounts her grandmother's death for Newsweek and leaves us asking how the medical world has gotten dying so wrong for so long.

Yet there was nothing peaceful about her death. She was forced to endure exactly what she had been so afraid of. During respite care, at the assisted-living facility, and especially at the hospital, my grandmother was treated like a problem to be solved, not as an elderly woman who had had enough. Because of the way her health improved, then so quickly declined, and because the system is set up to save people, not let them die, those last few weeks became needlessly tragic. They were also—and this really would have made my grandmother irate—enormously wasteful. Tens of thousands of dollars were spent on care and treatment: the ambulance trips alone averaged $500 apiece; the first visit to hospice cost more than $10,000; and the bill for three days in Lenox Hill came to $36,772.43, not including visits from doctors. All this for a 91-year-old woman with terminal cancer and no wish to hang on.

*Eleven Washington state residents have used the Death with Dignity law to end their lives since it was made legal in that state six months ago. From KPLU.

*Britain's John Smeaton of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children searches hopelessly for a cure for death while contradicting his love of the sacred doctor-patient relationship.

*From the neurologists and via the fantastic Flesh and Stone blog, Kathlyn Stone reports at on the divided attitudes surrounding assisted suicide. (free subscription required)

*From Laura Lundquist at the Montana Kaimin an article on Robert Baxter and the Baxter v Montana case currently before the state's Supreme Court.

*More Ezekiel Emanuel is evil stuff from, yes, The Covert Rationing Blog.

*If you don't know The Health Care Blog, I recommend you get acquainted!

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