Monday, November 30, 2009

Super Tab Dump: The It's-My-Birthday-and-I-Should-Be-Eating-Cake Edition.

Some good stuff from the past week:

Fr. Tad Pacholczyk gets most of it wrong in his article for The Philadelphia Bulletin. "Slippery Slope," conflation of aid in dying with suicide, and, most egregiously, the lie that families of those terminal patients who request their death be hastened suffer more. Studies have clearly shown that there is no difference in grief among the families of those who die from aid or on a doctor's schedule. As well, Pacholczyk clearly highlights the "double effect" use of sedation at the end of life and in trying to emphasize the great difference between intending death and intending relief of suffering, he does the opposite.

Peter Singer's post for Pew has made it to Japan. I dissect it here.

From ScientificCommons comes a study from Cyprus (where I spent two weeks on the Aphrodite trail two years ago) of how nurses view the issue of "euthanasia."

From InsideCatholic, five strategies for how to talk about physician-assisted suicide with Democrats. Like, PAS is like child pornography. It's hilarious and offensive all at the same time. But with enough truth and strategy thrown in to make it a worthwhile read. All the anti- arguments you've ever heard in one place, rationalized. Here's a clip:

One of the chief arguments for PAS appeals to the American ideal of autonomy. The desire for self-determination resonates strongly with many Democrats, and they believe that the denial of these rights is un-American.
Of course, a love of personal freedom is not unique to Democrats, and it's easy for anyone to agree that we should have the freedom to live our lives as we see fit. But that freedom must come with restrictions. For example, child pornography is illegal in America -- even in the privacy of one's home -- and no judicious person would consider it a permissible use of our freedom. Clearly, Americans acknowledge the need to limit certain behaviors. The question is, what actions should be permitted or restricted?

This months the Quebec College of Physicians announced that "euthanasia" is acceptable in some instances. The decision is hailed by doctors as a breakthrough - yet the country continues to be mired in a bitter battle over the legalization of aid in dying.

South Australia defeated a bill that would have legalized aid in dying.

The Catholic SaltandLight is running a three part series on "euthanasia" which actually calls some of Derek Humphrey's (founder of the Hemlock Society and author of final exit) writings compelling. Really. As expected, the support ends there.

An article in the NRC Handelsblad gets priorities all mixed up by lamenting the fate of doctors, traditional lords over the death bed, now at the mercy of patient choice. Um, I thought doctors were committed to serving? A snip:

Doctors often feel cornered, says anthropologist and lawyer Anne-Marie The in a study about euthanasia in the Netherlands published last week. The 2001 euthanasia law puts the patient's right to self-determination first, but doctors also have their professional responsibility and their own values and convictions. Do the wishes of the patient always trump those of the doctor? Is he or she a mere instrument?


The Need for Geriatrics.

From GeriPal, a response to a recent op-ed by Dr. Lewis Lipsitz in the Boston Globe:

One of the nice things that were articulated in this op-ed is that one of the most of the important roles of the Geriatrician is to listen. While many older patients have a whole bunch of specialists, it is the role of the Geriatrician to put everything together, listening to the patient and caregiver at great length. There was one rather stunning statistic in the op-ed. In 2007 only 91 new Geriatricians were trainied in the US. As the need for Geriatrics is increasing, the number seeking training is falling.

Dr. Lipsitz notes a major problem recruiting Geriatricians is the poor compensation compared to other
medical specialties. The key skills taught in Geriatrics are not lucrative procedural skills---and spending more time with patients is certainly not profitable.


Dr. Chris Langston, program director at the John A. Hartford Foundation, has an excellent discussion of this article on the health AGEnda blog. He calls on all of us to step up to the plate and make the case to the public for better care for older patients, and the workforce issues that are needed to make this happen.

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"The Latest Roadmap for the Culture Wars."

Don't miss Sarah Posner's review of Timothy Keller's new book, Counterfeit Gods at KillingtheBuddha. Here's an exerpt:

This assertion—that biblical orthodoxy is somehow apolitical—was put to the test recently when Keller became one of over 100 original signatories to the Manhattan Declarationunveiled on November 20th. Billed as a statement of “religious conscience,” the Manhattan Declaration is something more, something unmistakably fundamentalist and quintessentially political, a regurgitation of the religious right’s assertion that sexual and gender rights are somehow a threat to good Christians’ religious liberty. The signers of the Manhattan Declaration demand that those who disagree with them be reviled and silenced, yet claim they are the persecuted ones:

It is ironic that those who today assert a right to kill the unborn, aged and disabled and also a right to engage in immoral sexual practices, and even a right to have relationships integrated around those practices be recognized and blessed by law—such persons claiming these “rights” are very often in the vanguard of those who would trample upon the freedom of others to express their religious and moral commitments to the sanctity of life and to the dignity of marriage as the conjugal union of husband and wife.

The Manhattan Declaration—and indeed Tim Keller’s vision for Manhattan—represents the latest roadmap for the culture wars. With a sleights of hand and clever marketing, this new fundamentalism is portrayed as unquestionable orthodoxy that will at once transform your life as well as that of the nation and the world. No doubt it will, as 21st century evangelists stealthily repackage fundamentalist politics as essential but harmless remedies for contemporary angst.

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