Monday, August 10, 2009

When Hospice Care provides the Terri Schiavo treatment

Chris Roach, commenting at What's Wrong with the World, reports his horrible experience with the scandal of hospice care:

Medicare typically pays only for a few weeks of hospice care on the theory that it's for the dying, not the merely very sick. So folks sent into hospice are essentially drugged up on halidol, rendered unconscious, and then dehydrated and starved to death. Disoriented and grieving relatives are told this is the "dying process" and "he's feeling no pain" and "this is all very normal," when their grandparents and spouses are, essentially, being murdered before their eyes.

I saw this with my own grandfather two years ago. I was totally unfamiliar with what was going on. I saw them remove his brown urine from the bed, brown because essential nutrients and water were being denied him. I saw them put the lotion on his lips so that we couldn't see the evidence of willful and easily remedied dehydration. I wasn't sure exactly what was going on; I've actually never had anyone close to me but him die. But as I looked into it, it became clear; he was being euthanized in plain sight, and an entire industry has grown up around this evil practice.

When the financial incentives are flowing up and down the chain of care in the Obamacare regime, it will be all the more tempting to encourage living wills with limitations on food and water and doctor-ordered, cost-saving trips to the hospice. Two weeks later, no more "expensive bills racked up at the end of life."

I'm not very emotional of a writer/blogger, and I almost never give testimonials. But seeing this all take place was one of the most disturbing experienced of my life, and I had limited understanding and no power (or at least no lawful authority) to stop it. But I sure as sh*t won't do this to my parents some day, and I'll encourage everyone I know to do the same. There are of course some legitimate hospices out there, but I believe one must make triple sure what you're dealing with before sending a loved one to a possible scene of mass murder.


Anonymous said...

My mother passed away this afternoon at the Midwest Palliative and Hospice Center in Skokie, IL. I have never encountered a finer group of people than those who cared for my mother during the last days of her life. Each and every decision regarding care was determined in advance by my mother. Decisions to eat and drink - or not to - as were decisions on comfort medications were hers and hers alone. It was my mother's choice to enter hospice - and everyone at the Center helped her live in final days in peace and comfort.

As my sister and I left the center one of my mother's caregivers found us waiting for the elevator. She told us that it had been a privilege caring for my mother.

Thank you. But the privilege was having her and so many others care so deeply about my mother and our family.


David Strandberg

rankpay said...

I would prefer to care for my old parents than rely on a hospice. There's a better way into the future than that.