Sunday, September 6, 2009

Octogenarians bullied into excessive medical care

Medical over treatment of elderly is common, based on experience of many baby boomers who are caring for dying parents.

While screaming about Granny being left to die because of health insurance reform, no one is speaking about the over treatment of the elderly. This is precisely why a Republican proposed the end-of-life counseling for those over 65. Many, if not most of us, have no idea about “durable power of attorney” papers and “living wills” or “do not resuscitate orders” until we either help our parents through their dying process or see that our own deaths are imminent. By then we are stressed out and lacking in reason.

Nor do Americans know until a loved one dies how heart breaking it can be to watch an octogenarian being bullied into medical care such as radical chemotherapy, immediately after he has been diagnosed with rapidly-spreading, fourth-stage lung cancer that has already metastasized into his breast bone.

Witnessing a loved one’s reduction to ‘cash cow’ or ‘guinea pig’ status for the sake of padding the pockets of a cancer care doctor corporation or hospital corporation is gut-wrenching. The gain: two more extremely depressing months of diaper-dependent, bed rest while struggling to swallow 100 pills daily.

To pray for the mercy of death changes the way one views the world around and the money-driven medical care that has so corrupted this country. Few of us dare to speak of this.

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