Monday, July 27, 2009

Ezekiel Emanuel on the End of Life

Ezekiel Emanuel, the top healthcare adviser at Obama's Budget Office and brother of his chief of staff has stated repeatedly that he feels that those who have dementia should not receive medical care. I have done a search, but have found that most of the documents are not available to the public, but I did find several references that might give you a place to start if you would like to research this.
Lancet Article
Medscape Today
Project Muse
He has also written a book, A Time to Die: The Place for Physician Assistance.

I have heard repeatedly in recent weeks that the changes in our health care system will allow all to keep the insurance that they currently have, and that the congress and administration want all to be insured, but does it include the elderly? It appears that senior Obama advisors do not think so.

Mr. Emanuel also is an advocate of living wills, as am I, but he wants it written into these documents that one should be denied care if they become incompetent.

Our culture used to abandon babies who were disabled, institutionalized those who were determined to be incompetent, and sterilized those whom others determined should not reproduce. The Kennedy administration worked hard to free those who had been oppressed by this system, and one of my first jobs was in an early group home for individuals with disabilities. I was proud that as a society we had recognized that all people had worth. Never did I expect that I would see an administration in my lifetime that not only would not treat the disabled with respect, but advocate euthanasia. My heart is breaking. How could this have happened? What has happened to our country that an individual with a disability no longer has the right to live?

My parents both had dementia. They would sit, not talking, just holding hands most of the day. They could not tell you where they were, the date, or the name of the president, but they still loved each other, and they brought joy to all those around them. They had worth, joy in living, and deserved medical care.

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