The Weapon

Today it occurred to me it’s exactly 20 years since I caught the pneumonia that almost killed me.  Okay, it didn’t start in October.  It started in November.  But the percursor to it started in October, with the kids and Dan catching some form of stomach flu.  Since younger kid was then just short of one, and his brother was three, stomach flu meant piles and piles of clothes and BED CLOTHES to wash and more often than not carpets to clean.  I was running the carpet cleaner continuously, I was running the wash continuously, and yet there were piles of smelly sheets in a corner of the laundry room.

Then Dan caught the respiratory bug going on at work.  I — seemingly — didn’t catch it.  Usually you know when I’m sick, because I cough constantly.  I wasn’t coughing at all.

I just felt exhausted.  In fact, driving Dan to one of his doctor’s appointments, the doctor said I looked sicker than Dan.

By November it was obvious I had SOMETHING.  I thought it was one of my bad asthma attacks.  While making food for the Holiday meeting of our writers’ group, I had to keep drinking coffee, which seemed to help my breathing, which tracked to asthma.

By late December I gave up.  As in, doing anything at all became too much work.  It took me an hour to dress, because I’d put on a piece of clothing, then rest, then put on the other.  And I was spending most of my time on the sofa, which is why we asked one of my friends to come mind the kids — as mothers of small children know, minding small kids is an athletic endeavor — because I couldn’t.

And then on the eleventh of January — fortunately early morning, while Dan was home, because I don’t know what my friend would have made of it, I got up to go to the bathroom and collapsed in the hallway.

Dan found me passed out, freaked, threw me in the back of the car, and drove me to emergency (after getting someone to stay with the kids.)

When I got to the hospital, my blood oxygen levels didn’t register.  I walked in, and they said they’d never seen anyone below 65 walk in.  They admitted me.  Where, if my blood oxygen levels hadn’t been so low, they’d have thought I was an hypochondriac, because my x rays showed NOTHING in my lungs.  (Later it became known that form of pneumonia was intracellular — i.e. the space between the cells.)  OTOH they could HEAR liquid in my lungs.

The emergency room doctor who admitted me had been seeing a lot of this and made the decision in about 5 minutes.  He gave me intravenous zitromax (sp?) then a new drug, and put me on oxygen.  For about two days I sort of recovered, slowly, then I got treated by a group of five doctors.

And then things got “fun.”  They decided my white blood count wasn’t high enough for the problem to be an infection.  They took me off antibiotics and wanted to give me steroids.  I refused the steroids, because certain types of infections get worse with them (which we knew from our cat.)

I kept getting worse, including coding in the middle of one night, and having a heart attack during a broncoscopy.  (I told them not to give me atropine when my heart was already enlarged and I was tachycardic.  Don’t they read Agatha Christie?)

After which I was in ICU.  For eleven days.

The pulmonologist wanted to do a lung biopsy.  My sister-in-law who is a pathologist in Portugal, was in constant communication with my husband and said given my state at the time, a lung biopsy would kill me.

So, Dan refused to sign the consent and told me not to sign the consent.

Now, I was somewhere between life and death, floating in a weird space in which my then 2 and a half years dead grandmother came and sat with me.

Our kids were being watched round the clock by a group of volunteer friends, who spelled themselves, as though they were family, so these little kids were never without someone.

However there were gaps.  Our friends had jobs and obligations.  So, sometimes, Dan had to leave me (greater love has no man than he who sleeps for almost a dozen nights on the floor of an ICU room, on his coat, in the middle of January) for an hour or so.

When he did, the doctors came.  The pulmonologist told me I should have the biopsy, for instance.  I told him my SIL advised against it in my condition, as chances were I’d die.

He told me, yeah, it was a high risk, but so what?  In the state I was in, I was no good to my husband and kids, and besides, what was I? A house wife?  I wasn’t much help to them anyway, and think of how much money I would save my family by dying.

I signed the form.

Dan came in as they were prepping me, threw the mother of all fits, pointed out I was not competent to sign anything and threatened to sue them to their back teeth.  Then he demanded they give me antibiotics again, the antibiotics under which I had improved.  They said no, and he said, that’s fine, we’re going to the other (the Catholic) hospital in town.  And he said, “Honey, put your clothes on, we’re going.”

This is one of three times my husband has given me a direct order.  I wasn’t at all sure of the advisability of obeying, but I did promise to obey, so as he handed me my clothes, I sat up slowly and started dressing.  Keep in mind, I was tachycardic and my heart was enlarged.

The doctors freaked, and told my husband they’d give me the antibiotic, but it wouldn’t do any good, because it wasn’t an infection.

For the next three days I got the antibiotic in IV — yes, that same antibiotic you get five little tablets of, and that’s it? — and it burned the IV sites after a few hours, so that they moved it constantly.  Three days later, I looked like an addict with track marks.

And four days later I walked out of the hospital under my own power because I was too well for the insurance to pay for my bills any longer.  I stayed on oral dose antibiotic (yes, that same one) for a month and a half, but six months later I was well enough to prep and stage a house for selling.

Two years later I made my first novel sale.  Nine years later, I home schooled younger son, who would otherwise have dropped out of sixth grade and probably never opened a book again.

For the last twenty years I’ve cooked, I’ve cleaned, I’ve refinished furniture, sewed clothes, and generally made our lifestyle the same as that of a family with two normal incomes.  Oh, and I’ve written 23 books which got published.  I don’t know if those count, but at least one of those got me a fan letter from a lady saying it had kept her sane through cancer treatment.  (Weirdly?  The book was Plain Jane.)  She got an autographed copy by return mail, of course.

The above story is relevant for various reasons.  First of all, and unlike some people who have written on Sir Terry Pratchett’s saying he planned committing suicide, I don’t judge people in that situation.  I don’t judge, because I’ve been there and when I signed that consent form, it was more or less what I expected.  Now, I wasn’t competent, but people who are terminal by definition aren’t competent.

Also, I’ve seen two friends die of cancer.  It’s an ugly, slow death.  One of them was one of dad’s best friends, and it was an open secret the doctors put him down when the family couldn’t endure it anymore.  The other was my friend Alan, Dan’s best friend, now dead almost a year.  He died naturally, but it was also a slow, agonizing death.

I don’t hold it against any family members who, when hope is gone, wish they could relieve people of their suffering.  We do that for our pets.  (Though my family is really bad at it.  We’ve lost 4 cats, and only two were euthanized, one for constant pain beyond our power to relieve — his kidneys failed — the other because cancer fused her jaw.)  And I understand the desire to “make it stop.”

But — yes, there is a but — there is a Second of All.

Second of all, I am sternly against legalizing medically assisted suicide.  For the same reason I don’t judge people and the decision they choose to make, it is power I don’t think we should put in doctors’ hands.  Doctors have authority and power, particularly when you’re ill, and too many of them seem to make strange judgements on human life, like the one who tried to convince me my family (and please keep in mind we had an infant and a toddler) was better off with me gone.

After all I was “just a housewife” and therefore making no contributions to the family.

When you’re sick, and if you’re like me and fight the black dog ALL THE TIME anyway, you’re likely to be depressed, and it’s very easy to tell you the world is better off without you, and there’s no hope.

It was all too easy to convince me of this, and if I hadn’t had a husband and friends who thought I was valuable and needed, I would have died then.  I don’t know if my contributions since are worth anything in the grand scheme of things, but at least my contributions to my kids have been important and irreplaceable. But I couldn’t see it, so I was at the mercy of strangers with their prejudices, except for a husband and friends who cared.

Which brings us to this article sent to me by one of you.

I can hear some readers saying, “Who?” Maggie Karner had the same brain cancer as Brittany Maynard, who became an A-list international celebrity for announcing she would commit assisted suicide.

Go and read the whole thing.
At one point she is quoted as saying:

The out-of-state proponents of the bill regarding physician-assisted suicide suggest having the ability to end your life legally is comforting. But I can tell you from personal experience that it is nearly as troubling as the cancer itself. You see, I get strength and comfort from the knowledge that nobody is going to give up on me — medically, psychologically or holistically. Right now, I have the firm support of the state and my fellow citizens in my desire to live — no matter the cost or burden. If that were to change, the tiny knowledge that I might be straining my family, friends, doctors or community resources unnecessarily would be a heavy burden. The constant “option” for suicide would wear at my resolve and I fear, become an unspoken “duty” for me and others.

This resonated deeply with me.
I’m a libertarian — I don’t think we should imprison people for trying to commit suicide (or even for having abortions.)
But I also think that legalizing suicide with our current culture does exactly what Maggie Kerner says.  It makes your decision not to commit suicide in the face of hopeless, or just prolonged health battles a selfish one, for which you can be condemned.  Which will tip the scales towards death, when there is no other reason for it, and eliminate all the potential contributions the person might still make.
In fact, we live in a culture where believers in zero-sum economics consider people ALWAYS a drain and an expenditure.  (We’ve found that many if not most of the women having abortions do so under pressure of a partner or other near relatives — their decision to choose life would be considered selfish, in fact, just like the decision to live. This is a culture in which all life is considered a drain, not a contribution.)  It is insane, but it is the culture that we have.
So while I don’t condemn those who choose a way out early because I’m not them, and not thinking with their minds, I disapprove of giving doctors (who are increasingly more and more agents of the state) and hospitals, and the entire bureaucracy of a culture in which human beings are considered expenditures and drains, the power to influence people towards ending it all early.
I’ve been ruminating this post for a while.  It’s difficult, both because it touches my personal experience, and because I am conflicted when it comes to saying I’m against legalization of assisted suicide.  But it’s not really that I’m against, of course.  I’m against empowering bureaucrats to decide when your time should come, which is what assisted suicide tends to do, sooner or later.  (And usually sooner.)
Yesterday a sentence went through my head “Would you give a loaded weapon to an imbecile?”
It is the pay off line from a Frederic Brown story The Weapon, a pacifist, pro unilateral disarmament story.  As what it was, it fails.  The conceit is that a visitor comes to a scientist who has discovered a new weapon, and listens to his reasons why he must give it to the government, then gives a gun to the scientists mentally slow son, and after the scientists retrieves the gun he uses the pay off line.
It doesn’t work as what it is, because the fact was that the psychopath already had the gun (the USSR) and giving one to our less than brilliant leaders just stopped the psychopath from shooting everything in sight freely.
However, in this case, consider the culture that would make a hero of a woman who chose to commit suicide when faced with brain cancer, but not even mention a woman who chose to die naturally.  Consider the culture that routinely makes heroes of women who choose to abort, but reviles those who have large families.  Consider the culture that, having imbibed Marx through all its educational establishment, routinely says things like “Smokers cost society money.”
Consider a society in fact in which the idea of self ownership is so far gone that most people think the government has the right to dictate what you drink, what you eat, what you do with your own body not even out of some higher principle, but because “you’re a drain on society.”
How far off are we from people being guilted into committing suicide because they need minor care throughout life?  People are ALREADY routinely guilted into not reproducing because of genetic defects in their family, which are not fatal just inconvenient.  (And we ALL have genetic defects.  They’re often paired with the genes for intelligence and other “good” traits.)  How far off are we from “oh, you have asthma?  Society would save a lot of money if you died.”
I don’t judge the people in great suffering who choose to end it.  But I judge people who make decisions on the value of human life based on the assumption that humans are just “a drain on society.”
That most definitely includes the members of the news-entertainment-industrial complex who make death a fetish and who at the bottom of their hearts seem to believe anyone else, anyone even vaguely flawed, should be done away with (or do away with themselves) for the good of all.
It’s not just that they make it harder on the people who choose not to take the suicide route.  It is also because once a society becomes this steeped in “obligation to die” no one is safe.  Not even those journalists.
Would you give a loaded weapon to a malevolent imbecile?

478 thoughts on “The Weapon

  1. This is a comment. I am, per instructions, leaving it here. While others are free to respond to this comment it remains entirely my own and should not be claimed as if abandoned.

    Please notify me of new comments via email.

      1. This is a topic as to which I would very much like to receive further updates through some sort of automated electronic mail delivery system, should such be available.

        1. This is the most exciting comment thread I have seen in this millennium. Unfortunately, while I desire to see *all* the comments, I have a severe case of plaisioelenchouphobia (fear of check boxes).

  2. Physician assisted suicide is a nightmare and must be resisted with all our strength. Its not a slippery slope to euthanasia and the eventual legal murder of inconvenient old people. It’s a vertical drop down glare ice to the rocks below.

    Holland has this now. It isn’t going well. The numbers of people getting ‘assisted’ are climbing rapidly every year.

    Just because the Left doesn’t -call- them ‘useless eaters’ does not mean they aren’t thinking those exact words.

        1. The world most definitely is a better place for having you in it, in the grand scheme of things and very much in the lives of your friends. I had a few dark hours the night you were really weak, when I left after visiting hours and found I had walked into a swank place looking for fast food.
          Terry Pratchett’s case of being for suicide and saying he’d do it, but not doing it, seems to be common among artists. H. P. Lovecraft talked a lot about suicide, and died of stomach cancer in a hospital. John Huston expressed admiration for his friend Ernest Hemingway killing himself, supported right to suicide, but he directed his last movie literally from his death bed, in the spot of the Hollywood set where the director’s chair would have been, was a hospital bed with oxygen tanks and a team of nurses.

          1. That’s a funny thing about assisted suicide — more people seem to want the option for others than want to use it for themselves.

            I vividly recall a Gahan Wilson cartoon depicting a man sitting in a cushy chair, suicide note written out and gun in hand, wondering: “On the other hand, what if I’ve already pulled the trigger?”

            1. That’s a funny thing about assisted suicide — more people seem to want the option for others than want to use it for themselves.

              Sounds like sublimated homicidal urges.

              1. Nod, there was that “famous” article in favor of “doctor assisted suicide” that was written by an unnamed doctor who killed this old woman in a hospital.

                He *was not* her doctor and he basically admitted that he was tired of hearing her “calls of assistance” late at night.

                Oh, he tried to claim he gave her “a peaceful death” but he still murdered her.

          2. > Terry Pratchett’s case of being for suicide and saying he’d do it, but not doing it, seems to be common among artists.

            Having gone through decades of depression, I can tell you that knowing I could pull the plug was one of the few things that kept me going.

            It’s the difference between unending hopelessness and knowing that there’s a way out if it becomes too much to bear. *Any* way out looks good at that point.

            In my case, depression was a side effect of antihistamines, which I had been on most of my life. It’s only now that there is some grudging recognition of that link.

            Getting off the antihistamines got rid of the depression. And after a couple of weeks, all of the symptoms I’d been taking the drugs for. I felt like one of the people in “The Space Merchants.”

      1. I remember reading a News Article about something that happened either in Holland or in Belgium.

        It seems a son was told by her elderly mother that she was thinking about “assisted” suicide.

        He immediately got her another doctor and she stopped thinking about “assisted” suicide.

        Of course, I was the “person on the spot” with both of my parents in their final illness.

        Thankfully, both of them basically “died in their sleep” without the doctors having to “pull the plug”.

          1. It wasn’t that long ago that doctors killed more people than they saved. I have family stories.

            As for the current batch, a specific treatment’s acceptance by the medical profession convinced me that they had no principled reason to exclude any thing that should catch my fancy.

            To Holly: What would you think if a doctor told you that you had operable cancer, then handed you a rusty razor blade, and told you to do it yourself? Do you blow out your brains when you have a head cold? Self medication is a crock when it comes to certain conditions. All medicines are poisons; their use deserves scrutiny, aware of the hazards, to make sure the harm is minimized.

            To that mental defective over at MHN: Essentially none of the many things we have cultivated or domesticated for thousands of years is exactly the same as when we first came across it. There have been very rapid changes, over years or decades, in the past few hundreds of years. Many folks here or at MHN know that.

            1. Sir, are you writing to me, or to some other Holly? I do not see who you are responding to, and I believe I have never claimed anything which could merit this response from you.
              I will cheerfully admit to having mixed feelings about the medical profession, but I will also admit that some practitioners are quite skilled and generally decent human beings as well. My mother’s hip replacement surgeon, for one, and my father’s first and his current cardiologists, for two more (they are father and son).

              1. Some time back you speculated that damage caused by use of psychiatric medication to treat people who were not originally ill might be remedied by self medication. At least, I presume it was you. This would likely have been at least a year ago, and I do not know how to find the comment to compare icons. I probably should have spoken then, or held my peace forever.

                I believe practicing psychiatry on oneself is as self destructive as practicing vital surgery on oneself. I did not have that metaphor then.

                1. Ah, that was in response to an article about a study that showed something in marijuana was causing brain growth in the areas damaged by Ritalin and similar medications. More in the sense of unexpected, unintended, but beneficial side effects.

                  Given the damage done by psychiatrists too eager to medicate in the first place, well, I am very wary of that portion of the medical profession. I generally don’t mentally consider them to be part of it, though if I stop and think about it I know they are defined so. I figure psychiatrists as a class to be about as trustworthy as politicians as a class.

                  I have to admit, since I am currently suffering from a cold, and taking ibuprofen to deal with it, that I am quite in favor of self-medication at times. I would not put that in the same category as operating on one’s own cancer.

                  Very well. I understand your point. I suspect I am somewhat more cynical than you, but still, friends?

                  1. I am no fan of psychiatrists dispensing medication to people whose illness is not risky enough to justify the side effects. Or to those who are not sick at all.

                    All medicines are poisons. Evidence that a substance counteracts a psychiatric drug, hence acts strongly on the CNS, is evidence that the substance might have unpredictable hazardous side effects of the scope that psychiatric drugs tend to have. Pot is very many different chemicals, hence more complicated than treating a vitamin deficiency. If my other rants on the subject are not to your taste, I would refer you to Speaker to Lab Animals.

                    Psychiatric drugs in particular can impair a patient’s ability to tell if the drug is effective. Much as how an open chest might impair one’s manual dexterity. Someone on one of those needs at least a periodic check in with someone else, family, a friend or a doctor, to make sure that the stuff is actually working. As someone who knows a little more than the average layman, I can tell you that I cannot check for blood toxicity or keep on top of what might be a replacement when the old drugs stop working. There is room for a specialized medical discipline. You and I know or know of people who would be dead if not for competent psychiatric help.

                    My level of confidence in the enforcement of professional ethics in American medicine is such that I think it is funny to call mass murder a medical procedure. To say that a democidal mid eastern dictator is just carrying out the legitimate practice of medicine.

                    I’m an obnoxious jerk. I’m surprised even when people I know are my friends call me a friend. 🙂

                1. The first part, that not addressed to anyone, is a response to New Class Traitor’s comment immediately above. The rest was fury boiling over upon being reminded of a topic. It was poor discipline on my part. I apologize for the confusion.

                  The second bit was a response to something on an old topic at Larry Correia’s Monster Hunter Nation. A person claimed that a plant could only be changed by genetic engineering. Now, I do not know the plant, perhaps it can only be spread by cuttings, but if so that was not mentioned as supporting information when I last saw the thread. The use of mental defective was perhaps uncalled for. However, I had already suggested in that thread their arguments were evidence that certain people should not be considered mentally competent adults.

        1. It is a terrible decision to have to make. My father died a few years ago. They called my mother to ask about heroic efforts to revive him, and she couldn’t deal with it, so she vectored them to me. He died of sepsis and organ failure. They would revive him, then he would go into organ failure again. After the eighth attempt to revive him, I told them to give it one more go, then let him pass on.

          It certainly wasn’t assisted suicide, but I still sometimes have nightmares about “What if I had let them try twice more and on the second time, he had stabilized?”


          1. I’m sorry.

            “What ifs” will never go away– but there’s a difference between taking a one in a million chance at a month more life, and actively killing someone, either by stabbing them or various forms of neglect.

            Do you remember the Asimov story about a robot that didn’t have the part about not letting humans die due to inaction removed, and became a serial killer via things like “I just dropped the anvil– I didn’t kill him, I just didn’t keep it from killing him”?
            I’ve used that as a mental “tool” to self-check– is it more “the robots destroying themselves trying to prevent radiation exposure” or “the robot sets up the death and then doesn’t stop it”?

            Heroic measures are clearly not in the neglect angle– they may be justified in either doing or not doing, because they’re heroic.
            Contrast with “Hey, you have lupis and depression, it’s malpractice not to kill you,” or “hey, you’re defective– let’s put you out of my misery.”

            1. I understand that, and I don’t really have any regrets. I told them to try one more time on the theory that if he was supposed to stay, I would give God one last chance. When that didn’t work, I was basically at peace. But that doesn’t stop those doubts in the middle of the night.

              Truthfully though, it is as well that he went. He was losing his sight and his hearing, and since the thing he loved most in the world was reading, his life was becoming less and less good. That, and my younger brother had died in a drug overdose the year before, which really hit both my parents hard.

              Three days before he went, my mom and I went to visit him in the hospital and we talked for four or five hours about everything under the sun. He was as sharp as a tack until the end, which I think is the way he would have wanted it to be.

              It is hard to see parents go, but we have to let go sometimes.

    1. Putting my religious and personal objections to suicide aside for the moment and just delving into the practicalities:

      There’s no REASON to have physician assisted suicide, even if we as a society decide to have legal suicide. All you need is a lethal dose of morphine or whatever. The pharmacists are perfectly competent to create a chart of lethal doses of morphine or whatever we as a society hypothetically decide to use. Some pharmacists may object to this or to prescribing the drugs, and I’m fine with that; we can find the ones who don’t. You’re only going to need one lethal dose, and it is mailable, so finding a pharmacist who doesn’t object isn’t an unreasonable imposition. (And if you change your mind, you’ve no business complaining about a pharmacist who chose not to get involved in your suicide.)

      All you need from your doctor for your hypothetical suicide is the truth.

      If you *don’t* want to give up on life, you need your doctor to help you fight your death tooth and nail. He can’t do that if he’s also judging whether or not you should live.

      1. The problem here is that such mail order purchases are hard to police.

        Not talking law enforcement (at this phase — they’ll likely come into it later) but rather an inversion of the oft used phrase, “It’s not for me, I’m just buying it for a friend.”

        I have no qualms about you’re being able to purchase a lethal dose of [whatever] through the mail for your own use, but there might be problems if you decide, instead, to use it for another, perhaps unwitting, person.

        Where I live, Blanche Taylor Moore was a local story.

        Still, you’re always welcome at our house, any time of the day.

        1. Eh, if you want to poison someone, I can think of half a dozen ways to do so without going further than the grocery store.

        1. Yeah, that’s how my uncle chose to go out.

          It wasn’t for medical reasons. His father was a drunken degenerate (with apologies to the drunken degenerates of the world) who used him, his siblings, and his mother as punching bags for years before divorcing his mom – my maternal grandmother – and publicly rejecting and disowning all of them. My uncle was never able to come to terms with that. I think his Mom was psychologically abusive as well, though Mom and her sister… they deny it, but they aren’t very convincing. He lived with Grandmom pretty much his whole life, and her worsening dementia finally drove him to the breaking point.

          I don’t agree with his decision, but now that I know about his past, I understand it.

          And as an aside, I’m thankful that his old man – I refuse to call him my grandfather – kicked the bucket before I ever met him. For my sake as well as his: I doubt I’d do very well in prison.

    2. Somebody in the Netherlands got assisted suicide for tinnitus.

      Now, obviously severe tinnitus can drive you nuts. My mom has it. But there are lots of things to try (my mom had it improved by changing her diet), and certainly you don’t have to kill yourself!

      1. Also for freaking Asperger’s. By that [expletives deleted] criterion, half the math and physics department at the nearby university should get assisted suicide. Not to mention yours truly 😉

        Of course, nobody will need to look for a cure for anything if you can just shpritz the patients away 😉

        Must look at rat terrier puppies to reduce blood pressure… must look… must look…

              1. I realize this is a quip, but I’m sure some of them have self-gratification fantasies about this. After all, THEY are the speshul anointed enlightened people 😉
                Self-[edge of vessel]ing [French word for shower]bags, the lot of ’em

                  1. An awful lot of the push for “assisted suicide” seems to be in the format of putting them out of my misery.

                    Conscious or not.

                    1. Bingo and you give them much more benefit of the doubt than I do on the last part. The former Governor of Colorado let that slip 20 years ago.

                      ”You’ve got a duty to die and get out of the way,” said the 48-year-old Governor. ”Let the other society, our kids, build a reasonable life.”

                      He’s 78 now and, at last check, still breathing.

      2. When Asimov was pushing suicide, he would go crazy when anyone mentioned the Nazi medical assisted suicide program, but they were killing %100 blonde white kids who had oddly shaped ears. All it took was the kid falling under state “protection.”

        1. Yeah, the early stages of the Nazi death machine took place in the hospitals, with the assistance of the medical community there. Before they got around to killing off job-lots of Jews, Gypsies, Communists, Slavs, and many Christians who objected to the above, they were killing the sickly, the weak, and those with minor minor birth defects, even amongs the German “Aryan” population. Several tens of thousands, IIRC. I think that was as chillingly horrid as the vast death camps.

    3. What I fear? Affordable Health Care continues and we will have physician-assisted-suicide-plus presented fait accompli. The centralized board are already supposed to decide which care you can receive and there are built in punishments for doctors who ignore the standard protocols those boards set up. One way to manage the limited resources is to dictate that after a certain stage of illness or age only palliative pain management will be available. From there it will be only a hot skip and a jump to suggest that, in the name of alleviating their suffering, we put patients out of our misery.

      1. That’s not the way to put it that will tick off the squishes.

        What is the result of a young boy wanting to have sex with old men?

        An elevated chance of death.

        A mental state that results in an elevated chance of death might be considered a mental illness.

        Declaring homosexuality an illness with a treatment protocol of random psychiatric drugs isn’t that far off, once the doctors are made to toe the line of a centralized bureaucracy.

          1. Well, we are a nation of firsts… *sad smile* Not saying it will happen, of course, but it could.

              1. That, uh… that would present some distinct demographic issues. Like, rapidly not having a demos at all!

                What am I saying, we’re talking about progs. Yeah, likely enough. *sigh*

        1. The thing is where there is nationalized medicine that is what has happened. They start to ration the medical care, and, simultaneously, the quality of general medical services deteriorates.

          There are nightmarish stories of British hospitals where you best bring your own sheets and come prepared to scrub down your surroundings.

      2. I very much hope that this country is still American enough to cause a massive uptick in lead poisoning among those doctors.

    4. Reading the Human Exceptionalism blog at NRO is very good for depression — if you haven’t enough cause for depression.

      For example:
      Doctor Sued for Saying No to Euthanasia #
      … in the Netherlands, we see a doctor reported to the medical board–essentially for malpractice–for recommending against a euthanasia killing.

      Ye gawds.

      1. That doctor — but for a last-minute decision to major in physics instead of medicine — could have been me. Behold the face of “Umwertung aller Werte” (transvaluation of all values) — or should that rather be called “Umpolung aller Werte” (sign reversal of all values)?

        Isaiah 5:20 has never been more timely. “Woe unto those who call evil good, and good evil”.

    5. It is my strong impression, based on a memory of a REASON article read over a decade ago, that one of the low countries (it may be Holland) that has had “doctor assisted suicide” since the 1970’s has also had a chronic/episodic euthanasia/eugenics scandal for essentially that long.

    6. Flip side of the horror:
      what does it do to the concept of doctor when one of the “treatments” is killing the patient?

      I’ve already heard of folks being pressured to passively kill a relative for their organs, including being given a “zero chance of survival” type prognosis that turn out to be utter bunkum…or only happen after serious medical malpractice, such as not providing food and water.
      Abortion for very simply corrected defects, ditto. (the difficulty in correcting matters because of the appeal to quality of life)

      And oh look north:

      1. You just don’t understand. Some day all those harvested baby body parts will give us a cure for cancer. Any day now, really.
        And besides, those voluntary contributions from the parts brokers will do ever so much to improve the quality of life for the “doctors” doing the harvesting. After all, how can one possibly live without a new sports car every year or so?

        1. A couple of years ago some evil, manipulative ass tried the “you only oppose it because you want people to die from breast cancer” thing.

          My mom was, at the time, barely in remission. And I was fully aware that I had a good chance of breast cancer, too, since it’s flecked all around mom’s side of the family tree.

          I didn’t blow up. But it was clear from there response of others that my restrained reaction was on par with what they thought was losing it.

          1. From what I remember reading, so far all or most experiments with fetal stem cells put in another body have led to cancer or cancerous type growths. OTOH, we all apparently have stem cells in us. Using stem cells harvested from the patients own body is moving out of the experimental stage and into accepted medical practice. If I had the money to spare right now, insurance will replace my knees, not try to repair them, I would go to one of the places now offering stem cell treatment and try it out.

            1. There’s also been some luck with the stem cells that can be recovered after a birth– we donated the Empress’ cord that way, the only difference from the doctor’s side is what hazmat box it got put in.

              They have a bigger rejection issue than one’s own, of course, but they can wiggle in via the same rule as bone marrow transplants. (I wanna see someone argue that they’re getting a transplant from themselves. 😀 )

              1. Adult Stem Cells Effective Against MS
                By Wesley J. Smith — September 30, 2015

                THIS CAN’T BE TRUE! Embryonic stem cells are the ONLY HOPE, “the scientists” and their media and celebrity camp followers repeatedly insisted–as they urged priority funding for studies from embryonic.

                Except, those who argued that adult stem cells offered great potential are the ones being proven right–as embryonic successes are almost nowhere to be seen.

                Now, the early indications of a possibly efficacious treatment for MS are looking to be even more hopeful. From the Science Alert story:

                A group of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients have had their immune systems destroyed and then rebuilt using their own blood stem cells. Three years later, 86 percent of them have had no relapses, and 91 percent are showing no signs of MS development.


                Now, think of the people with MS who have had assisted suicide out of despair, cheered on by the “death with dignity” crowd. In Belgium, some MS patients have even coupled their killings with organ harvesting.

                You’d think this ongoing success would make huge headlines. I mean, imagine if it was an embryonic stem cell success. But for the media, adult stem cells are still the wrong stem cells.

                Here’s a good formula going forward: Good ethics = good science = good medicine = true hope.


              2. This is what I’ve read too; that there’s greater viability towards adult stem cell research than those from aborted children. Plus, (I could be wrong) wasn’t a kidney 3D printed some time back?

                We’re getting closer and closer to medical replicators and organ/skin replacement grown from one’s own cells/DNA. Ah, Star Trek.

                1. OT, I saw something odd last night. Looked like a aircraft strobe, couldn’t see the red-and green, but the white was only flashing about every five seconds. Any thoughts?

                  1. It sounds like you saw something in the sky, that may have been flying, and which you cannot identify. My thought is UFO.

                    1. My thought was tumbling orbital debris, making for an intermittent flare, but ground speed was too low for low orbit.

                    2. Tumbling orbital debris, if in a decaying orbit, would be an Unidentified Falling Object – at least until it was identified. 🙂

                  2. They don’t actually have to be colored– they just have to flash. Asked my husband about it a while back when I got the chance to see one of McChord’s “oh my gosh that thing should just DROP going that slow!” airplanes and theirs was only white.

                    1. I think all the white only flashing lights on aircraft I have seen (way to numerous to count) have been the slow flash. Never gave it much thought, honestly, but I know I have wondered why some have red and green lights. Apparently they are more uncommon than plain white ones here, because the ‘christmasy’ ones are the ones I wondered about.

                    2. Guess I’m just spoiled by the steady train of jetliners overhead. Pretty much all 1 hz. flash, with red and green steady wingtip lights.

    7. I wonder how many of those were post op trans-sexual folk who were unhappy with the results of their operations. I hear about those now and again – that most of the people who have sex reassignment operations commit suicide afterward.

      Now, I’m aware of those who are very happy post-op -I was good friends with one in the MMO I play but drifted away from the game because of my losing Damien – and am happy that she was very happy afterward. She even got married; to someone who fell in love with her before the operation and married her after. Last I heard they’re happy together.

      But I hear that the suicide rate for post-op transsexuals is high, and I wondered how many assisted suicides were for that particular demographic. I am unsure if there’s a similar count for Asian transsexuals (there’s lots of them there, and in the Philippines they are so common beauty contests are held for them regularly; and I have to say they have a lot of ’em who look smoking hot)

      Sorry. Random train of thought. (I haven’t been sleeping well so my coherence isn’t that good.)

      1. One thing they never mention when extolling the virtues of gender reassignment surgery, in spite of the tricks they play with the sad remains of your sexual organs, you will never have an orgasm again.

        Yeah, I can understand why that would lead to suicide.

        1. I was really unsure that they could …repurpose the nerves properly, but I couldn’t find any data on how such is done (not like some of the other common surgeries.)

          I dunno. This is personal opinion but in the wake of such data (high suicide rate) you’d think that they don’t move so quickly to give out the surgeries but – well, having only the media to judge and then the high SJW prevalence of them in Gamergate – it almost seems to the casual observer that they give them out like candy compared to sterilization surgeries.

          1. In a way, it IS a sterilization surgery.

            But it also answers your observation, TG’s in AGG ARE bitter and angry joyless people, and having ruined their bodies for future happiness would explain why they’re taking it out on people who just want to have fun.

          2. This is the same problem that patients have when they receive a transplanted limb, or eye, (or the new body that I’ll need someday). Repurposing the nerves is the job of the patient, who has to go through what amounts to physical therapy.

            There’s a guy at one of the tech conferences I go to, who made a pair of glasses that turn all images upside down. After wearing them for 6 months he was able to re-train his eyes so that he could see normally with them on. (Then, of course, he took them off and had to go through it again.) This also seems to me the same process.

      2. This is several days after the fact, but I want to respond to the following:

        … most of the people who have sex reassignment operations commit suicide afterward.

        My personal theory is that many (probably most) of these people didn’t like themselves, for various psychological reasons, and bought into the idea that if they just changed their sex, their problems would be solved. But since their problems were fundamentally about them as people, and not about their sex, they still had the problems after the operation. (As Buckeroo Banzai said, “Wherever you go, there you are.”) And so, in despair that the Big Step they thought would Solve Everything hadn’t worked, and seeing no other way out, they killed themselves.

        I have no way of knowing how right or wrong this theory is, but my gut is pretty sure it’s right for a large number of people.

        1. You’re right on the money. One of the psychological toolkits I use is called psycho-cybernetics*. The doctor who originally developed it was not a psychiatrist; he was a plastic surgeon. He observed that a certain portion of his patients were showing no improvement in quality of life after surgery (he was an ethical practitioner). He determined that for those people, the physical deformity was not the root of the problem, but merely a focus for the internal issues. Removing the scars/blemishes/nasal mass in excess of requirements did not make them happy because their self-perception had not changed: they were still habituated to being miserable. He reported with pleasure that after using the approach he had developed, he had patients who were better without ever needing plastic surgery. That’s a true healer there.

          * Ignore the hokey name and marketing copy. The content is actually useful.

  3. Exactly – I relied on the strength of my hubby when I was sick enough to die. Sadly I fought every doctor and every nurse for his health and lost. Then I was told that I couldn’t make decisions because I didn’t have that medical paper… but I had everything else including power of attorney. May they rot … and die early.

    So yes, I fought beyond my ability to survive and when I was ready to let go, I held onto his strength. It scares me that I now have no one who will be there when my kidneys fail. I do not like assisted suicide because I saw too many people in that hospital ready to assist my late-hubby out of his life and not enough people ready to help him survive.

      1. Actually, you could eliminate everything between the end of the “who” and the beginning of the “is” without changing the essential truth of the statement.

      2. I have passed this by several time and something kept poking at the back of my head. I have now realized what it is.

        It is not that the doctor doesn’t believe in “Do no harm.” There is a growing body for whom the definition of harm has been changed. There are doctors who think that it is up to them to decide when treatment becomes harm — when life is harm.

        1. And when they’ve been immersed in those ideas long enough, it becomes the dominant medical culture… which is very much not our culture.
          I’ve always rather liked Charles James Napier’s handling of cultural differences (re: suttee in India) — perhaps something similar could be adapted to provide a counterweight to the death panels.

          1. As for suttee… any woman (and maybe some men) could be influenced to commit suicide after the death of a loved one– when the two of you are so interconnected. It felt like death anyway… what I am saying is part of grieving is thinking of letting go. So anyone who influences another in this way is very evil imho because the widow/er is susceptible. (I was sleep-walking for the first month after his death).

            1. There were some horrid Star Wars fanfic movies a few years back that claimed to be the prequels, but it was obvious that the guy behind them had never bothered to see any of the original movies.

  4. “Would you give a loaded weapon to a malevolent imbecile?”
    Seems to be about as good a plan as electing the current idiot in chief. Twice.

  5. I’m against empowering bureaucrats to decide when your time should come, which is what assisted suicide tends to do, sooner or later. (And usually sooner.)

    We already see reports that in European countries where assisted suicides are legal ‘assisted suicides’ have been done without the consent of the patient or the family, and without consequence to the doctors involved once it has been discovered. De facto the doctor has been given the right to decide when your life is no longer worth living — because you have become, in his opinion a worthless eater — nothing but a drain on society.

    It makes me think of:

    ” ‘I’ll be judge,
    I’ll be jury
    Said cunning old fury,
    I’ll try the whole cause:
    and condemn you to die.’ “

    From Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
    (My apologies to those who know for not having properly formatted this, but I could not figure out how.)

    1. This is not a rumor. The reality is not as bad as you write: it is worse.

      This is one (hideous) way in which unsustainable socialized medical systems can be stopped from collapsing. I write about this at some length on my blog (click on my handle).

          1. I believe the objection is to promiscuous linking, that which is largely self-promotion in somebody else’s establishment. Like dating one person to make another one jealous, it is a discourtesy all round.

  6. There is a legal maxim that terrible cases make for bad law. People that are suffering so badly that they take their own lives are a case in point. Saying one does not judge such people is one (humane) thing. Using it as a basis (or, more likely, a pretext) for legalizing euthanasia is a road to perdition.

    There comes a point in ethics where one has to take a stand and say: “Not. One. Step. Back.”

  7. If the DEA/FDA/Narcotics Treaty, weren’t there, then anyone could buy cyanide at the corner store, and there wouldn’t be need for doctors (the State now) to assist (insist on) suicides (murder) for terminal or chronic cases (useless eaters).

    1. I hate to tell you, but cyanide is used MASSIVELY in (gold) mining (it’s one of the few things that will react with gold) and in the chemical industry. In some countries it is still in widespread use for fumigation.
      Its lethal dose (5-10mg/kg) is actually fairly high as poisons go — it got its reputation because of how rapidly it acts (in high doses).

            1. Possibly. The main driver for the choice of killing agent was that it needed to be something that would not stand out if ordered in industrial quantities. A variant with a strong warning scent added was already in massive use as a fumigant, so the extra orders didn’t stand out so much. Other extermination facilities used diesel exhaust (carbon monoxide being the lethal agent in that case).
              For similar reasons, during “Aktion T4” (the mass euthanasia program that was the dress rehearsal), massive doses of barbiturates (which caused troubling questions in the quantities ordered) were replaced by (ugh!) phenol injections.

              1. Mixing rock salt and sulfuric acid (battery acid) produces hydrochloride gas. Breathing this is a very effective way to kill yourself or others, and the ingredients are readily available.

    2. Heroin overdoses seem gentler than cyanide and probably much cheaper. A nephew’s best friend, a promising teenager, died of one that was apparently accidental. Truly horrible for everyone affected. The cost of heroin is way down now that marijuana is legal-er. (That’s a word, right?)
      There seems to be little reason for doctors to be involved in helping a patient die given all the relatively easy-to-obtain ways of hurting one’s self.
      BASE-jumping, anyone?

      1. The Spouse, while at university, worked many a shift as a hotel night auditor. One of those shifts someone decided they had had enough and took a dive off of the tenth floor balcony to the pavement. It was the one time The Spouse ever called the hotel manager to come in.

        The Spouse came home that morning a great deal worse for wear.

        No, I would not suggest that jumping is a way to go.

        1. Yeah, I was more commenting on all the ways people risk their own lives for a high. With people often valuing their own lives so little, we really don’t need doctors who think death is a great choice!

        2. I am on meds for depression. When I become suicidal (not often) I am dissuaded from it by realizing the harm I’d be inflicting on my near and dear.

          1. Yes – I know of a family who all the adults when they reached their 30s, killed themselves in a wide variety of ways. Many of the children and grandchildren killed themselves too… It hurts root and branch.

      2. Long a favorite poem of mine.


        Razors pain you;
        Rivers are damp;
        Acids stain you;
        And drugs cause cramp.
        Guns aren’t lawful;
        Nooses give;
        Gas smells awful;
        You might as well live.

        Dorothy Parker, “Resumé” from The Portable Dorothy Parker, edited by Brendan Gill. Copyright 1926, 1928 and renewed 1954, © 1956 by Dorothy Parker. Reprinted with the permission of Viking Penguin, a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.

        1. Chesterton’s “A Ballade of Suicide”:

          The gallows in my garden, people say,
          Is new and neat and adequately tall;
          I tie the noose on in a knowing way
          As one that knots his necktie for a ball;
          But just as all the neighbours–on the wall–
          Are drawing a long breath to shout “Hurray!”
          The strangest whim has seized me. . . . After all
          I think I will not hang myself to-day.

          To-morrow is the time I get my pay–
          My uncle’s sword is hanging in the hall–
          I see a little cloud all pink and grey–
          Perhaps the rector’s mother will not call– I fancy that I heard from Mr. Gall
          That mushrooms could be cooked another way–
          I never read the works of Juvenal–
          I think I will not hang myself to-day.

          The world will have another washing-day;
          The decadents decay; the pedants pall;
          And H.G. Wells has found that children play,
          And Bernard Shaw discovered that they squall,
          Rationalists are growing rational–
          And through thick woods one finds a stream astray
          So secret that the very sky seems small–
          I think I will not hang myself to-day.


          Prince, I can hear the trumpet of Germinal,
          The tumbrils toiling up the terrible way;
          Even to-day your royal head may fall,
          I think I will not hang myself to-day.

          1. I find that much more persuasive than the Parker poem. Having been suicidal various times in the past, I’ve always found arguments of “things might still get better” or even “you can still do it tomorrow if you change your mind” to be more helpful and persuasive than “your suffering will get momentarily worse before it’s over.” Your mileage may vary, worth what you paid for it, void where prohibited.

              1. Fair enough, and that fits my experience with Parker (I like her stuff, btw). I get annoyed by it because there are suicide prevention groups that use her poem in their scripts. I can’t but think that no one who thinks that will have any effect has ever been seriously depressed, much less suicidal. So yeah, idjits spoiled a witty poem for me. 🙂

                1. Bio-chemical depression runs rampant in the family. When I first met Parker’s poem I was at a point of struggle and I understood it as:

                  Think life is hopeless and you are a failure? Then just attempt ending it. It’s not as easy as you think. Oh crap.

                  I realized I was more afraid of what would happen if I failed to die than death, and that it was a real possibility…

          2. *chuckles at the first paragraph* Prior to my sons’ deaths, I had some very low moments where I felt depressed enough to just think about suicide. And every single time, I hear my inner voice say “Yeah, the people who hate you would be really happy.”

            So here I am, because the spiteful thought that the mere existence of me pisses someone off makes me smile. It takes NO EFFORT on my part, and that suits me just fine.

            And honestly… at no point after losing my sons did I think of suicide – Felt like falling apart, but killing myself? Nah. I don’t any more. That’s as low as we can go, and we survived it. There is no worse pain than the death of one’s child, and after that… everything just doesn’t seem as horrible to me any more.

            1. Shadow, i know this is late…. I was lurking here but not posting when you lost your second son. Just wanted to tell you I’ve been praying for you and your family.

    3. If someone actually wants to kill themselves, nothing short of solitary confinement will stop them.

      POSSIBLE exceptions for the most extremely disabled– as in, cannot even pick up their pill container, if we do not include the possibility of getting help.

      Over on facebook someone linked an NPR story about a depressed guy who claimed that visiting his relatives meant that he had to battle the desire to shoot himself with their guns; the comments, being from those not easily led, were full of the various ways that someone could kill themselves BESIDES with a gun. (For starters– if the guy drove over? Um. Duh?)

      Relatively pleasant ways to go– relative to cyanide– would include hypothermia, which anybody who’s been through a decent survival or hunting course can tell you can happen in shirt-sleeve weather. (Traditional example is to go drink a bottle of whisky in a snow storm.)

      1. I know somebody who told me that knives would sing to her in the suicidal times. So yeah, there is usually something that people fixate on, and there is usually a psychological reason why they fix on that and not something else.

        1. Momma once observed that when she drove walls, lamp posts and steep drop-offs became strangely attractive.

      2. a depressed guy who claimed that visiting his relatives meant that he had to battle the desire to shoot himself with their guns;

        I’ll admit that I’ve felt that way at certain family gatherings (though I’d have had to use my own gun), but the way I solved it was by not visiting those relatives anymore.

    4. The problem with the DEA/et allia is that is someone can abuse a chemical to get a buzz, then it must be illegal. A photo ID, signature and original Doctor’s signed prescription for codeine, because a teen might take a whole bottle, crush and then snort it, Since psuedoepinephrine can be ‘cooked’ into meth, any legitimate allergy suffer is treated like a criminal.
      It is hard enough to make substances that are safe and effective to use as treatments. Expecting substances to be safe and effective when they are essentially abused should not be considered a priority of our laws.

      1. A joke’s been going around that the drug dealers have found a new market – converting meth into puedoepinephrine and selling it under the table hidden in boxes of tissue.

        1. The one that’s got me puzzled is why the bedbugs haven’t jump-started a black market in homebrew DDT.

          1. It is only a matter of time. It may have already happened, but the news of it hasn’t surfaced yet.

          2. I’m given to understand that it’s nasty stuff to synthesize outside a controlled industrial environment. There was a recipe that went around a while back, and a bunch of people with chemistry backgrounds said “Yeah, that’ll do it. If you miraculously avoid blowing yourself up or poisoning the neighbors.” Granted, that sort of risk never stopped the meth cooks I had to kick out of the hotel every other weekend, but I imagine the profit margin is lower.

            1. I believe I have mentioned here before that as a teenager I did or tried all sorts of drugs. Which is why I am not a pro-legalization advocate, even though I am a libertarian. You see, I Know what drugs do, and I spent enough time around druggies to truthfully say that 90% of them would leave the world a better place if they suck-started a shotgun.

              But anyways back to the point, the risk of blowing yourself up, or poisoning the neighbors by cooking meth is seriously overhyped. I had actually cooked meth over an open fire, which is seriously dangerous and stupid, but anybody with a modicum of common sense (which admittedly rules out most meth cooks, who are strung out on their own product) could make it with (out open flame) very little more risk of blowing themselves up than they would pressure canning food in the oven. There is more risk of poisoning themselves particularly with hydrochloric gas, but to poison neighbors, especially enough to be fatal or have long term effects, would practically require a concerted effort to do so.

              I’m not saying that cooking in a hotel room is acceptable, I’m just saying the risk to other hotel patrons is blown completely out of proportion.

              1. My position is that Libertarianism requires Intelligent informed consent, and that drugs interfere with the thought processes, making informed consent impossible, and thus, drug use is counter-indicated for libertarianism.

                1. That seems to me a misunderstanding of libertarianism, which would never presume to question the decisions an adult makes to do things to himself.

                  1. This seems to me a confusion of Libertarianism with libertarianism.

                    While both tend to sidestep the issue of how to define an adult, they are not the same thing.

                    1. Some people continue to deny that the use of drugs could be having an effect on their overall ability to think clearly.

      2. It’s worse than that, because the DEA don’t even use the word “abuse” correctly. To any normal person (including doctors), drug abuse is to drugs what alcoholism is to alcohol — a pathological pattern of compulsive use. But to the DEA, any use of a drug for fun = abuse. So I’m abusing my glass of red wine right now. And if they could, they’d take it away.

        I agree with you that personal choice is the right answer to this problem. There wouldn’t be any need to ask a doctor to “assist” a suicide if we didn’t need a doctor’s permission to use whatever substance we wanted. Being an adult is all about having the right to make your own risk/reward choices individually.

    5. You can buy cyanide at any industrial or chemical supply house. And many art/craft stores. And on eBay.

  8. I am not particularly attached to my body parts. I celebrated attaining 18 by visiting the Red Cross to donate a pint of my best. When I got my first Driver’s License, five decades (approximately) ago I did not hesitate to check the Organ Donor box.

    When I next renew my license that box will go unchecked, the organ donor card will leave my wallet for the first time since I received it. My family has been advised that it is entirely their decision whether any usable organs are donated when I finish with them, but the blanket grant of permission is now a limited one.

    Because I no longer trust the doctors, the hospitals, the administrators to act in my interest. Used to I believed the Hippocratic Oath; I am no longer so naive. I accepted the fact that doctors are subject to the common foibles of mankind; to do otherwise would be to place unfair burdens upon already heavily laden backs.

    But increasingly, as I read the MSM praise of advocates of “just die,” as I read the arguments of the Dr. Frankensteins seated in our chairs of bioethics, I perceive a creeping rot in the medical profession. It is reinforced when I read of the outlandish claims for embryonic stem cell research when even a mild attention to the stem cell field shows the real benefits are to be found in the adult variety and that fetal tissues are primarily good for creating cancerous growths.

    And I am reminded of the two most intelligent statement I heard during the Hillarycare debates, on NPR of all places (back before BDS drove them over the edge.) The second most intelligent remark I heard was also on NPR, to the effect that the primary result of all our advances in medicine had produced a much higher number of damaged people to survive and participate in society. The percentage of healthy people was actually going down, because folk no longer died of minor injuries or systems (e.g., diabetes) breakdown. Sure, there were scar tissue, limps, mandatory prescription regimens, but mostly we are able to keep damaged people alive.

    The most intelligent comment was that the most cost effective treatment, in all cases, is euthanasia.

    1. I dropped out of Johns Hopkins (undergrad, not med), and hung around the Homewood campus for five years, courting my Lady. In that time I met two pre-med students who I thought had higher than room temperature IQs combined with ethics better than your garden variety pickpocket. Two. The rest were going to be a complete waste of the Devil’s coal.

    2. On your last sentence, there was a far side cartoon about vet students breezing through the chapter on equine medicine. (Every symptom was followed by the word “Shoot”.)

    3. I got run down and crippled by a druggie with a Buick. It must have been a slow night at the hospital; I quit counting after the dozenth employee wandered in and started making “donorcycle” comments.

      One of the first things I did after becoming semi-ambulatory was to go down to the DMV and have the “donor” removed from my driver’s license. **** them all, I’m taking all my bits to Hell with me.

      1. Main reason I’m not enthusiastic about legal recreational drugs: a concern that easier availability means more people with poor self discipline driving under the influence – i.e. alcohol plus lotsa drugs instead of just alcohol plus rare drugs.

      2. No one wants my stuff – I poisoned it with chemotherapy lol. But yes, I have wondered how many people have died when they could have lived just because they were donors.

    4. I can’t even register – or give blood. I come under the Mad Cow ban. *glares around* I heard that giggle. When I found out who said that, I’ll shed on you.

      1. Such a ban has nothing to do with the kind of person (OK, kitteh-dragon) you are. A friend who has gone abroad in order to teach children in both Angola and Afghanistan is no longer allowed to donate blood.

        1. Wasn’t me. I never giggle.

          Snigger, snicker, snort, chuckle, smile, and chortle, but never giggle.

          Nor do I guffaw, cachinate, whoop, convulse, titter, hoot, simper peal, roar, nor howl.

        2. I can’t give blood either because I got married. Never mind that between the two of us we’ve had more than a dozen HIV tests. (Course they wouldn’t take from me anyway–I’m given to understand that one is required to have blood pressure before donating blood.)
          I should get the donor endorsement removed next time I renew my license. Hope I remember.

          1. Of course if you had just shacked up with him, instead of marrying your husband, there would have been no problems with giving blood.

    5. One of the things they are trying to teach nowadays is “good of society” in med school. I tell my students that I’ll smack them for that. Your responsibility is to the patient in front of you. Unfortunately, I’m a minority nowadays. I believe that bioethics is a travesty. If you need the help of an ethics committee, you are probably trying to justify something that you know you shouldn’t be doing. Or fighting with the family who disagrees with you.
      We were always taught that being a donor was a great thing, and certainly for the recipient, it is. However, Gift of Life is sometimes scary in the units looking for organs. Leaving the decision to your family, not always the right way to handle it though. All that means is at a time when you are incapacitated, and your family is in crisis, pressure is brought to bear on them.
      I’ve been in this business a long time, and I’m tired of the changes and modernity. I’d like to be the dinosaur I am, and do what I promised to do when I took the Hippocratic oath. So sad, and I may not be in it much longer the way the Obamacare disaster is playing out.

      1. That was how the Nazis tried to subvert the Dutch medical establishment: start with that “acknowledgment” that the good of society factors in.

        Apparently they succeeded, it was just delayed.

  9. Yesterday, in the latest batch of updates to the canonization process, Pope Francis recognized the “heroic virtue” of the Polish nurse Hanna Chrzanowska (now Venerable Hanna Chrzanowska). I looked her up, and it turns out that she’s a role model for getting around socialized healthcare!

    She became a nurse a little before WWII, and kept nursing under both the Nazis and Soviets. As head nurse for the psychiatric nursing school in one city, her conscientiousness was a real problem, so she was forced to take early retirement. She then organized an informal Church guild of nurses, nuns, family, and regular people who acted as volunteer homecare workers for all the local bedridden, visiting and helping them. She also ran spiritual retreats for homebound patients.

    She died of cancer in 1973. Her funeral included a long procession of patients attending in wheelchairs, and then-Cardinal Wojtyla said Mass.

    There’s a biography in English over on Smashwords: Colours of Fire.

    1. Anyway, her personal healthcare system was called “parish nursing.” It seems to be a modern version of the old deaconess system, really, since healthcare (along with orphan care, alms for the poor, and running the parish guesthouse were the usual concerns of early Christian deaconesses, and often early deaconesses and canonesses ran charity hospitals).

      1. But if churches or businesses or other organizations employed their own doctors and nurses for their members, that would essentially be an alternate version of the “concierge” subscription system. You’d want to make sure you had a mix of all ages in your paying/donating membership, of course.

        1. I expect the government would quickly come down on such “unlicensed” health care providers.

          Licensing, of course, entails acknowledging a positive duty to adhere to all applicable “standards of care” guidelines.

          After all, you wouldn’t want people providing non-standard health care, would you? It is for your own safety and protection.

            1. What’s even more fun is that we are just on the verge of being able to personalize medicine. Having a drug to treat heart failure in blacks is just the start.

              But the FDA is hampering by insisting that being treated with your own stem cells is ALWAYS experimental, since it’s new cells every time for every patient.

              Standardized medicine will stop it in its tracks.

            2. The ACA law as written places fines and other punishments, increasing with each incident, on any physician who ignores the ‘standards of care’.

          1. The American healthcare system has a particular hate for midwives. The average cost of a hospital delivery is around $10K now. Midwives steal those easy profits…

            1. And it isn’t too keen on pharmacists being able to dispense drugs without a doctor having prescribed them. ISTR some of my foreign colleagues mentioning they can often just go down, consult with the pharmacist, and purchase drugs for treating a variety of minor ailments that here in the US would require a doctor’s visit and a prescription.

              I also know, from contact with foreigners and a medical anthropology course that the AMA is extremely envious of its privileges. In combination with the FDA’s restrictions, the results are often a more restrictive and confined environment for medicine here in the US vs. even some countries with socialized medicine.

              I can’t imagine a switch to socialized medicine here in the US would improve things. More likely it would set in stone the worst aspects of the current systems while imposing a new series of government-imposed inefficiencies and problems.

              Except for our elites, of course.

            2. Not profit– subsidy for the walk-outs. There’s also the non-zero risk that the ones who don’t want to be in a hospital are doing something wrong and just haven’t killed anyone yet.

            3. That depends on what part of the country in which you reside. For example, in areas with a notable presence of Amish physicians have usually managed to find a way to work with midwives.

                1. The Piedmont of NC as well. A friend is married to a OBGYN surgeon who prefers to work with mid-wives. This doctor, particularly after his experience working with the Maori in New Zealand, takes the stand that most of the time an experienced mid-wife is more than adequate to the task.

                  1. There midwives and midwife assistants. I believe that the midwives are affiliated with a hospital. If there are severe problems the woman is sent to the hospital and an OB takes over the case. I think that the midwives are licensed by the state.

                    1. ” I think that the midwives are licensed by the state.”

                      Depends on the state, but that is the most common. The majority of the people I know who have had babies in the last five years have did so with a midwife, rather than a doctor. Practically all of the ones who gave birth naturally rather than via C-section did so with a midwife. They generally give more personalized care, and are much cheaper.

                    2. Bearcat, you are near Nancy Draznin, who is superb. Delivered my fourth son, made the call to transport him to the hospital, everything went perfectly.

                    3. I went with the midwife both times, though I had the medically necessary caesarean with Brandon. I’ll always remember that indignant cry, which sounded like WHY DID YOU *DO* THAT?!!!!!!!!!! I was NICE AND WARM AND COMFORTABLE! to his mum and dad, and the first sight of Brandon being an angry scrunched up face glimpsed just past his butt and furiously curled toes.

    2. Interesting story, thanks. BTW, one of the only two instances in which the National Socialist regime (at least ostensibly) backed down from one of its official policies was euthanasia (which was officially stopped following Church protests [particularly by the Archbishop of Muenster, Count Clemens von Galen], widespread grumbling, and for Germans very unusual forms of civil disobedience).
      The other instance is the “Rosenstrasse incident” in which a planned mass deportation of Jews married to “Aryan” Germans was at least in part canceled following days-long protest demonstrations by the spouses.

      1. I should add that “Aktion T4” (the mass euthanasia program) continued covertly, in many cases at the initiative of the “doctors”, after it had been officially discontinued.

        1. And even after the surrender. Indeed, in the days after the surrender, they ran particularly wild.

  10. Then there is Tracey Leonard a vibrant Australian woman who was involved in an accident that turned her into a quadriplegic (her autobiography is “The Full Catastrophe.” She seriously considered assisted suicide but apparently changed her mind. Her brother is a Jesuit Priest was also hit with a serious crises of faith Where the Hell Is God? by Richard Leonard SJ.
    I found The Full Catastrophe a difficult read.

  11. I find it amusing (darkly so) that my experience has been the exact opposite. Can’t tell you how much grief I’ve gotten because I *gasp* don’t want to get married or have kids! How dare I!? It’s my duty as a Good Christian to get married and procreate, and the more of the little brats my wife will pop out, the better!

    And at the same time, the staff at my grandmother’s nursing home are doing their damnedest to keep her alive, even though the’s in the end-stages of Alzheimer’s and can’t even move, let alone speak. She’s pretty much an empty husk of a human, but they’ll be damned if they let her die on their watch.

    That said, the reason I don’t want to have kids isn’t because I think they’d be a “drain on resources” or some idiocy like that, but rather because I enjoy solitude. That and I can barely tolerate my own bullsh*t, much less anyone else’s.

    But I distinctly remember landing in an ER with the worst food-borne staphylococcus infection my regular doctor had ever seen, and my blood sugar was tanking at the same time. I have reactive hypoglycemia and am considered pre-diabetic, have been since the fourth grade, so the latter was nothing new to me. I know how to manage via diet, by eating high-protein foods.

    I was admitted to the ER, escorted to a screened-off cot. Nurse examined me, took my vitals… and then I was left there. Alone. For about two hours. I was shakey, light-headed, and I knew that if I didn’t get some food in me soon, I was going to pass out. Finally managed to flag down a nurse, told her what I needed, and was promptly pooh-poohed because “that’s not how you treat hypoglycemia.” Asked for a phone to call my folks (I was in college and away from home), was brushed off. Had to sneak out to the receptionist’s desk to get a phone. Called home, managed to convince the nurses to talk to my folks. Nurse’s pooh-poohed them too. Wasn’t until my normally calm-and-collected father began screaming (literally: I could hear him from ten feet away) about a lawsuit that they begrudgingly agreed to let me have a cup of apple juice and a packet of peanut butter.

    And then they left me alone and unattended for another hour until I’d had enough and asked to be discharged. Nurses refused, since I was obviously quite ill. (Still hurking my guts out at that point.) I called home *again,* explained the ongoing situation, which they were happy to confirm, though they claimed that I was being “belligerent and uncooperative.” Really, you think? Again normally-calm Dad flipped on them. Told them to either get me in front of a doctor or let me go.

    They did let me see a doctor, who to his credit couldn’t believe I’d been admitted for so long without actually being seen and tore the nurses a new one. Got me re-hydrated, got me on some anti-nausea medication, and discharged me.

    Yeah, I know, rambling again. Point being, I was effectively left to die in that ER because I was a stranger and a “nobody.” And if it hadn’t been for the threat of lawsuits, I very well could have (and probably would have) died. Between that incident and having my appendicitis repeatedly misdiagnosed (fortunately, that got caught by another doctor just in time to prevent Very Bad Things from happening), I’ve pretty much lost my trust in the medical establishment.

    And at the same time, I find it incredibly disgusting and hypocritical that many (not all, but many) of the same people who give me sh*t about not wanting a family lionize women who choose to abort their children, and then turn around and give me dirty looks when I say something about adoption. When the hell did ‘adoption’ become a dirty word?

    1. There’s a little irony in your story — certainly, if children are and will ever be only “brats” to you, you shouldn’t make any. But – who will play the role of vibrant protector when you are helpless, if/when your father isn’t available?
      Turns out it’s not a matter of duty for most of us, but that we are more (in numerous ways) when we are part of a team. I grant a lot of marriages aren’t well-conceived nor well-pursued, and can be a lot of work. But I’ve also observed over 50+ years that having a committed partner is worth the effort of the search and, once begun, worth nurturing the partnership over time.
      Possibly you’ve heard this exact argument before – many times; if so, sorry to pile on. If not, and returning to the topic, do consider who you will have as defender when arrogant ‘authorities’ won’t listen and you’re too sick to fight.

      1. Fair point about the “brats” bit. I admit that comes mainly from growing up in Suburban Soccer Mom Central where the overwhelming majority of kids weren’t disciplined. And God help you if you told somebody else’s Special Snowflake off. Nevermind the fact they were trying to climb over the supermarket counter and could have fallen onto the meat slicer (no lie, it happened to me once), you’re damaging their precious angel’s self-esteem! *rolls eyes*.

        As far as the hospital thing and needing a protector, that situation was a bit of an oddball because I’d just turned 18 and the college I was attending *should* have, by their own reluctant admission, sent someone to stay with me or at least check up on me, but didn’t.

        And honestly, yours is the first logical argument towards starting a family I’ve yet heard. Usually what I get is “What do you mean you’re not married yet?! How can you not be married yet?! When are you planning to have kids?! Your not!?!?!?! HOW CAN YOU BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT WANT TO RAISE A FAMILY?!?!?!?” Trust me, that gets real old real fast.

        And I acknowledge that I may yet change my views, but as it stands I’m not in a position financially to even entertain the idea of a girlfriend, let alone kids. If/when that changes, well… we’ll see.

        1. “What do you mean you’re not married yet?! How can you not be married yet?! When are you planning to have kids?! Your not!?!?!?! HOW CAN YOU BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT WANT TO RAISE A FAMILY?!?!?!?”

          Not to mention the implicit assumption that some woman would want to have kids with you.

          I’m not saying that to be mean but yelling at a person who hasn’t had a date in month (which may or may not be your situation, I know…speaking generically here) for not being married when they can’t even overcome the first step is just as cruel as telling people who are sterile they should have children.

          1. Actually, I think the busy bodies just need to be busy. My Niece, Mother of a happy 4 year old and a 1&1/2 year old just announced that she is pregnant. Naturally, out of the woodwork comes the comments like “Why does she want another child?”,”Aren’t two enough?”… I don’t think she has gotten the “You do know where babies come from?”.

            1. Cutting a little slack for the toe-chewers, part of the problem is most people simply do not know what to say to one another these days. Instead of keep their mouths shut the nonplussed are prone to OM/IF (Open Mouth/Insert Foot) syndrome.

              This is alleviated in cultures where code phrases, such as mazel tov, are standard fare for such ritual acknowledgement.

              1. We’re breeders. Have 5 kids. 20 years from 1st to last. When asked why so many, which is the second most common question I’m asked about them, I tell the truth. “I married a really good Catholic.”

                The first most common question when I give the ages of the kids is, “What? Did you get married again?” Big between #3 and #4.

                Yep, people don’t know what to say.

                1. My wife said on our second date she wanted 14. I was the first guy to ask her out on a third date. Pretty good screening statement….

              2. Seriously – I think some of the responses are envy… from parents who, with modern expectations, can barely afford to raise two and wish they could have another kid or two.

                1. A lot of them do wish for more. We wanted eleven, and were willing to live poor (we always have anyway) but the body, alas, had its own ideas.
                  I’m a religious woman, I’ll accept it was not G-d’s will we should have more, but some part of me mourns the unborn ones.

                  1. I’m grateful for the daughter I have. We always wanted more, but it just hasn’t happened. Now I’m 43 and my sweet honey is (mumble mumble) and it looks less likely every day. > > >

            2. Freak out the “aren’t two enough” folks with the come-back “are you one of those Negative Population Growth freaks?” – average person isn’t good enough at math, or thought about it enough, to realize we need to average 2.1 (or thereabouts).

          2. When relatives would ask me why I hadn’t gotten married yet, I started telling them “Because you haven’t found me any suitable candidates.”

            They don’t ask me anymore. ^_^

            1. I would NEVER say that to my relatives. They would immediately come up with plenty of candidates, although their definition of suitable and mine would be likely to vary considerably.

              1. That is also an option. My brother will never ask my father and step-mother for help finding a wife, because he’s terrified of what my step-mother would consider “suitable.”

                1. I have, on request, attempted to play match maker a couple of times. I couldn’t find anyone compatible with the people involved.

                  Was re-reading The Vulcan Academy Murders and was amused at the borderline Jewish methods of Vulcans in matchmaking. A Human doctor is accepted as kin by a prominent Vulcan family and virtually the second conversation he has with one of the senior members of the clan is the older Vulcan lady promising that they would find him a suitable wife. (He does end up marrying into the family proper.)

                  I dunno. Sometimes I think matchmaking should be brought back, at least for the introductory stages / early relationship for people willing to participate in such. It seems to be increasingly difficult for people to meet others these days.

        2. It’s YOUR life – you can decide how you want to handle it – and any consequences of your decisions. You could marry, and have spouse and all four kids predecease you. NO guarantees in life.

          If you don’t want children, you should not have any.

          The answer to the busybodies is, “How could that POSSIBLY be any concern of yours?” Repeat ad infinitum.

          If you make a bad choice somewhere along the line, you won’t be the first.

          Put your desires in writing if you like, as a Living Will. We’re all going some day. I just had the talk with my daughter – SHE brought it up – about writing down my preferences for her. We just got our wills updated for the same reason. And I don’t even consider myself ‘old’ yet.

          My main concern for the nursing home at this point is that, if I have any functioning brain cells left, they not put me in with a deaf person who like to have the TV on all day.

          If I don’t prepare properly by expressing my wishes and tidying up my financial affairs, things may not go the way I want. Even if I DO, they may not. If I don’t leave good instructions, they probably will not.

          Meanwhile, I have a life to live, and I can’t worry about yours. Good luck with it. If you need help, I hope you can 1) ask, and 2) find people who can and will help.

          1. “The answer to the busybodies is, ‘How could that POSSIBLY be any concern of yours?’

            Well, in their “defense,” most of those busybodies happen to be family. But I don’t think I’ll have to deal with them much longer, since I think the Family Matriarch (read: Grandma) is about ready to disown me over the short story I published.

            Granted, I didn’t intend for it to have that effect, but it is an unexpected bonus: now I won’t have to volunteer to work holidays in order to avoid attending family get-togethers.

              1. Way I understand it (I got this through my folks, she hasn’t communicated directly with me), her objections are, in no particular order:

                -“Curse words on every page.”
                -No “Good” characters, which I guess means “perfectly morally upright and flawless”
                -Multiple murders
                -No Christian message that beats the reader over the head

                And I’m probably missing a few.

                Truth be told, this was a long time coming. We haven’t agreed or seen eye to eye on anything in, well, ever. She has an extremely narrow view on how “Good Christians” should act and what they should like and not like.

                Come to think of it, if she thought Lifeblood was bad, she’d flip her lid if she knew about the action-thriller novel I wrote (still editing) before Lifeblood. It’s tentatively titled “The Four Horsemen: On the Righteous Side of Hell.” Yeah, that’d go over real well.

                Honestly, if I wasn’t semi-sure she’d have another stroke (had one about 15-20 years ago, survived and recovered through sheer stubborn-ness), I’d send her the video clip of me shooting a fully-automatic FAL battle rifle. *THAT* would really send her over the edge!

                1. I’m imagining her reaction to Larry Correia’s stories and the fact that he’s an ordained minister. Trying very hard not to gigglesnort now…

                    1. Mormons have a lay ministry; all worthy men are ordained to the priesthood and serve in addition to their worldly jobs. So yes, ordained minister. 😀

                    2. Ah. Did not know that. And since he’s Mormon to begin with, Grandma would probably have a fit that I was reading his books at all, much less liked the guy.


                      Family. Can’t live with ’em. Can’t, in this case, exist without them.

          2. “It’s YOUR life – you can decide how you want to handle it – and any consequences of your decisions.”

            Those who argue from the Good Christian position do not accept this as a premise, obviously. “Do you not know that your body is a temple* of the holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God, and that you are not your own? For you have been purchased at a price. Therefore, glorify God in your body.”

            Of course, saying that they are not the appointed judge of whether you are doing so is another matter.

        3. I didn’t meet the love of my life until I was almost 40. We don’t have kids and aren’t planning on having any. We’ve been married for 14 years.

        4. Usually what I get is “What do you mean you’re not married yet?! How can you not be married yet?! When are you planning to have kids?! Your not!?!?!?! HOW CAN YOU BE A CHRISTIAN AND NOT WANT TO RAISE A FAMILY?!?!?!?”

          Have you mined the Apostles for counter-arguments, yet?

          “I don’t know how I can manage it– why don’t you go ask the Apostle John?” (Famously a life-long virgin, in a time when that was NOT a Done Thing.)

        5. “Nevermind the fact they were trying to climb over the supermarket counter and could have fallen onto the meat slicer ”

          I don’t see a problem; letting them fall into the meat slicer keeps evolution a working proposition.

          Why, yes, I am a misanthrope; how did you guess?

          1. You are a @#!$% heartless brainless idiot, is what you are!

            Do you realize how long it could take to decontaminate that slicer and get it set up again so I could get some wafer-thin sliced Italian Roast Beef? I don’t have all day to stand around in some supermarket deli just because some twit couldn’t be bothered to mother her brats.

            1. My, my, my, my , my. What. a. mess.

              Really, don’t fret about waiting around. Should someone’s darling tike do a final swan dive into the meat slicer like as not the store will close down for the day (or week…), and you will have to find somewhere else to obtain your desired wafer-thin sliced Italian Roast Beef.

      2. I’ve also observed over 50+ years that having a committed partner is worth the effort of the search and, once begun, worth nurturing the partnership over time.

        This was more or less Rhys’ response to the incredulous responses that he would get from mates in Basic, upon finding out that he had a missus and children not just living far away, but outside the country… and that at one point, he hadn’t seen us in 2 years. “She’s worth it.” 8 years of long distance relationship, and I am the first to state every time I know how lucky I am to have such a wonderful man in my life.

        I mean, he not only can stand me and my various weirdnesses and quirks, but thinks they’re adorable. *baffled* Such an illogical thing. I love him anyway. *smile*

    2. 1. It’s amazing how many people feel free to be rude like that.

      2. It’s easier to convince people that your blood sugar is low if you can manage to be interestingly pale. Now that I’m healthier, I still have pretty decent color in my face even when I’m shaky, so people find it harder to believe I have non-diabetic hypoglycemia.

      And I think guys have a harder time convincing people of health problems than women do, overall. I look really pathetic when I’m sick, somehow, whereas it takes an experienced eye to tell with my brothers and my dad.

      In general, it’s always better to have somebody else in the hospital sitting with a patient and keeping tabs on the charts and nurses and doctors. If the patient was up to the job of looking after himself, he’d be home watching TV! Accidents and misunderstandings happen, so having more eyes doing the checking is a good thing.

      OTOH, having a fund of gruesome anecdotes about one’s own health is one way to get nurses’ attention. “That’s what the other nurse said, right before I passed out” would seem like a good line for you!

      3. Adoption is beautiful. But when abortion became “good,” obviously adoption had to be attacked as insensitive or baby-appropriation or whatever the latest nasty idea is.

      1. I’m naturally pale as it is. At the hospital, I must’ve looked like death warmed over, because when I finally went home and saw my regular doctor a few days later, after I was feeling well enough to travel (college was about 300 miles from home), he couldn’t believe the hospital there had let me *leave!*

        And there was supposed to be somebody at the hospital with me, but the school dropped the ball big-time.

        1. “there was supposed to be somebody at the hospital with me, but” — yeah, for the really important stuff in life, I prefer to depend on myself and/or my people… tend to be skeptical about the wisdom of depending on strangers, even if they’re supposedly well-meaning.

      2. Hmm. . . depends on the situation. I checked into the hospital last year, had an operation, checked out again not forty-eight hours later, had no troubles in my stay.

      3. Yeah. Good gods, people trying to tell me to lower my sugar intake have no idea what they’re talking about. I also view with suspicion (and a dose of ‘you flaming idiot’) anyone who suggests that it’s HEALTHY for me to lessen or eliminate entirely sugar from my diet.

        Or anyone who has the foolish temerity to suggest that cane sugar is bad for me, and (insert substitute of choice) is SO MUCH HEALTHIER.

        I am deathly allergic to that shit.

        1. Cane sugar can be bad for you, which is why I recommend consuming it, when possible, only in its highly refined form, 80 to 100 proof rum.

    3. Yep, we’ve heard any number of similar stories to your ER visit from the British national health care system. Everything from critically ill waiting weeks to months for a doctor appointment to admitted patients dying in bed from dehydration due to neglect.
      We do have problems here, always have had, mostly in government controlled health care like the VA system or the “free” care provided to the indigent at hospital ERs. So naturally our progressive thinkers want to double down and “solve” the problem with more of the same.
      You have a condition that requires extensive treatment, expensive drugs, and potentially serious side effects. Or we can give you a shot of government subsidized happy juice that won’t cost you a cent and is guaranteed to solve all your problems from now to eternity. What? You said no. But the needle is already in.

    4. “I know how to manage via diet, by eating high-protein foods.”

      I would just like to point out that nurses, like all people, are chock full of protein. Now while I have never eaten human flesh (someone else’s, I learned the hard way that I can be too hungry to eat ribs), I have found that ruminating out loud on the culinary possibilities of the meat-sacks around you tends to motivate people into getting you food.

    5. I am several friends emergency contact for this reason. It doesn’t matter where I am or what I’m doing, I get the call and I get myself to the hospital where I can turn into an avenging angel or doting mother, depending on the necessity. And if I can’t make it there in under an hour, I can get a couple of my relatives there. If the nurses are lucky, it will be my dad or my brother. If they’re not, they get my mother.

      You might consider making a similar arrangement with some friends

        1. There are just some things that are too important not to make them a priority. We’ve been to overdoses, births, broken limbs and food poisoning and only ever really needed to make a scene once. That we were there, obviously looking out for the person in distress and willing to do what needed to be done was often enough to get people the help they needed.

    6. There _are_ “Bad ER’s” out there, but gratefully rare. It *could* have been a very bad day, as well. I trained as an EMT I in 1977. One night, we brought in a woman from a Greyhound, in Cardiac Arrest. Just after we got there, a teenage (14?) girl came in, from a traffic accident. First Date, boyfriend hits a parked car. She loses a couple of teeth, and splits her lip. Plus, she’s _70_ miles from home (brought to closest hospital. Due to the CA, she wasn’t seen for over an hour. *Maybe,* there were “greater” (as far as they knew) emergencies diverting attention.
      Your father having to threaten “lawsuits” argues for just plain incompetence. The problem is that *some* Dr.’s and Nurses (I do, and have known many good ones), but some are barely competent to use a stethoscope. These, IME, tend to end up working in “Government” affiliated hospital/clinic. This is because such have “immunity” (effectively, from needing “permission” to sue government agencies), and don’t get “weeded out” by lawsuits; However, TSHTF when someone dies, and then they get disciplined/fired. Of course, the UK is well known for such occurrences. They operate on “cost efficient medicine” principles. 😛

  12. I beg to differ. The assisted suicide law that Oregon and Washington have (and which is currently on California Gov. Brown’s desk) leaves the choice in the hands of the patient himself. Not the doctor.

    I know people who have already had to go down this path, because their mother, with terminal cancer, needed an escape from the pain that was all she had left. It is horrible to deny her that release.

    Yes, pressure from a doctor or even a relative could become an abuse, but it should be easy enough to police that. We already have a law against advising someone else to commit suicide.

    It would also help the cryonics community, who are signed up to be frozen in the hope tomorrow’s technology can bring us back. When one of us gets a degenerative disease like cancer of the brain, we want to be preserved before it destroys everything we need to preserve.

    1. Yes, pressure from a doctor or even a relative could become an abuse, but it should be easy enough to police that. We already have a law against advising someone else to commit suicide.

      We have a law. There was such laws were universal across the nation when the doctor spoke as he did to our esteemed hostess.

    2. … leaves the choice in the hands of the patient himself. Not the doctor.

      But the doctor is legally required to plant the idea make sure the patient knows of this option.

      Nor can the doctor refuse, for reasons of personal conscience, to provide this service or (for the time being*) a referral to another doctor who will perform the execution.

      Is there any doubt that a culture which demands bakers make wedding cakes for marriages they consider mockery of a sacred institution will prosecute doctors for not providing a service desired by the patient and which will save the State significant medical care expense?

      On the cryogenics … your confidence in the reliability of strangers is charming. When I consider the related expense of maintaining such people and the improbability of curing their illnesses and restoring them as productive contributors to a society in which technological change is occurring at geometric rate, what I see in those storage coolers is a ready supply of harvestable parts.

      *How long until willingness to execute is a mandatory element for licensure?

    3. “Easy enough to police against doctor/relative pressure”?

      Sorry, but I doubt that such policing would be done especially in this modern world where the elderly are seen only as a burden.

      Of course, I seem to remember a case here in the US (either Washington or Oregon) where the State “medical board” wasn’t willing to pay for an expensive drug because the patient “wouldn’t get better” but was willing to pay for the procedure for “doctor assisted suicide”.

      “No pressure on the patient?” What a laugh. The State was willing to put the pressure on the patient.

      Oh, IIRC the drug company heard about this case and was willing to provide the drug for free because the patient needed it to live.

    4. “The assisted suicide law that Oregon and Washington have (and which is currently on California Gov. Brown’s desk) leaves the choice in the hands of the patient himself. Not the doctor.”

      Yes. In theory. For now. And if you buy that, or believe that the majority of doctors are not under extreme pressure to conform to various political agendas, I strongly suggest that you never play poler with anyone.

      The Terry Schiavo case scared the piss out of me. Most people read the autopsy, nodded to themselves, and said “Well, she was a turnip, so it came out ok.”

      I didn’t necessarily trust the autopsy; if the doctors who had advised that she be starved to death found out that she had had enough brain matter to be aware, I couldn’t think of a single good reason to expect them to say so.

      But, more to the point; regardless of whether she was capable of the mental activity level associated with a cherrystone clam, we had gone from “We’ll allow you to be taken off life support if, and only if, you have placed carefully worded legal instructions to that effect before hand.” to “We’ll take you off of life support on the unsupported word of somebody with a direct financial interest in your death.”. That isn’t a positive development. And the direction that the court case tool seemed to me to indicate that any shift would be from “We’ll take the word of your family, if we happen to agree with it” towards “We’ll bring in a ‘disinterested’ ‘expert’, who will make the decision without regard to your wishes, your family’s wishes, or indeed anything but The Regulations.”

      I think suicide should be legal. I think most, if not all, drugs should be legal. I think that IF most, if not all, drugs were legal, the idea of “doctor assisted suicide” would not arise.

      I think that it is time we reminded the doctors that they are mechanics. Not scientists, for the most part, and CERTAINLY not priests, nor acceptable substitutes for priests. And many of them, goddamnit, are Chancre Mechanics and Barber Chirurgeons.

      1. I’d still be doubtful about assisted suicide if it required the consensus opinion of three doctors previously unknown to each other and certification by yet other independent experts that you were not incapacitated of judgement by virtue of depression.

        It’s just too easy to “gaslight” people into doing things that are very much against their better judgement (I did NOT say ‘their own good’), even inadvertently, to encourage a rush to irreversible decisions.

        How long must a person hold the opinion they want to suicide before I’d accept it as probably not the result of undue influence &/or depression? Don’t have an answer to that – maybe the best answer is to 1) admit as a society that those are valid issues, and 2) put the person’s own assessment of when to accept their wishes into their living wills/end of life directions.

        1. “you were not incapacitated of judgement by virtue of depression.”

          A lot of the pro “doctor assisted suicide” folks will deny that patients would decide because of “depression” as the patients have “real” problems.

          Those idiots fail to realized that people suffering from depression often have real problems.

          Been There Done That.

          1. In dealing with my Lady’s depression, I have come to the conclusion that we really need to change the meaning of “it’s all in your head”. It is often quite true, but it means that dealing with it will be HARDER.

            1. “It’s all in your head” doesn’t mean that it isn’t a problem. BTDT

              1. No, indeed. It means that things will be a great deal more difficult than if you were dealing with matters outside the head. What we know about the brain and the mind, while a great deal more than we used to, is still a very thin book, supplemented by a lot of witch-doctoring that seems to work some of the time.

                The way to tell that you have a good therapist or medicating physician is that they will readily admit this. The bad ones get huffy.

              2. I once knew a young woman who was told her problems were “all in your head”. Right up until she was diagnosed with hypoglycemia.

                1. You know, I’m not sure if I want to get formally diagnosed with it. I’m exceedingly leery of how people here have the whole ‘lessen sugar/salt/everything’ as a rule but every single time I’ve had myself tested for diabetes my blood sugar levels have been ridiculously low.

                    1. Oh yeah. Try to explain how you need salt so your muscles can move, or sugar for your brain cells to function, or that you lose salt in your body from sweating.

                      “No you don’t!” is a frequent response I get, and in my head I go “well, obviously the lack of sugar is killing brain cells…”

                  1. This young woman’s problems came right up to the line of disabling and sometimes crossed over. I heard whispered rumors that she was malingering for the entire year that I knew her. I saw her faint in public once, and heard it said that she was “faking it”. Taking into account my own experience with undiagnosed conditions, I’m convinced that having a formal diagnosis of a physically-based malady beats people wondering “What’s wrong with you” and deciding it’s some kind of moral failing to smithereens. YMMV.

                    1. That’s a real issue. In the last few years, medicine has come up with a huge list of bogus diagnoses, from “Gulf War syndrome” and “chronic fatigue syndrome” to “multiple chemical sensitivity.” But that doesn’t mean the people who are so diagnosed (or more often, self-diagnose) are faking or even that they’re hypochondriacs. I’m sure that in nearly all of these cases, the person has a genuine, physical illness that ought to be treated, but the docs haven’t figured out what it is yet. They’re flailing, and the system isn’t helping matters when it insists that every patient be pigeonholed and treated according to some official cookbook.

            2. “it’s all in your head”

              It weighs on the soul, making one ache, making one feel dull and heavy all over, sapping energy, draining color, flavor, texture, perfume and joy from each passing moment. It seems like it will never end.

              So far it always has.

            3. It’s all in your head – well, it is in your brain, and your brain is an organ. And your organ is affected by everything else in your body so even if it is in your “head.” Then it is a problem. Head is only the function of the brain… ad etc.

              So what I am saying is that if the brain is failing then it is just as bad and life-threatening as when the heart, lungs, kidneys or other organ fails.

              Vasculitis patients hear that all the time… because it is so hard to diagnose our disease. The small and medium vascular system inflame causing the organs to fail… Brain can fail too in this scenario.

          2. Yep. We all have problems; life is never easy, even when there’s no active disaster going on. When the black dog is tearing me apart those problems seem insurmountable, and I want to give up. When I’m healthy (which the dog tells me is deluding myself) I look at those same problems and they’re no big deal, but they’re still problems. Some of the worst lies have a core of truth, and depression is a monstrous liar.

          3. Maybe so, but if I’m ever the one in that situation, I don’t want either the system or my family taking that decision away from me. Let those who want such interventions write “durable powers of attorney” to allow them.

            1. Having been severely depressed in the past, I’d want somebody else to be able to prevent my “suicide” on the grounds that I wasn’t thinking clearly.

              To me, the “living will” thing should be used to establish ahead of time, the conditions for “letting me die” or “assisting me to die”.

              The doctors’ job is to “keep me alive” not to “assist in my suicide”.

              Of course, in the case of my parents, neither of them were in a position to say that they wanted to die and fortunately their deaths were not preventable.

      2. you know those FB memes people put up: “What [BLANK] thinks I do, what [BLANK] thinks I do, what I think I do, what I do.”

        People think they’re getting Hawkeye Pierce for their doctor when increasingly they are getting Frank Burns.

        Fans of Dr. House (of which I was one) tend to overlook that he was an effective psychopath with little actual concern over his patient’s well-being. He represents about as good as we can expect from the Med School processing … except few will be so brilliant (or have such effective writers) as he did.

        1. A big part of the problem is that, as of twenty years ago (when I was last interested enough to check) no new medical college had been accredited in the United States for a quarter of a century. Maybe one has been since, but I think I would have heard of it. The AMA and various other guilds LIKE doctors being high paid, high prestige, low supply. They REALLY don’t want people to start making their own decisions about health care, or drugs, and they CERTAINLY don’t want enough doctors graduating every year that the people who are awful at it get paid poorly enough to take up something where they can do less damage.

        2. House’s main thing was ‘this patient has a problem. It must be fixed.’ Saving the patient was often the side effect, but there were quite a few episodes that show him fighting for his patient – or with his patient when the latter had decided to give up and die, because he felt that the latter was often an irrational position. (Since he’s also the Dr. Holmes expy IN A HOSPITAL! …well. *looks at the new Sherlock Holmes movies / BBC series*)

          The thing that delights me is that the episodes were actually often based off of actual medical mysteries, many of them lifted from actual medical journals.

          And how someone in Germany presented with the exact same symptoms as Cuddy’s mother lead to an accurate diagnosis.

      3. But, more to the point; regardless of whether she was capable of the mental activity level associated with a cherrystone clam, we had gone from “We’ll allow you to be taken off life support if, and only if, you have placed carefully worded legal instructions to that effect before hand.” to “We’ll take you off of life support on the unsupported word of somebody with a direct financial interest in your death.”.

        Worse, on the unsupported word of someone who got that financial interest by testimony under oath that you’d want therapy, who could keep the financial interest by simply letting your family take over your care, who denied you the therapy, and who started searching for a way to kill you after he got a girlfriend– with whom he had a kid by the time he got your food and water taken away.

        “Water” isn’t medical care.

        1. I don’t want to get into personalities, and I think your summation does. Not that it’s inaccurate, necessarily. But it’s beside my point. My point being that EVEN IF EVERYTHING CAME OUT OK in the Schiavo case, and the husband/boyfriend/what-have-you was motivated by only the best intentions, it was a lousy precedent.

          I really think that too many of the Liberal Intellectual Radical Progressives have never, EVER thought of what life would be like in the society they envision, if somebody made one tiny mistake about THEIR life. They have a blind belief that somehow the monstrous State they are so enamored of will always be on their side. And I want to know; why? What EVER gave them that idiotic notion?

          The State, and actors for the State (as Doctors are rapidly becoming) should not be encouraged to kill, except in the most extreme circumstances. And even then, all the persons acting for the State should be held liable if a mistake is made or a roe is willfully broken. A prosecutor who withholds material evidence in a capitol case should immediately be put on trial for attempted murder. A cop who kills or injures somebody during a “dynamic entry” raid on what proves to be the wrong address should be instantly and irretrievably fired. “All Procedures were followed” should immediately be countered with “So, what criminally stupid imbecile wrote the procedures, and when is his trial?”

      4. > “We’ll take you off of life support on the unsupported word of somebody with a direct financial interest in your death.”

        Oh. Like me.

        Any family member with the authority to sign the papers is probably going to have a direct financial interest in someone’s death.

        I turned off my Dad’s life support and sat with him while he died. Dehydration, basically. Even dri

        He’d never gotten around to a living will, but we’d talked about it; he was 83 and had already had one major stroke. His last coherent words were to beg to pull the tubes and go home to die. And then he went flatline, and the only thing keeping him alive were the respirator and IVs.

        I did what he asked for.

        You can put any spin on it you like.

        I told the Spawn they could divvy up my share of his estate, I took the .38 he kept on his nightstand on the way out. It’s a bit worn and sweat-damaged now; it’s riding in the shoulder holster ever since.

        If you want to claim I killed my Dad for a cheap .38 revolver, go right ahead. Just remember, if you’re ever in Dad’s situation, will there be anyone willing to do what you ask?

        1. Schiavo’s abusive ex is who she’s talking about.

          Now, if you told us that you’d been beating your relatives sixty times a day and twice that on Sunday, I’m pretty sure we’d be concerned about your qualifications as a medical guardian.

        2. Of they put you in that position, I’m sorry for you. When this first came up, the law was changed so that one could leave a living will; “We’ll allow you to be taken off life support if, and only if, you have placed carefully worded legal instructions to that effect before hand.”. Things have shifted, little by little, and not for the better. Your father should have been advised, while he was compos mentis, that he needed to leave written instructions. My parents left such instructions, thats be to whatever Gods there are.

          The thing is, I’m willing, with some reservations, to accept the consensus of a family, if it broadly goes one way or the other. In the Schiavo case, the ex-husband was the only person who claimed to remember her ever saying word one on the subject. And he stood to gain a great deal. The decision to accept his unsupported word sucks balls. And, as I suggested, the direction the case took, consulting all kinds of ‘experts’, doesn’t strike me as a hopeful sign. We are, fairly clearly, going in the direction of “experts” deciding, over any religious objections, what “quality of life” means. And we know goddamned well what the “experts” are going to decide.

          As I noted in another comment; one of the low countries, which has had doctor assisted suicide since the seventies has also had a persistent recurring scandal since the seventies; cases where doctors decided unilaterally that some patient was damaged or handicapped enough to justify killing. And every time they think they have it stamped out, it flares up somewhere else.

    5. Oregon.

      The state where my grandfather was killed by a doctor who had a history of doing exactly what he did, and almost got away with his license again, because all of his targets had been “old” and “going to die anyways.”

      He had at least another twenty years ahead of him; that’s why he was in for knee surgery.

      He still only lost the right to practice for a year or so, and that was because of the fraud aspect of charging three people the full price of a vial — not because he left stuff that was required to be used inside of six hours of the seal being broken, and kept refrigerated at all times, on a room-temp cart over the weekend so that he could.

      This was several years before the Oregon suicide law.

      How about the lady who got a letter informing her that they’d no longer provide treatment for her illness– but they’d help her buy the drugs to kill herself. That made a bit of a splash, at least regionally, on conservative media.

      But hey, don’t listen to just my stories– how about you look at the reports on the failures that they CAUGHT?

      Example: a minimum of 8 of the people who were given the “prescription” did not utilize it until over a year later, well outside of the six month safety measure.
      Yet not one case got sent up for review.

      1. Isn’t it “interesting” that jdgalt made “his” comment and hasn’t responded to any of our replies? [Very Big Evil Grin]

        1. I’ve got other things to do besides hang around breathlessly waiting for replies. Besides, I’ve heard most of them before, and Sturgeon’s Law. No offense intended to anyone in particular.

    6. It would also help the cryonics community …

      All of whom, in my opinion, are displaying an utterly naïve and totally misplaced faith in human nature. When people are already pushing for “pulling the plug” on terminal patients, what makes you think that they won’t also push for “pulling the plug” on people who’ve been cryogenically frozen? Neither one is contributing anything of value to society, both are expensive to keep in the hospital / cryogenics facility, both have relatives who would be much better off if they could inherit the patient’s fortune*…

      * Not that this would ever, ever be a factor in the decision, oh no, cross their heart and swear to God.

      1. Those cryogenically entombed preserved will probably have the Courts appoint attorneys as fiduciaries to protect their interests.

        That way nothing can go wrong.

        How insiders snatch millions from estates in the scandal-scarred Surrogate Courts
        By Brad HamiltonJuly 29, 2012 | 4:00am
        If you’re a lawyer in New York, there’s no sweeter deal than getting assigned to an estate case in Surrogate’s Court.

        The work is often routine — selling assets, paying bills, contacting heirs — but the pay can reach into the millions.

        Landing such a gig requires currying favor with one of the city’s seven surrogate judges, who handle wills and estates. They have the power to appoint lawyers and approve their sometimes jaw-dropping invoices.

        The jobs often go to the judges’ friends, associates or campaign contributors, court authorities admit. Looting of the estates can sometimes result.

        The most recent example involves Bronx Judge Lee Holzman, who last week faced removal from the surrogate bench after he signed off on legal work that was never done.

        The bills, according to the Bronx District Attorney’s Office, totaled $300,000 and went to the judge’s associate, lawyer Michael Lippman, a Democratic Party crony who ran Holzman’s campaign financing, raising $125,000, a court watchdog claims.

        Lippman then got into money trouble himself, racking up $1 million in gambling debts and allegedly faking bills to cover his losses.

        Prosecutors say they uncovered the cooked books and charged him with fraud.

        Another alleged thief preyed on a lucrative and largely unsupervised part of the system — cases in which there is no will.

        Such cases go to public administrators, who work with Surrogate’s Court judges in handling their finances.

        In May, Richard Paul, the bookkeeper for the Brooklyn public administrator, was indicted for stealing $2.6 million from these estates, allegedly manipulating the check-writing process to get at the cash.

        Judges who allow fraudulent pay-outs are “a disgrace to the legal profession and to the state of New York,” said Monroe Freedman, a Hofstra University professor and leading expert on legal ethics. “They should be removed from the bench and disbarred.”
        — — —

        You probably don’t want to read the rest. it is lengthy and depressing.

        It is also but one of many such stories to be found. Making somebody a judge does not inure against appreciation of kickbacks finders’ fees and campaign contributions.

        1. And yet again, I find myself speculating on how long it takes before someone gets fed up with the legal system not punishing the guilty and takes the law into his own hands.

      2. “totally misplaced faith in human nature”: if you break that down into “faith in man’s innate goodness” (libprog) and “faith in man’s rationality” (libertarian), I guess that’s how reality dragged me kicking and screaming into conservatism…

      3. The cryonics organizations, especially the one I belong to, are run by people who are signed up themselves.

        As for the “organlegging” problem — about half of our patients are being frozen head-and-brainstem only, so their other organs aren’t being kept around. And with freezing damage, you couldn’t use any parts from a frozen person anyway, at least not until we get repair tech to the point where that person could be revived. I’m worried about plenty of other ways cryonics could fail to work, but that isn’t one of them.

        FWIW, Red China is now harvesting organs from people killed by the state. This has been going on for at least 3-5 years now.

        1. I first saw reports of Chinese organ-harvesting on ABC News 20-20 some twenty years ago. Given the source, I think it qualifies as an admission against interest.

          Your presumption that the individual might be revived from head-and-brainstem is largely without evidential support; simply an expression of Faith.

          1. I’ll take information theory any day over the word of some guy who saw things because he smoked a whole bush…

            1. What has information theory to do with your moronic assumption that the brain and stem constitute the reservoir of that which constitutes identity?

              Argument that you prefer it over some other Theological standard is mere comparative religion, absent evidence or nonfallacious reasoning. It assuredly discredit any assertion of intelligence on your part.

              Sarah, JDGALT has provided ample evidence of desire to troll without offering any ameliorating entertainment value that you should feel free to eliminate it. There has been no instance of wit nor writing skill; merely undeservedly high self-regard and juvenile reasoning.

            2. There are some atheists who post here but I’ll not hold that stupid statement of yours against them.

        2. The cryonics organizations, especially the one I belong to, are run by people who are signed up themselves.

          They are currently run by people who are signed up themselves. But will they always be so run? Keep in mind Pournelle’s Iron Law of Bureaucracy ( and the number of years (# of centuries, probably) before our medical knowledge will be advanced enough to restore people from a head-and-brainstem state. In all that time, what’s to stop your organization from going the way of all organizations, further and further into bureaucracy? And at what point will the bureaucrats, who literally have your life in their hands, decide to use you for their own ends instead of the ends that you would have wished?

          See Lois Bujold’s Cryoburn for just one of the many ways this can go wrong.

    7. OK, first, there you are cryogenically preserved after death awaiting a cure for the conditions that were likely going to lead to your death. Well they may find a cure for those conditions, but it still won’t do you any good until they come up with a cure for death.

      So, say in the future that becomes a reality. You will be an historical oddity, isolated because you out of place in a world you know little about.

      1. If you examine the subject historically, as we cryo folks have, you’ll find that there isn’t any specific event or point in time that defines death. The body always has many different chemical, electrical, and physical processes going on, and some of them continue to run much longer than others, depending on the cause of death. What the history tells us is that, both legally and practically, “death” truly just means that the doctors have given up on you. (Thus someone who drowned or suffered a heart attack 1500 years ago was “dead” much sooner than he would be today.)

        This explains the hallucinations that can result from “near death experiences.” It also creates serious complications with the concept of a detachable soul. Not all of us are atheists, but I am.

        1. If you examine the subject historically, as we cryo folks have, you’ll find that there isn’t any specific event or point in time that defines death.

          No, people can’t agree on where exactly to draw the line– especially when they benefit from it. Same as at the other end with when a human becomes a person.

          That people disagree on where exactly they’re drawing the line does NOT mean there isn’t a point, it means that some people were wrong.

          What the history tells us is that, both legally and practically, “death” truly just means that the doctors have given up on you.

          Or that you just died, no matter who had not yet given up.
          Most of the cases that let us know that almost definitely being dead isn’t the same as actually dead are after EVERYBODY gave up, and the person was being buried.

          Doctors just don’t have that kind of power to keep people alive just because they haven’t “given up”– although many get the delusion.

          1. Or that you just died, no matter who had not yet given up.

            I think we can largely agree that death occurs sometime between entering a lion’s throat and exiting its anus. [Insert any alternate large predator of your preference.] Thus we can easily establish a time of death, plus or minus a few hours, for certain instances.

            For other forms of violent death — explosive decompression upon exposure to a vacuum, extremely close proximity to a significant explosion, being crushed under large weights (e.g., sat upon by an elephant), or sudden deceleration after a significant drop (on the order of fifty or more stories) — we can, again, establish a fairly precise time of death, certainly plus or minus a matter of minutes.

            Determining time of death is highly contingent on the manner of that death, it would seem.

          2. Ramesh Ponnoru, writing at NRO’s The Corner, discusses drawing lines and what Science cannot do:
            Wired’s Sarah Zhang has written a short article purporting to show that science cannot determine “when life begins.” But the article itself begins in a muddle about the concepts of life and personhood that makes its efforts hopeless. It is certainly true that science cannot tell us whether a human being deserves legal protection, or under what circumstances it deserves it. And if we define “personhood” as the status of deserving such protection, it follows that science cannot tell us when personhood begins.

            Science is, however, capable of telling us that after fertilization creates a human embryo, that embryo is living rather than dead or inanimate, human rather than a member of a different species, and an organism rather than a cell or tissue of another organism. None of the issues Zhang raises—that fertilization takes time, or that many of the embryos formed by implantation fail to implant in the womb, or that they do not have brainwaves until later—change, or could change, that conclusion. There are people who argue (not, I think, well) that living human organisms don’t deserve legal protection until they have brainwaves: but it’s unquestionably living human organisms about which they’re talking.

            Again, though, it is true that science cannot resolve the moral question. It cannot rule out the possibility that we should regard some living human organisms as human “non-persons” or “un-persons.” If we shudder at that concept, it’s not because of scientific knowledge.

        2. Sigh.

          Quite soon after the heart stops beating the process of breakdown begins to occur throughout the body. The brain, for example, is particularly subject to this.

    8. Yeah. And we’ve already seen how it plays out in Oregon: if you have been diagnosed with terminal cancer, your medical insurance will cover the pills with which to kill yourself, but not pay for either treatment or hospice care.

      Yes, in theory it’s not supposed to work like that. In practice it always does. Eventually, you have to realize that reality just doesn’t have the respect for our big ideas about How Things Should Be.

  13. “reactive hypoglycemia” .. .. .. !

    Thank you mentioning this. I come from a family that is rampant with D, type 2 and 1. My sister, who has thyroid problems, has been know to “go low” – but she is not Diabetic. I heard her doctor tell her that she couldn’t be going low after a migraine, because she didn’t have Diabetes.

    Of course this is the same doctor who said that it was “worth the risk” to take statins when D runs in your family. Er, dude, that is not your call to make. Maybe I’d rather deal with the high cholorestoral than D, which I saw slowly kill my mother. .., er sorry for the mini rant.

    1. My Lady and I have been, on the whole, very lucky. In the course of decades of medical troubles, we have only run into three doctors who should be struck off and chased through the streets with torches and pitchforks. Out of dozens.

      We have even managed to locate and get places in the practices of several genuinely human and hardworking physicians.

      But one asshole with an MD can do an awful lot of damage, and there are lots of them.

    2. My husband very carefully explained to his doctor that he COULD NOT have any medication with ANY possible mental side-effects, because of his security clearance.

      Doctor assures him he understands, they work on some back issues.

      Husband’s clearance review comes up…they want to know what the hell he was thinking, taking X drug, which can have mental effects.

      Hasn’t lost his clearance. Yet. I won’t feel alright until the renewal paperwork is actually here.

      1. When the doctor gives him medication, take it to the pharmacist and ask for a full review… before filling it. 😉 Doctor’s don’t know shit about side-effects.

    3. What I really like about reading the comments on this blog is that I learn things. My VA practitioner keeps trying to get me to take statins. Everyone in my family who has gotten way overweight has developed diabetes. Every one. I didn’t know until just now that there was a link between statins and diabetes. And I just goggled it to find it is, indeed, very real. Thank you for posting that.

      1. You are welcome. And you are the second person in a week to tell me that they didn’t know. Hmm, guess the big pharm is doing a bang-up job of it covering up.

        1. Nah. Big Pharma didn’t know. Medical research into hypervascularization is cutting edge.

          And all drugs have side effects, they’re all a cost/benefit analysis that you can’t farm outto have someone else doing your thinking and making your judgments for you. Which can truly suck hard vacuum, betimes, I know. TANSTAAFL. Even in modern pharmacology.

        2. The articles I’ve read seem to indicate that it’s less “Big Pharm” than it is simple medical fad. Doctors, particularly the kind of doctors who fancy themselves part priest, don’t like to admit that a treatment they recommended might not have been a great odea after all. So, when there’s new research indication that statins are a problem, or high salt intake isn’t, they drag their heels.

      2. Some of us (mostly those with Northern European genes) can use Niacin (a B vitamin) as a statin and blood pressure control. You have to have the right genes. The doctors tried to give me statins– they cause an immediate rise in my liver proteins. It is on my list of meds I cannot take.

          1. I use Vit B Complex to stop my bruising, energy, and sometimes when I am a little down. 😉 Vit D3 also helps … mainly though I use it for my bones.

      3. Before reading your comment I decided to look up my blood-pressure lowering medication. =/ I’m going to have to stop taking these if I want to get pregnant again. I was warned by the increased fatigue and drowsiness and it’s been HELL trying to push past those.

        And I also didn’t know about the statins side effects (thank goodness I’m not taking any; I don’t need them)

  14. F “irreplaceable.”

    You’ve done things– even just by being– that would require replacement.

    If you’re going to be utilitarian, you’ve got to pick a baseline that is actually utility based, not utopia based.
    And if you start the “better nothing than me” route, then if you’re so dang perfect at knowing what’s best and what will happen, go apply that and make things better! You’re sure you’ll fail at that? Well, then you’re just as likely to fail at making things better by removing yourself.

    There isn’t a route that will work for everyone– but it’s the type that’ll work on my family’s depression. Call it the Puddleglum theory.

    1. I need to save this somewhere for the next time the black dog really has me by the throat. It fits quite well with some of the tools from my CBT program. I unequivocally recommend that to anyone, by the way. Everyone is different, but it takes that into account. May not be sufficient on its own, but it’s amazing. Highly compatible with Psychocybernetics and the 7 Habits program, fwiw.

      1. It can backfire.

        When I talked to the priest on the ship about my depression (not even SEEING sunlight for more than a minute or two a week, very little sleep, for several months) my automatic response to “have you considered killing yourself” was “hell no, I’d kill somebody else first.”
        Thank God, he didn’t report it to anybody.

      2. CBT gets me out of bed every morning, and to the keyboard. Some days I spend several hours gathering a few brain cells, before I can write.

        When depressed about chronic illness almost of 26 years now, plus very limited mobility, I TALK BACK TO IT. On the page. As long as it takes.

        I know that every single time, I will win. It doesn’t make the days easier or the process faster, but I don’t stop until I’m ‘myself’ again, because I know I can do it.

        TWO different friends gave me Feeling Good: the new mood therapy in graduate school; I took the hint.

      3. But is it compatible with the “The Seventy Maxims of Maximally Effective Mercenaries?”

      4. You are a true gentleman who brightens the world by your presence in it. Certainly you made a positive impression on my little family in a matter of minutes.

  15. Someone I used to know, in Oregon was dying of cancer. They wanted the medications to continue their life, to live as long as they could.
    The State of Oregon refused, said that they needed to commit suicide, because that would be cheaper. For the State of Oregon.
    This really happened, it made the news! Something that the assisted suicide people claimed would never happen, that people would be FORCED into committing suicide.

    Doctors are NOT smart people. Being a doctor is EASY. I know, I’ve worked with a lot of them, car mechanics have it harder than most doctors.

    I ran up a 20K medical bill once, because I was having pains in my chest, and rather than treat ME they treated the possible lawsuit, and tested me for every single heart ailment they could think of. After 12 hours of pain, I finally got them to give me a GI cocktail, the problem went away immediately. Turns out I have a little problem with my esophagus.
    But they wouldn’t admit it, wouldn’t discharge me, wanted to do more tests! So I put on my clothes and walked out. They wouldn’t even call me a taxi! I had to walk 2 miles to my car in 110 degree weather.

    Yeah, don’t trust doctors. Many of them think they’re a lot smarter than they really are. I’ve known some good ones, but I’ve known a lot more bad ones, and again, they treat the lawsuit before they treat you.

    1. “they treated the possible lawsuit”

      yep, been there. EKG, stress test, sonogram all done to find out why I had suddenly started swelling in my ankles. Only to be told “it happens to women as they get older”.

      The nuclear stress test was to find out why I have a small abnormality in the electrical pulses in my heart. Erm, I’ve known about it for *years*. It is nothing. Guess what the cardio said – it is nothing to be worried about. A lot of people have it.

      1. I was once at a dinner conversation with a hospital administrator. He mentioned that his day was consumed with writing reports, of every detail of every case. I asked, “Does anyone actually read these?” He promptly replied “The lawyers, if anything goes wrong”.

    2. … car mechanics have it harder than most doctors.

      Well, sure — doctors only have to deal with a couple basic models and don’t see new models with redesigned chassis and upgraded motors. They also have a deep record of identified flaws in the original design.

      Parts are much harder to replace, however.

  16. ‘In fact, we live in a culture where believers in zero-sum economics consider people ALWAYS a drain and an expenditure. ‘

    I’ve a thing on this that I’ve been meaning to write, and offer you first refusal on, that is directly related to this. I guess I’ll see if I can do it this weekend.

    I’ve also long been of the opinion that if doctors are allowed to euthenize people, they should be required to do so with a pistol. It keeps the difference between that and actual medicine clear. I’ve recently learned how the Katynn forest massacre was carried out, so it is also practical.

  17. Sarah, you did manage to forget one very significant accomplishment, didn’t you?
    I forget your exact title, is it mistress, princess, or queen, of the Evil League of Evil?
    Yeah, I know that Larry C. guy had something to do with it, but we all know who was and always will be the lead instigator, bless your most evil soul.

  18. It makes your decision not to commit suicide in the face of hopeless, or just prolonged health battles a selfish one, for which you can be condemned.

    One of the most frightening things is just how right Ayn Rand was…the collectivists worship death, not life. From the now religious support of Planned Parenthood’s abortion practices to the wild embrace of suicide they are anti-life. They live a philosophy of death.

    The funny thing is having been around/part of the goth scene a lot (spin it on the radio three years and they can never take your goth card away) for all the morbid, Addams family habits we still were a culture of life.

    It takes someone cold and sterile who can’t see human beings as individuals of worth just by existing, which includes too many doctors, scientists, and philosophers for my comfort, to hate life the way they do.

    1. Ayn Rand was amazingly right about a lot of things, and had a very unique and interesting way of looking at the world. People don’t hate her for the things she got wrong.

  19. Since abortion was mentioned, it seems appropriate to bring up the current Planned Parenthood mess.

    Rep. Chaffetz (R-UT) made some interesting statements during his introductory remarks at the Congressional Planned Parenthood hearings a couple of days ago. Particularly interesting was a comment that the whole budget fight over Planned Parenthood apparently comes down to just $60 million. Planned Parenthood showed a profit of more than double that. And that number only includes the grant that the Federal Government directly gives to Planned Parenthood. It doesn’t include all of the other ways that the organization gets money from the government (such as Medicaid, etc…).

    So Planned Parenthood wouldn’t miss the money if it were to go away. And based on other statements that Chaffetz made, the money could easily be made up elsewhere in PP’s budget if it were to become a problem for the organization (he mentioned that they send over $30 million overseas; keep in mind that this is a purely domestic organization).

    In short, the whole Planned Parenthood fight comes down to symbolism. And that symbolism is important enough for the Dems to threaten to shut down the government if they don’t get their way.

    1. Being “Gummint ‘Proved” is a necessary requisite for all sorts of programs.

      It also helps keep the health & sanitation inspectors outside the doors.

    2. The loss of the money is less important than the loss of the approval that the money signifies. The Pro-Choice side desperately wants to feel they have to moral high ground, which is why they are so resistant to the idea that their opponents could actually believe that abortion is murder. Hence their claimed belief in a baroque conspiracy intending to control women.

      1. … the idea that their opponents could actually believe that abortion is murder.

        I’ve decided that when the subject comes up, I’m going to lead off with, “Personally, I’m against the deliberate killing of innocent human beings. How about you?” Then if the other person still says abortion is a good thing, I’ll ask them whether it’s deliberate, whether it’s killing, and whether the human beings being killed are innocent. When they say, “Oh, but a fetus isn’t a human being,” I’ll pull out a still image of the aborted baby from that one video, and say, “So you’re claiming that this is not a human being?”

        1. Back before he went around the bend, I think it was in the lead up to the 1996 presidential campaign, I watched Alan Keyes stand up after Arlen Specter at a GOP candidate debate. Arlen had given a very good speech, addressing the importance of not abusing the law to impose our personal beliefs on others. Keyes was devastating.

          The core of his argument was that he opposed allowing government to decide who wasn’t a human being because when they previously drew that line people like him were on the wrong side of it.

          Forget the Nazis & Jews, forget Russians & Kulaks.

          Do you trust the SJWs to decide who is human, whose live deserves to be respected?

          1. The problem with ‘facts’ is how some people handle them.

            I lost a great deal of respect for someone when I was informed that, as I was neither a doctor or lawyer, I did not have the standing to discuss the matter, with the clear implication was that without this profession training I could not really understand what the ‘facts’ meant.

            1. Someone seems to have confused “verifiable evidence of having been exposed to the facts” with “facts are true when said by specific person.”

              At that point, you already won and they’re trying to throw anything at you to save face.

              “You know that’s a fallacy, right?”

        2. And if you did that with me, I would say “Yes.”. But I’m an oddball. I think humanity is learned, and that some infants never learn it. I think that that explains ‘people’ like serial killers and Hillary Clinton.

          But while I think abortion should, ideally, be legal, it doesn’t bother me that I expect it to be broadly illegal in my lifetime. If that happens (and I really think it will) it will be in large part because of the arrogance and stupidity of the Pro-Choice activists. And if they end up having to buy women who want an abortion bus tickets to Las Vegas, so be it.

          And I am slowly coming around to agree that the State,should not decide who is human. It always seems to do so expediently.

      2. That’s funny. I’m not big on politically correct conspiracy theories, but the idea that an embryo which hasn’t even grown a forebrain yet is already intelligent enough to have rights doesn’t even pass the giggle test. So of course those who claim abortion is murder must really be all about taking away people’s sexual freedom. What other possible motive is there?

        1. You proved cspschofield’s point.

          Since you believe that an unborn child isn’t really human, then “we must not believe the unborn child isn’t really human” and thus we really want to control other people.

          IMO that’s a classic error in logic. Your belief in something has nothing to do with what other people believe.

          1. I briefly considered Galt was engaging in the honored practice of channeling Proglodyte thought in order to expose it, but decided doing so in a venue where he had not earned any gravitas or right of respect would be an action of such gross unintelligence as to reject membership in the human race and justify his elimination as noisome nuisance.

            Of course, I have noticed that when a person structures a sentence in the “I’m not big on [BLANK]*, but …” you can generally ignore everything prior to their but as mere camouflage of their real beliefs.

            I’m not big on bigotry, but …
            I’m not big on antisemitism, but …
            I’m not big on eugenics, but …

            1. I believe it was in this very forum I first encountered the wise advice that you can safely ignore anything a man says before the word ‘but’. I’ve yet to see an exceptions.

        2. On what basis do you assign rights based upon “intelligence”?

          I note that such arguments were once popular in the Antebellum South but thought the issue had been settled since then.

          1. Not just popular in the South.

            World War 2, and the revelations about what one particular political party in Europe had been up to, helped kill that idea in the Twentieth Century. It was quite popular in some circles during the inter-war period, though. The particular political party in Europe was by no means the only group endorsing it during the inter-war period, and proponents of it could be found in virtually all western nations in the lead-up to World War 2.

              1. That constitutes an evasion, not a rebuttal.

                One could as intelligently denounce arguments for a sound fisc on the grounds that the Nazis supported such policies.

                Calling “Godwin!” in this venue loses points.

              2. For someone who’s already claimed that those who are not intelligent are unworthy of life, you sure do jump right into really dumb choices– like not bothering to do the research to find out that Godwin’s Law is predictive, not an ‘I win’ button.

                I’ll give you a Hun’s Law: when someone starts proposing stuff the Nazis are famous for in an apparently serious manner, it will be pointed out to them, and we’ll think you’re a fool for being shocked by it.

                1. Item: when you are calling me a Nazi, not because I proposed anything they did, but because you can’t tell the difference between discrimination by degree of intelligence and discrimination based on the simple yes-or-no condition of “Is this an intelligent being?” you only disqualify yourself.

                  1. You were not called a Nazi, but since the shoe fit you apparently thought it was yours.

                    You were asserting a standard for personhood defined for the convenience of your argument, a tautological fallacy, and being called on it by use of historical examples of how other cultures have employed such flexible standards to assign personhood.

                    Your use of intelligence for the determination of the condition of “Is this an intelligent being?” is arbitrary and undefined. Is a chimpanzee an intelligent being by your standard? Is a dog, or a dolphin? Is a human who has anterograde amnesia an intelligent being by your standard?

                    Simply asserting “intelligence” as equaling personhood is asinine handwavium.

                    1. My apologies; in the above reply I dismissed jdgalt’s standard of personhood as asinine. That was not the word which best expresses my intent (although it is an accurate evaluation of his argument.)

                      The word which better expresses my evaluation of his reasoning is “puerile handwavium.”

                      I regret the careless misrepresentation of jdgalt’s position.

                  2. I’m not calling you a Nazi, I’m calling you an idiot.

                    Since I did so politely, in a way that would allow you to perhaps correct yourself, it apparently went right over your head.

              1. The same as it will be when grown, although testing it isn’t practical, so you have to assume it’s intelligent because it has the necessary brains.

                The fetus grows its cerebrum about week 14-15, and I have no problem with abortion bans after that time.

                1. Possession of cerebrum* is a convenient but false standard for intelligence. Having a cerebrum does not equal being intelligent, nor constitute personhood. By your definition a cat or a cow is a person, and someone who has lost higher cerebral function, as in certain forms of dementia (such as Alzheimer’s) or stroke, has ceased to be a person.

                  Moreover, we cannot be certain that there exist no species without cerebrums yet capable of intelligent thought.

                  *Greater precision in use of medical terms is recommended.

                2. The same as it will be when grown …

                  Unsupported assumption of facts not in evidence. Ample research now indicates that the development of the brain continues for a significant period after the baby is born, therefore it is equally valid to assume unintelligence as intelligence.

                  1. “the development of the brain continues for a significant period after the baby is born,”

                    Not in all cases, as we have a shining example of here, currently.

                    1. Actually according to son in his neurology classes, it continues till around 26. Children and teens have entire structures missing or not developed at all.

                    2. Ah – finally, a “science-based” reason for ACA’s mandate of coverage under parents’ policy to age 26: After that age, the brain is (finally) developmentally mature enough to be unsusceptable to gross physical changes that might further lock in “I expect free things for life”, so there’s no point wasting further bribes on it.

        3. I’m not big on politically correct conspiracy theories, but the idea that an embryo which hasn’t even grown a forebrain yet is already intelligent enough to have rights doesn’t even pass the giggle test.

          Rights don’t flow from intelligence, although a lot of TV psychopaths tend to rant about them doing so.

    3. For an idea of how relatively tiny this is, the over charging of Medicaid for one area, that was specifically found in an audit, was over $600k. (333 procedures, total) For the area that’s basically the south east 2/3 of Washington State. (They figure they get North Idaho in there, from their website; total of 9 centers now listed.)

      They did a sample from three years, looking for things like charging someone walking in to pick up meds as a doctor’s visit.

      After finding an average of fraud of over $1,500 per visit checked, the auditors… politely asked PP to pay and didn’t audit any more.

      1. The Progs are obsessive about keeping any sort of government action from taking place against abortion clinics. They feel that if one clinic is successfully shut down for valid reasons, it will embolden the pro-life side to go after others.

        So instead, Kermit Gosnell’s Charnel House of Horrors had its health and safety violations ignored year after year. Instead, he was finally busted for prescription violations.

  20. As was asked quite recently, cui bono?
    Insurance companies don’t like to pay out, and those without a strong institutional sense of ethics will do anything possible to avoid it. Hospitals want to reduce costs. Doctors and other medical professionals want to be compensated for the years of expense and self-sacrifice required to be permitted to practice in the first place. Families often don’t want to pay for expensive care when there is little hope of improvement. All of these financial pressures are at war with the organized care of the sick and the elderly. If you add government into the mix, there is still another institution which may have entirely different interests than the welfare of the individual patient making decisions about that person’s life.
    There are at least three problems with legalizing the “assisted suicide” of the consenting and terminally ill. One of them is that these financial pressures will pressure those who are most vulnerable, to chose the “more convenient” or “cheaper” option. A second is that the practice will almost inevitably spill over to those who are not terminally ill and those who do not consent. A third is that it contributes to the ongoing corrosion of ethics in medical profession itself. As one (fictional) doctor put it to one of his euthanasia-favoring nurses, “If you don’t want to help sick people, what are you doing in this profession, anyway?”

    1. The agency providing my mother’s round-the-clock health aides called me yesterday. The appellate court had overturned a lower court ruling suspending a NLRB regulation requiring in-home care givers be paid overtime.

      As matters have stood, mother needed somebody in the home but not actively providing care 24/7. The demands are generally light and mostly the aides just sit with her while she watches TV, tend to the laundry and light housework and see she has something to drink.

      But somebody has to be available all. the. time. Because Mom doesn’t do things on a schedule. She goes to the bathroom when the spirit moves her, and is about as capable of telling the aide in advance as is a 6-month babe. Less, actually: the baby will cry.

      I thank G-D Mom is unable to extract herself unaided from her chair, because before we got to that she would forget she couldn’t walk, get up, take two steps and fall, usually breaking something in the process.

      The agency charges us and pays the aides according to a special rate that allows the aides to be there on a 4-day shift and a 3-day shift. That’s 96 and 72 hours. No overtime; they are provided board and a private room in which to sleep.

      The NLRB thinks it is doing those aides a favor by requiring OT, but any idiot (eliminating most bureaucrats) can see it creates an unsustainable situation. Instead of two people providing the care they would want five, while leaving Mom unattended because, well, you know: workers are entitled to a half hour lunch and a couple 15-minute breaks every shift.

      There ain’t that many caregiver aides, the burden of coming and going adds to their expenses, and the “shift-changes” entail extra confusion for their dementia-addled patient. And, of course, the aides would actually make less money.

      Utter insanity.

      The agency is working on this and, at least for the present (and likely brief remainder of Mom’s life) will absorb the extra cost. So I (we) are not affected directly except for the reminder that as President Reagan said, “The most terrifying words in the English language are: I’m from the government and I’m here to help.”

      Who benefits, indeed.

    2. As one (fictional) doctor put it to one of his euthanasia-favoring nurses, “If you don’t want to help sick people, what are you doing in this profession, anyway?”

      People who are advocating for euthanasia argue that it is helping. They argue that it is merciful, kind and considerate towards the suffering. They call the process ‘death with dignity.’

      1. Again, helping who? It’s the mercy, kindness, and consideration of the vulture who won’t always wait for you to die before starting to eat you. There is such a thing as hospice care.

        1. Few, very few, people set out to do what they recognize as evil.

          Most advocates of physician assisted suicide see allowing a prolonged death process when it can be avoided as forcing the dying person to suffer needlessly. They cannot imagine that there is any dignity in loosing control of your bodily functions and having to have someone change your diapers.

          This is the delusion under which they suffer. You can’t address this problem until you properly identify it.

  21. He told me, yeah, it was a high risk, but so what? In the state I was in, I was no good to my husband and kids, and besides, what was I? A house wife? I wasn’t much help to them anyway, and think of how much money I would save my family by dying.

    And Dan let him live? Despite all the money his widow would save — because of the lawsuits against him that would never occur — after Dan killed him?

      1. Can’t possibly have been a one time thing, rather representative of that POS’s general attitude. Might be entertaining to do a search and find out whether his end came from disbarment, a violent death, or a mysterious disappearance.
        Sometimes even desperately sick people get well, and most folks have friends and family, some of whom have been known to highly favor violent retribution.
        But then again how to explain the sorry lack of lynchings for our political class.

        1. “But then again how to explain the sorry lack of lynchings for our political class.”

          Same thing that explains how they came to be the political class in the first place: The American people are inherently lazy when it comes to politics.

          1. I loke to think that, in some cases, the public is given pause by the thought of how much havok these idiots could cause if they tried to work for a living.

          2. When our system was set up, the common people had the feds outgunned. We don’t anymore, and the current system isn’t going to give up that advantage now that it has it.

            But I’d sure like to move to Piper’s Lone Star Planet.

      2. I wondered about why that individual didn’t suffer a fatal flight out the nearest window, and your being left alone was the only reason I could come up with (and, I suppose, “love, joy, peace…self-control….”)

      3. This was the reason why Rhys didn’t attack the doctor hounding me out of the hospital three days before Brandon had to be born by emergency caesarean, claiming I was taking up a necessary bed. I was well aware there were actually 8 other empty rooms in the hospital at the time and he was lying to me. I went home, came back the next day for a test, didn’t go home. That same doctor had to approach us to inform us that Brandon needed to come out via emergency caesarean, and was surprised we agreed with no protests. We told him that what mattered to US was to ensure our son’s health.

        I think we also weirded him out by wanted to be able to see the cut made/son being born. They felt it would traumatize me/Rhys. The anaesthesiologist whispered to me that I could sort of see a reflection in the big lamp above the operating table. Me, I wanted to see my baby BORN.

  22. If there’s one thing my Dad has shown me (Well, there are lots of things he’s shown me) it’s to never give up. He shattered his ankles when I was 2, one was in over a hundred pieces and the other not too far behind, the doctors wanted to amputate but he wouldn’t let them. Another doctor was flown in and said he could _probably_ save them from amputation, but he’d likely never walk again. Thankfully Dr. Tressler was better than his word and even though it took four surgeries over a couple of years he’s still walking and working today.

    Never give up, never surrender.

    1. I have also learned from my Dad’s example, how to deal with the experience of challenging medical conditions.

  23. Off subject, I like your new picture. Did someone who loves you take it? You look about 30 YO. Hope that means your health is continuing to improve. On subject, we have excellent physicians (lucky) and strong family support as we age (again lucky). BUT we always have someone with a hospitalized family member…along the lines of trust but verify I guess.

  24. O. M. F. G.

    Over at the Corner, Human Exceptionalism blogger Wesley J. Smith reports:
    Psychologist Blinds Woman Who Didn’t Want to See
    There is a very anguishing mental illness known as Body Integrity Identity Disorder in which the ill person believes their “true self” to be disabled–usually paraplegic or an amputee.

    Recently, I have noticed BIID moving toward normalization in the media, now being called “transabled.”

    This uncritical story of Jewell Shuping, a woman with BIID who self-identified as blind–and a psychologist helped take away her sight–reveals how far we have fallen as a society. From the Tribune Media story:

    In 2006, Shuping found a psychologist who was willing to help her become blind. The psychologist began putting numbing drops in her eyes, followed by a couple of drops of drain cleaner. “It hurt, let me tell you. My eyes were screaming and I had some drain cleaner going down my cheek burning my skin,” she told Barcroft TV.

    “But all I could think was ‘I am going blind, it is going to be okay.’” [SNIP]

    [SNIP] The story doesn’t even mention the horrors to come if ”consent” to medical professionals intentionally causing harm justifies the act.

    BIID is a fascinating area, with recent research indicating it is the polar opposite of “lost limb syndrome.” Treating it this way is abomination.

    1. “At medical school, do you know what they call the guy who graduates *last* in his class?


          1. She could if she wanted to.

            Besides, studies have proven that lecture form instruction privileges white cismales and other research shows that “men had higher MCAT scores than the women” — proving that the admissions process favours cismales, making it is easier for womyn to graduate at the bottom of the class (especially when forced into a mode of learning which presumes to force women to learn in hyper-competitive academic situations.)

    2. The society is diseased – sick. There’s no other word for it. I could hardly read the original post without my teeth baring, but this?

      Aren’t medical professionals supposed to be taught some kind of bioethics? (well, of course, from the likes of Peter Singer, no doubt). This is evil. Rather than treat the disease and try to help this woman understand why she feels it necessary to become disabled, he blinds her. With drain cleaner in the eyes. Merciful heavens, that man should not only no longer be practicing, but he should be institutionalized himself.

      1. Bioethicists are part of the problem. I have myself read one gravely writing that if an abortion fails to kill, the result LOOKS like an preterm infant to the UNTRAINED EYE.

        1. Takes a heap o’ training, too.

          The type of training which was needed for Winston Smith to recognize that 2 + 2 = 5 when necessary for the needs of the State.

          1. Double-talk. Dangerous dehumanizing double-talk which too many have swallowed hook, line and sinker.

            1. Arg! Not saying that what Shadow said was double talk…but agreeing with and elaborating on what Shadow had commented upon.

      2. A doctor should never prescribe something s/he’s not willing to do for himself… (I know, oversimplified, but in this case it seems an appropriate thing to enforce.)

        1. I am struck by sudden image of Old Testament Deity preparing to make S’mores over combusting Earth, and regrets inability to cartoon.

              1. Feel free. I used to draw things like these for my family. The very first strip was the same character (God) standing there in that oversized robe-like shirt, saying “What did *you* expect??” Jesus was represented as a young, long-haired bearded man wearing jeans and a red and white shirt with a diagonal stripe. Satan was represented as cheering God up whenever the latter was driven to sadness at the crazed things being done in His name. (We had a rather Jewish POV of Satan, where his purpose is to test humanity. Well, I’m not sure it’s Jewish, but I think it might be. Feel free to correct me on that.) I think I drew Jesus a grand total of once, informing God that the Japanese were there to take over (with a Yakuza suited and shades wearing guy holding a briefcase standing behind him).

                One of the other strips I remember was a PR angel showing God the planned overhaul to His image. (Massive billboard of SuperGod, with THE ALMIGHTY! in comic font arching over His head.)

                …Why yes, we were quite the odd little family.

            1. At times I find it quite annoying that WP has decided I do not have any reason to “Like” a reply.

      1. Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who change darkness to light, and light into darkness, who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!

  25. After my mother’s heart attack she couldn’t swallow for a while and had a feeding tube. There was SUPPOSED to be nurse watching her at all times. She pulled it out, and refused to have it put back in. All the nurses were European and European trained (in a U.S. hospital in NY!) “Well, if she wants to die, we have to let her.” Us kids pointed out that she spent the day complaining about the kids playing games outside her room all night, and “Could we make them stop?” Beeps and noises from all the ICU equipment. We explained, very carefully and loudly, she was not competent, the feeding tube WOULD go back in until she was, and did they understand the U.S. definition of negligent homicide? A week later she had gained some weight back and was able to swallow pudding, yogurts, and things like Ensure

    She lived a healthy life after that for another 23 years. The European nurses would have let her die. In Britain, she would have been placed on the Liverpool Pathway. I’m not a big fan of assisted suicide of the glorification of same.

      1. Netherlands, for the most part. Maybe Holland. Or possibly that place where they keep the Dutch.

        Sorry, read a whole thing the other day on that….

    1. My mother died six years ago, and towards the end had a similar problem. (She had lymphoma, and had been treated with chemotherapy, kicked the cancer, and then had lots of antibiotics.) She had a problem with swallowing liquids and started to refuse to drink–though she ate food fine. My sister tried to get the doctors/nurses to investigate but they said it was “the process of dying”, which was utter bullshit. My sister periodically had to take her into the hospital to have her re-hydrated. They never did actually diagnose and treat her for the swallowing problem. She eventually died of an unrecognized c.diff. infection, which was another bit of criminal negligence.

      I don’t trust doctors very much. Every major problem I’ve had, I’ve diagnosed myself.

  26. Any member of the medical profession that assists the demise of one of my family, even should it be made legal, can rest assured that I will very shortly thereafter assist them with theirs.

  27. I am a nurse who works in long-term and post-acute care. Let’s leave aside post-acute care, as that is simply enabling people to go home who can’t yet go home. I have very strong medical and moral objections to assisted suicide. Let’s take one of the simplest possible cases – a very elderly patient with multiple mental and physical disabilities who has a new diagnosis with a terminal prognosis with pain and suffering involved. This is the person that assisted suicide proponents speak of.

    Guess what? Do not judge the quality of a patient’s life by mental and physical problems. Just because you say, “I’d never want to live that way” now doesn’t mean that you’ll agree with your younger self thirty or forty years from now. Next of all, don’t assume that pain and suffering can’t be treated, or that people won’t put up with enormous amounts of pain and suffering to have time with people they love. Finally, don’t assume that diagnoses and prognoses are correct.

    But most of all, euthanasia makes medical personnel the legal arbiter of who should live and die. All the no in the world for that. I need to be free to fight for my patients, however they want to be fought for. If they and their families decide on hospice, I need to be free to give them the best care possible for every minute, rather than to decide “this is enough.” That’s not my decision, and never should be. It is antithetical to my work. If you take away the option of “get the inconvenient suffering out of my way,” then you start looking for all the ways of “how can we help make this better?”

  28. I am against any sort of suicide, assisted or otherwise. Life is too precious to hold it so lightly. I understand the agony some people can endure. I do not wish them pain, but I also see their choice of continuing to be an act of defiance against the Long Night. And their stubbornness is both an encouragement to me as well as a check on my humanity. Am I willing to endure seeing their pain in order to develop the compassion they need? Am I willing to think outside of myself, to make life easier for them?
    Ultimately, our acceptance of humanity as a personal choice is when we show compassion for others; and the degree of humanity we achieve s determined by the amount of compassion we can extend.

  29. My father has a saying that has stuck with me all my life, and comes up whenever the black dog nips (To the point where he hasn’t bothered me in decades).

    “Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.”

    (I also told the story on Facebook about the time a company I worked for got an 800 number connected for a sales promotion they were going to run, and it started ringing immediately, well before it had been publicized. This was because the number we got assigned used to belong to a suicide hotline. Whatever the opposite of hijinks are ensued.)

    1. At an old job, one of our clients ended up with a number which used to belong to a phone sex hotline. The female receptionist there was not amused….

      Usually phone companies can do some stuff about this, by giving a number a cooldown period to be forgotten (the phone sex example) or by giving a reroute choice to everyone who calls in (“The number you have called has recently been changed. Please dial 1 to be transferred to the suicide hotline.”).

      So if this happens to you, you can get something done.

      1. In this case, the line went live on a Friday night, and the phone company initially said they couldn’t do anything until Monday morning. Well, the president of the company’s wife is a lawyer, and she started talking lawsuits (after all, you can’t morally just hang up on the callers) and within a few hours, it was over.

    2. I have some long term problems. Some have been around as long as I could think, and look permanent. Some of them are more recent, and sometimes look permanent. (As permanent as something can be if I can not or will not make a functioning life that includes it.)

      I taught myself to never think that suicide is a solution.

      Instead that black dog tells me that it is pointless to try solutions that might work, and that I know refusing to try will ensure I cannot fix anything.

  30. I’m the host/producer of World Lutheran News Digest. Maggie Karner ran the Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod’s Life and Health Ministries from 2003 until January of this year. I’m doing a retrospective on this brave woman on my program. You can listen to it at 9:30 a.m., Saturday, Oct. 3; and again at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, Oct. 7 on

  31. I intend to have a go bag. One with a largish caliber pistol in it along with a few other housekeeping items that I intend to use when the end comes in sight. What I dread is not death but getting stuck on the threshold; with current medical advances you can last for a long time as Not Quite Dead. I have seen three close relatives die slowly, in pain punctuated with groggy confusion as the medical professionals administer drugs with a wary eye to DEA. They don’t want to get the dying addicted, after all.
    The problem is of course when to deploy the bag. Too late and you have lost the ability to choose, too soon and…well you get the idea.

  32. It’s lousy theology, but:
    “The good Lord put me on earth to do a certain number of things. Right now, I’m so far behind, I may live forever!”

  33. Every so often, I need to fill out a form with/or answer this question. “Are you depressed?” I always want to laugh (it’s too hard to cry in public). My answer is. “What do I have to be depressed about? I’m permanently in a wheelchair; my knees are so bad they are a risk when I stand; I’m ~80% paraplegic due to a back injury; take narcotics to control pain; and I have to live in a Nursing Home, so I can have help doing “normal” things. What would I have reason to be depressed about?”

    1. My father, when he was in the ICU, would crack jokes. He was being tube-fed at the time, and he would say…rather, write things like “Ahhh, the finest fillet mignon on earth.” The doctors thought he was coming down with ICU psychosis.

      Well nine burning hells, the man was stuck in there with nothing to look at or do for a long time. He wasn’t allowed a laptop with Internet, or a TV, and he was too weak to hold up books. He wasn’t allowed to crack jokes for brief passing amusement because they thought he was going mad.

Comments are closed.