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Specter Calls for Hearings on End-of-Life Care Guide for Veterans

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posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 01:50 PM
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Specter Calls for Hearings on End-of-Life Care Guide for Veterans




Sen. Arlen Specter on Sunday called for hearings to scrutinize a guide for veterans' end-of-life care which one former Bush official says sends a "hurry-up-and-die" message to injured troops.



The guide, called "Your Life, Your Choices," was suspended under the Bush administration but has been revived under the current Department of Veterans Affairs.



Jim Towey, former director of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives, told "FOX News Sunday" that the pamphlet makes injured veterans feel like a burden, encourages the severely injured to die and should be tossed out.


I watched the Fox News program this morning, and I was stunned that the VA would put out a pamphlet with questions pertaining to their disability and whether life is still worth living because of it. It made me sick to my stomach and almost made me cry. I'm the mother of a vet. To think that these are the people he's entrusting his care to scares me.

Did they even think about the men and women that are on the edge, and that this could be a tipping point for them? Why would they want these brave men and women to question, for one second, the worth of their lives????

Life is hard enough for our veterans, disabled or not. They deserve more respect from the entity that proclaims to be a helping hand to them.

Read page 21 in "Your Life, Your Choices"

[edit on 8/23/2009 by soldiermom]




posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 02:29 PM
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A question to our veteran's here. Is this why so many of our military refuse to accept any care, guidance etc. from the VA?

My son is a very recent vet, and I'm starting to have doubts about encouraging him to go through the VA for anything.



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 02:40 PM
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Its about living wills and power of attourney. All of this whould be MANDATORY to discuss with your health provider or loved ones.

But if people dont want to.... o well... if they go into a coma or are put on a ventillator just pull the plug and let them die... they have no one to blame but themselves for not discussing this beforehand. If they dont have their assets labeled and devided in a will then the goverment should take it.... it is there fault for not assigning it an owner after their death.

All of this crap causes way to much problems for loved one when a VET gets criticaly disabled or dies. Im sick of people avoiding the inevitible questions about their future. If you dont want to handle your own life then the goverment should take it all for being your $%^&in nanny.



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 04:37 PM
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reply to post by Wertdagf
 


I appreciate your opinion on living wills and such, but the subject is about asking disabled veteran's whether or not they think their life is worth living. And to reiterate, I think it's a morbid and despicable thing to do.



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 04:55 PM
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Originally posted by soldiermom
I appreciate your opinion on living wills and such, but the subject is about asking disabled veteran's whether or not they think their life is worth living. And to reiterate, I think it's a morbid and despicable thing to do.


Why do you find it morbid and despicable? If a vet (or anyone) has a stroke and cannot voice these opinions, what's morbid about him having made these decisions ahead of time? What's morbid about knowing that Uncle Charlie would want his relatives to try everything possible to keep him alive, no matter what his condition is? What's despicable about knowing that proud, strong, able grandpa wouldn't want to live any more if he he couldn't control his bodily functions and was in a coma?

They don't HAVE to answer these questions. But then they have given up their choice. If someone answers "difficult but acceptable" to all of those conditions, then it's clear this person wants to live, no matter what. What's morbid and despicable about making a conscious choice?

Wouldn't you want to have that say about your own end-of-life? Or do you want to leave it up to someone else?



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 06:18 PM
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Before the medical field could keep the body alive almost indefinitely, or keep the body in an increasing state of diminished quality of life, people died "naturally". Some survived against all odds naturally, too.

Medical intervention on the battlefield has changed the outcomes of survival for soldiers. The Americans with Disabilities Act has helped recognize and accommodate anyone with a disability, helping us come further than when the lyrics to When Johnny Comes Marching Home were penned in the 1800's.

But in the end, the choice of life or death, or rather, in some instances, prolonging death or death, is a very personal choice about one's personal quality of life decision. Such decisions in the past were made for us naturally.

Life is more complex nowadays, with personal choices made more complex also. Soldiers, maybe even more so than civilians, because a soldiers mission involves a more certainty of facing these issues at a younger age, need this personal, honest appraisal.

My father-in-law, who relies on the VA for all his medical needs, and he has found his care to be of top quality, should probably read this brochure. But, he is of the generation where such personal things were never discussed, and end of life decisions were left up to the doctor, or left to the spouse to decide.

I can see where this document would have been suspended under the Bush Administration, the same administration which promoted the Terry Schiavo case as "prolife", the same politicians who encouraged a persistent vegetative state for all to be the best outcome.

I personally downloaded and saved this document as a reference. It is not natural to want to end one's life in ordinary circumstances, but neither is it natural to live life beyond a certain point in extraordinary circumstances.



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 10:20 PM
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reply to post by Benevolent Heretic
 


I'm all for living wills. What I'm not for is posing a question to a vet about whether or not his life is worth living when he/she may already be contemplating the value of his life in the first place.

To someone battling depression, this amounts to nothing more than a gentle nudge to finalize the deal.

That's what I find morbid and despicable.



posted on Aug, 23 2009 @ 10:37 PM
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reply to post by desert
 


Again, living wills are the responsible thing to do. I have no quarrel with the majority of this booklet. It is, however, appalling to me that they would ask a vet if their life is worth living if they have a disability.

What if they're contemplating suicide? The way I see it, someone with suicidal thoughts, just might take this question and see it as the final deciding factor as to whether or not they end their life.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 01:27 AM
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Originally posted by Wertdagf
Its about living wills and power of attourney. All of this whould be MANDATORY to discuss with your health provider or loved ones.



Interesting word. "MANDATORY".

1. Required or commanded by authority; obligatory.
2. Of, having the nature of, or containing a mandate.

mandate

1. An authoritative command or instruction.


Now... let me ask this question.

How does this fit with the Constitution?


Lets look at one of the question sets...



Check the answer that best describes how you feel about your current health.

a. My life right now is just fine
b. My life right now is difficult, but acceptable
c. My life right now is worth living, but just barely
d. My life right now is not worth living



Further... in a Q & A:



Q: Can I specify that I want assisted suicide in my directive?

A: No. Assisted suicide is currently illegal. However, even if it becomes legal, the person making the request would have to be competent and able to change their mind at the time of the suicide. Advance directives
only go into effect when you are no longer competent to make decisions.



Ahh... but there is a caveat:



Q: Is withdrawing treatment considered suicide?

A: Most people would say "no." Withdrawing or stopping a treatment after it has been started, is one way that patients can exercise their right to refuse treatment especially if the treatment does not seem to be
achieving the desired goal. However, some religions believe otherwise.
You may want to check with your religious advisor to be sure.



So.. your all for MANDATING that this is done? So, whats the penalty for NOT doing it? Incarceration? You break a rule/law and you get punished right?

How many years? 10? 20? Life?



Welcome to our modern Dystopian society. All we need now are the "Sandmen" from Logan's Run.




[edit on 24-8-2009 by RoofMonkey]



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 02:20 AM
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I am a Vietnam vet and a ex EMT.

If i reach the point that my quality of life is just permanently bed bound and unable to care for my self i don't want to stay that way.

Under that guideline i already have a no code blue directive signed and in place.

I have as a EMT seen to many people in permanent comas being keep alive for no reason.

I don't want that myself.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 04:15 AM
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reply to post by RoofMonkey
 


If you dont create a living will the government gets all assets. If you do not create an instruction to be carried out at the time of a coma or other definite incapacitation the plug should be pulled by default.

use it or lose it. isnt that punishment enough?



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 08:28 AM
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Originally posted by Wertdagf
If you dont create a living will the government gets all assets.


Can you provide a source for this? A living will isn't about assets. It's about expressing your will about whether or not you want to be hooked up to machines, should you come to a point that you can no longer express it.

And can you provide a source that supports this being mandatory?

Thanks.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:30 AM
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Originally posted by Wertdagf
reply to post by RoofMonkey
 



use it or lose it. isnt that punishment enough?


Not by your previous statement. A MANDATE is a MANDATE. Plain and simple. You can't have it both ways.

A Mandate is a RULE put in place by an AUTHORITY. Follow it or suffer the consequences.

"Use it or Loose it" is a laissez-faire sort of idea. Pretty much opposite to MANDATING everything.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 10:04 AM
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I pose to those of you who've posted here, this question. If you had a disability, how would you feel if someone handed you a questionnaire asking you if you felt you're life was still worth living?

The intent of this thread has nothing to do with living wills or directives. It has everything to do with making our disabled vets question their value to humanity, and in my view, hinting that they're a burden with no quality of life. It's the same as telling them they're worthless and serve no purpose.

I agree with Mr. Towey in that it hints at encouraging them to give up and die so they won't be a hinderance to family or community.

It's indecent and cold hearted in my opinion.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 02:43 PM
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Originally posted by soldiermom
reply to post by Wertdagf
 


I appreciate your opinion on living wills and such, but the subject is about asking disabled veteran's whether or not they think their life is worth living. And to reiterate, I think it's a morbid and despicable thing to do.


And nothing of the sort should be considered MANDATORY. It should always be a choice.

And of course it's not hard to visualize the next step the government would take in order to persuade people to consider "end of life options" - withholding the medications that make life bearable for those that need them.


To wertdagf; will your opinion change as you or your loved ones approach the "golden years"? I wonder ...

[edit on 8/24/2009 by centurion1211]



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 03:17 PM
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reply to post by centurion1211
 


I agree that it shouldn't be mandatory. It's easy to say what you would or wouldn't do if you're not in that situation. It's the responsible thing to do, but it's not always easy for some people to make those choices.

For disabled vets trying to regain some sense of normality, questions like the ones posed in this booklet, seem like a slap in the face. They've served their country, but if they're damaged mentally or physically, certain people seem to think they're disposable and are doing nothing more than encouraging them to make room for the rest.

If my son had been injured while overseas, and someone came to me about end of life counseling, that someone would probably get hurt. And that would be the best case scenario.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 05:09 PM
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Originally posted by soldiermom
I pose to those of you who've posted here, this question. If you had a disability, how would you feel if someone handed you a questionnaire asking you if you felt you're life was still worth living?


If they did it just out of the blue, I might be concerned. But if it was part of my end-of-life counseling, it would be absolutely expected. And I would appreciate them respecting me enough to want ME to make the choice instead of having someone else make it for me.


Originally posted by soldiermom
I agree that it shouldn't be mandatory.


SOMEONE HELP. What is mandatory? Where are you reading this? Please tell me. Thanks.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 05:14 PM
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reply to post by soldiermom
 


I have to agree with you, Soldiermom. If I were disabled and some reporter came along to interview me and started down a the road with questions pertaining to whether my disability made me feel like my life weren't worth living I would be highly offended and would cancel the interview right then and there.

What the author(s) of this document fail to take into account are the emotions involved in someone going from a perfectly healthy (or almost healthy) body to one that now has a disability, caused by their service to their country. The slap in the face is the government, the very people who oversaw the military they served, now asking them (or nudging them, like you said) if they thought it would be better if they were dead.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 06:41 PM
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Originally posted by Benevolent Heretic

Originally posted by soldiermom
I pose to those of you who've posted here, this question. If you had a disability, how would you feel if someone handed you a questionnaire asking you if you felt you're life was still worth living?


If they did it just out of the blue, I might be concerned. But if it was part of my end-of-life counseling, it would be absolutely expected. And I would appreciate them respecting me enough to want ME to make the choice instead of having someone else make it for me.



Originally posted by soldiermom
I agree that it shouldn't be mandatory.


SOMEONE HELP. What is mandatory? Where are you reading this? Please tell me. Thanks.


It is out of the blue. Every soldier with a disability isn't on their deathbed. That's why I consider if offensive.

I'm just replying to the posts. I never read anywhere that anything was mandatory. A previous poster made mention that he believes it should be mandatory.



posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 08:18 PM
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Maybe the information in this guide should be discussed during recruit training. At the beginning of service would be a better time than later on, after wounds, depression, or ptsd sets in. Voluntary requests could be taken care of at that time.



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