August 17, 2009
Doc Coburn’s Patented Horse Liniment

Republican Tom Coburn is a medical doctor, a church deacon, and the junior U.S. Senator from Oklahoma. Here he is on Meet the Press yesterday:

Look, the, the idea that we ought to talk about our future health and what our family and what we want done is a good idea, it’s legitimate. What is not legitimate is having government even weigh in on it. It is intensely personal; your health care, your plans, your family. There is no role for government in that. And where we’ve seen a role — and, and this happens all the time, which goes to one of the things that never gets talked about in health care — is we have statements, living wills. We have people who have made those very tough decisions. And then, because they’ve made them, but because of the malpractice situation and liability, they’re ignored. And we still intubate and put people onto ventilators that never wanted it because a family member threatens through a situation, even though you have that end of life counseling there.
Help me out here. Does Coburn mean, for instance, that government should keep its grubby paws off a woman’s decision to have an abortion? That he would defend Dr. Kerkorian? Would he oppose any effort by “the government” to punish medical malpractice? To regulate or otherwise control drugs and their prescription by doctors? Does all that stuff about ventilators and intubations mean anything, and if so, what? That he wants death panels but only if he’s on them?

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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 17, 2009 01:34 PM
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In answer to your last paragraph, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes and yes.

He is a big part of the reason that I favor kicking Oklahoma out of the United States.

Posted by: evil is evil on August 17, 2009 2:50 PM

I think Coburn's saying he wants death panels but without government representation. Presumably your living will should be between your family, your doctor, and your insurance company.

Also, he doesn't want any doctor to have to suffer from malpractice. Medicine, after all, is about money, and those who go into it for the right reason should be insulated from their mistakes at least as much as Wall Streeters are.

Posted by: Chuck Dupree on August 17, 2009 4:51 PM

I think Coburn wants you to donate your corpse to Soylent Green and give your country something in return. I mean, who said that? I regret that I have only one country to give for my live? Phil Ochs said that, but whom did he quote? Oops. But then not all of us have countries to give for their lives, so who cares.

Posted by: Peter on August 18, 2009 10:44 AM

I've had an ER surgeon tell me that Living Wills are a crock when the patient isn't capable of giving the orders. The docs go by what the next of kin standing there says. Some of it is fear of being sued; after all, the deceased and the estate aren't going to sue for not being allowed a peaceful death, but that offspring or sibling might sue, and the stupidest suit, easily defended with a Living Will, costs time and money to fight. Most of it is intimidation, generally emotional; they really don't want hysterics, temper tantrums, and general carrying-on in their close confines. Anyhow, that's what he said when I was expressing the patient's Living Will, which was that as long as there was any hope of life in as much as one toenail, then use all means to save that spark.

Posted by: Joyful Alternative on August 21, 2009 11:16 PM
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