August 19, 2010
Life Panels

This story, shyly hiding on page A15 of today’s New York Times, unarguably exposes the Glenn Becks, the Rush Limbaughs and the Sarah Palins — among so many others — for the filth they are. And ignorance, as in Palin’s case, is no excuse. The truth is out there, Sarah, hidden in the pages of books and the tubes of the internet. Go look.

As for the Becks and the Limbaughs and the Congressional troglodytes of both parties, a just Lord would, as their ends approached, bring each of them before life panels. There they would be sentenced to death by modern medicine — weeks or months entombed in dead bodies kept warm by pumps and tubes as the tenants cursed their own cruelty.

In a study that sheds new light on the effects of end-of-life care, doctors have found that patients with terminal lung cancer who began receiving palliative care immediately upon diagnosis not only were happier, more mobile and in less pain as the end neared — but they also lived nearly three months longer…

It shows that palliative care is the opposite of all that rhetoric about ‘death panels,’ ” said Dr. Diane E. Meier, director of the Center to Advance Palliative Care at Mount Sinai School of Medicine and co-author of an editorial in the journal accompanying the study. “It’s not about killing Granny; it’s about keeping Granny alive as long as possible — with the best quality of life…”

Those getting palliative care from the start, the authors said, reported less depression and happier lives as measured on scales for pain, nausea, mobility, worry and other problems. Moreover, even though substantially fewer of them opted for aggressive chemotherapy as their illnesses worsened and many more left orders that they not be resuscitated in a crisis, they typically lived almost three months longer than the group getting standard care, who lived a median of nine months.


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Posted by Jerome Doolittle at August 19, 2010 01:51 PM
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