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Whatever happened to "first do no harm"?
Posted by: McQ on Thursday, February 14, 2008

You'll love this story - another indicator of life under a health care system run by government. They're in charge and they make the decisions:
A Winnipeg case currently winding its way to its grim conclusion pits the children of Samuel Golubchuk against doctors at the Salvation Army Grace General Hospital. According to the pleadings, Golubchuk's doctors informed his children that their 84-year-old father is "in the process of dying" and that they intended to hasten the process by removing his ventilation, and if that proved insufficient to kill him quickly, to also remove his feeding tube. In the event that the patient showed discomfort during these procedures, the chief of the hospital's ICU unit stated in his affidavit that he would administer morphine.

Golubchuk is an Orthodox Jew, as are his children. The latter have adamantly opposed his removal from the ventilator and feeding tube, on the grounds that Jewish law expressly forbids any action designed to shorten life, and that if their father could express his wishes, he would oppose the doctors acting to deliberately terminate his life.

In response, the director of the ICU informed Golubchuk's children that neither their father's wishes nor their own are relevant, and he would do whatever he decided was appropriate. Bill Olson, counsel for the ICU director, told the Canadian Broadcasting Company that physicians have the sole right to make decisions about treatment — even if it goes against a patient's religious beliefs — and that "there is no right to a continuation of treatment."

That position was supported by Dr. Jeff Blackner, executive director of the office of ethics of the Canadian Medical Association. He told Reuters: "[W]e want to make sure that clinical decisions are left to physicians and not judges." Doctors' decisions are made only with the "best interest of the individual patient at heart," he said, though he did not explain how that could be squared with the undisputed claim that this patient would oppose the doctors' decision. Meanwhile, an Angus Reid poll of Canadians showed that 68% supported leaving the final decision with the family.

The claim of absolute physician discretion to withdraw life-support advanced by the Canadian doctors would spell the end of any patient autonomy over end-of-life decisions. So-called living wills, which are recognized in many American states, and which allow a person to specify in advance who should make such decisions in the event of their incapacity, would be rendered nugatory.
Vote Democrat and you can have a version of this come to a hospital or emergency room near you soon. Speaking of Canada though:
In place of the sanctity of life, we now speak of the "quality of life" — a term that explicitly assumes that some lives are worth more than others.

There is even talk of the "duty to die" and clear the way for higher-quality lives, which is why the American Association of People with Disabilities has been actively involved in so many cases dealing with the doctors' right to terminate medical care. The rage for medical rationing in Canada, of which the Golubchuk case is but one example, derives from a desire not to waste resources on low-quality lives.
Unlimited want meets finite resources. Result - rationing. We haven't been able to escape it yet nor will we when health care is 'free'. About all you can do is pick your method. Frankly, I don't want the state deciding for me.
 
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I think that’s the "golden rule" — them what has the gold makes the rules.
 
Written By: verwirrt
URL: http://
You’ve got this ass-backwards mister!

It is not the obligation of the Jewish PATIENT to prolong his own life, it is the obligation of the Jewish DOCTOR not to take life. I take it this NHS doctor is not Jewish.

What if the man had NO children?! Why he would be dead already, assuming he didn’t have a Jewish DOCTOR. What if the man were not Jewish?! Why he would be dead already assuming he didn’t have a Jewish DOCTOR.

From this Talmudic reasoning we can see that the obligation to preserve life, or not to take it, is incumbent upon JEWISH doctors, not upon moribund patients. We can argue till blue about whether or not the Jewish way is the best way for everybody, but this non-Jewish doctor should NOT BE DEMONISED for doing what is anathema to Jewish doctors.
 
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
Unlimited want meets finite resources. Result - rationing. We haven’t been able to escape it yet nor will we when health care is ’free’. About all you can do is pick your method. Frankly, I don’t want the state deciding for me...
...I want an HMO to make those decisions.

You’re quite right about rationing’s inescapability, but why are you so enamored of the current method?
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
this non-Jewish doctor should NOT BE DEMONISED for doing what is anathema to Jewish doctors.
So doctors should not listen to the wishes of the relatives of their patients.

Hey, why not just kill him outright!

For myself, I believe in the right to die but I also believe that if that right is not expressed then the family should have a say.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Capt Joe. Can you imagine the can of worms you’ve just opened up when you claim that the wishes of the relatives of the patient must be consulted before the doctor can take action?

Does this mean if the doctor says no but the relatives say yes the case must be decided by a court?

Do you really want a thousand, a hundred thousand, Terry Schiavo cases?

My problem with the article is that it brought the orthodox Jewish red herring into it.

As far as I’m concerned there should be no euthanasia, no living wills, and no moral dilemmas for doctors who have it hard enough without putting this on them. But until our society finds the money to warehouse the moribund and those who need constant care, I’m afraid this kind of scenario will become ever more frequent, especially as the resources shrink and the need grows.

As a PS, Jewish doctors are permitted to terminate pregnancy if they determine that the foetus appears to be endangering the life of the mother, on the grounds that it is self-defense.

So, yes, even abortion is contemplated and permitted under the strictest of criteria, but, to put it crudely, the need of the fully living supesedes the need of the merely viable. If it could be proven that a dying patient is actually denying another the possibility of life, then euthanasia becomes viable.

It’s not a matter of one life being worth more than another; it is a gut-wrenching moral and ethical pain that must nevertheless be endured and alleviated.
 
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
...I want an HMO to make those decisions.

You’re quite right about rationing’s inescapability, but why are you so enamored of the current method?
HMOs and managed healthcare are the result of tow things:

1) Government programs like medicare.

2) Employeer provided insurance driven by tax codes first created in WW2.

So, the whole HMO mess is the fault of Democrats.

As an aside, in the US you can still have a full say, just pay for the care yourself. It’s expensive, thanks to the fact that the current market system is broken by government intervention. But you can still have a say . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Oh, and besides which, even under an HMO you do have some say. Not as much as if you pay out of pocket, but much better than socialism.

At heart, what socialism does is kill consumer control, replacing it with government control, which often is deligated to civil service . . .
 
Written By: Don
URL: http://
Does this mean if the doctor says no but the relatives say yes the case must be decided by a court?
In a sane system, it means the patient, or his relatives on his behalf, can fire the doctor and find one who gives a damn about practising medicine.
But until our society finds the money to warehouse the moribund and those who need constant care, I’m afraid this kind of scenario will become ever more frequent, especially as the resources shrink and the need grows.
None of this should be up to "society" — actually, government — to begin with. That’s the point. But you advocate preserving the prerogative of government to dictate what sort of care is available to whom even when it means giving the boot to those deemed unworthy of treatment. If your mother makes clear her desire for "constant care" at the end of her life, why should it be up to the government to either "find the money" or forbid the care? It shouldn’t! Get the government out of it entirely.
 
Written By: Linda Morgan
URL: http://
Does this mean if the doctor says no but the relatives say yes the case must be decided by a court?

Do you really want a thousand, a hundred thousand, Terry Schiavo cases?
An interesting juxtaposition. Particularly since Terry Schiavo’s case was being fought by family members (her parents vs. her husband), not family members and a doctor. Saying doctors should say who lives and who dies would be like saying we should give the government exclusive power to determine our health; why trust our lives to our own judgment or that of those who are closest to us when they can be given to people who are relative strangers instead?
 
Written By: CR UVa
URL: http://TheRedStater.blogspot.com/
I’ve made my case here, so I won’t bother doing it again (you’re welcome), but instead of listing all the reasons that a healthcare plan in the US will fail, you may want to start thinking about how you can have it, but avoid these pitfalls.

Go ahead and try to vote for people that oppose anything you want to oppose, but what then, just hide out and let the chips fall where they may?

Here’s an argument that makes the most sense to me, basically, that government should not mandate, but rather broker healthcare, like they do now for the Federal Employers Health Insurance Plan (which is the largest, and most cost effective health care plan in the country)
If libertarians truly believe that the only suitable role for the government is the defense of the people, then doesn’t a basic guarantee of healthcare fall under that category? Why can’t the government act as a broker on behalf of its citizens?

The Department of Defense negotiates with weapons manufacturers on behalf of the Soldiers, Marines, Sailors, and Airmen in the Armed Forces. Imagine what would happen if each and every service member were instead forced to purchase their weapon individually from a weapons manufacturer. In times of peace, those who couldn’t afford a weapon simply wouldn’t get one, but if war were to break out a weapon would have to be produced on an expedited basis and funded by tax dollars.

This is precisely what happens with healthcare. Those with no health insurance, the vast majority of whom simply cannot afford it, don’t go to the doctor until they are incredibly sick. A simple cough that could have been treated with $40 worth of antibiotics now becomes $5,000 in hospital care to keep him or her from dying. See my point?

The government could act as a broker between insurance companies and tax payers, giving them vouchers with which they could choose their own unique healthcare plan from the exact same companies that are offering care right now. These companies would be forced to compete for government contracts, just like military contractors do.

Small businesses would no longer be forced to pay outrageously high premiums (right New Jersey?) just to keep their employees insured, since a smaller amount would go to the federal government instead. Employer provided health care is unfair to small businesses who are already operating on razor thin margins.

Medicaid, Medicare, Plan D, all of these are doomed to fail. Government cannot subsidize healthcare and still offer good service…it can, however, use its size to bring competition to a fair level.
Oops, I guess made my case again... sorry
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
Don, now that you have the ritual blaming of the Democrats off your chest, perhaps you’d like to consider that in Canada you can also buy whatever long-term-care you choose if you want to just pay yourself. You can even buy long-term-care insurance to cover it.
 
Written By: Retief
URL: http://
Kurt Vonnegut wrote an imaginative short story about a future society that became so healthy that nobody died naturally; they lived and lived and lived, and would only die if they chose to, and that would be accompanied by huge celebrations, because the world was becoming so crowded that anyone leaving it was considered a hero. You would go to your own wake and in the middle of it administer the painless poison to yourself!

Unfortunately, nobody wanted to die; thus it became incumbent upon their nearest and dearest to try, via a million subterfuges, to convince them to. If that didn’t work they were forced to by Government, a great stain on the family name! Hero to zero: all you had to do was choose death and you were a legend!

I used the Schiavo case as a template of what can happen when lawyers and judges and presidents get involved in situations that are the purview of Doctors! And if it comes to the courts deciding then only the lawyers make a killing!

I would have no problem with relatives deciding to pull the plug providing it was they, and not the doctor, that were doing the pulling. You cannot ask a man who has sworn to do no harm to make an exception in your case. And I still believe that doctors know more about health than patients do.

Finally, if you think that taking the Government out of the health care business will result in better fairer universal health I urge you to visit countries like India, Colombia, Thailand etc where the bodies would be piled up in the street were it not for the money that Governments spend to provide free clinics and health care.

But of course this doesn’t apply to you, employed, earning 75K, buying private insurance, and having lawyers determine if you need certain treatments or not!
 
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
"I urge you to visit countries like India, Colombia, Thailand etc where the bodies would be piled up in the street were it not for the money that Governments spend to provide free clinics and health care."

Show me your evidence that that would be the case. I suggest Somalia where there is no central government. Also, I would dispute that "free clinics" in poor countries provide much more than very basic healthcare, probably not run by a doctor at all, but a nurse. This is close to what Wal-Mart wants to do in its in-store clinics. I’m sure the doctors are all for that, right?

"And I still believe that doctors know more about health than patients do."

General Motors and their dealerships know more about cars than you do. I suggest next time you wish to buy a car, just let them choose the make, model, price, etc., for you.

Today I took my child for a second opinion on a dental procedure for some damaged teeth. Interesting that the first dentist wanted to extract two teeth and implant a device. The second opinion said to leave the teeth alone and they should be fine. Now, please tell me that Dentists know more about dentistry than I do. Because if that is true, why did I get two different opinions? Shouldn’t these guys have some consensus?

And let me tell you a story about the national health system in Taiwan where there are very few lawyers and no malpractice suits to speak of. A friend hurt his finger playing baseball. First doctor said, wrap it and it will get better. No x-ray. A week later it wasn’t better. Second doctor said he wanted to operate (this without looking at any x-rays. Finally, my friend had to doctor shop all the way to another city to find a guy who told him the bad news that his finger was no fused and he could only maybe fix part of the problem.

The moral of the story is that without lawyers making doctors do their job (which should be easy to be motivated for - high pay helping people, sounds great) patients have to shop around and eventually learn enough about their medical issues to decide who to trust. But doctors know more about health than patients.

Oh, and of course to cut down on the cost of medicine in the state run system, they make you go back to the doctor every 3 days to get more medicine, wasting 2 hours hanging around his office (can’t make appointments.)

But private health care would be just horrible.




 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
That said, even in a private system, I’d have to doctor shop and know about my condition, so maybe its a wash.
 
Written By: Harun
URL: http://
Harun, I was born and lived in India for 15 years, in Calcutta no less, 1946-1961, when it was not yet a byword for poverty, and there was barely a day when I, walking to school, did not see the charnel house men coming to pick up a body or two. Heaven knows what happened in smaller cities, or where the nighttemperature is lower. Sorry, no photos, no web links, but I’m told it’s better now with only ONE million instead of TWO million sleeping on the street at night! Apparently the improvement is down to the local Government taking a greater role in health care!

I visited again in 1972, 1979, 1985 and little had changed. My family had a private doctor, but he was often snowed under by the public practice he maintained for the indigent. An interesting story about him was made into the film "The Millionairess" with Peter Sellers and Sophia Loren!

I taught English in Colombia for 12 years; there the problem with bodies in the street was because of paramilitaries shooting the homeless, the orphans and their enemies for fun. Again this becomes a public health problem and only the Government can remedy it. It would be nice if people took responsibility for cleaning up their own neighbourhoods but the killers WANTED the bodies to remain on the street till they stank as a warning to the disobedient! This is not new; it just was how it was in Colombia during the Roaring 70’s and 80’s!

I taught English in Bangkok for 4 years; again bodies in the street but these were usually associated with the sex trade. So it goes!

It is so easy and seductive to call for smaller government when you have a house, and a job, and health insurance and home insurance and a vote and schools and transportation and highways and Disneyland; but we Jews have a saying in the Talmud "Pray for the strength of the Government for, were it not for Government, men would eat each other."
 
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
we Jews have a saying in the Talmud "Pray for the strength of the Government for, were it not for Government, men would eat each other."

Really strong government eh? Tell me how that whole Shoah thing turned out for you or the Doctor’s Plot that condemned the "Rootless Cosmopolitans" most of whom JUST HAPPENED to be Jews...IF you are Jewish you might want to notice that GOVERNMENT has killed more Jews, "eaten" if you will, than anyone else in history...Ghettoes-Government, Pogroms-Government Final Solution-Government...so I don’t understand your love of government, it sure hasn’t protected you, as a Jew, has it?
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Whatever happened to "first do no harm"?
Abortion for convenience and assited suicide.

 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
... assited suicide.
There’s a difference between a planned suicide and an assisted suicide. I believe the last situation we discussed here was that of a woman who seemed quite content to end her own life if she could obtain the proper materials with which to do it. That’s her choice. It really doesn’t have to involve the medical profession at all.

And, above, the same sort of choice should be left with the patient or the family of the patient - not the doctor.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
No country in the world will enact "universal" health care with the verve and flourish of the United States. The health care industry here — especially the hospital corps — is a magnificent army managed by bureaucrats, ready to engage the enemy — sick people — in precisely the way that will make the "universal" system work like a stainless steel autopsy factory.

Here are the principles of this mighty machine striving for perfection:

1. Eugenic editing at the beginning of life. The "therapeutic" abortion will be the foundation not just of our "universal" health care system, but of our overall advanced therapeutic society. Right now it’s about 90% of unborn with the genetic marker for Down’s syndrome who are aborted. As the perfection of society moves forward parents of such unwanted diseases, I mean unborn children with markers for diabetes (and not just Type I), breast cancer, heart disease, etc. will be "urged" to consider the suffering they will be inflicting on their child by allowing it to be born. This, of course, will be in addition to those wise folks who start out wanting "designer babies" and won’t be satisfied with anything less.

2. A hasty "final exit" for the burdensome elderly, who will be given "therapy" upon entering hospital to "help them recognize" a "realistic scenario" for their care and if they don’t buy into it and don’t sign the right forms they’ll be redlined against any serious care other than the morphine zotzing due them after their health further deteriorates. As I’ve noted here before, this will eventually become such a well-known situation to the elderly that they will aggressively fight being brought to hospital because they will understand it as a death sentence. No doubt they’ll prefer the "planned suicide" route, at home, over the humiliations forced on them by the hospital corps.

3. In between the beginning and the end, care that is carefully rationed to avoid helping people who are really sick.

Only the healthy will be happy with "universal" health care in the United States, because they’ll be the only people the well-oiled system won’t be aggressively trying to kill. I exaggerate just a little, since people who are sick and have a high probability for survival will get their ration of care a bit more quickly.

The care statistics of the universal system must be kept clean, upbeat, and above all, healthy!

The "cruelty" of the market will be recalled, to those who can recall it, like a luxury hotel with room service.
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
I exaggerate just a little
Yeah, and Dillinger shoplifted just a little.

It will be neither as good as proponents imagine it, nor as bad as your vivid imagination depicts it.

The key to any system America may come up with will be the allowance of people to choose to stay in completely private systems. Obviously in a universal healthcare system that is taxpayer paid, people will sadly not be able to opt out of paying for.

But there are those people who believe that the Constitutional mandate for defense does not authorize spending 2/3 of a trillion dollars annually on what is essentially offense, not defense, but they cannot choose not to pay for it.

If we can eliminate Medicare and Medicaid and replace it with healthcare brokered by the government (or a private not-for-profit agency created for this purpose), we might see an improvement on the current system which is, for all intents and purposes, a system so entangled in government spending already as to be more socialist than not.

Our ramblings won’t have much effect, either way, but the way things are going, we’ll see if your Aldous Huxley (or is it George Orwell) vision comes to fruition, or something less dramatic.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
McQ;
You’re making a valid argument about who should be making the health care choices for a patient, but that is a separate matter from the title of the post. In the last situation, there was still a doctor involved in providing the materials to commit suicide. Not that there necessarily has to be, but you were arguing in favor of doctors providing the means and giving the tacit approval to use them.

"First do no harm" is a restriction that limits the choices a doctor makes available. You argue in favor of lifting that restriction in order to enable more choices for individual patients.

As eliXelx mentioned, there are times when "do no harm" causes a moral dilemma when having to choose between two patients; but it still serves as a valuable guideline. We all seem to agree that the doctors in this case didn’t feel bound by that restriction.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
I don’t think Martin is exagerrating at all. Much of what he describes is going on in Europe right now. When the State is the main health care provider, it has a vested interest in you being healthy or dead; it does not have a vested interest in you being sick.
 
Written By: Bill Ramey
URL: http://saturninretrograde.blogspot.com
The shuffling idiot Sarcastic, moving boxes around on his imaginary organization chart, obviously hasn’t had any experience with the "health care system" as it already exists, much less the capacity to apply the principles of the new magnificent "universal" care as they will be superimposed on said existing system.

But I’ll do you a favor, Sarcastic, since you are stupid enough to walk around on the internet with your idiotic handle: if you ever have someone you care about go into any hospital, make sure you go there with a big neon "malpractice" sign lit up on your forehead and watch the whole operation like a hawk.

Until you’ve had to argue with doctors who want to remove someone’s colon when the problem is a bleeding stomach ulcer because the attending physician’s pal is a colon specialist who needs a payday, you haven’t quite tuned-in to the existing pitfalls.

When it’s "universal" care, you’ll be arrested if you argue with doctors, that’s if they even make themselves available to talk to you in the first place.

And I exaggerated only about one point, which was the extent to which care would be rationed for people who aren’t elderly enough to simply write off on actuarial grounds.

Therapeutic abortion will be increasinly promoted and eventually made next to mandatory, as in, "you won’t be able to get care for a child who you were advised was going to have serious health problems, and this will also show up on his records later in life — that he had high risk for [fill in the name of the disease] — and his treatment will be given a lower priority because it could have been avoided [by aborting him]."

See such phenomenon as New Zealand refusing immigration into the country to overweight individuals, the discussions in the UK about refusing care to people who smoke or drink, and so on. Imagine the registry of individuals whose parents were warned that they should never have been born!
 
Written By: Martin McPhillips
URL: http://mcphillips.blogspot.com/
In the last situation, there was still a doctor involved in providing the materials to commit suicide. Not that there necessarily has to be, but you were arguing in favor of doctors providing the means and giving the tacit approval to use them.
No, Ted, I wasn’t. I was arguing her right to end her life if she chose to do so and that I saw no problem with her being provided the means to do so if that was her decision. For all I care, that could be done over the counter without any involvement of medical personnel. Yes, I know the obvious problems that entails, however, the inadvertent involvement of medicine comes through a government requirement that only a doctor prescribe what she would need to carry out her choice.

Set up a different way for her to end her life which involves a legal route to such a ’pill’ and no doctors have to be involved at all.
"First do no harm" is a restriction that limits the choices a doctor makes available. You argue in favor of lifting that restriction in order to enable more choices for individual patients.
Not at all. Regardless of the choices of patients, the restriction on doctors remains. In this case, the doctor is doing harm by his decision. In the case of the woman and her suicide, it is she who is doing the harm - by choice.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
For all I care, that could be done over the counter without any involvement of medical personnel
I already acknowledged that:
...there was still a doctor involved in providing the materials to commit suicide. Not that there necessarily has to be...
When I mentioned assisted suicide initially, I meant ’as practiced (in Oregon and the Netherlands)’ and you were sticking with the general concept of allowing anyone to help. After rereading the post & comments I see that you never mentioned the Oregon law. I was wrong to claim you argued in favor of it.
Regardless of the choices of patients, the restriction on doctors remains.
Not in the case of the Oregon law or abortion. In those cases the doctors are choosing to give treatments they know will do harm to a patient.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Not in the case of the Oregon law or abortion.
Ok - that has zip to do with my point (concerning these two situations) and certainly makes the case that medicos in both situations you note could be accused of violating their own ethics.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net
Ok - that has zip to do with my point (concerning these two situations) and certainly makes the case that medicos in both situations you note could be accused of violating their own ethics.
I think we agree:
You’re making a valid argument about who should be making the health care choices for a patient, but that is a separate matter from the title of the post.
 
Written By: Ted
URL: http://
Capt Joe. Can you imagine the can of worms you’ve just opened up when you claim that the wishes of the relatives of the patient must be consulted before the doctor can take action?
Have you ever even been to a doctor? You have the right to refuse any and all treatments. The patient’s wishes are law, as far as doctors are concerned. If the patient is incapacitated, than the doctor must seek consent from the family members.
"I urge you to visit countries like India, Colombia, Thailand etc where the bodies would be piled up in the street were it not for the money that Governments spend to provide free clinics and health care."
So many logical fallacies. Where to start? First of all, you have provided no evidence to back up this assertion. Second of all, correlation is not causality; these countries have something else in common: massive and widespread poverty.
 
Written By: Jordan
URL: http://
When it’s "universal" care, you’ll be arrested if you argue with doctors, that’s if they even make themselves available to talk to you in the first place.
Okay Dr. Strangelove, we’ll see.

Just as the utopian fantasies of the left, right, and libertarians, are just that, your dystopian fantasies are just that, fantasies.

But you are entertaining.
Only the healthy will be happy with "universal" health care in the United States, because they’ll be the only people the well-oiled system won’t be aggressively trying to kill.
Awesome, let’s put this in a sci-fi story... oops, too late, they already did Logan’s Run.

Hey, maybe next they will be cloning people to harvest their organs for rich benefactors?

Will you be disappointed when the world does not become as bad as you dream?

 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
but the way things are going, we’ll see if your Aldous Huxley (or is it George Orwell) vision comes to fruition, or something less dramatic.
See, that’s the thing. I’m not willing to enact it and "see what happens". Hey, let’s turn the cobra loose and see what happens. Naw, thanks.
You have the right to refuse any and all treatments. The patient’s wishes are law, as far as doctors are concerned. If the patient is incapacitated, than the doctor must seek consent from the family members.
Here in the US, maybe. But these issues are currently and continuously being challenged in Britain and elsewhere where the govt is providing these services. Those governments, in order to reign in costs, are making treatment options and consent contingent on being part of the system. If you want to be under their umbrella, consent is implied when you sign up. Don’t like the options given you, tough. You can rot on a waiting list for all they care.

By the way, Sarcastic, what makes you think universal health care in the US will be any different from these places? Or is the Euro model acceptable as is? You can make snide Huxley comments all day, but how bad does it have to get before you take a second look?
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
By the way, Sarcastic, what makes you think universal health care in the US will be any different from these places? Or is the Euro model acceptable as is? You can make snide Huxley comments all day, but how bad does it have to get before you take a second look?
First, I think snide is a vast improvement over the quality of rhetoric I was responding to...
The shuffling idiot Sarcastic
Second, I am absolutely not standing by, I am pushing for protecting our rights within a universal healthcare system.

If I had my druthers, I would eliminate all government involvement in healthcare altogether and let the system be as good or as bad as it turns out to be. Unlike what appears to be a majority in this country, I do not believe that healthcare is a right. But considering that a majority DO seem to feel this way, I am trying to be active in making people aware that they need to take these considerations into account.

My view is that if the government wants to offer healthcare, fine, offer it, and if it is effective and cost competitive with other options, I’ll be happy to use it, but if it includes the kind of authoritarian elements that you worry about, they can stick it up their collective arses, and you, and me, and Martin McPhillips can show people what an authoritarian mess it has become, and reverse with the power of the ballot. Or let it Grover Norquist itself, and spend itself out of business.

Either way, we appear to be going that way, so you can get on board and try to steer the ship, and you can just stand there watching it head toward the iceberg, and just say, "haha, I told you not to go".


I do have second thoughts about this issue, all the time. Unlike mcPhillips, I do not pretend to know exactly how it will turn out.
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
I am pushing for protecting our rights within a universal healthcare system.
Good luck with that. Utopia much?
if it is effective and cost competitive with other options, I’ll be happy to use it, but if it includes the kind of authoritarian elements that you worry about, they can stick it up their collective arses, and you, and me, and Martin McPhillips can show people what an authoritarian mess it has become, and reverse with the power of the ballot.
Given the present state of affairs, given the lobbyistas and union meddling that would be involved in such things, what a quaint notion that the voter will remedy the situation! Also take into account that a good number of folks in our country will never vote to reverse it, no matter how awful the downside. You can’t talk of cutting the bloat out of the Dept. of Education without shrieking retorts of "you must hate the kids". Millions of people have already taken the collective potion and all the anecdotal evidence against it will be written off as Roveian scare tactics. You can’t possibly deny this with a straight face.

Besides, that’s little solace to those suffering. "Sir, we’ll get your surgery scheduled after we vote on it in November. Just hang in there." Sarcastic, why do you hate the infirmed?
 
Written By: Rob
URL: http://
Sarcastic, why do you hate the infirmed?
Uh, ’cause they’re sick bastards?
 
Written By: Captin Sarcastic
URL: http://
"Really strong government eh? Tell me how that whole Shoah thing turned out for you or the Doctor’s Plot that condemned the "Rootless Cosmopolitans" most of whom JUST HAPPENED to be Jews...IF you are Jewish you might want to notice that GOVERNMENT has killed more Jews, "eaten" if you will, than anyone else in history...Ghettoes-Government, Pogroms-Government Final Solution-Government...so I don’t understand your love of government, it sure hasn’t protected you, as a Jew, has it?"

Written By: Joe

So, you really want to go back to a state of nature do you, Joe, in which you were a wolf, other men were also wolves, and you all ate each other.

Government sure does eat some of its subjects, but anarchy eats everyone! You choose!

If I had to choose who is to protect me, you or government...well let’s just say you come in a distant second!

 
Written By: eliXelx
URL: http://
I had thought that the Jews demand for a King because they felt left out since everyone else had a king was contrary to the will of G-d and only allowed because of sin. And the result, of course, was a whole lot of pain, misery, and bad kings.
 
Written By: Synova
URL: http://synova.blogspot.com
Government sure does eat some of its subjects, but anarchy eats everyone! You choose!
So let the weakest go to the wall, eh? Or can’t make an omelette with breaking eggs? Or are you just betting the Beast won’t eat YOU?
If I had to choose who is to protect me, you or government...well let’s just say you come in a distant second!
1) YOU need to protect yourself, don’t rely on me OR government
2) As to whether I am a reliable ally or not, also examine the THREAT side of the equation...I might represnet little aid, but I also represent little threat...Government represents the THREAT dude, please note again GOVERNMENTS have done more Jews more harm than any number of Night Riders or Anti-Semites EVER have. Or did you just not realize the extent of the Holocaust, or it happened a long time ago, or it didn’t get any of my family (It got some of MINE) or did you forget Hizb’Allah and the Teheran regime, or now Hugo Chavez all focussing on the Joooos as a problem to be solved. Dude, I’d view organized groups as THREAT, as a Jew, a whole lot than I’d view them as an ally.

But mayhap that’s the Jewish Problem, you guys keep relying on the kindness of strangers...didn’t do Blanche Dubois much good, didn’t do the multitudes in the Warsaw Ghetto much good either.

And the same goes for "doctoring" don’t rely on the Doctor to keep you going, not his/her job. A job to which is brought his/her prejudices, "Ohhhh I wouldn’t want to live like THAT!’ and external bureaucratic constraints, "Oh my budget can only go so far and this guy is eating up 22.35% of it and I’m only 14% of the way thru the budget period." And I like your idea a JEWISH Doctor would mayhap act differently, so now an Orthodox Jew has to look for an ORTHODOX Doctor....and I guess Sunni Muslims need a Sunni Doctor and I need a Catholic one...wow that whole concept of "Culture" and "Polity" sure went out the door quick didn’t it?

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
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Clarification of some points on Judaism and government.
First, this is not an accurate translation: "we Jews have a saying in the Talmud "Pray for the strength of the Government for, were it not for Government, men would eat each other."

The correct phrase is "pray for the welfare (or, variously also translated as ’integrity’ of the government...". That’s very different from strength in its connotation. However, there was tacit agreement that there was need for SOME governmental structure between men, and it would fit in fine with a limited government idea like that of the Founding Fathers; government is necessary to keep men in check, but that’s because it’s a necessary evil.

In fact, in the same chapter of the Talmud, it states "Rabbi Nechunia the son of Hakanah would say: One who accepts upon himself the yoke of Torah is exempted from the yoke of government duties and the yoke of worldly cares; but one who casts off the yoke of Torah is saddled with the yoke of government duties and the yoke of worldly cares". (Torah is religious life and learning, not just the narrow sense of the Pentateuch). Note that government is a "yoke", as are "worldly cares".

The Talmud is also replete with conflicts with the Roman government that was in place, so government per se was not a wonderful and positive thing; historically, that’s even more true. However, the United States and ITS form of government has been a true haven for Jews, unlike anyplace else in history. But that’s been in terms of limited government, again, that gave freedom of religion to its inhabitants. But there is no free pass to government just because it’s a government; as someone pointed out, governments killed millions of Jews.

Just as a person should be judged on their actions, governments should be judged on what they do. Government is no panacea and the phrase in the Talmud advising to pray for the welfare of a government does not give carte blanche to government to do anything it wants.

Finally, "So, yes, even abortion is contemplated and permitted under the strictest of criteria, but, to put it crudely, the need of the fully living supesedes the need of the merely viable. If it could be proven that a dying patient is actually denying another the possibility of life, then euthanasia becomes viable."

WRONG. Judaism treats a fetus differently than an old or disabled person, no matter their problem. A fetus is NOT given the same legal status as the mother until after it is born, but there is no provision for euthanasia, and any form of active euthanasia is considered clear-cut murder under Jewish law. No benefit can be made of killing someone.

There are debates within Jewish law about passive withdrawal of care, but most Rabbis would hold that death can not be actively hastened (there is a fine line, obviously, between some withdrawal of care...do we not give antibiotics to a dying suffering patient...vs. taking out a feeding tube vs. slipping someone morphine to hasten their demise. The latter is clearly labeled murder.

Do we decide to kill X, in order to harvest his organs so that Y can live? Who decides? Does the need of the living supersede...the need of the still-living? In Jewish law, NO. One may not kill even in order to save one’s own life except in true self-defense. The fetus/mother issue is NOT the same as a bedridden old person who is utterly defenseless and without protection. We are duty-bound to not kill him or her in order to save another. It is just, again, murder.
 
Written By: Maurice
URL: http://
So, is the Golubchuk family being denied life support that they are willing to pay for, or are they demanding that the state pay for it? If the former, then the state is trampling their religious freedoms, assuming they can find a willing provider of life support. If the latter, then they are demanding that non-Jews pay for the practicing of the Jewish religion, which tramples the others’ rights.

If this is really a problem, I would expect that a Jewish charity could setup a long-term-care facility to care for people in this condition, since the prevalence is only going to be increasing over time. The government should not stop them from doing so. If they can’t raise the money for such a facility, then one would have to conclude that adherents don’t actually believe this is important.

I don’t see how involving the government helps here.
 
Written By: Bill McGonigle
URL: http://mcgonigle.us/bill/blog/

 
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