It’s a profoundly sad commentary on the “debate” about healthcare in the U.S. Congress that the pivotal issue of “end-of-life” medical care can no longer be discussed without invoking ridiculously offensive terminology such as “Death Panels” (thanks Sarah Palin!).
In this regard, last night’s edition of 60 Minutes featured a very incisive and sometimes disturbing piece on the subject, explaining why, as palliative care physician Dr. Ira Byock contends, many Americans are “dying badly” in the present system.
Could it be that profit, greed and fear of litigation, combined with a fundamentally irrational inability to confront mortality in a realistic way are behind so many people dying without dignity or comfort?
p.s. Just to add a wry little footnote to this, what I found most provocative was Byock’s assertion about the delusional nature of a great many people when coming to grips with death, especially given that the overwhelming number of Americans claim to believe in “God” and existence in the Great Hereafter awaiting them following the magical teleportation of their spirit to the ethereal realm of Heaven or whatever… As such, their grimly determined reluctance of shake off this sinfully mortal coil would seem to indicate an alarming lack of the “faith” they’re so adamantly convinced of otherwise. Curious that.