Sue Falkner Wood
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Sue Falkner Wood

Sue Falkner Wood lives in Astoria, Ore. and writes a blog on EverydayHealth.com called “Life with Chronic Pain: A How-to Guide.” She retired from nursing in 1990 because of a chronic cartilage disorder.

What's the Expiration Date on Your Life?

According to pg. 425 of the current legislation, the plan is to have mandatory testing and counseling of all seniors and all of those individuals, who for whatever sad reasons are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI). Is it any wonder seniors are rebelling all over the country about being counseled about their "end-of-life" choices? There is a purported $500 billion to be cut from health care for seniors, accounting for half the cost of this overhaul. What has happened to the respect we were taught to have for our elderly? Veterans, mothers and fathers, favorite aunts and uncles, our teachers who inspired us -- what is to become of all of them? Let us also remember, we will eventually be them, unless you're turning back the calendar from day to day. Watch out baby boomers, you're next. Do I really need to remind you of all the love you received from all of these individuals during your lifetime? Apparently, when your expiration date arrives, you're to be thrown out like outdated milk. Do I really need to bring up all the brilliant minds and talents like Grandma Moses, Picasso and other great philosophers, writers and even actors who contributed until their deaths?

We're going to keep alive the mass murderers who are on death row in prisons all over the country? We're going to give free health care to those millions of individuals who live in our country illegally? We're going to turn our back and deny medical care to our children with disabilities? How about the disabled veterans who have fought so nobly for our country over many wars? Who will be making the decision which premature infants have a right to be saved and which will be allowed to die? It doesn't appear at this point in time that physicians or families will be making these decisions.

As an RN, I was, like doctors, taught to fight for life. During my career as an RN, I stood at many bedsides with other nurses while we kept vigil for a patient who had fought for life and had lost his/her fight because we didn't want a patient to die alone. I have sat, as a nursing supervisor, with countless families who have lost loved ones and are still trembling in shock from their painful loss.  And I've have heard the screaming wail of a mother who has seen her son die of a gun-shot wound. I have been in the room with two young expectant mothers as they labored to bring forth fetuses that had died in the uterus. Life is full of sorrow as we struggle to hang on "for dear life." Has our meaning of existence suddenly developed so little value? Helen Keller would never have been allowed to become the person she grew into in spite of her many disabilities. Today, I fear, Helen the infant would be "toast." Some bureaucrat or politician would decide her maintenance would be too expensive and the fact that her parents had money would be irrelevant. She would now be judged to have no worthiness or value. Wait, I almost forgot: I'm a disabled individual so it looks like I'll be "toast", too.

We grew up hearing the philosophers say, "All that is needed for evil to exist is for good men to stand by and do nothing." Have we learned to do "nothing" from the evil that men have thrust upon other men throughout history? I always wondered during history classes, reading and during the course of maturation how such evil acts could occur. Now I know. Small wonder so many of our senior citizens and soon to be seniors are in turmoil. We have a great deal to fear. This is still America, isn't it? There must be a mistake. Surely, in the America of Washington, Jefferson and Lincoln we do not allow our freedom of choice to be stolen; particularly when it comes to issues of private family choices, how our health is managed and how we choose to live or die.   

By Sue Falkner Wood  |  August 12, 2009; 9:40 AM ET  | Category:  Health Care Reform , Health costs Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Len:
Did you ever read the original "facts" ? Like the Proposition itself ??? Perhaps you would like a link to it. Then you will have the option of reading what is there instead of taking someone else's opinion on it, since you seem to have to do that. And that is as respectful to you as I can get.

Posted by: tonieb | August 18, 2009 4:08 PM
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Not if you get them from the source, like the OCED, the CBO, the Commonwealth Fund, the BLS, etc.

Posted by: lensch | August 17, 2009 9:38 PM
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Hi Len, Whew. That's a relief. About those facts, don't you have to trust the publication first who's feeding you the information? Sue

Posted by: jimorsue | August 17, 2009 6:39 PM
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Sue,

I stand slightly to the right of Leon Trotsky.

len

But I get my facts straight.

Posted by: lensch | August 17, 2009 1:41 PM
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Hi Len, I'm always civil. You just can't help yourself, can you? I thought we were discussing the enclosure of the word "mandatory" in some of the information out there in the media and internet? I'm afraid you're out of luck if you think I will ever embrace some of your extremely left liberal views. Civility is what is missing in so many of those who have differing views and it's a pity. Sue

Posted by: jimorsue | August 17, 2009 1:31 PM
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Thank you, Sue for your civil reply. The solution is that you need new sources.

As a start go to http://prescriptions.blogs.nytimes.com/2009/08/14/health-care-abroad-canada/

Read the sidebar "By the Numbers". Read the comments (or at least half) and pay attention to those people who have lived both in Canada and here.

You may learn something.

Posted by: lensch | August 17, 2009 8:03 AM
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Hi Len, Thanks for being respectful which is more than I can say for the rest of these irrational jokers, except TonieB. I'm sorry, you could be right. I don't know for certain about the mandatory word used with the proposed legislation but the sources I used all had it in there. I trust your abilities to search and if you're right, I didn't intend to mislead. I stand firmly on my other opinions. Sue

Posted by: jimorsue | August 16, 2009 2:53 PM
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Sue, I try and keep this respectful, but what can I say when you use the word "mandatory" in your first sentence which is an out-and-out lie?

Posted by: lensch | August 15, 2009 8:24 AM
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Really? This piece is so filled with lunacy and lies that one can only arrive at the conclusion that the author is either stupid or bitterly partisan. Or, worse yet, both.

This piece of legislation is a piece of junk and does nothing to address the fundamental challenges facing our nation's health and well-being. It needs no embellishment from the crazed fringes of the GOP.

And, if this legislation puts us on the slippery slope to socialism, then opinions like this put the author on the slippery slope to a padded room and some powerful drugs.

Posted by: jenbrimac | August 14, 2009 9:43 AM
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Good grief people, wake up and smell the burning coffee ! Suebeck indeed, lies ? I ask you to look beyond what is on tv and radio and read the actual wording of this proposal. Yes, it is there in black and white. To council you on ending of your life. Are you illiterate ?
And some of you think you are invincible ! As Sue has said, you are going to be there. Let us see when you are in the hospital dying of cancer and nothing will be done for you ! Wasted drugs, you are dying anyway, why bother ? See how you are going to feel. "Lying for Jesus ?"
I don't think Jesus had a hand is composing this bill. When you are walking around healthy, it seems all this stuff is just a bunch of hype. When you are not healthy and barely able to work, you think about it a lot ! I ask you to look thru the eyes of the person you see in a wheel chair tomorrow. The people you see walking very slowly with a cane. Or just the person you pass. You don't know what is wrong with that person who looks so healthy.
And as for the Vets, ask my son who was disabled in Afghanistan ! My father, who gave his life so you could speak English and not German ! Wow ! Get real people .
Sue keep on going, Free speech, while we still have it, should be exercised daily !

Posted by: tonieb | August 14, 2009 5:59 AM
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"According to pg. 425 of the current legislation, the plan is to have mandatory testing and counseling of all seniors and all of those individuals, who for whatever sad reasons are on Supplemental Security Income (SSI)."

Er, Ms. SueBeck, which "current legislation" mandates this?

Lying for Jesus is still lying, you know.

Posted by: HumanSimpleton | August 14, 2009 1:56 AM
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If you really are a nurse, I don't want you at my bedside. I can't cotton to being tended by a liar.

Posted by: donspecht | August 13, 2009 5:19 AM
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Sue: or anyone else for that matter.
Please advise me where in the proposed legislation HR3200 "America's Affordable Health Choices Act of 2009 (Introduced in House)" this "boogeyman" exists. To put it succinctly, "you watch too much Glen Beck".
It just ain't in there.
Try reading the legislation rather than passing on bogus fear tactics.

Below is the link for H.R.3200 SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION.at the Library of Congress.

http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/query/F?c111:1:./temp/~c111Nd2IZo:e51325
Below is the link for H.R.3200 SEC. 1233. ADVANCE CARE PLANNING CONSULTATION.at the Library of Congress.

Posted by: drewski48 | August 12, 2009 5:54 PM
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Can I report this blog posting as offensive? I don't use this term lightly, but it is full of malicious lies.

Posted by: gonzosnose | August 12, 2009 4:59 PM
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There is not a single shred of an argument in Wood's few fright-filled paragraphs.

The largest amount of medical expense for seniors is that spent on life extension practices that have no value, no real meaning in terms of continuing someone's life as a human being. Much of this waste comes from doctors or hospital mandated procedures like my grandmother experienced when she was taken to the hospital to die of a fast spreading cancer. Bottom line here was that there was nothing medicine could do. But upon entry the doctor attending wanted to order a pap smear. Right. Was this done as a matter of process because of a fear of litigation? Was it a way of adding to the Medicare reimbursement?

We need a responsible government and single payer plan in the United States for many reasons. This inane debate on end of life counseling is a costly waste of time. The government's place is not to enter into this discussion but to be able to assist in providing the care that every individual of every age can have. The decisions to pull the plug, to seek end of life counseling (whatever that could possibly mean and however that might be different from what happens now in hospitals and hospices) is and should be up to the individual dying, the intended designate in a living will the closest relative or in the case of a lonely soul with no one else around to care, it is up to the attending medical staff.

Americans, ironically purporting to be so religious and caring for life, have no real concept any longer of dying well, with integrity and without being meddled with such as we saw in that execrable Congressional interference with Terry Schiavo.

We do not need page 425, nor many more of the pages in this HR bill that has grown by necessity in the attempt to appease the monied as well as the ideological interests. And we certainly do not need the likes of Ms. Wood telling us that Helen Keller is in anyway comparable to a truly injured fetus that can be delivered up to a host of medical miracles, the cost of which is insupportable to the outcome of a meaningful life for that individual as well as to the the public commonwealth. Yes, the public does at certain times weigh in over the perverted American version of self.

Posted by: gwymer | August 12, 2009 4:58 PM
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There is a great deal of misinformation in this blog--who is talking about throwing people out like undated milk? Who has suggested denying services to the disabled? I can't believe the Post would print something like this. Isn't there enough bad information out there with the likes of Sarah Palin on the loose? I expect more of the Post.

Posted by: ch0212 | August 12, 2009 4:54 PM
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Electing Obama has proven to be a debacle. Never did I think that in America that we would be facing this legislation. In this bill the seniors will not receive care so that they will die and save money. On the other hand the taxpayers will pay for abortions. From what continent did this evil Obama come and how we we so duped to elect him? I know the answers to these rhetorical questions, and believe that the country can still be salvaged from this menace.

Posted by: tsapp77 | August 12, 2009 4:23 PM
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