Thursday, November 19, 2009

Matt C. Abbott: "Expert: health care system, government pushing fear, death"

Matt C. Abbott column
Expert: health care system, government pushing fear, death

Matt C. Abbott
Matt C. Abbott
November 19, 2009

From a Nov. 2 story on (excerpted; for the full article, click here):

    'Some cancer patients, heart attack sufferers and burn victims would be removed from ventilators and left to die if pandemic flu patients overwhelmed Indiana's hospitals. The goal would be to save the most lives as possible, according the Indiana State Department of Health.

    'But a draft copy of Indiana's 'Altered Standards of Care' guidelines reveals that if faced with overwhelming demand, Indiana hospitals would establish what amount to 'death panels.' A 'triage review officer' would decide who gets access to hospital staff and equipment and, likely, who lives and who will die.

    'In a pandemic emergency, hospital patients and those seeking care would be scored every day using a system known as the Sequential Organ Failure Assessment. The same system would be used across the state to ensure accountability and gain public confidence, according to the August 2008 draft guidelines. Based on their score, patients either would receive treatment, get to stay in their hospital bed for another day or be sent home to die....

    'President Barack Obama declared on Oct. 23 that the H1N1 flu pandemic, also known as swine flu, is a national emergency. That declaration gives the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services the power to bypass federal rules and open additional hospitals or other centers for treatment....'

I asked Ron Panzer, a nurse and the president of Hospice Patients Alliance, to comment on the above story. Panzer's slightly edited response (via e-mail) is as follows:

Matt C. Abbott is a Catholic columnist with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communication, Media and Theatre from Northeastern Illinois University in Chicago, and an Associate in Applied Science degree in Business Management from Triton College in River Grove, Ill. He has worked in the right-to-life movement and is a published writer focused on Catholic and social issues. He can be reached at

© Copyright 2009 by Matt C. Abbott

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