Want to kill your mother? Here is how one New York HMO tried to do it with my friend’s mom. Names have been changed to protect their privacy. This is malevolence as art.
Mike’s mom, Betty, is 90 years old. In the past seven years she has had cancer and triple by-pass surgery. The cancer is in remission. She has mild, early stage Alzheimer’s disease that is well managed with medicine. A few months ago, Betty took a tumble getting out of bed at home (Mike and his wife live with her). Betty, it should be noted, is one tough woman who will no doubt outlive me. She’s that type of gritty pioneer woman with a triumphant spirit. However, Betty needed some PT and Rehab that required two months in a nursing home.
Her leg is stiff and needs more strengthening, but that can be accomplished at home with outpatient therapy. The stay in the nursing home has slowed Betty down a bit, but she’s mobile, lucid, and ornery as ever. Glory Be. Otherwise, Betty is in great shape.
It should be noted that Betty is a retired NY City employee with a great pension and full medical benefits.
Mike is a great guy. Engineer, Warrant Officer in the US Army, Gulf War Vet, adjunct History professor, and all-around good egg. Medicine is not his area of strength, as engineering is Greek to me. History is a common passion and we have our weekend breakfast every weekend as we discuss teaching, military history, current events, family, etc.
Last week Mike stated in passing that his mother’s physician suggested that she really needs full-time help during the day, and that such help can be arranged by signing her into hospice care.
I almost choked on my food as he said it.
I told Mike that if he did this, they wouldn’t treat Betty’s heart if a stent was needed, do surgery if she fell again, treat the cancer aggressively if it returns, etc. Hospice is about palliative care. They’re marking her for death through withholding of treatment. Hospice is about easing one into the ground. Regina and I were adamant that he call the HMO and grill them with very specific questions.
Mike called the HMO and grilled them. They agreed (reluctantly and after great ducking and weaving) that, yes, they would not stent, bypass, do bone surgery, etc, if Betty were a hospice patient. He also pried out of them that she wouldn’t even be sent for routine follow-up testing for the heart and the cancer. No mention of these consequences was made when the paper was put on the desk before Mike, and he’s grateful that he took some time to think, and that he made such a serendipitous passing comment over breakfast.
So that’s were we are now. Euthanasia being dressed up as long-term home healthcare as an affordable means of caring for mom, so as to avoid a nursing home, with absolutely NO mention of the ramifications.
This is evil, as dirty and dastardly as it gets. If we cannot trust our physicians to be truthful, to be our advocates, then we are in trouble. Big trouble.
The only thing more unthinkable than a world without Betty in it, is a world in which Betty was murdered through treachery, because some medical economist has determined that she is no longer worth the money spent to keep her alive. But New York made a deal with Betty. New York agreed that it would see to her financial and medical needs if she helped build our city through her life’s work.
Betty kept faith, and now societal forces are breaking faith with the Betty’s of our nation. That’s because those who held out the promise were honorable people who have been supplanted by my generation. The Greatest Generation spawned the Narcissistic Baby Boomers.
Betty will be fine. We’ll see to that. The Boomers, who begin retiring this year, are about to find out that they are too slow to outrun the scorched earth campaign they’ve waged for 45 years on the American landscape.
We will be the ones to catch the full fury of euthanasia.
The fire is gaining on us, and we have no one to blame but ourselves.