PRO-LIFE BASICS: Can palliative care be abused?

The short answer is yes. Whenever human beings are involved in the administration of medical care or recommending medical decisions that should be made by the patient and/or his family, there is always room for misguided opinion disguised as expert practices.

Ione Whitlock, an expert pro-life researcher, has written extensively on this subject and recently posted an article on her Belbury Review blog entitled “5 Things You Should Know about Palliative Care.”

Following is a brief description of each:

The people and institutions that established palliative care as common medical practice didn’t respect life in the first place. Financial backers Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and George Soros (a far-left financier) worked directly with “right-to-die” advocates who support assisted suicide and other forms of euthanasia.

The contemporary palliative care movement’s mission has always been cost cutting, not saving lives. This is true now more than ever, as Obamacare is implemented. The emphasis is on “efficient” medical practice, rather than enabling the dying to receive the medical care they prefer during their last days.

The so-called experts behind the new palliative care movement had, from the beginning, a new model of medicine in mind. Time was when palliative care (pain management) was focused primarily on relieving pain from cancer. But gradually, it has been applied to other types of patients, and the palliative care discussion begins not when the end seems near, but right after a diagnosis has been made!

Bureaucracy controls how modern medicine is practiced and what ethical standards are applied. Today, medical care for the sick and dying often resembles a factory assembly line. For example, many elderly patients are recycled back to where they came from—or referred for palliative care— if they have been treated at a hospital for the same ailment more than twice!

In the Clinical Practice Guidelines for Quality Palliative Care, ethics has given way to economics. Today’s palliative care is not always in the hands of those who advocate ending lives prematurely to save money, and its practices are not always questionable. But the family of a seriously ill patient should always follow the adage caveat emptor: Let the buyer beware. Investigate, query, and never be satisfied with any indication that your loved one’s well-being is not the top concern of the caregiver or doctor.

Palliative care can work to relieve symptoms, but when used to end life, it’s bad news. Whitlock concludes, “In spite of a system that is rigged to cut short the lives of the weakest and most vulnerable among us, there are many brave and conscientious doctors and nurses out there defending human life. They are our first line of defense.”

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About the author

Judie Brown

Judie Brown is president of American Life League and served 15 years as a member of the Pontifical Academy for Life.