“There’s nothing more we can do.” For too long, for too many, medical professionals have used these words when they believe they cannot cure their patients. Facing, as each of us must, the nearness of death, terminally ill patients too often speak of abandonment by their doctors.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Wednesday July 14, 2010 12:27 pm|
Recently Capitol Hill staffers pulled Compassion & Choices into federal politics, suggesting the new Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Donald Berwick, should be called before Congress to answer accusations that he is a member, or affiliated somehow with C&C. “Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of Compassion & Choices?” Something like that.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Tuesday May 18, 2010 11:31 am|
Today family, friends and neighbors who loved Joan and Thomas Vanacore are grieving their tragic deaths and wondering how it might have been different. The Vanacores, known by the community of North Haven, Connecticut as decent and loving people, died violently — because our society is dysfunctional around death our laws are cruel. Connecticut law denied them the peaceful, humane choices they deserved as their exemplary lives drew to a close. Compassion & Choices is working hard to change that and the sadness of this case only increases our determination to succeed.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Thursday May 6, 2010 10:23 am|
Since November, when the United States Council of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) voted to change the Ethical and Religious Directives for Catholic Health Care, I have written frequently how the new policy could result in continued tube feeding for thousands of unconscious and severely demented patients in Catholic hospitals and nursing homes. Newly released research highlights the problem.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Friday April 16, 2010 8:18 am|
Compassion & Choices, the nation’s largest and oldest nonprofit organization working to improve care and expand choice at the end of life, today marked National Healthcare Decisions Day, releasing new language every American may consider to strengthen their advance directive. The new addendum, My Directive Regarding Healthcare Institutions Refusing to Honor my Healthcare Choices, is designed to protect patients in the event that they are an inpatient in an institution that will not honor their advance directive due to religious, moral or ethics policies. Individuals might find themselves in such an institution due to an unplanned emergency or because circumstances provide them no other choice.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Thursday March 11, 2010 2:26 pm|
At Compassion & Choices we encourage people to plan for death so they can enjoy life. If you already understand the importance of completing an advance directive, then communicating with your physician is your next step. The day you start considering end-of-life options is no time to discover your doctor’s values and beliefs don’t match your own. If on the other hand, you learn now that your doctor does support your making choices, you can rest easy in that relationship.
There are plenty of stories of doctors who aren’t forthcoming about prognosis, avoid discussing hospice, and disregard advance directives. In most cases, Americans end up dying in the hospital when they would prefer to spend their last days at home. In the worst cases, people whose wishes are denied suffer a traumatic and painful death.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Monday March 1, 2010 7:56 am|
Two prominent newsmen bared their souls – and their stories of a loved one near death from a devastating illness. British broadcaster Ray Gosling divulged a hospital visit years ago. Responding to the intolerable pain of his lover, near death, Gosling said he “picked up the pillow and smothered him until he was dead.” Wednesday, MSNBC’s Keith Olbermann shared the story of the crisis that led his father to ask Keith for any relief, even death. Olbermann had the presence of mind to approach a physician, and request the sedative that relieved his father’s pain and panic.
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Friday February 12, 2010 8:50 am|
I have written how recent changes to Ethical and Religious Directive (ERD) Number 58 compel Catholic hospitals and nursing homes to either disregard your end-of-life choices or violate the letter of the Directive.
The powerful Catholic Health Association says Compassion & Choices and I are exaggerating; the change is insignificant.
To bolster its claim of “no change” CHA points to another Directive, Number 59, that the free and informed judgment of patients should always be respected. What CHA fails to note is the condition at the end of that sentence, “unless contrary to Catholic moral teaching.”
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Thursday January 28, 2010 12:46 pm|
The US Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB), as I have written, recently mandated tube-feeding for all permanently unconscious patients in Catholic healthcare institutions. This contradicts the desires of the vast majority of Americans. The Bishops are indifferent and have decided to act as agents of the Vatican, even as they exercise enormous control over healthcare choices in America. How did they arrive at this position of arrogance?
|By: BarbaraCoombsLee Saturday January 23, 2010 5:00 pm|
Ruth Proskauer Smith, a friend and an activist for individual autonomy, died last night, closing her life in the manner she had wished for, planned for and devoted her life to securing as her right.