“Bakersfield CPR drama could have been prevented by common document.”
This is the headline that greeted me this morning in the Contra Costa Times. The reporter, Lisa Krieger, is taking advantage of a tragedy in the death of an elderly Bakersfield woman, to promote her cause of the “softer gentler” approach to assisted suicide referred to as POLST or The Third Way.
In 2009 California legislation was passed approving the right of POLST promoters to blatantly promote their end-of-life (EOL) form to the elderly, disabled, anyone considered to have 6 months or less to live, even babies and youth. The bill, in its original form, sought to gain legalized assisted suicide, but had to settle for a lesser bill allowing them merely to promote this form.
POLST stands for Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. It is a rather brief piece of paper but carries all the force of law behind it. As long as it remains in force it is a legally binding document requiring the medical profession, Hospice, EMTs and residential care facilities to strictly adhere to it or face legal penalties.
If someone should sign such a form years in advance of need and then forget that they signed it, or change their mind, but not cancel the form…well, too bad.
While I do recommend that people obtain medical directives appointing a spokesperson to represent them in the event they can no longer communicate their medical decisions, the POLST form is to be avoided just as much as any Living Will or Advanced Directive that allows one to state years in advance of a life-threatening situation, rejection of medical assistance, treatment or CPR.
The POLST people are calling this the “natural way of death.” Their latest mantra is, We all accept natural child birth why not natural death? POLST is anything but a natural death. It is a forced death aided by large amounts of morphine. Some Hospice facilities now conform to this order, but others do not. It is now necessary to ask the question.
In today’s article, reporter Lisa Krieger, an award winning author on a 4 part series on the Cost of Dying. reports that Lorraine Bayless wanted to die naturally. This is an assumption on the part of Krieger because the woman had not signed any form, according to the article. (“naturally” that’s the new key code for refusing medical care). However, because she had not completed a POLST form, when she collapsed a nurse at her care facility refused to give her CPR and she died. The nurse claimed that she was not permitted to provide CPR. No where in the newspaper article does the reporter question this incredible statement. Why was the nurse prohibited from administering CPR to someone who had never indicated that she didn’t want CPR?
Actually, as far as I know, if there is no Directive whatsoever medical personnel are required to assume that CPR is to be performed as well as all other treatments to sustain life. That’s what the medical profession is for, to sustain life, not encourage death. In the case of Mrs. Bayless, an ambulance was finally called to the scene by passersby, but it was too late then to revive the lady.
Krieger uses this opportunity to include a meaningless quote (a sly advertisement, actually) from one Judy Citko of the Coalition for Compassionate Care in Sacramento (sponsors of the 2009 Assisted Suicide legislation) which specializes in end-of-life planning. It was this group whom Krieger was promoting in her 4 part series.
It is presumed that due to changes in the Party makeup of the Legislators and the fact that their terms of office have been extended through legislation recently passed, Assisted Suicide will most likely be back in the state legislature, if not this year, then the next.
In the meantime, expect a heavy promotion of this POLST form and the cause for a “natural” death. The state of Connecticut is now facing assisted suicide in its legislature along with that state’s version of the POLST referred to as the MOLST - Medical Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment. At least 14 states now have this form and it is being heavily promoted elsewhere.
ObamaCare didn’t need to stipulate any death squads. It is all being handled by the private and non-profit sector which is being given authority to promote their end of life goals.
We are constantly being reminded that all the baby boomers are reaching their seniority, they will flood the hospitals and clinics and doctors offices with their demands for care which the medical and nursing profession are not geared up to provide adequately. Plus all this medical care is causing an explosion of costs to the state and federal government in health care benefits, MediCaid and MediCare.
Signing POLST forms, refusing hospitalization and medical care is one answer to reducing this overtaxing burden of care for America’s deserving citizens. Just encourage them to go quietly into that goodnight.