Thursday, March 31, 2005


Living wills and wonts

Ms. Schiavo died today. May her soul rest in peace and her body be treated with respect.

I fear that a loud and highly opinionated orthodoxy (meaning only those who KNOW that theirs is the "right and true doctrine") have used Terri's family dysfunction as a platform from which to proclaim their agenda. And since powerful people (oh... like the president, for example) are in that right-righteous band, I fear that public policy will be shifted toward those beliefs and away from principles of ethics. I fear that it will become more difficult to enable dignity and grace in the end of life, and mandated to prolong needless and even horrid suffering.

I hope that advance directives and living wills become a routine part of life, a gift the robust and healthy living give to their families and to society, so that in the event that the circumstance arises that the living will is invoked, their wishes will be clear guidance.

Remember: a living will can instruct to "keep alive against all odds" as well as "remove support if the chance of quality life is small". Living wills are not a tool of the right nor left on this issue.

A month of the senior high school curriculum in "health education" could be devoted to death and dying, and a project could be to create a living will to help clarify thoughts. By age eighteen, such a living will would be ethically binding. A horror to contemplate, but deicisions about teminally injured or ill teenagers need to be made every day.

Dignity. Autonomy. Freedom from pain. End to suffering. Peace in the hearts of our loved ones.

(note the Print LIVING WILL FORM on my "links")

Wednesday, March 30, 2005


life and death and the Big Mac

The news media mouths (and thus the public) are stridently arguing (not debating, for a debate is formal and polite) the withholding of feedings of Terri Schiavo. The Pope just got a gastrostomy tube to feed him in his end-stage Parkinson's Disease. An American child dies of malnutrition every twenty minutes. Thousands around the world die of starvation every hour. McDonalds announces their new 750 calorie breakfast sandwich. Coca-Cola prohibits the sale of "small" size fountain drinks: just medium, large, and jumbo (thus redefing the middle as the smallest and emphasizing the largest as the best). (97% of the world's population recognizes the Coca-Cola logo.) Obesity is the number one "preventable" health problem in the "industrialized" nations, starvation the number one kller in the "third world".

$300 buys a breeding pair of llamas and pays for the education of a Guatemalan to raise, care for, and breed the llamas. The board meeting dinners cost $40 each for forty attendees, and the fare is mediocre yet extravagant and rapidly forgotten (most of it pushed aside on the plate, the eye appeal exceeding the palate appeal). Five Guatemalan families could have generations of lives changed for that same money. But won't.


The blog begins.....

Welcome to my web log.

I am almost 53 years old. I am a family physician for a quarter of a century. I started this BLOG today to share my musings about life.

I was the most optimistic and idealistic of youths and I am now the most cynical of geezers. The youth that still lives within battles daily with the cynic who walks in my shoes. It has become difficult to be this contrary beast with two heads.

My everpresent sensation is that I see naked emperors all around me reveling in their fine new clothes. I have a compulsion to point out their nakedness, yet find myself mocked at best and attacked and ostracized at worst for indulging my compulsion. I wonder if I am delusional and that the emperor is actually clothed and it is my eyes that are defective.

My intention is to blog daily and to share my life and observations.

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