If the next medical ethic to go is physician and health care conscience clause, what will be the consequence?
The largest generational cohort in American history, the
Baby Boomers, will be the first Americans to be denied available
effective life-saving treatments for reasons of cost. The seeds for
this mass liquidation have already been planted.
This is not sci-fi. This is in the works now. Imagine…
Imagine that it is 2016, and you are a 65 year old
boomer. You have been admitted to your local community hospital with
malaise, fatigue, vomiting and cloudy mental status. You have had blood
pressure problems and diabetes for a few years, and have just been
diagnosed with renal failure. As you drift in and out of consciousness,
you are vaguely aware your old family practice physician, who had taken
care of you for 20 years, is not around. A religious man, he quietly
retired from medical practice in 2014, after the full force of the
Obama administration‘s removal of conscience protection for physicians
in February, 2009, came into effect.
You feel vaguely uncomfortable as you are placed in a darkened room
in the Comfort Care wing of the hospital. In moments of lucidity, you
wonder if you shouldn’t have some oxygen, an IV or SOMETHING! But the
appropriate therapy, kidney dialysis, is not on the approved list of
treatments for patients over 65, having been deemed too expensive. The
new regulations from the Department of Health and Human Services were
presented just last month to your hospital’s Futile Care Committee. It
was decided at the highest levels that for those over 65 years of age,
renal dialysis would not be a beneficial treatment, that the
alternatives of a kidney transplant were too expensive, and that your
quality of life on chronic dialysis would be too diminished.
Oh, but there’s more…
Your children wonder why you are not in an ICU. They are
told that you will be placed on a morphine drip to make you more
comfortable as you pass away, and that this is the highest standard of
care for your diagnosis and age. It is called terminal sedation. You
signed an advanced directive indicating that you did not want
extraordinary care for a terminal condition, and under the new
protocols renal failure, although treatable, qualifies as a terminal
Your children frantically try to find their old family doctor. But
your health plan replaced him with a large group of younger physicians,
the hospital’s Consortium for Health, a private-public foundation that
was created to promote efficiency and reduce wasteful spending in
medical care. By 2014 when he left, your family doctor was a dinosaur,
having been trained in an earlier era. His medical school was one of
the last to retain the original Hippocratic Oath. It affirmed the
covenantal relationship between the physician and patient, overseen by
God, and that whatever the physician did would be for the patient’s
benefit. You had felt safe entrusting your health to Dr. O’Brien’s
You can’t afford that sense of complacency anymore.
Your doctor (and many other Americans) believed that
failure to protect physician conscience will destroy the trust and
accountability that is essential to the physician patient relationship.
If the physician and patient cannot freely collaborate, ultimately
another agenda — that of the health plan or state — will replace it, to
We directly confront these issues on ‘America’s Lifeline’ each week. Tune in, be informed and be prepared.