She was determined to fulfill her father’s dearest wish, the wish so common among frail, elderly people: to die at home. But it seemed as if all the forces of the health care system were against her — hospitals, nursing homes, home health agencies, insurance companies, and the shifting crosscurrents of public health care spending. The NYT reports in depth on a single case
, a snapshot of the typical end-of-life care situation in the United States. A worthwhile but disturbing long read, potentially very upsetting if you've lost a loved one in a similar managed care setting. [more inside]
The Ultimate End of Life Plan.
"...Torn, I called my mother's internist. 'I know your mother well enough, and I respect her,' he said. 'She doesn't want to risk a surgery that could leave her debilitated or bound for a nursing home. I think I would advise the same decision if it was my Mom.'
I called my mother and said, 'Are you sure? The surgeon said you could live to be 90.'
'I don't want to live to be 90,' she said.
'I'm going to miss you,' I said, weeping. 'You are not only my mother. You are my friend.'
That day I stopped pressuring my mother to live forever and began urging her doctors to do less rather than more. A generation of middle-aged sons and daughters are facing this dilemma, in an era when advanced medical technologies hold out the illusion that death can be perfectly controlled and timed."
"You will not find a group less in favor of automatically aggressive, invasive medical care than intensive care nurses, because we see the pointless suffering it often causes in patients and families. Intensive care is at best a temporary detour during which a patient’s instability is monitored, analyzed, and corrected, but it is at worst a high tech torture chamber, a taste of hell during a person’s last days on earth.
Last operational flight of the F-14s
Speaking of gravity-defying cats
Remember the F-14
, Tom Cruise's favorite ride
? It's the end of an era
for the venerable warbird
. The variable-geometry
Tomcat was the last carrier aircraft built specifically for fleet defense and long-range interception -- in fact, it grew up with a dedicated weapon system
just for the job. Like any cat with nine lives, it showed up doingnew and different things
. In its later years it found a new role as a precision-strike aircraft
(the "BombCat") and nearly lived to be the bridge
to the new F-35
multirole Joint Strike Fighter.
Excuse the warmongering. What can I say...I was bored with the lousy NFL early games on TV this afternoon.
Dutch Legalize Euthanasia
"The Netherlands has become the first country in the world to legalise mercy killing after a controversial law on euthanasia came into force on Monday."
While tolerated for nearly two decades, opponents are comparing the practice to Nazi Geramny. Is this a step forward for those living with severe pain and no hope in sight?