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Comics Distort Truth On Health Care Bill

Posted Aug 19 2009 4:55pm

By CK Wilde for 3GenFamily Blog

Dear San Jose Mercury News Editor,

When does comedy and caricature slide into lies and slander? In today’s Mallard Fillmore comic. (It featured a caricature of President Obama and suggests that Obama wants to get rid of old people.)

Publishing outright lies is not being fair and balanced. It is reinforcing the lie to people who have heard it through another news sources. It causes more concern and confusion.

I can understand why seniors and their families would be concerned about any change to the health care system they depend upon daily. We hear so many negative stories about other countries’ medical systems.

But, fanning the flames with fear is just so wrong! In this very same paper, you published a report about research ( Study Finds End-of-Life Counseling Improves Mood ) which showed that patients who received end-of-life counseling had a better quality of life and more upbeat mood.

The care, counseling and support my 83 year old father  (and our family) received from hospice after he was diagnosed with terminal cancer was invaluable. It helped make his final days at home better. How I wish that he, and I as his primary caregiver, could have had access to this type of support much earlier.

The vast majority of families who take care of aging relatives don’t have registered nurses, pharmacists, psychologists and other health professionals as family members to provide information and perspective. We struggle trying to piece the puzzle together from the bits given by the various specialists whose advice or prescriptions often conflict.

Most families don’t have the extra money to hire a geriatric counselor. You try to make the best decisions at the time.

But, in my father’s case, it was a dumbfounding shock to have the doctor who recommended putting my father on dialysis (as his kidneys were failing) later tell me that she knew it was a long shot and probably wouldn’t work!

She did not say that before we started.

Would end-of-life counseling have changed my father’s decision on this?

I honestly don’t know.

Here is what I do know: The doctors and hospital where my father was treated happen to own this dialysis clinic. And as his executor, I can vouch that Medicare paid the huge cost of the dialysis and the special drugs that go with the treatment. And, of course the doctor’s bill.

Please don’t incite more fear in our seniors. Don’t publish comics that spread lies.

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© 2009 CK Wilde. All Rights Reserved. Please feel free to link to this post but you must have prior written permission (please use the comments) to reproduce this post either whole or in part.

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