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Stories like this are sad indeed ...

Posted Nov 10 2008 4:17pm

Stories like this are sad indeed.  It comes back to the dollar and someone playing "God" to determine who gets treatment and who does not.  Granted personalized medicine tests will help in time, not only from the actual treatment side, but from the information side of things as well.  Right now, the patient has the prescription from her physician, denied from the insurance company, so evidently the physician feels it will help.  Does her doctor not know best?  If it were me, I would be with the doctor all the way as the payment side of things takes a very non human approach and runs statistics only, which does not really concern anyone, of course, unless it is YOU.  

image A second point here, where is all the money going for cancer research?  We are spending the money and we do not have tests yet that can give us the additional information, so are we also denying some valuable research information in this process as well?  I would say yes as the gathering process is alive, moving and shaking every day.  Wouldn't the FDA on one hand perhaps want some additional information to be added to the new Sentinel data system from a patient such as this?  Good question.

So, in short, someone is making a very economic decision here and forgetting the value of human life as we once knew it.  I say that as the value of life as we have known it, is deteriorating around us in more ways than one.  Physicians are humanitarians, there to help advise and potentially save our lives; however can they function in the way they believe and are trained in medical school, I think not, and that is a shame.  Read any physician's blog out there and you can't miss it. 

Humanitarians or bean counters, who will win the battles?  Are we slowing becoming a society of decision makers that decide who are the "throw away people"?   Yes, that is an ugly term, but that is what is happening today.  You can potentially work to save a life if one feels it is economically feasible?  Also, there is still plenty of money in the till for the insurers to set up shop in China, again, at the expense of providing health care here in the US, so they will undoubtedly have all the same types of issues to look forward to in time. 

Everyone loses here, especially the patient, and everyone wonders why nobody wants to buy insurance?  Healthcare and the insurance business are far from being on the same track.  BD 

The news from Barbara Wagner's doctor was bad, but the rejection letter from her insurance company was crushing. Barbara Wagner Barbara Wagner (Paul Carter/Register-Guard) The 64-year-old Oregon woman, whose lung cancer had been in remission, learned the disease had returned and would likely kill her. Her last hope was a $4,000-a-month drug that her doctor prescribed for her, but the insurance company refused to pay. What the Oregon Health Plan did agree to cover, however, were drugs for a physician-assisted death. Those drugs would cost about $50.

"The reason is that hospice care, where most patients are at the end of life is relatively inexpensive," Anne Martens, spokesman for Washington's Death With Dignity Initiative, told

"My reaction is pretty typical," he told "I am sick and tired of the dollar being the bottom line of everything. We need to put human life above the dollar."

ABC News: Oregon Furor: Drugs for Death, Not Life

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