Why Americans Can't Die With Dignity

Mother Jones headline with a simple, one word answer:


*pause while I read article*

As recently as the 1960s, "medicine did not routinely stave off death among the very old," journalist Katy Butler points out in Knocking On Heaven's Door, her new book about modern medicine's tendency to overtreat, particularly at the end of people's lives. Butler chronicles the deaths of her parents—her father's slow decline after a debilitating stroke and her mother's refusal to succumb to "Hail Mary" surgeries—and in so doing offers an unflinching look at the "perverse economic incentives" that reward doctors for procedures over humane care.

Hey, they got it right!
Score one for alternative newsmagazines who's operating budget doesn't rely on ad dollars.

Mom had great difficulties in life, but she nailed her exit.
DNR, at home Hospice care, and passed away peacefully in the corner of the living room by the sliding glass door.

A reply to a question about 'death panels':
 KB: I think there is medical rationing in the United States, and there is undertreatment of the elderly. It's just that intensive care is not where it occurs. People are overtreated in intensive care; one-fifth of people die in intensive care and almost anyone you talk to will say, "I don't want to die plugged into machines." That's a universal horror. Three-quarters of people say they want to die at home, but only a quarter of people actually do.
The elderly are extremely undertreated in terms of things like palliative care, hospice, home services. We don't aggressively pursue things that help people have a better quality of life in their last five years. What we do aggressively pursue are extremely profitable, money-making interventions that have the potential of creating enormous suffering at the end of life.

All true, and all a direct result of the 'for profit' medical industrial complex our chosen national religion has saddled us with.

'Obamacare' is a first halting step down the long road of replacing our current profit-extraction model of health care with something saner.
Here's hoping it doesn't end up being a complete cluster$%&#.

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