Friday, November 13, 2009

Why Sarah Palin is Wrong About "Death Panels"

Sarah Palin peddles "death panels" absurdity at doctors' peril

Regardless of what many people -- liberals and conservatives alike -- seem to think, Sarah Palin is not nearly as intriguing an individual as many seem to think.

But one thing Palin certainly has a gift for is provoking controversy then not backing away -- which is precisely what she has done since stirring up a hornet's nest with her "death panels" remarks over the summer.

In a recent post on her Facebook profile, Palin has pushed that button once again.

"We had been told there were no 'death panels' in the bill either," Palin wrote. "But look closely at the provision mandating bureaucratic panels that will be calling the shots regarding who will receive government health care."

As was noted when Palin originally brought up the issue, what she's actually referring to are panels providing counselling on end of life issues.

Rarely has the reason precisely why Palin is so wrong on this issue been made as crystal clear as in a recent episode of House MD.

In the episode, Dr Greg House (Hugh Laurie) and Dr James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) travel to a medical conference where Wilson plans to recite a paper about the need for support for doctors who may need to consider helping a terminal patient end their own life.

As the episode points out, it's simply naive to believe that doctors who deal with the most agonizing and deadly illnesses don't practice euthanasia, and it may even simply be dogmatic to pretend that it isn't the humane thing to do.

On that note, it's actually extremely inhumane to leave doctors with nowhere to turn when forced to make the decision between helping a patient end their own life or forcing that patient to live out the last hours of their life in agony.

Whether Sarah Palin wants to call them "death panels" or not, the fact is that these boards are badly needed. Not merely in the United States, but everywhere in the world.

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