The Norman Transcript

Letters

June 1, 2013

Living will misunderstood

NORMAN — Editor, The Transcript:

In discussing living wills, some people still use the term “death panels,” coined by Sarah Palin in 2009. This myth was used and is still used to try to derail the Affordable Care Act. Reduced cancer treatments caused by budget cuts are now blamed on this Act.

My wife and I both have living wills but she will not give hers to any medical institutions anymore after an experience an older family member had at a large Oklahoma City hospital.

When this relative’s daughter asked why no treatment was being given for her pneumonia, the hospital staff replied that she had a living will that asked that she receive “no resuscitation.” Therefore, they concluded that she wanted nothing to prevent death. The daughter insisted treatment be given and she recovered and was able to go home.

When my wife mentioned our experience to some medical professionals later, they insisted that the living will was not meant to withhold all treatment for any condition an older person developed.

Most people don’t believe in “death panels,” but I am concerned there are many people that, because of costs, advocate reduced needed medical care for our older citizens.

EDWARD V. HARRIS

Hugo

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