Your Life Choices

Matthew Fritch
Recently, the VA re-implemented a pamphlet known as "Your Life - Your Choice" dealing with end of life decisions for Veterans.  I have briefly looked it over and here are a few pages to really pay attention to:

Page 24 - this is the page mentions things like you "cant shake the blues" as a possible reason to not continue your life.  You will also notice that it even mentions "I rely on a kidney dialysis machine to keep me alive."  My wife's Stepfather is on dialysis through the VA and that just floored us when we saw it.  There is also this statement at the bottom (which really comes into play latter on) "If you checked "not worth living," does this mean that you would rather die than be kept alive?"

Page 25 - I saw this statement and just could not believe it "I believe that controlling pain is very important, even if the pain medications might hasten my death."

Page 26 - Here is where they try to down play your possible recovery: Imagine that you are very sick and have been told that you will very likely die soon.  I would want all possible treatments, even though my doctors don't think they will help me, because I would hope for a miracle cure that would prolong my life.

Page 40 - This is the page that really tells you what is going on:   "These forms are very specific about your wishes. You can attach them to your advance directive to provide a detailed picture of your preferences."  In other words we will go by these attached notes if you are brought in in such a state that you can not communicate.

Page 41 - The first thing on this page is very suspect.  It asks you to rate how you view your current health and quality of life.

Page 46 - Asks you to rate your life just in case you cannot communicate your feelings.

Page 50 -  All I can say is wow:

5. Your Vision Of A Good Death-If you hope to die in a certain way whether it's at home, in your sleep, with family by your side, or free of pain-tell people.

Page 51 - Here is where they tell you to insist on these items with your health care provider:

Make a special appointment To make sure you've got their attention, make a special appointment with your health  are provider to talk about this. Health care providers are people too-some are uncomfortable talking about end-of-life issues, or have other things on their mind. You don't want to be in a hurry when you have this conversation.  If your health care provider wants to just file your advance directive in your chart without discussing it, don't let that happen! Make sure they know why you feel the way you do. This will make it easier for them to understand and follow your wishes.

Page 53 - Here is the FAQ section:

Q: Is withdrawing treatment considered suicide?

A: Most people would say "no."  Withdrawing or stopping a treatment after it has been started, is one way that patients can exercise their right to refuse treatment especially if the treatment does not seem to be achieving the desired goal. However, some religions believe otherwise.  You may want to check with your religious advisor to be sure.

These are just the few things I noted while I was just skimming the pamphlet, so you can imagine just how much more garbage is in there.  Just from what I have seen I would have to say that this pamphlet is geared towards convincing you to make decisions you would not normally make and then filling it as part of your medical record.  This is truly unconscionable and really needs to be done away with.  Our Veteran's have done so much for our nation and it truly saddens me to see our government use them as guinea pigs in what I am sure will become the standard under Obamacare!
Recently, the VA re-implemented a pamphlet known as "Your Life - Your Choice" dealing with end of life decisions for Veterans.  I have briefly looked it over and here are a few pages to really pay attention to:

Page 24 - this is the page mentions things like you "cant shake the blues" as a possible reason to not continue your life.  You will also notice that it even mentions "I rely on a kidney dialysis machine to keep me alive."  My wife's Stepfather is on dialysis through the VA and that just floored us when we saw it.  There is also this statement at the bottom (which really comes into play latter on) "If you checked "not worth living," does this mean that you would rather die than be kept alive?"

Page 25 - I saw this statement and just could not believe it "I believe that controlling pain is very important, even if the pain medications might hasten my death."

Page 26 - Here is where they try to down play your possible recovery: Imagine that you are very sick and have been told that you will very likely die soon.  I would want all possible treatments, even though my doctors don't think they will help me, because I would hope for a miracle cure that would prolong my life.

Page 40 - This is the page that really tells you what is going on:   "These forms are very specific about your wishes. You can attach them to your advance directive to provide a detailed picture of your preferences."  In other words we will go by these attached notes if you are brought in in such a state that you can not communicate.

Page 41 - The first thing on this page is very suspect.  It asks you to rate how you view your current health and quality of life.

Page 46 - Asks you to rate your life just in case you cannot communicate your feelings.

Page 50 -  All I can say is wow:

5. Your Vision Of A Good Death-If you hope to die in a certain way whether it's at home, in your sleep, with family by your side, or free of pain-tell people.

Page 51 - Here is where they tell you to insist on these items with your health care provider:

Make a special appointment To make sure you've got their attention, make a special appointment with your health  are provider to talk about this. Health care providers are people too-some are uncomfortable talking about end-of-life issues, or have other things on their mind. You don't want to be in a hurry when you have this conversation.  If your health care provider wants to just file your advance directive in your chart without discussing it, don't let that happen! Make sure they know why you feel the way you do. This will make it easier for them to understand and follow your wishes.

Page 53 - Here is the FAQ section:

Q: Is withdrawing treatment considered suicide?

A: Most people would say "no."  Withdrawing or stopping a treatment after it has been started, is one way that patients can exercise their right to refuse treatment especially if the treatment does not seem to be achieving the desired goal. However, some religions believe otherwise.  You may want to check with your religious advisor to be sure.

These are just the few things I noted while I was just skimming the pamphlet, so you can imagine just how much more garbage is in there.  Just from what I have seen I would have to say that this pamphlet is geared towards convincing you to make decisions you would not normally make and then filling it as part of your medical record.  This is truly unconscionable and really needs to be done away with.  Our Veteran's have done so much for our nation and it truly saddens me to see our government use them as guinea pigs in what I am sure will become the standard under Obamacare!