Friday, October 30, 2009

Kill the Diagnosis, Not the Patient

by Bobby Schindler
October 23, 2009

With all of the current debate in the United States over President Obama’s proposed health care legislation, people seem to have firmly chosen sides—based on their political leanings and not necessarily the actual content of the bill, HR 3200.

In a nation that professes a profound reverence for the lives and wellness of its citizens, it is no argument that our system of healthcare delivery fails many patients and that insurance companies and health maintenance organizations have long dodged the bullet of responsibility when they’ve rationed care or denied coverage for certain types of treatments and therapies. That rationing and denial of coverage is most rampant among our most vulnerable citizens—when such treatments and therapies are essential for daily living. And now the government wants in.

Though our current system is in serious need of repair, many fear that a government-run system could open the doors for bureaucrats to make decisions in life and death for patients whose diagnoses are less than promising. This becomes most alarming when certain diagnoses can equal a death sentence for someone who is helpless to save themselves.

On September 20, 2009, Scientific American published a report titled “Conditional Consciousness: Patients in Vegetative States Can Learn, Predicting Recovery.” Citing a study published by Nature Neuroscience, the report states that patients who were previously diagnosed as being in a vegetative state were able to relearn behaviors—suggesting cognition in people who had failed more traditional tests for cognitive function and awareness. Read more.

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