Thursday, March 10, 2011

Selective Killing Fields: POLST in Action

From Human Life Alliance Weekly Wire March 10, 2011

by Julie Grimstad

Hospitals and nursing homes are becoming (or have already become) selective killing fields. POLST (Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment) is another in a long line of efforts to persuade people to refuse medical treatment. Living Wills and Powers of Attorney for Health Care (advance directives) have not been as successful in this area as their creators in the right-to-die movement had hoped they would be. Put quite simply, POLST protocols and laws are the “death with dignity” squad’s latest attempt to select those whose lives are viewed as “futile” in order to ensure their speedy demise. POLST forms are designed to limit the use of life-saving technology, life-sustaining treatment and even ordinary care, such as the provision of food and water. “Compassion” and “patient autonomy” are the alleged motives for promulgating POLST forms. However, a look at their origin tells a different story.

Analysis of the POLST movement “reveals that it is a national effort to manage and control death under the guise of compassion.” (Ethics and Medics, 6/2010, “The Danger of POLST Orders”.) The usual cast of characters is involved in this latest effort to advance the “right to die.” POLST was developed in the 1990’s by the Ethics group at Oregon Health & Sciences University, the group that also developed the Guidebook to the Oregon Death With Dignity Act (Oregon’s physician-assisted suicide law). POLST was developed with grants from George Soros’s Project on Death in America, as well as the Greenwall Foundation and the Cummings Foundation, all frequent sponsors of right-to-die organizations. Compassion & Choices (formerly the Hemlock Society) promotes POLST. (For more detailed information/a timeline, go to POLST was one of the outcomes of the Project on Death in America. On 11/9/2003, the Boston Globe (Carey Goldberg, Globe Staff) reported: “... the Project on Death in America, financed by billionaire George Soros and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, poured more than $200 million over the last decade into end-of-life programs and research.”

The POLST form differs from a Living Will or a Power of Attorney for Health Care (advance directives) because, once signed by a physician, it is the physician’s orders and may therefore be carried out immediately. Furthermore, the law governing advance directives, which requires two physicians to certify that the patient is capable of making medical decisions, will not apply to a POLST form. POLST leaves the patient wide-open for abuse. Read more

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