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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Death Panels may not Exist, but DELAY Panels DO EXIST, you just may not have experienced it, but Don Imus probably has and my Father definitely did.

In my opinion, Misplaced Democrat Nancy Armstrong was a victim of the medical system. She wasn't the victim of a "death panel", but from the little I have read at "Free me now", Nancy Armstrong appears to have been the victim of a Delay Squad. Ms. Armstrong reported she had chest pains, but was told that once they subsided, they would do more tests. HUH?

I won't call Ms. Armstrong's lack of treatment the result of a Death panel, but I would classify it death by Delay panel, and in Nancy's case, Delaying was all it took for her to leave two kids and a husband behind.

Delay squads are one way to reduce medical costs while still looking like you are caring for everybody. I witnessed this very thing happen to my father when his prostate cancer was about to take over his body. The key phrase being, "about to take over his body". His kidney function was dropping, so his medical plan scheduled a kidney ultrasound, ONE MONTH LATER! Do you know how critical a one month delay is to someone who is experiencing a significant increase in their PSA score?

As outrageous of a delay as that one month was, I tried to use that time to get a second opinion and to take care of my father's teeth. Even though the second opinion doctor recommended a CT scan and continued use of the Lupron shot, his medical plan only offered a bone scan, and grudgingly only did one final lupron shot.

When I asked if the Lupron shot in conjunction with any other treatment might slow down the advance of his prostate cancer, I was told no. Even though I later found on the internet that combining Lupron with a trial drug produced somewhat startling results. I had made it clear 3 years earlier that my father was willing to be involved in clinical trials, as long as he wasn't given a placebo. The doctors never found anything for my father to participate in even though the doctors claimed they were aware of all the clinical trials going on.
I guess they missed the one above that profiled perfectly for my father, or, my father was simply too old to be eligible for ANY clinical trial.
As for bone scans, they only have limited usefulness. Bone scans rely on the premise that a person's cancer will go directly from where it is, to the bones. So cancer patients who get bone scans and the scans are clear may feel relieved, even though their cancer could be spreading internally from one organ to another without going to the bones!

CT Scans, which cost a lot more, can actually locate the exact spot where cancer may have spread to. CT Scans are more costly as they required a skilled medical evaluator to piece the various layers of the scan together properly, and then interpret the results. CT scans can lead to more costly but effective treatments once it is known exactly where the cancer really is, yet CT Scans are avoided in favor of bone scans for prostate cancer victims, as least they were in my fathers case.

Even Don Imus was given a Bone Scan for his prostate cancer, Don Imus! What a half load of crap that is. Are you in on the deceit Donny Boy? Did you get a CT scan as well but the press release states your bone scan is all you needed in an effort to deceive other men who also have prostate cancer into thinking they are ok because their prostate cancer has not reached the bone yet?
Meanwhile, prostate cancer SLOWLY spreads to other organs while we are told to only worry about it when it reaches the bones. A prostate cancer patient can literally die from cancer waiting for prostate cancer to reach the bones.
Not only that, there are NO CLINICAL TRIAL STUDIES THAT INCLUDE men or women over the age of 70 -75 years.
Not including men or women who are beyond a certain age in clinical trials is a form of death paneling. The results of the elderly DO NOT have to be included in the overall statistical results. Instead, the entire medical industry avoids older patients in studies because they claim they could skew the results in a negative way for people who are younger and who could possibly handle new drugs more effectively than an elderly person could.
The excuse given that older patients may skew the overall results of a clinical trial seem to belie the fact that what helps or does not help a 75 year old clinical trial patient does not have to be included in a study for someone who is 40 years of age.
Do you see the insanity of that? If someone is 75 years old, and they want to try some form of clinical trial, they are DENIED being included in any study because they are TOO OLD! I Call that Death Paneling, and that IS presently going on.
Is it really that complicated to waive the age results over a certain age? No.
But older men and women ARE excluded because why do we want the elderly to live longer? That is the only reason I can come up with for denying clinical trials for men or women over the age of 70.
Elderly men and women are actually being denied one final chance to have a few more years of life in exchange for being involved in clinical trials. The only reason I can see for doing this is to avoid finding a treatment that may extend the lives of those who are in their 70's already. Apparently they already are on a schedule to die, by the system.

So, to anyone who backs Barack Obama's plan, and is outraged that there is talk of death panels, they exist in the form of Delay Panels, and in the form of doing DELAYED, LOWER COST TESTS that won't reveal where cancer is spreading to, until it is too late.

This gives the cancer more time to spread so that when it is found, the only plan left is to offer you Home Hospice Care until your loved one dies. If you want to pass some type of health care system for anybody, make sure it includes TIMELY tests, doesn't exclude CT scans over bone scans every time, and make sure the country is not creating bigger and bigger deficits to fund it. (good luck on the last one).

One final point, my father did receive a lot of excellent medical care, and lets not confuse hospital care with HMO plans. It was the hospital that finally did what the HMO PLAN hid from us as an option, which was give my father a CT Scan, however, by then, the cancer had spread all over and it was just a matter of weeks before my father would pass.

Yet a year earlier, it was a different hospital that kicked my dad out prematurely. I pleaded with that hospital to not release my father because we would not know if they actually fixed the problem or simply provided temporary relief.

I knew we would be back at the hospital emergency room later that same day with a repeat of the same problem, which is EXACTLY what happened, except we never went back to the hospital from the morning. I wonder if perhaps the first hospital kicked my dad out after thread bare care because they did not want to be saddled with the cost of the CT scan, a CT scan that my fathers healthcare plan never discussed as an option with us.

Rather than do a CT scan when it might have extended my father's life by giving us critical information before his cancer began spreading rapidly, the CT scan was only given, almost a year later, to let us know he only had a few weeks to live.

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