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7May/110

Need A Death Panel? HMOs Already Got You Covered

So my dad is very sick, lying in hospital bed at his house, unable to walk, speak,  eat or use the bathroom without help.  Over the past 18 months he has developed severe dementia.  We thought he was just slowly fading away.

He has been to the doctor many times, and is now, basically, waiting to die in my mom's living room.  Just a yesterday, a visiting nurse let it slip that the doctors at the HMO have known all along what was wrong with him.  It's this:

Normal Pressure Hydrocephalus (NPH)

I looked it up, the symptoms are exactly what my dad has:

  • mental impairment and dementia
  • problems with walking,
  • and impaired bladder control leading to urinary frequency and/or incontinence.

It's a terrible thing, but it's also curable and there is a procedure that could make him whole again.  The site says this:

"While the success of treatment with shunts varies from person to person, some people recover almost completely after treatment and have a good quality of life."

However, the HMO has decided that he is "too old" to have the procedure.   My dad took great care of his body for 82 years.  He is the healthiest person I have ever known.  Then this thing hit him like a ton of bricks, and he faded into oblivion.  He could be saved, and live another great 10 years, but "it has been decided by the power that be at the HMO" that he is too old for it.

If that is not a "death panel", I have no idea what a "death panel" might be.   Where are the "Anti-Health Care Reform People" when there is something to really shout about? Oh I guess when it is a corporation making those decisions, and not the government, then it's OK.

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