âDoctor Deathâ, death panels, euthanasia of our seniors. Those 10 second sound bites have filled the media since the bomb that is HR 3200 was dropped. But letâs step back, back to how all of this started, back to ground zero, back to July 24th. On that day âThe New York Postâ printed an article by Betsy McCaughey titled âDeadly Doctorsâ. In this article McCaughey surgically slices and dices Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the presidentâs new Health Care advisor, on his published writings regarding patient care. I have listed a link to the article below so I wonât go into it too deeply. However I will say McCaughey paints Dr. Emanuel as the devil incarnate. Her only proof of this second coming of evil are the numerous quotes from and references to a number of Dr. Emanuelâs works. At least she properly listed her sources saving me hours of searching the internet for the material. After reviewing her references I discovered every single quote she used was grossly taken out of context. It was also painfully obvious Ms. McCaughey had never read any of Dr. Emanuelâs academic papers, especially the ones she quoted from. If she had she would have read Dr. Emanuel clearly stating in several of these papers, âI am not advocating this.â Can we say, âYellow Journalism?â But this train wreck doesnât stop here. Oh no, like a bad dream it gets worse.
On the floor of the House of Representatives Republican Michele Bachmann blatantly used the McCaughey article as gospel in her attack against the white houseâs appointment of Dr. Emanuel to his new post. From her speech, which is available on âYouTubeâ, it is obvious that Bachmann, like McCaughey, failed to do her homework. But this gets better.
The ex republican vice presidential candidate and ex governor of Alaska (A lot of exâs there donât ya think) the âlate but at least I arrived at the partyâ, Sarah Palin got her two cents in. And like all the rest before her, she boldly marched into the fray armed only with the facts as told by McCaughey. And I quote from her speech:
âRep. Michele Bachmann highlighted the Orwellian thinking of the presidentâs health care advisor, Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of the White House chief of staff, in a floor speech to the House of Representatives. I commend her for being a voice for the most precious members of our society, our children and our seniors.
Of course, itâs not just this one provision that presents a problem. My original comments concerned statements made by Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a health policy advisor to President Obama and the brother of the Presidentâs chief of staff. Dr. Emanuel has written that some medical services should not be guaranteed to those âwho are irreversibly prevented from being or becoming participating citizens….An obvious example are not guaranteeing health services to patients with dementia.â Dr. Emanuel has also advocated basing medical decisions on a system which âproduces a priority curve on which individuals aged between roughly 15 and 40 years get the most chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.â
Actually Palinâs partial quote was from an article written by Dr. Emanuel for the âThe Lancetâ. He was discussing the merits of âThe Complete Life Systemâ. A system he did not create. The exact quote is:
âWhen implemented, The complete Life system produces a priority curve on which individuals aged between 15 and 40 years get the most substantial chance, whereas the youngest and oldest people get chances that are attenuated.â
Itâs a little different once the quote is read in context isnât it.
So who is Dr. Ezekiel J. Emanuel? Dr. Emanuel is an M.D. as well as holding a Ph.D.; Wikipedia lists him as an American NIH bioethicist (the study of ethical controversies brought about by advances in biology and medicine) and a fellow at the nonprofit bioethics research institute âThe Hastings Centerâ. He is a leading opponent of euthanasia laws, sometimes called state-assisted suicide, and a proponent of a Guaranteed Healthcare Access Plan. He held the position of associate professor at Harvard Medical School in 1997 and now holds the position of Director of the Clinical Bioethics Department at the U.S. National Institutes of Health. Dr. Emanuel is also the brother of Rahm Emanuel, the current White House Chief of Staff.
So what are we left with? No death panels, no Doctor Death no euthanasiaâs only misquotes and misrepresentation and a compulsion of stating opinions and suppositions as facts.
Betsy McCaughey was nationally embarrassed by John Stewart on âThe Daily Showâ when she tried to defend her article. She later resigned from her position on the Cantel Medical board never apologizing for her misrepresentation of the facts. Republican Michele Bachmann remains silent on the issue as does âThe New York Postâ. Sarah Palin continues on her merry way, blindly rolling along telling everyone she said nothing wrongâŚagain. Meanwhile every reputable medical journal, medical organization, newspaper (no not âThe Postâ) and magazine has come to the defense of Dr. Emanuel, the only person who seems to have stepped up to the plate. When asked about the rumors surrounding him Dr. Emanuel simply replied, âThis is certainly untrue and a distortion of my record.â No biting retort, no complaints, no political rhetoric, not even a mention that his own sister suffers from Cerebral Palsy. He adds later, “We (the Emanuels) are pretty thick-skinned. I am not going to change my colors. I am not going to crawl under a rock.”
If he did he would have to share it with the likes of Betsy McCaughey and Michele Bachmann.
After watching the widespread anger currently being aimed at the Democratic Party I would have expected better from the GOP. They need to understand that this tidal wave of dissent can as easily sweep Republicans away as Democrats. With Speaker Pelosi screaming at the top of her lungs how all those not in favor of Healthcare Reform are un-American the people need to see one party take the high road. The party that can achieve this will be the party the people follow.
Speaking of taking the high road I would like to add one final note. On July 25th at a Town Hall meeting in Sun City, Arizona Senator John McCain again showed the country and the world what a true American he really is. Below is a section taken from an article by Paul Lester published on âDeadline USAâ.
âDuring the meeting in the retirement community of Sun City, Arizona, Obama’s former rival defend
ed the president after an attendee asked: “Doesn’t he [Obama] know that we still live under a constitution?”
“I’m sure that he does,” McCain said. After the crowd erupted into laughter, the Arizona senator said: “No, no. I am serious. I am sure that he does and I’m sure he respects the constitution.”
“No!” the attendees shouted. McCain responded: “I am absolutely convinced of it. I just believe, my friends, that there is a fundamental difference in philosophy and about the role of government. That is why we have competition for public office and competition amongst parties, and competition about different ideas and vision for the future of America. I’m convinced the president is absolutely sincere in his beliefs.”
McCain pleaded for a more civilized debate on healthcare: “He is sincere in his beliefs, we just happen to disagree. And he is the president. And let’s be respectful.â
I wish more of our representatives on âThe Hillâ had the honor and courage Senator John McCain showed by crossing party lines to defend his ex rival and his president. He is the essence of what it means to be a true America.
As a footnote to all of this several senators have decided to exclude a provision on End-Of-Life care from the House version of the Healthcare Reform proposed bill. Senator Chuck Grassley of Iowa, top Republican on the Senate Finance Committee, said in a statement on August 13th that the provision had been dropped from consideration because it could be misinterpreted or implemented incorrectly. Someone is listening.