Thursday, August 27, 2009

Betsy McCaughey Won't Go Away

For some reason Betsy McCaughey has an op-ed in today's WSJ entitled "Obama's Health Rationer-in-Chief". Two questions:
1. Why is this whacknut being given such a prominent forum to express her disjointed views?
2. Doesn't the WSJ have an unspoken responsibility to the national discourse not to promulgate garbage? I mean, has the Journal lost its last shred of integrity? Is it all Rupert Murdoch's fault?

In this piece, McCaughey demonizes Dr. Ezekiel Emanuel, a prominent medical ethicist, as the grand wizard of rationing and euthanasia. Basically she cherry picks quotes from Emanuel to build her flimsy case. She's appalled that he has the gall to suggest that implementing expensive, futile, unproven treatment options may not be in the best interest of society at large, let alone the patient herself.

This woman is an unabashed liar and an intellectual lightweight. Whether it's ranting about the so-called death panels or penning an unworthy character assassination on a reputed ethicist, she has demonstrated that there are no limits in her quest to dumb down the debate and advance her political agenda. It's an embarassment.

Dr. Emanuel doesn't have all the answers. But he has demonstrated an intellectual curiosity that is sorely lacking from the right. He has the gall to ask fundamental questions about real life issues that too often we choose to ignore or sweep under the rug. Ought we to extend public medical care to demented, incapacitated Americans indefinitely? Is it right to approve experimental, expensive chemotherapy regimens for patients with metastatic cancer when the regimen may, at best, only extend life by 2 or 3 months? These are real life scenarios that we as physicians see every day. It isn't just a thought experiment. We need to have this discussion. We need an intelligent debate. But not this partisan oversimplification, name-calling and exaggerations. It's beneath us.....

By the way, Ezekiel Emanuel is unequivocally opposed to euthanasia and physician-assisted suicide. Read about it here if you like.

12 comments:

Joseph Sucher, MD FACS said...

Buckeye,

I recognize your correct argument about extreme right wing views. I have missed any commentary from you about extreme left wing views. However, there does stand some true integrity near the middle.

I am not so interested in the far right and left. I am interested more in the black hole that remains concerning personal responsibility. You and I are faced every day with the simple truth that members of our society lack self respect and responsibility for their own health. I am tired of the political arguments of the right and left (albeit it valid). I would like to hear your more eloquent opinion concerning the impact of how persons take care of themselves.

JFS

Frank Drackman said...

Ummm Buckeye, that Whacknut (Is that a real word?)Ms. McCaughey is a DEMOCRAT... and she's got as many fancy letters after her name as that Creepy Ezekiel guy...
Seriously, aren't 99% of Oncologists and 99.9% of Medical Ethicists the WORST at actually dealing with real live patients?? They always seem to be the ones that you'd find alone in the Gross Anatomy lab at 3am... a month after the course was finished...
And don't wanta speak ill of the dead, but what the heck, someones gotta do it...
Ted Kennedy lived 16 Months with a tumor the average Joe'd be lucky to live 30 days with... HE didn't get a Blue Pill and a Hospice referral, he got whatever friggin DaVinci/Galileo Surgery/Radiation/Chemo they give at Duke, and he DIDNT pay for it, trust me on this...
And if you don't want people to cherry pick your creepy quotes, don't refer to patients "LIFE-YEARS"... sounds scary...
Just wait till the Prez gets Lung Cancer, they'll friggin burn down South America lookin for the magic pill...

Frank

rrs said...

buckeye its high time you got one of those one-click website options for readers to post your blog-posts on their facebook/twitter/whatever.

ParatrooperJJ said...

Rahm is not only talking about public dollars, he will forbid people using their own money to seek out healthcare that he disaproves of. What he wants most is control over all aspects of healthcare, that gives him and his party power.

Buckeye Surgeon said...

rrs-
I'm not quite sure what that means.

Anonymous said...

So, since everybody's telling ya what you should be doing (LOL). I'll put my order in for more surgical experiences, and can I have fries and a Coke with that? I get a lot out of those experiences where you just tell me about your thought process, putting in what your intuition tells you and how you weigh your options, what matters, what doesn't... a little about the patient. I can visualize the whole thing on some of your posts. I rarely comment after reading those posts, but I get so much from them.

-SCNS

Orac said...

"Rahm is not only talking about public dollars, he will forbid people using their own money to seek out healthcare that he disaproves of. What he wants most is control over all aspects of healthcare, that gives him and his party power."

Really? Got evidence for that assertion? Got citations of Emmanuel's words that demonstrate that he will forbid people from using their own money to seek out health care that he disapproves of?

I won't hold my breath waiting for your answer.

Anonymous said...

Since the WSJ and Fox "News" are both owned by Rupert Murdoch, it seems logical for them to share content, although the target audiences are as different as chalk and cheese. Perhaps Murdoch considers McCaughey a kinder, gentler rabble-rouser better suited to WSJ readers.

The more I read inanities like McCaughey's in the WSJ, the more I like The Economist and the FT.

shadowfax said...

Jeff -- thanks for posting this. Since she is getting attention in the media, it's important to repeat over and over that she is completely FOS.

As for the WSJ op-ed page, it's been slightly to the right of the John Birch Society since long before Murdoch purchased it.

Drackman,

You're an idiot. McCaughey is a Democrat in about the same way the Larouches are. Which is to say, not at all, and an open member of the conservative movement. And she has zero credibility in health care policy.

And the oncologists I have known have been the warmest human beings. Dealing with terminally ill patients tends to bring out the humanist in us all.

Anonymous said...

Medicare already doesn't pay for unproven or non-effective treatments. It seems to work well, you have the patient sign a form stating they know it isn't covered and they will pay for it. Submit it to Medicare with any peer review medical literature supporting the effectiveness of the procedure. The documentation will be reviewed by nurses and doctors, and either paid or denied based on the documentation. There are multiple levels of appeal, there are doctors involved, the patient is advised, if it is reasonable, it may make it into a local coverage determination policy to make future payment easier.

There is no reason something along these lines could not be implemented. Private insurance will certainly deny payment for things under lesser pretense.

Disclaimer: I work for a Medicare contractor.

Anonymous said...

I'll second shadowfax....frank's an idiot. GBM standard tx is combined chemotherapy/radiation followed by chemotherapy alone(temozolomide) whether you are a senator or a ditch digger. Go harass HH on codes or something else productive.

rrs said...

what i was referring to are the "share" buttons on many news pages now which give the reader the option to link the article/blog post/whatever, to their twitter/facebook/etc online networking sites.

check out a NY Times article. At the beginning of the article, there is a box on the right with options: email, send to phone,.... share.
if you click the share button you can directly link the article to your profile on your networking site of choice.