Dear friend of KHCS,
Not long ago the world’s attention was
captured by the plight of a disabled Florida woman, Terri Schindler-Shiavo,
who suffered major a loss of brain function in 1990. After years of
refusing any rehabilitative therapy, her husband, Michael Schiavo,
finally won the right to have her feeding tube removed, causing her to
die of dehydration and starvation. This, to me, was beyond a tragedy.
It was a disgrace.
It also strikes home to me, as my
father went through something similar at Eisenhower Medical Center in
1998. After having a tracheotomy removed, he was unable to swallow and
needed a feeding tube. One day, he pulled it out and the doctor
insisted that he was depressed and wanted to die.
Now, read this carefully as it
may save your life or that of a loved one. I grabbed a clipboard and
some paper and asked my father to write down what he wanted. Well, the
result looked like a seismograph and was totally illegible. So I wrote
some words and phrases on the paper and asked him to point to what it
was he wanted. It turned out that he pulled the feeding tube because it
hurt, and he wanted something to eat.
The doctors said he could aspirate the
food, catch pneumonia and die.
I told them that without food, he positively
would die, so which was the better risk management? That brought them
up short. It seems that Eisenhower Medical Center has a Department of
Risk Management or something similar. We were able to scrounge some
pudding and get a few spoonfuls down. My wife Carolyn and I visited
several times a day, feeding my father baby food and pudding. We were
able to get him well enough to bring him home.
Now, I have some suggestions, learned from
1. Prepare a Durable Power of Attorney for Health Care and an
Advance Directive for every adult member of your family, and have these
notarized. You can use a printed form, a software program, or try the
Christian Medical and Dental Association website,
http://www.cmdahome.org Having a limited
financial power of attorney to manage assets is a good idea too.
2. If you are named executor of a Power of Attorney for someone who is
in a hospital and has difficulty communicating, show up at the hospital
as often as you can. Several times a day, if possible. Don’t be afraid
to be a pest; show that you are paying attention and expect proper care.
3. If the patient has difficulty communicating,
don’t expect the doctors and nurses to take the time to try. They
won’t. You have to do it. It may take over an hour to communicate one
thought. This requires patience and creativity.
4. Don’t be afraid to get a second opinion. When
Eisenhower’s resident psychiatrist declared my father to be depressed
and wanting to die, I called in another psychiatrist to provide a
contrary diagnosis. You say the insurance company won’t pay for it?
Then pay for it yourself. You’re not their slave.
5. In the event that a loved one does pass on, I
hope that they have a valid will or Living Trust to designate the
disbursement of assets. This could provide some certainty to your
family in what is already an emotionally trying time.
Designating a portion of your will to
worthy ministries such as your church or the ministry of Joy 92-FM
will help ensure that the Lord’s work continues even when you’re
with Him. Your own financial advisor can help you with this, or, if you
don’t have one, please contact us here at KHCS.
In other news . . . your responses to
our recent survey show that you want KHCS to bring you interviews
with local Christian leaders, and issues of community interest. As our
staff is “maxxed-out” with our current work-load, we need additional
personnel to bring you the programming enhancements you want to hear.
Your generous, tax-deductible contributions are needed immediately to
help us provide these much-desired improvements to our programming
Please contribute as generously and as
faithfully as you can.
P.S. Our goal is to provide maximum ministry to the maximum number
of listeners. It is important that you return your survey as soon as
here for a copy of the 2005 Survey
KHCS - Joy92
PO Box 2507
Palm Springs, CA 92263