Advance Directives Update

Barbara Coombs Lee has a follow-up diary at Daily Kos on the US Conference of Catholic Bishops’ directive that mandates that Catholic health care facilities employ feeding tubes and other life-prolonging measures even when an individual’s living will specifically prohibits it. When I last posted on this, I’d sent out an email to a number of Catholic hospitals and hospices across the state to see if any of them were planning to ignore the directive.

It’s been five days, and I haven’t heard any responses from any of the 10 contacts I was able to find. In the comments of the original post on this, Joel Connelly claimed to have spoken with an administrator who says her facility will ignore the directive. I got that person’s name from Connelly today and emailed her directly. I’m still waiting for a reply.

UPDATE: Joel Connelly is up to some more shenanigans in the comments. He writes:

After asking for my assistance today, you deliberately distort what I heard up at the Bellingham City Club forum.

Absolutely not. I’ve distorted nothing. Here’s what you said to me, with a link to the comment:

As one with a living will, I’ve been told several times by Catholic hospital administrators that my wish not to be kept alive by artificial means would be fully respected.

I emailed you today with the following request:

I emailed as many Catholic hospitals and hospices as I could find contact emails for and not a single one has emailed me back saying that they will ignore the end-of-life instructions given to them by the bishops. If you have contact info for the person or persons who told you so, please forward that on to me.

You wrote back with the name of the person I then emailed. Either you’re not following what you’re saying to me or you’re deliberately trying to lie. Which is it?

Comments

  1. 2

    Daddy Love spews:

    I kinda think we need state laws that mandate that the wishes of the individual must be given ultimate consideration, fucking Catholics be damned.

  2. 3

    Mark1 spews:

    I’m sure it’s not high (don’t get all giddy & excited Lee) on their list of priorities to respond to a chronic stoner who is a mostly totally unknown irrelvant blogger and not a real reporter or journalist. Nice try Lee, keep on waitin’….

  3. 4

    joel connelly spews:

    Lee:
    After asking for my assistance today, you deliberately distort what I heard up at the Bellingham City Club forum.
    The administrator of St. Joseph Hospital:
    a) Strongly encouraged people to develop living wills, giving directions on treatment if incapacitated;
    b) Described creation of a hospice at which people can peacefully live out their last days — an alternative to the hospital ward;
    c) Said that the hospital would administer drugs to relieve pain even in knowledge that this might hasten death.
    The whole emphasis, the whole thrust of the forum, was on creation of living wills, on making wishes known, on consulting with physician and family and trusted friends.
    Such issues are too important to be reduced to a screech, or manipulated to condemn a given religion. Horses Ass reeks of anti-Catholic bigotry.
    As a person with a living will, I am absolutely confident its provisions would be respected by the Providence medical system, and by St. Joseph.
    Instead of giving vent to prejudice against a religion, why don’t you make the constructive argument that people ought to create living wills.

  4. 5

    Richard Pope spews:

    I just happen to have a big problem with cutting off food and water to someone who is incapable of feeding on their own.

    I don’t have a problem with terminating artificial respiration and other mechanical means when the situation is warranted.

    I don’t exactly like assisted suicide either. But if someone is competent and able to choose lethal drugs and take them, I will support their right to do so. Assisted suicide actually makes more sense than starving or dehydrating a defenseless person to death.

    Now, I can support an exception for someone like Terri Schiavo. In that case, she had persisted in a vegetative state for years, and there was careful and considered judicial decision making.

    Bottom line — Catholic hospitals are run by the Catholic church. If you choose to go to one, then you end up subject to their rules. They aren’t going to starve you to death, nor will they perform an abortion for that matter. If medicine can’t do anymore for you, and it is otherwise okay for your next-of-kin/representative in your living will to have you starved to death, then simply transfer the patient to a nursing home or hospice (much cheaper than a hospital!) that is willing to follow these instructions.

  5. 6

    spews:

    @5
    Well said, Richard.

    What’s sad is that this entire ridiculousness started after I said essentially what you’re saying, that if you have an advance directive that conflicts with Catholic doctrine, you should just avoid a Catholic hospital or hospice. That’s it. Apparently, that’s all it takes around here to be labeled as a bigot.

  6. 8

    sarah68 spews:

    Joel, it was the US Catholic Bishops who issued the directive to hospitals to ignore legal medical directives. As far as I know (and you probably, also), they ARE the Catholic Church in America. Dissenting from that cruel, interfering directive is hardly prejudice against a religion.

    It’s great that you have made out your instructions as to how you want to be treated. Good luck if you’re in a Catholic hospital. But you probably won’t know if your wishes are carried out.

  7. 10

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    The idea that a hospital would want to respond to ther sort of provocative letter Lee is likely to have written is worthy of Glenn Beck or that “producer” O Teally sends out on ambuch jobs.

    Joel’s points seem pretty clear and pretty much consistent with policies that exist at most hospitals.

    As a devout atheist, one thing I have always admired in the Church is the confessional. I wonder if Lee needs to go to confession?

  8. 11

    Karl Hungus spews:

    if you dont like how the Catholics do things, then dont go to their hospitals.

    why is that so hard to comprehend?

  9. 13

    proud leftist spews:

    SJ @ 10
    There is much to say for the confessional. As a Lutheran, or a renegade Catholic, I like our style of confessional. I walk out into the woods, or to Pioneer Square, or into the bathroom with my head in my hands, and confess that which I feel needs expression. No priest, no intermediary. Just me, straight to God. That’s what Luther and the Reformation gave us Christians. But, regardless, whether atheist, agnostic, or religious, we all know we do wrong (unless we are sociopaths). Acknowledging such, in some way, heals.

  10. 14

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @13 ..

    Well, I think the confessional is really a lot different than any kind of introspection. I like the idea that the priest cares … hopefully representing the Church whether or not the Deity is involved.

    Judaism has no real equivalent. We do have self conmfessionals, esp at Yom Kippur, but Rabbis lack the magic powers of priests or even Lutheran ministers. While individual Rabbis may be empathic, their job is more educational and legalistic then the jobs of Christian clergy.

    One friend of mine is an aetheist, closeted jesuit priest! He is one of the most empathic people I have ever met … maybe the best of all worlds “jesus” w/o the whole God forgiving man for what God made man do!

    The sad thing about people like Lee is they lose the chance to learn from what is good in the church.

  11. 15

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    Richard, a

    As Joel’s correspondent wrote, the reality is a lot less stark then Lee makes out.

    I have never seen or heard of an incident where any American hospital withheld relief from suffering because of some belief that life needs to be preserved at any cost.

    If anything the more common issue is the kinds of care that go on in religious hospices that put divine healing or soem quackery in front of what medicine can get done. I personally have seen this happen to two dear friends … on a Christian Scientist the other cared for by a devout chiropractor.

    As much as I beleive in the rights of each of us to choose how to suffer, I find the care given in such settings terribly cruel.

    If Lee is really in need of some crusade, I suspect he could do more good by railing against the practices of natruropaths, faith healers and just plain quacks.

  12. 16

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    Joel

    I think the idea that we ALL should have a living will makes good sense.

    I wonder if this might not become a service of insurance companies after we get thru the republican obstructionism?

  13. 17

    proud leftist spews:

    14
    I was talking about more than introspection–I consider babbling out loud, even if nothing more than the Four Winds might hear the babbling, more than introspection. You seem to value absolution, someone else telling you that it’ll be alright. I don’t need that anymore, even if I still might appreciate, every now and again, someone patting me on the shoulder and saying, “it’ll be alright. You’re okay.”

  14. 19

    Mathew "RennDawg" Renner spews:

    Wow, expecting religious institutions to follow there dogmas. How dare they do that. We must force them to abandon there beliefs. After all how can we force down the things we want if they can ignor it. (This is satire in case you did not know.) I am an ex-catholic. Laws that could be used to force hospitals that are ministries of churches to violate there religious principals could be used in other areas like education or even whats preached from thr pulpit. No thanks. I still like the fitst Amendment.

  15. 21

    spews:

    @15
    As Joel’s correspondent wrote, the reality is a lot less stark then Lee makes out.

    Um, what? Joel’s correspondent has not written anything. In fact, I emailed her directly at her email address yesterday asking her to comment on this subject and I haven’t heard back. If what Joel wrote yesterday were true even in light of the recent directive, then it wouldn’t be a problem for this person to write back and confirm that.

    In fact, I reached out to Joel yesterday because I assumed that he was correct on this. Now, I’m not so sure.

  16. 22

    Zotz spews:

    Who the fuck cares what Connelly “thinks”. He’s a corpulent, washed up, irrelevant windbag.

  17. 23

    mikek spews:

    I think there is only one hospital in Bellinghame, St. Joseph, so, depending upon circumstances, one may not have a choice as to which hospital one goes into when the time comes.

  18. 24

    spews:

    @17 proud leftist

    I thinkyou misunderstand me, though I may not understand the Church.

    I suspect that the confessional serves most catholics a lot like psychotherapy. It is a chance to have someone else listen to pne’s concerns and provide an “out.” I have used a shrink in that way and it is a wonderful thing to have available from one’s church.

    I also think the Church misuses the confessional by portraying itself as the voice of God. Ironically, under Jewish law, that is considetred blasphemy and I am sure jesus, as a Pharisee, would have been horrified by the Pope.

    As for introspection, Buddhist priests (really not priests but teachers) claim no powers from outside of themselves, but they do claim to understand how to decal with suffering through self understanding. … actually Siddartod ariving at the Nible Truths was not unlike Freud’s .. though I think Siddartha was abetter scientist!

    Be good.

  19. 25

    spews:

    Lee

    I have no idea how St. James views your requests but if I were them I would view the things you write here like something from Glen Beck. I suspect they see you as trying to create a problem.

    If you have any evidence that terminal care at St. James is being abused then you ought to post that. Get some of your I-1000 colleagues together and do some investigation. That would be a truly constructive thing to for that group to do now that I-1000 is the law.

  20. 27

    Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

    Since we are living in a highly litigious society, don’t you think Catholic Hospitals will be wary of breaking any living will? Don’t you think they’ll be wary to prolong life if the final instructions say otherwise and a lawsuit threat hangs in the balance?

    And for #18, headless you can change your name for the 41st time, but the commentary gives you away!

  21. 28

    Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

    SeattleJew@24:

    Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father, but by me. – John 14:6-9

    So “confessionals” are not Biblical!

  22. 29

    spews:

    @25
    If you have any evidence that terminal care at St. James is being abused then you ought to post that.

    The U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops has directed St. Joseph’s (and all other Catholic hospitals) to ignore people’s living wills if they conflict with Catholic doctrine. What’s the smarter thing to do, ask the administrators to clarify what they’re going to do first, or just wait and see what they do and then report on it? Why is it smarter to do that latter?

  23. 30

    spews:

    @27
    Since we are living in a highly litigious society, don’t you think Catholic Hospitals will be wary of breaking any living will?

    Don’t you think they would have been wary about protecting a bunch of known pedophiles?

  24. 31

    Puddybud Remembers Progressives Forget spews:

    Lee,

    They didn’t think the priest pedophilia would leak out from their “parishioners”. That was stupid on their part and they have paid many $$$ millions for their stupidity. Any pastor/priest/minister etc. who abuses children needs to visit Vinnie in prison.

  25. 32

    Marvin Stamn spews:

    30. Lee spews:
    Don’t you think they would have been wary about protecting a bunch of known pedophiles?

     
    Not much different from school districts that transfer pedophile teachers from one school to another.

  26. 33

    Mr. Cynical spews:

    4. joel connelly spews:

    Lee:
    After asking for my assistance today, you deliberately distort what I heard up at the Bellingham City Club forum.

    The Atheist Progressive wing of the Democrat Party has become so rabid, they have accelerated their hate with obvious lies.

    Liee–(your new name…not a misspelling)
    Is this the best you can do?
    You have a bunch of Atheists that are dedicated to attacking and creating conflict with anything & everything having to with Christ.

    Daddy Love–
    You are vulgarly rejecting Christ.
    You are “trying” to offend billions of folks who believe this:

    Ephesians 2:12-22 (New International Version)

    12remember that at that time you were separate from Christ, excluded from citizenship in Israel and foreigners to the covenants of the promise, without hope and without God in the world. 13But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near through the blood of Christ. 14For he himself is our peace, who has made the two one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility, 15by abolishing in his flesh the law with its commandments and regulations. His purpose was to create in himself one new man out of the two, thus making peace, 16and in this one body to reconcile both of them to God through the cross, by which he put to death their hostility. 17He came and preached peace to you who were far away and peace to those who were near. 18For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit. 19Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household, 20built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. 21In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.

    There are Democrats & Progressives alike who strongly believe this. Good luck in your journey Liee and Daddy Love.

  27. 34

    less Isbetter spews:

    Well when the 5th catholic was being investigated for the supreme court, I screamed like crazy.

    A majority on the court of prejudiced authoritarians did not appeal to me. I was labeled as anti-Catholic.

    When the sixth catholic was put on the now Supreme Joke, I really chewed the carpet.

    Live with it for the next twenty to thirty years. Jerks, having common sense and a deep knowledge of catholicism wasn’t anti-catholic,
    it was just good sense.

    If you think the Rhode Island bishop would have pulled that stunt with the Kennedy kid 5 years ago, you are deluded.

    Now the bishops are really feeling their mettle now, no law can touch them. You just thought that you had seen child molesters and baby rapers, wait until all convictions are overturned on flimsy excuses.

    Newt Gingrich is a filty little weasel that should be used for medical experiments. I notice that when the Supreme Joke got it’s 5th catholic, he promptly converted. Much as I dislike him, he has always been ahead to the political curve.

    Medical care, you might really want to check up on how many hospitals the church owns. If you want to know where the money is stashed, check under “building funds.” I saw a charity hospital in Pennsylvania build and move into a brand new 1000 bed hospital.

    The head of their charity drive was a drinking buddy who hit me up for donations from the doctors I worked for.

    I refused and showed him a tape recorder that I carried all of the time and noted that this was a shakedown and against all medicare and medicaid rules.

    He laughed and said, “Feel free, we paid cash for the hospital and the building fund still has enough to add on another 400 bed wing right now.”

    Now exactly why is there a separation of church and state when one hospital brought in enough cash to build two hospitals?

    Also, please note that the pope ratzi just started an examination of all of the sisters of charity that run all of these hospitals.
    He’ll find enough squirreled away that he can fully fund that nut case Prince of Blackwater.

    Well, good luck.

  28. 35

    SJ on Style Patrol spews:

    @28 Puddy

    “jesus said?”

    err ahh, given the fact that Jesus is never quoted as asking anyone to write down his words, why should anyone care what the Romans decided Jesus said?

    Or do you have a personal pipeline (like the Pope’s) that tells you what Jesus meant to say?

    Since I am closer to truth than you (by birth) here is the full scoop … Jesus is pissed at you guys for buying into Roman propaganda. God, BTW really is pissed that you keep using His Name in vain.

    Repent.

  29. 36

    SJ on Style Patrol spews:

    @29 Lee

    Seems as if you are admitting that your intent was to create a probelm, whether it exists or not. So yeh, BEFDORE I would accuse anyone if abuse I would werr ahh want evidence.

    Speaking of that, you gonna do anything to get Hempfest to exclude children next year? Ot do you think forced inhalation on benzpyrene is not child abuse?

  30. 37

    SJ on Style Patrol spews:

    @35 less is

    I HATE to join Lee in Pope Abuse, but I actually think the composition of Supremes should be a real issue.

    So, in the Tea Bag spirit, I call on Glenn Beck and Lee to jointly to demand that two of the Catholic Justices resign each year so our President can select a replacement who is more representative of the rest of us.

    *assuming that a tan and a Spanish name does not confer honorary melanin.

  31. 38

    ArtFart spews:

    “Newt Gingrich is a filty little weasel that should be used for medical experiments.”

    They’d have to do a heavy-duty decontamination of the lab afterwords.

    “I notice that when the Supreme Joke got it’s 5th catholic, he promptly converted.”

    Interesting that the church somehow welcomed a twice-divorced man who was banging his third wife to be while still married to number two, all while blowing $45 million of the taxpayers’ money sniffing Monica’s blue dress.

  32. 39

    RobLL spews:

    Religious affiliated hospitals with few exceptions (this was not true in the old days) are financed with government, insurance, and patient money. RCs have a near/monopoly in many areas of Washington State. If it were a genuine charity of the RC church it would be acceptable, it IS NOT, it is financed by the population as a whole.

  33. 40

    SJ TrollPatrol (c)2009 spews:

    @39 RobLL

    Yeh, so maybe iff Lee ever actually shows tghere is a problem, he can scream about it.

    BTW, there are similar issues at Jewish, methodist, Seventyh Day Adventist, etc hospitals.

    Of cpourse, he has no problem with Bastyr. The Christina Scientists, the health food stores …. but gee.

  34. 41

    spews:

    @36
    Seems as if you are admitting that your intent was to create a probelm, whether it exists or not.

    So if the Bishops passed a proclamation that said that Jews were not allowed to receive emergency care in any of their hospitals, would it only be a problem after a dying Jew was turned away from the ER, or would people be justified in criticizing them before that happened?

    Obviously, that’s a more extreme example than this particular case, but the underlying logic is exactly the same.

  35. 42

    spews:

    @36
    Speaking of that, you gonna do anything to get Hempfest to exclude children next year? Ot do you think forced inhalation on benzpyrene is not child abuse?

    You keep bringing this up and I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. I was at Hempfest for over 4 hours this past summer. I walked from one end of the park to the other and I did not come in contact with any marijuana smoke at all, let alone enough that would constitute a health risk for a child.

    I know you think you’re making a point here, but you’re really just making an ass of yourself. You’ve admitted yourself that the dangers of second-hand tobacco smoke are exaggerated, yet you’re making a claim here that’s easily 100x more absurd.

    Here’s a little hint…we’re not as stupid as you. We can tell when you’re full of shit.

  36. 44

    Quincy spews:

    Richard @5 – Yes, well said — for the most part but I question this,

    I just happen to have a big problem with cutting off food and water to someone who is incapable of feeding on their own.

    I don’t have a problem with terminating artificial respiration and other mechanical means when the situation is warranted.

    In a Schiavo-like situation, what is the difference between forcing air into a body that is no longer capable of respiration and forcing food into that same body? I am not sure there is any. In either case, you throw a switch or pull a plug and the result is someone dies.

  37. 45

    spews:

    @42Lee

    You keep bringing this up and I honestly have no idea what you’re talking about. I was at Hempfest for over 4 hours this past summer. I walked from one end of the park to the other and I did not come in contact with any marijuana smoke at all, let alone enough that would constitute a health risk for a child.

    I think this says it all.

    BTW, if you go to my post at SJ, there are a lot of oix of folks smoking pot. I must say people were also rather generous about passing joints around. If you had a problme scoring a joint, maybe they took you for a cop?

  38. 47

    spews:

    @41 Lee

    So if the Bishops passed a proclamation that said that Jews were not allowed to receive emergency care in any of their hospitals, would it only be a problem after a dying Jew was turned away from the ER, or would people be justified in criticizing them before that happened?

    Let me know when that becomes a problem.

  39. 49

    spews:

    @43
    Try Google. Or try emailing Loma Linda to see if they respond better to you than St. james.

    Hahaha! Just admit that you can’t name one, fucknuts.

  40. 50

    spews:

    @45
    Oh, I saw people smoking pot, but none were near enough to me that I came in contact with the smoke.

    Dance, monkey, dance!

  41. 51

    spews:

    @48
    Nope, none of those links are relevant. Please try harder to understand what I’m talking about before trying to engage me on this.