14 August 2009
Go Get A POLST
The above fuzzy image is a P.O.L.S.T. except that the real thing is a bright NEON GREEN OR PINK so that your doctor, your relatives or you can see it from half way down the block if necessary. Whatever your position on healthcare reform, I'm not going to fuss about it, but willful ignorance really, really bothers me. If you click on the POLST link above, you can find out if you live in a POLST state. If so, your doctor probably has copies in his or her office. If not, it will cost you to do the same thing in a living will that you can do with a P.O.L.S.T. for free. YOU REALLY, REALLY WANT TO DO THIS.
Those five letters stand for "Physicians' Orders for Life Sustaining Treatment" They are yours or your families' instructions on how you want to be treated medically if you are in critical condition and not physcially able to issue orders on your own behalf. It handles antibiotics, feeding, pain killers, resuscitation, and hospice among other items. You may want to speak with a medical professional as to exactly what each of the terms mean and what the effect will be on you of each order.
That consultation with a professional will cost you at least an office visit so that you have your physician's undivided attention while each item is explained. Some lawmakers thought that paying for this important office visit was probably a good idea so paying for the interview and assistance with these instructions were included in the proposals for the health care bill. (NOTE: THERE IS NO HEALTH CARE BILL - it doesn't exist yet. There are proposed actions and amendements nothing more.)
In their opposition to the Health Care Bill, certain opponents have decided to lie to the American public about a really good thing. It is their right to oppose this legislation. I have no problem with this, but they should tell the truth while doing it.
You see, this is the "DEATH PANEL". This is "PULLING THE PLUG ON GRANNY". This is whatever term some inventive type who wants to pull in political donations has decided to use to agitate the more hysterical amongst us. They should be ashamed of themselves.
Whatever your opinion about the health care bill for or against, do yourself a favor. If you live in a POLST State, go get one. If you don't, go get a living will. Your relatives and doctors will thank you for taking these decisions out of their hands at a difficult time.