Diary

One Final Duty?

Where do you go with this?

h/t to Amy who is righteously outraged…

You’ve stormed the beaches of Normandy. You saw guys you went to Boot Camp with, been through Basic Infantry School with. Ate chow, pulled them out of the dumps when they got “the letter” from their girl, saw them mowed down when the ramp dropped on the Higgins boats before they even fired a shot.

You climbed Mount Suribachi and planted the flag, floated over Berlin like a balloon in a B-17 like a sitting duck waiting for the black cloud with your name on it.

You froze at the Chosin Reservoir, drowned in your own sweat while dodging bullets in Battle of Ia Drang.

Your grandkids write you today from Iraq and Afghanistan, they use different words but they describe the same things you lived through years ago. The baton has been passed, you did your duty.

Now, sadly, as you approach your twilight years there’s one last duty to consider. This comes down from the top.

You have a decision to make. Your government needs to distribute its dwindling resources carefully; therefore they’d like you to consider ending your life early;

The VA’s unofficial living will, an end-of-life planning document called “Your Life, Your Choices,” [.pdf download] is being circulated throughout their hospitals and nursing homes across the country. In the beginning, it was given to any debilitated or aging veterans, but since last month the VA has instructed that it is to be given to all patients along with counseling from the healthcare practitioner.

It gets worse. There are 3 conditions that are listed to make the patients feel guilty if they choose life, stating that the patient “caused severe emotional burden for my family,” “can no longer contribute to my family’s well being” and is “a severe financial burden on my family.” The intent of those statements is to make it clear to patients that choosing life is selfish and would hurt the ones they love.

While suggesting that someone write a living will may not be immoral, “Your Life, Your Choices” is written in such a way as to steer the patients toward death, full of leading questions and statements about the suffering patients would undergo as well as the burden they would place on their family if they remained alive.

There is a section titled “What Makes Your Life Worth Living,” in which various conditions are listed and the patient is to check a box with answers of “difficult, but acceptable,” “worth living, but just barely,” or “not worth living.” To their credit, there is also a box for “can’t answer now.” Some of the conditions listed are that the patient “can only get around in a wheelchair” and “spend all day at home.” The former is insulting to anyone confined to a wheelchair and the latter describes my state when I was unemployed.

Is this a croc of s**t or what?

It’s beyond the pale after all you gave for your country that the VA at the direction of the CinC would even consider pushing crap like this on vets;

“Your Life, Your Choices” presents end-of-life choices in a way aimed at steering users toward predetermined conclusions, much like a political “push poll.” For example, a worksheet on page 21 lists various scenarios and asks users to then decide whether their own life would be “not worth living.”

The circumstances listed include ones common among the elderly and disabled: living in a nursing home, being in a wheelchair and not being able to “shake the blues.” There is a section which provocatively asks, “Have you ever heard anyone say, ‘If I’m a vegetable, pull the plug’?” There also are guilt-inducing scenarios such as “I can no longer contribute to my family’s well being,” “I am a severe financial burden on my family” and that the vet’s situation “causes severe emotional burden for my family.”

[snip]

This hurry-up-and-die message is clear and unconscionable. Worse, a July 2009 VA directive instructs its primary care physicians to raise advance care planning with all VA patients and to refer them to “Your Life, Your Choices.” Not just those of advanced age and debilitated condition—all patients. America’s 24 million veterans deserve better.

You duty, as I see it, is to keep track of your brothers in arms and make sure the VA isn’t pushing this crap on them. It’s bloody hard enough dealing with life these days as it is, with investments dwindling and the country looking more and more like it’s circling the toilet bowl, without this kind of garbage.

You remember the tenets of small unit leadership? If you were an LPO or an NCO and still keep touch with some of the guys, give ’em a call and see how they’re doing. They’re still your people.

You may know someone from the Legion hall or VFW who stopped showing up recently, check up on them, just to say “Hi” if nothing else.

We stuck together through some harsh times overseas, and today unfortunately there are harsh times ahead as well.

There’s a country to take back, I know you’re still up to it.

Illegitimi non carborundum” via @VladimirRS

Crossposted