Wednesday, October 19, 2011


In a lawsuit seeking payment for  expensive medical proceedures on her invalid, incurable son. Her home was seized, sold and she found herself ousted.  When I met her she was living in a small travel trailer and working in this office for her rent.  She is 80 plus. I told her I would tell her story to the world so others might be warned.

I've "doctored" her image as I didn't get permission to show the real thing--This one was surreptitiously shot so I would not intefere with the flow of her story. 
She is not responsible for my interpretation or philosophical opinions.
More than 51 years ago, she gave birth to a severly defective son suffering from spinabifida. Doctors said he would likely die within a year.  Turns out, he lived for 51 years and this lady took care of him the entire time.  She, in effect, sacrificed the lions share of her life and hapiness for him---and he had no meaningful life either.   When he finally spiraled beyond hope, he fell into the grip of the medical community whose ethic will not permit a peaceful euthanasia but requires sustaining life as long as possible. It was an expensive dying--about $300,000.  The courts said she was responsible for the bill and thus she lost her house. Now she scrimps along doing what she can with the remainder of her life.

RANDY PHILOSOPHIZES:  Are you enraged? I think you should be! This lady is thrice victimized---BY SENTIMENTALITY. 
To begin with, we should not allow seriously defective babies to live.  Who says so?  Not just me but the most serious ethical thinkers in the world. Peter Singer for example:
And if you'd like to read both sides of the story:

Secondly, we should not burden this poor woman with the decision at either end of life.  We really do need DEATH PANELS composed of the wisest among us, representing a cross section of our peers to make the tough calls----both at the beginning and end of life. We dare not let husbands, wives
or children make these decisions.  They may be motivated by greed on one hand or sentimentality on the other.  Society as a whole has a stake in these very expensive decisions.
Here is a clear cut case where two lives and vast expenditures were squandered out of sheer sentimentality.  And guess what: One of those severly deformed babies who was allowed to live actually wrote a book describing his incredible suffering and HE SAYS THAT HE SHOULD NOT HAVE BEEN ALLOWED TO LIVE.  (I'm trying to find the title for you)
Let me anticipate an objection:  I am not talking about people WHO BECOME SEVERLY DISABLED. That is another issue entirely.  As is the right to assisted suicide.

People who believe that ethics is revealed in "Holy Books" rather than hashed out in human experience---cannot help us behave wisely---Indeed they have always been an impediment to
rational ethics.


matt said...

sad story randy - totally agree!

some anti-medical christians were just found guilty of manslaughter in portland because they didn't seek treatment for the premature baby and he died nine hours later. it's freakin' ridiculous! a person MUST get medical treatment even if it will bankrupt them! outrageous indeed!

Anonymous said...

Two points jump out at me as I read this.

1. In the USA we have a medical industry, it's purpose is to make money, its product is health care. Of course they took everything she had, that's what the health care industry does.
FWIW that lady did what she wanted with her life, that is everyone's choice.

2. Death Panels? Wise people?
You would give your life away to someone who thinks they are wise?
You'd decide I have to die because you are wise?
I an saddened every time I see you play God Randy, saddened & worried.
Thoughts like yours must be what run thru the head of psychopathic serial killers, people who have no doubt about their ability and righteousness in taking someones life... possibly because they are not using it correctly?

This is not the first time you have talked strongly & negatively of what people did with their life. Talked as if you had any say in it.

You have a great many friends Randy, ask them what they think about your attitude.

Bob said...

Besides the protest on Wall St. There also should be some against the drug company's, the medical establishment, The stupid laws we have, etc. We're all going to die and if our quality of life is such that it's worse being alive than dead, why prolong it. This woman must be very strong. I applaud her. And she had the best interest in mind for Her son. I pray I'm never in a situation like this one, on either side of the fence. I think She should've had a living will for her son and as She was POA, She might've been able to avoid some of this problem. Not that it was her fault in anyway. Yes I'm outraged! Can someone start a pay pal fund for her to help Her out?

Rustedgranny said...

Much of what you said, I agree with. Laws and attitudes are due for change, radical change. However, creating a board of "wise" people won't work. Haven't we already elected a group of such to govern us? How is that working out?

Decisions about dying and quality of life are so tied up in religion, guilt, laws and medical greed that I cannot see the knot coming undone.

But weather we agree or disagree with you, I applaud your willingness to bring up a touchy subject that does in fact, need to be brought into the light.

Anonymous said...

My baby sister was born in 1969 with a birth defect that rendered her with horrible defects. Bless my parents doctor as he asked my parents what they wanted him to do. They asked for comfort care and she passed away peacefully two days later in my mother's arms. It should be the parents decision not society's.

Anonymous said...

Your posts seem to get increasingly angrier and critical. You are more inspiring when you describe your life rather than raging about others. When it comes down to it she decided how she wanted herself and her son to live. It is a sad story but her choice. Would you want someone to decide how you should live?

Anonymous said...

She must have authorized expenditures and care for her son knowing full well that she could not pay. Otherwise would not this fellow be some kind of ward of the state ?

Randy said...

Anonymous #1: You're so right about the profit motives of the health care industry.
BUT: re: "that lady did what she wanted with her life, that is everyone's choice." YOU'RE DEAD WRONG!!: She chose according to the social norm in her head (we must surrender our lives, if necessary, to care for severly deformed babies) A FORM OF COERCION THAT IS BANKRUPTING AMERICA. Can't you see that social norms are a form of coercion? We need to adjust Americas attitudes about life and death values. We are in the grip of a nation-destroying sentimentality.
And re: death panels: You clearly missed my point: Neither you nor I would make these tough calls---WE--COLLECTIVELY--via citizen panels would make them.

Randy said...

Anonymous #3 "she decided how she wanted herself and son to live" NO SHE DIDN'T!! She is a victim of the social norm of sentimentality. She spent 51 years of her precious life serving OUR sentimentality. WE (collectively) robbed her of a normal life----Just as WE (society's norms) robbed my family of $15,000 to bury my father and mother.
Anonymous #4: Good point---I clearly did not ask enough questions.

coal said...

A sad sorry indeed

Anonymous said...

Citizen panels? Are those like elected officials?

Randy said...

To Anonymous #5: "citizens panels? are those like elected officials?"
No--more like juries--that we assemble to help society make the tough calls. Or like grand juries---or better still like an appeals court. I admit this is not an easy task--but failing to confront these difficult cases works an incredible cruelty on innocent people. As in criminal cases--tough calls must be made or chaos reigns.

Anonymous said...

I enjoy reading your blog, but with all due respect; with this one you are off your rocker

Anonymous said...

Woke up this morning thinking about this. This whole discussion is so basically wrong, it should never even have taken place.
I am ashamed I made the reference to citizen panels being like elected officials, this subject is so serious & I made light of it.

This whole thing is Wrong, just Wrong.

The thought that anyone has the right or power to judge the merits of life or death just because... Because they are the wrong color, ethnicity, religion, birth place, 'value to society' or lack entertainment value is just so wrong.

The last time I recall this being done was in Germany in the 1930s & 40s. The citizen panels decided people of Jewish ancestry and/or religion and a wide variety of other traits had to go. There was a war fought, the Germans lost and their actions were dragged into the bright light of day.

Give it up Randy, live and let live.

I'm done.

Sondra said...

I for one Do not promote the idea of keeping people alive who have no quality of life...but each case is a matter up to the family, recently my co-worker had brain surgery done on her 81 y/o husband who had fallen and has a tramatic brain injury due to that fall...he was 100% up until that fall now he lies in a bed without speech, motion, or anything else...HE had a living will she DID not honor it.

SO the choice was made..NOW here is the part that needs to be changed..NO Person's HOME, or means of support should ever be taken to PAY a medical BILL..what needs to be changed are the laws!!!

NO one shall judge another in matters of the heart but laws to protect the weak and the strong are one knows when it will be their turn to FACE up against the tyrrany of the establishment!!
SHE should never have signed any papers saying she was responsible...SHE should have GOTTEN an attorney to help her before SIGNING anything...SO a word to the wise..DONT SIGN anything saying you are repsonsible for the payment- usually refusing to sign means the HOSPITAL will refuse to give the carlet them be the bad guy!

Anonymous said...

Sondra nailed it.
The government created this health care situation, I don't see more government as the answer.

-John Russell

Anonymous said...

I just want to ask one question: Why didn't the woman file for bankruptcy? Filing for bankruptcy would wipe away her hospital debt AND it would have protected her house from being taken from her.

"Death Panels"? Seriously? The government can't even balance its own budget and you want to let them decide who lives and dies? That is absolutely ridiculous!

Anonymous said...

A judgement creditor cannot force a foreclosure - they would just have a lein on the house in the event of sale. And then in seven years it would be gone. Story doesn't add up.

Randy said...

Anonymous: "a judgement creditor cannot force a forclosure"
Really? That is new information to me. I'll take your word for it and remain perplexed. The lady clearly felt that she had been impoverished by the hospital bill. I have read somewhere that massive hospital bills are among the top reasons for impoverishment in America. I believe that---and I hope the take-away from this report is that for-profit medicine
has cruel consequences---and that our SOCIAL SENTIMENTALITY delivers us disasterously into its hands.

Jim said...

One of the smartest things someone in a situation like this can do is transfer title to any significant asset to a trusted (and healthy!) younger friend or relative with the verbal agreement that you are entitled to the use of that property until your days are done. At that point they're entitled to keep it and do with it as they will.
Then the hospital most likely will not run up the tab (as they do with insurance and homeowers with equity) and they'll have to figure out some other way to get their money . . . or not. I can't pretend to care whether they get paid or not. They are predators to the core and their charges may not be considered systemically criminal, but they should be.

Randy said...

Jim: Good advice--Thank you.

The Good Luck Duck said...

It likely depends on the law in her state. I don't doubt that the hospital made her believe she had no option but to relinquish her house. Maybe it was a matter of honor for her.

Ed said...

"She chose according to the social norm in her head (we must surrender our lives, if necessary, to care for severly deformed babies) A FORM OF COERCION THAT IS BANKRUPTING AMERICA."

The solution is obvious, change the social norm. If that is done then there would be no need for Death Panels, Death Juries, Death Grand Juries or Death Appeal Courts. If only everyone were indoctrinated to believe who had a right to live or die with the certainty that Randy has this would not be an issue.