Hospice Patients Alliance: Consumer Advocacy

"Dancing with Death"



by Ron Panzer
President, Hospice Patients Alliance
January 30, 2006




Death threatens to strike each of us at any unknown, inevitable moment, like Damocles' sword hanging by a thread above, ready to fall suddenly and turn our lives into ashes. Though the certainty of death is undeniable, our most immediate instinct is to do whatever we can to protect ourselves, to live and survive as long as we can. Even animals fight with everything they have to win the daily struggle for life. For them, it's "eat or be eaten!" and they continue to struggle until they can no longer fight, and death swallows them up.

Why are we so eager to invite Death's touch and kill our children, our parents, or even ourselves?

You may say, "We are not killing our children!" You may say, "we are not killing our parents or ourselves!" but you would be mistaken. About one million unborn children are killed each year in the USA, and "the American Hospital Association" ... [points out] "that as many as 6,000 deaths per day are in some way planned." That's over two million per year!

Of course, you would argue that some of those "planned" deaths would occur anyway, "people are dying of terminal illnesses...."

But not all of those whose deaths are "planned" are terminally ill. Sometimes patients are killed because they are cognitively impaired. You say, "We do not do that!" Let's be honest about what our society is doing. The brain-injured, those with dementia are being routinely "processed" through hospice. Nurses report that, "hospice is going into the nursing homes (the "corrals") and killing them." Nurses say that dementia patients are being put on hospice even though the patients have no terminal illness at all. They're physically stable, yet in a week or two? They're dead. Of course, hospice will say they have "end-stage dementia" and other "qualifying" criteria for admission to hospice. But those determining what the criteria are and who is admitted ... are the same people who say that those with dementia are "better off dead" because their "quality of life" is "unacceptable." It's the same type of group that inspired the Nazis to label the disabled as "useless eaters."

Families are convinced by authoritative staff wearing white coats that it's time to "let them go." Staff and family members wink and lie to themselves and each other about what "letting them go" means. They know they are "planning" the death of the vulnerable, but they deny vehemently that they are "killing" them, just as mothers who have their babies killed will only say they "aborted" them but would never "kill a baby." Some cold-hearted staff may kill knowingly, but they don't let the families "served" know exactly what they are about.

Even physicians may find their loved ones threatened in today's system! Just today I received a call from a physician whose brother manipulated their mother into hospice without the power of attorney for health care decisionmaking that the physician had. The brother was seeking to inherit the house and assets of their mother sooner, rather than waiting for a natural death and was pushing morphine and sedatives on the patient when they were not necessary at all. The physician intervened in time to save her mother, but not every patient is so fortunate!

In some hospices, hospitals and nursing homes, clinical standards of care are thrown to the wind, and just about every terminally ill or severely disabled patient enrolled is put on the "slice and dice" diet of Morphine and Ativan. If one won't kill you, the other will. There's no escape: you're medically sedated and given no food or water. When the overdose of morphine reaches the critical level, it sends your blood pressure plummeting and slows your breathing. With little water given, the fluid volume in your blood decreases, the blood pressure drops even more and the circulatory system collapses. You die. Anybody, even the healthiest among us would die. The staff call it "terminal sedation," but it's without a doubt medical killing (euthanasia).

Of course, that's not hospice as it's "supposed" to be; that's hospice as it is today in many places! You have to remember, the Euthanasia Society of America started out in the 1930s to change how America thought about dying and how we died. They are the ones (under the new name "Choice in Dying") that gave us (in the 1970s and later on) the Do Not Resuscitate Orders ("DNRs"), Advanced Directives and Living Wills, all of which are designed to limit care given and hasten death.

Although these forms and documents are cleverly marketed to the public as a way of having a patient's wishes honored, if you ask to be treated and not be put to death, your wishes will be overridden. Doubt it? Just try demanding care in a hospital when the physicians don't want to provide that care (when they think you are better off dead): the hospital's "futile care protocol committee" will override you and they will refuse to provide that care. They will say that the treatment you seek is "futile," that it won't "help" you (even if it would help you live), that it won't improve your quality of life "enough" (as they define "enough" ... not as you see the issue). You see, your view doesn't really matter! Of course they'll go through the motions of offering you the bogus option of finding another hospital that will treat you (which in almost all cases they know you won't find at all). The game is rigged, and it's rigged down a one-way street named "imposed death."

New laws are being passed to make sure you don't get the treatment (including food or water) you ask for when the doctors believe that treatment may be futile. But what should we think about doctors with an agenda, who receive financial bonuses for reducing expenditures for patients? Doctors would say, "that never happens!" ... as if they are all saints ... but we know better! Thanks to "managed care" and physician incentives, many physicians now have an ulterior motive and no longer solely base their decisions on what is "best" for the patient. More and more often, their decisions are based upon what is best for the doctor financially, with the HMO paying legally permitted incentives, i.e. "kickbacks," to him for denying treatment (limiting HMO expenditures) to patients!

Of course, some people should be allowed to die when it truly is the end. But that "logic" can be, and is, abused. People are labeled as "DNR" inappropriately so that even minimal, ordinary treatments like providing food and water are denied them with the intent that they die sooner, ... much sooner.

The Euthanasia Society of America later known as Choice in Dying merged with Partnership for Caring (a hospice lobbying group) which merged with Last Acts (a hospice lobbying group) which was absorbed by none other than the largest hospice lobbying group in the USA, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization, which represents two-thirds of all hospices in the USA!

Most of the public is completely unaware that the circle is complete! The Euthanasia Society of America, along with its agenda, having changed its name many times, has been absorbed by the main hospice lobbying organization in the United States, the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization! There can be no mistaking where the hospice industry's national policymakers are leading our society!



Here is an email I received from the National Hospice & Palliative Care Organization absolutely confirming this astounding event:

From: Merikokeb Wondafrash     mwondafrash@nhpco.org
Subject: Web Master
Date: Thu, 28 Jul 2005 15:20:24 -0400
July 28, 2005

Dear Web Master -

Please note that Last Acts Partnership, formerly, Partnership for Caring has closed as of September 15, 2004. The National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization obtained the copyrights to all Partnership for Caring and select Last Acts materials, resources, publications and writings.

Currently, Hospice Patients Alliance has a link to Last Acts Partnership posted on http://www.hospicepatients.org/hospic55.html
[Note: at the time of the email, there was such a link]
Hospice Patients Alliance is referencing Last Acts Partnership. Many of the resources and publications that were available on the Last Acts Partnership and Partnership for Caring web sites are now featured on the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization's new consumer-focused website, www.caringinfo.org. We respectfully request that you please remove the reference to this publication.

We invite you to review the new consumer website and if appropriate, update your website with a link to the www.caringinfo.org web site. Additionally, NHPCO is hosting a new website, www.LIVEpartners.org, which provides community outreach tools and resources for organizations promoting quality end-of-life care.

If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to contact me using the information provided below.

Thank you,

[end of notice from NHPCO to Hospice Patients Alliance]

You don't need to be a conspiracy theorist to know that hospice in America has turned the corner from a life-affirming, compassionate way of serving the dying and allowing a natural death in its own timing, to an agenda-driven, lean, mean killing machine! The dots are connected and there's no denying how the transition occurred. Back door euthanasia is happening throughout our nation, now, already. We need have no fear of "sliding down the slippery slope" toward euthanasia; we're already at the bottom.

Although good end-of-life care is needed for the terminally ill, we all face a formidable task if we are to avoid having our loved ones euthanized, "assisted" to death or "third-wayed" through terminal sedation. Even physicians and nurses (who are knowledgeable about health care, medications, life and death decisionmaking, and legal documents) are finding that they have been misled and that their loved ones have been killed in a hospice setting. It takes an awareness of the dangers faced, as well as constant vigilance and assertive advocacy, for the vulnerable to be protected from an untimely death.

You may have bought the idea that "hospice is the rightful alternative to euthanasia," or that "we don't need euthanasia; what we really need is 'good' palliative care." The only problem with that position is that the supposed "rightful alternative to euthanasia," hospice (where palliative care for the terminally ill is provided) is now the fast track to a hastened death. And often that hastened death is being imposed through inappropriate "terminal sedation:" Morphine and Ativan (or their equivalent) plus removal of hydration till you die. So much for "another way." It's being called the "third way" of killing, making legalization of open euthanasia and assisted-suicide unnecessary. It's cheap, convenient, looks outwardly "peaceful" and allows everyone to lie and pretend that nobody is being killed.

Just like "abortion." With all the killing going on, the main thing "they" want to make sure of controlling is the terminology. Killing cannot be called "killing." It has to be called "termination of pregnancy" or "abortion." Medical killing of the elderly, disabled or chronically ill cannot be called "killing." It has to be called "euthanasia" implying it is a good ("eu") death ("thanos"). But in truth, babies are not just "killed," they're shredded live in the womb by fiends who lie to mothers (telling them their baby is not a "baby") and make six figure incomes doing so! In truth, the elderly, disabled and chronically ill are not just "killed," they are dehydrated to death often while being sedated against their will and overdosed against their will with morphine. We have received numerous reports of such killings done against the wishes of the patient who is railroaded into hospice without their permission, even though the patient is conscious, competent and able to make their own decisions!

Over 45.5 million babies have been killed since the black robed "in-justices" sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court provided us with their lethal 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling. The justices sitting on the Supreme Courts of the 1700s or 1800s would be outraged and utterly dismayed, unwilling to believe that their successors actually approved, as a "Constitutional" right to privacy, the horrific destruction of millions of lives that the Constitution expressly forbids!

According to the Fifth Amendment of the Constitution: "No person shall ... be deprived of life, ... without due process of law," yet babies are deprived of life without their day in court. What about their right to life? What about their right to the much touted "choice" when it comes to their living or dying? The twisted killers simply redefine "life" to exclude unborn children so that Constitutional protections no longer apply! And those who promote euthanasia have long sought to redefine the cognitively impaired and disabled as nonpersons as well, so they can begin a campaign of eugenic killings, just as Hitler and the Nazis did.

Euthanasia advocates say that a "better world" will result when the disabled, cognitively impaired and elderly are eliminated. They say that our "scarce" medical resources would be "better spent" when none of our funds go to caring for these. Their "final solution" is to harm those who most need help. They have successfully replaced the "sanctity of life" ethic with the "quality of life" ethic as the overarching determinant of who shall live and who shall be made to die. Their agenda is truly a dark and low path, and our society has swallowed this agenda completely. There is little more for the euthanasia advocates to accomplish since even without legalizing euthanasia, the killings are going on unchecked just the same!

What anguish results from the killings of the vulnerable! How many families have forever been split apart! Often, one or two greedy family members seize control of the patient, manipulate the very willing health system to force death upon the vulnerable patient and then grab the estate, the house, and the money. Those family members who loved and cared for the patient are not only left to relive the nightmare of witnessing murder, they are berated by the hospice staff who killed their loved one and who now tell them they need to "accept death." And many hospices all over the country cooperate with those who seek to plunder the estates of the vulnerable, as if the lethal and undue influence exerted over the vulnerable is "just fine."

But everything is not "just fine!" Jesus said that those who are hungry, poor, disabled or ailing are those we should be feeding, clothing and caring for! His message is quite different. Can you imagine Him choosing to deny the thirsty water? Can you imagine Him sedating a patient who begs not to be sedated? Can you imagine Him overdosing a patient who needs no morphine? Can you imagine Him hastening the death of a person of any age, whether a baby, fetus or adult? How can we possibly believe that our society is moving down the right path? Yet, these and other ways of harming patients occur every day.

You say, "We are not killing our parents or ourselves!" However, "Markson (1995) points out ... the American Hospital Association ... [recognizes] that as many as 6,000 deaths per day are in some way planned by the patients, their families or physicians in the US." ["Euthanasia as an Option: A Note" by Leo Chan and Donald Lien

What "deaths" being "some way planned" means is that a decision to hasten the deaths has been made, and actions are either taken or deliberately not taken with the intent that the patient dies. "Planned by the patients," means that patients plan to, and actually do, hasten their own deaths within health care settings. What "planned by their families" means is that adult children of elderly patients are planning and implementing methods to hasten their own parents' deaths. Some parents plan the deaths of their disabled children, even if they are not terminal at all.

While there are numerous ways to hasten death, some common methods of inviting Death's presence are: ceasing to provide routine medications, ceasing to provide food and water, choosing not to treat treatable infections, choosing not to provide oxygen for those who need it, administering medications which directly cause death, administering medications which cause a medically-induced coma in which the patient is not provided hydration or nutrition, and so on. All of these methods (except the administration of lethal medications) allow the physician, nurses and even family to "wink" at each other and pat each other on the back, saying, "We didn't really kill the patient. We just "allowed" him to die."

However, death would have occurred later had the decision to hasten death not been made. Objective analysis of what is going on would require us to admit, "Yes, we chose to, and actually did, hasten death. Yes, we chose to, and actually did, kill the patient." If you are intellectually honest, you may argue why you think killing the patient is a good thing, but most of those who promote abortion, euthanasia or assisted suicide actually lie when they try to "sell" society on the idea that killing the vulnerable is a "good," even a "great" thing!

The founders of the modern abortion movement admit that they lied in order to make abortion legal. They came up with "catchy slogans" in order to sell abortion to the rest of us. They told us that abortion would be limited to extremely rare circumstances. Once legalized, they have promoted abortion so that it is used casually as a method of birth "control" with lethal effect on the babies and devastating effects 1,  2  on the mothers who have been misled about the consequences of following such evil advice.

The abortion industry has made billions of dollars worldwide and "the Planned Parenthood organization has earned net profits for the past 18 years in a row, totaling $538 million," providing what it calls "reproductive services." However, they are just death mills massacring the defenseless babies and damaging the lives of the mothers who use their services, only later to find out about the severe and negative consequences to their physical, mental and spiritual well-being. See "How Lying Marketers Sold America on Unrestricted Abortion" in the eye-opening book, The Marketing of Evil by David Kupelian, p 189-212; Cumberland House Publishing, Nashville, TN (c) 2005
These lying marketers knew "the number of women dying from illegal abortions was around 200-250 annually." [But] "The figure we constantly fed to the media was 10,000. These false figures took root in the consciousness of Americans, convincing many that we needed to crack the abortion law" [making it legal].
[Ibid. p 191]

By deceptively manipulating the good-heartedness of the American people, they succeeded in convincing us that to save the lives of this bogus number, "10,000" women, a few unborn "fetuses" or "products of conception" (never called "babies") should be destroyed. "Better that innocent babies be killed than a bogus number of women die???" But it has not been just a few killed! Because we assume that the children we actually want will survive into adulthood, we have the evil "luxury" of killing 1 million of our own babies each year. How strange a time this is!

You say that the unborn babies are not "babies;" they are only "fetuses," or "embryos," or clumps of "tissue." Modern science has determined with certainty that from the time of conception, a unique life begins. In the case of animals, nobody disputes that conception is the starting point of a unique life. However, when it comes to a human baby, we suddenly turn unscientific and dogmatically try to twist the facts so that the "convenience" of killing our own babies is made to appear "ethical," "moral," or "good." Why do we have to lie to ourselves and everyone else when it comes to such widespread killing?

Clearly, we lie to ourselves about these dastardly deeds, because we know that the unborn baby is a baby. It's just like soldiers in wartime who give the enemy some dehumanizing label to help them cope with the knowledge they have just killed another human being. If you see the enemy as a human being, it is much harder to kill them. If you see the baby as a baby, it is much harder to kill them. If you see your parents' lives as valuable and sacred, you cannot easily kill them in order to get your hands on their home and assets sooner rather than later! And if you see your own life as given to you by God, you kill yourself only with trepidation and fear, knowing you are doing wrong.

Why not just honestly say, "I want to do what I want when I want and how I want, and if I want to kill my baby, I'm going to do so." And, "if I want to kill my parents or myself, I'll do that too!" "You have no business stopping me from killing whomever I want to kill." Where does it stop? When you disgard the sanctity of life ethic, you allow rationalized justifications for the killing of more and more categories of people. You start with killing "inconvenient" babies, move on to killing unwanted or inconvenient parents or children, and end with killing yourself. Your "convenience" is more important than the life of those who depend upon you? What insanity has taken hold of our nation!

We must realize that the "whatever" generation is leading our society into a cesspool of devastation. It is important that we refrain from killing! It is important that we care for those who need us! "Whatever!" is not the answer that will save our nation! We must choose to honor life!

Why do we have to lie about the consequences of killing all these babies, parents and even ourselves? The media and pro-killing advocates lie and deny that there are any harmful consequences of killing. They refuse to acknowledge the deep grief women incur when they kill their own babies. They refuse to acknowledge any of the physical adverse effects of abortion and suppress knowledge of the many research studies showing such harmful consequences.

When our lives are threatened by those who wage war, why would we wish to kill our own? When we face threats from all the usual forms Death takes: natural disasters, accidents, starvation, disease and old age, why would we actively seek death?

I am not saying that there doesn't come a time when it truly is appropriate to "let go," but it seems our society is eager to rush headlong into Death's embrace. Generations ago, death was feared and depicted as something evil. Recognizing death as a naturally occurring fact of life is part of wisdom; seeking death unnaturally is true perversion! It seems that in health "care" we are hastening death very casually and, more and more universally.

Non-Christians regard the Bible's Book of Revelation as the ravings of a madman; some simply put their hands up in exasperation and admit they don't understand it. Most cannot see beyond its haunting visions of devastation and most don't want to realize that it offers the sobriety necessary for sanity to prevail in this world. Its message is so forceful it shakes us out of our somnolent delusion and entreats us to "wake up!" "be aware!" and "choose!" But what is it that it asks us to choose? … its horrific visions of death? Or Life?

"I looked, and there before me was a pale horse! Its rider was named Death, and Hell was following close behind him. They were given power over a fourth of the earth to kill by sword, famine and plague, and by the wild beasts of the earth." Rev. 6:8
This is just one of the visions shared in the Book of Revelation. Revelation is considered a "scary" unintelligible book by many readers, and is skipped over by most. It describes the horrific as well as the divine.

It would seem that with all the threats to life mentioned: the "sword" (war and murder), "famine" (starvation), and "plague" (deadly epidemics), a reasonable society would be eager to preserve life at every opportunity. War and murder have been occurring somewhere in the world nonstop, millions of people starve to death each year, and deadly epidemics wipe out millions again each year! Even knowing all of this, we do not seek to preserve life at every opportunity. About six million children die each year of malnutrition and hunger!

"Each year, about 3 million children in poor countries die of disease that can be prevented."

To those who succumb to war, famine and disease, death is no stranger, and Revelation's horrific visions are not a distant, future event. Death's lethal touch reaches millions though they plead to all of us for mercy, for help and for life.

It is easy to fail to appreciate the tremendous transformations made in our modern society through medical science and other technologies. Sanitary water supplies, controlled garbage removal, clean methods of handling food, pasteurization and even basic hand washing have literally saved hundreds of millions from unnecessary deaths, deaths that occurred regularly not so long ago when society had to do without the knowledge and practices that serve as basic supports of modern society. With the advent of antibiotics and other medications to treat serious diseases, infections and diseases that once wiped out millions have been rendered manageable. What is considered a "lifetime" has been expanded from 30 or 40 years steadily upward to 60, 70, 80 years and more. A long life now is time enough to become complacent and lose sight of Death's ever-present shadow.

Just 100 years ago, it was unlikely that all one's children would live to adulthood. Any family member's death was possible, and because life itself was precarious, it was understood to be more precious than gold. Death's proximity gave rise to a deep appreciation for the wonder that is life. Now that life seems to be less threatened, how is it that we have been convinced that it is "ok" to kill our own children? And how is it that mothers and fathers are initiating these killings with casual disregard for the grave evil done? How is it that our government legalized the killing of our children? How is it that society regards the ability to kill one's own children as a supreme and fundamental "right?"

Jeremiah 31:15 reminds us of the sane response to a child's death:

"A voice is heard in Ramah, mourning and great weeping, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because her children are no more."
And many mothers do weep for their children that are no more, whether they die from war, starvation, and disease, or if they killed these children themselves. The grief is unending, eating away at the heart, so bitterness and anger replace what could have been joy and peace. But what kind of mother or father does not weep for the children they have killed? What kind of people have we become?

You may say, we don't approve killing our own children, but the truth is: yes, we do ... to the tune of over 45 million killed! Unborn children are children just the same. If modern science has demonstrated anything about the issue, it is that from the very beginning of conception, any life including human life begins. This is the most basic fact of biology, yet we pretend that the truth is not the truth and the facts are not the facts. The unborn baby is very capable of feeling and responding even within the womb.

Those who market the death industry favor federal power when it comes to the U.S. Supreme Court's ability to override state laws limiting abortion, yet oppose federal power when it seeks to stop the killings in Oregon under its supposed "Death with Dignity" Act legalizing assisted-suicide. Their support for either position is based not on principle, but on a convenience of circumstances: whatever position promotes the ability to kill is supported, wherever the debate occurs.

We are a sleepwalking nation, dishing out death casually and insanely to those we have a sacred duty to love. There are wars, crimes, starvation and disease threatening to end life at any moment, yet we choose to kill the unborn, the born, the disabled and diseased, the elderly and the weak. Only a lost nation could so actively reject the gift of life! Isn't life precarious enough without seeking to dance with death?







The Hospice Patients Alliance is a 501(c)(3) charitable patient advocacy organization acting to preserve the original hospice mission and to promote quality end-of-life services.




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