At Death's Door
Read below and you tell me what you think! Is
this what we have become in our Nation? Cold? Indifferent? So obsessed
with self, that we just don't get it! This could be me, you, or someone we
love. It's not just a "Cruel and Unusual" nightmare for Kay
McClanahan, nor reserved for the William and Kay McClanahan's of America;
It's a sick pattern of abuse of power! It's an evil pattern! One which has
been manifesting itself for quite some time now with-in the overall
mentality of our health care system.
We at Dare To Dream have watched as a pattern has
unfolded these many years. The deliberate orchestration and misuse of
power, froth with cruel and unusual treatment or lack of as this story
expresses. The message is; The senior population of our nation, the poor,
as well as the disabled, are being more and more defined, as expendable!
What do you suppose, I wonder, would
happen to you, or a loved one,
should you found yourself at the mercy of our welfare system?
When we devalue the lives, dreams and aspirations
of others, we are profoundly lacking in depth of character; We value
nothing! Read the story below and tell me, "How would you feel if you
or a loved one were caught up in William and Kay McClanahan's
Barbara, Dan & Gene...
----- Original Message -----
Thursday, May 05, 2005 9:49 AM
Fwd: At death's door
Date: MarcMay3/527/20052005 7:39:15 MST
To: "YOU" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: At death's door
At Death's Door
|by Lynn Vincent
On March 23, 2004, William and Kay McClanahan celebrated their 30th
anniversary by reenacting their first date: They ate pizza and worked
crossword puzzles. Last week, Mrs. McClanahan marked their 31st by
attending a medical ethics board at which a team of doctors told her she
may soon have to let her husband die.
On April 27, 2004, after a full day of training horses on his South
Carolina farm, Mr. McClanahan, 74, took his wife out to dinner. But after
the meal, his heart suddenly stopped beating. Mrs. McClanahan, 60, a
retired forensic chemist and law enforcement agent, administered CPR until
medics arrived and revived him. Mr. McClanahan remained unconscious,
breathing on his own, but aided by a respirator. In June, Mrs. McClanahan
had him transferred to the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC), a
highly reputed facility where she had once worked as a biochemical
"I thought he would be safe here," she told WORLD, speaking on
the phone from her husband's bedside. But he isn't safe, she said. Mrs.
McClanahan contends her husband might already have recovered if MUSC
doctors hadn't aligned their care plan with their prognosis that he never
would. Instead, he is near death.
Once at MUSC, Mrs. McClanahan said, doctors and nurses began asking her
repeatedly whether Mr. McClanahan would want to live in his impaired
condition. "I told them, yes!" she said. "He would want to
be with me. We did not sign living wills because we did not want to give
up. We wanted medical [professionals] to make every effort to improve our
condition, then put the result in the hands of God."
Still, she said, medical staff told her she was "in denial"
about her husband's true condition, and that he wasn't really
"living." One doctor, Mrs. McClanahan said, told her she felt
"an ethical duty not to treat" Mr. McClanahan because he would
experience an "impaired quality of life." Against Mrs.
McClanahan's wishes, she charges, doctors also put him on a "Do Not
Resuscitate" list, though that's illegal in South Carolina, according
to Jan Warner, a Columbia elder-law attorney.
The McClanahans may be victims of what is known as "futile care
theory," a medical trend in which doctors and hospitals set policies
that allow medical staff to withdraw or deny treatment over a family's
objections. Two states, Texas and California, have statutes that allow
such policies, but futile care protocols have also turned up in Des
Moines, Iowa. MUSC's legal affairs department did not return calls seeking
information on whether MUSC has a futile care policy.
Beginning in May, Mrs. McClanahan began seeing what she calls "small
miracles." Mr. McClanahan regained movement, began opening and
focusing his eyes, and blinking "yes" answers. But Mrs.
McClanahan said MUSC personnel dismissed signs of neurological
improvement, and some said he couldn't feel pain even when he appeared to
be writhing in it.
By Christmas, Mr. McClanahan could breathe for 11 hours without a
ventilator. But about two weeks later, his wife said, the doctor in charge
of his care declared that Mr. McClanahan had only about three months to
live. Meanwhile, a pre-existing heart problem flared up, but she said the
doctor told her that the MUSC administrator refused to transfer her
husband back to the main acute care facility. Instead, she said, the
doctor radically changed his medications, a move she believes reversed all
progress and sent her husband into sharp decline. Following that, doctors
removed Mr. McClanahan's heart monitor.
MUSC medical director John Heffner did not return three calls for comment.
Meanwhile, Mrs. McClanahan said she contacted at least four doctors
outside MUSC who were willing to have Mr. McClanahan transferred into
their care. But she said each changed his mind after speaking with MUSC
personnel. In mid-March, Mrs. McClanahan hired an attorney to help her
fight for her husband, who she believes can't last much longer.
"I desperately need a doctor who will get my husband into another
hospital in time to save his life," Mrs. McClanahan said. "I
need someone who believes in Bill's right to life."
-Lynn Vincent —•
This is the Medical University of South Carolina
Barbara, Dan and Gene
When Dreams Die, So Goes Greatness!