Video: Let them eat painkillers

posted at 4:00 pm on July 21, 2009 by Ed Morrissey

This Marie Antoinette moment took place a month ago, and Karl mentioned it in a post at the time, but the video is definitely worth a revisit. Jane Sturm told Barack Obama that her mother had needed a pacemaker implanted at 100 years of age, but got denied by the first doctor she saw. She found a doctor who would do the surgery, impressed by her spirit. When Sturm asked Obama if her mother would have received a pacemaker under ObamaCare … well, watch for yourself:

Jane Sturm told the story of her nearly 100-year-old mother, who was originally denied a pacemaker because of her age. She eventually got one, but only after seeking out another doctor.

“Outside the medical criteria,” Sturm asked, “is there a consideration that can be given for a certain spirit … and quality of life?”

“I don’t think that we can make judgments based on peoples’ spirit,” Obama said. … “Maybe you’re better off not having the surgery, but taking painkillers.

This shows why politicians shouldn’t decide on medical treatments. Dr. Helen Smith, who herself had the same kind of heart problems at a very young age, explains why Obama’s course of treatment would have led to, er, cost savings:

Some heart arrhythmias are deadly, and a doctor telling a patient to take a pain killer to treat V-tach or V-fib should be guilty of malpractice. …

Heart arrhythmias can be absolutely terrifying leading to panic attacks and/or fatigue so crippling that one cannot get off the couch. A pain killer is not going to help. But maybe that’s the idea. Obama is so determined to get his health care plan passed–no matter what the consequences– that he doesn’t care how or if people suffer, especially older people.

Is Obama heartless, mean or just plain ignorant? His response to Jane Sturm leaves me wondering which.

No more heartlesss, mean, or ignorant than the bureaucrats who will eventually make these decisions under ObamaCare, using their pocket Comparative Effectiveness ChartsTM.

Update: The video above was edited for a radio broadcast; the full video is here:

This doesn’t change the criticism above at all. Obama still says that government will tell doctors that Sturm’s mother may not get the pacemaker but be told to take a pill. And although Obama says that “ultimately, that decision will be between doctors and patients” at the end of this video, he’s making it clear that it won’t be at all, but will be decided by a government official who will judge whether or not to pay for a procedure based on its effectiveness. And Sturm’s mother still wouldn’t have been helped by a painkiller.


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