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Don't confuse health care with insurance.

COUNTRYSIDE: I was appalled to read Joe Alexander's letter claiming that my focus at work is to protect the profits of an insurance company and that I would allow someone to die based on their ability to pay.

As an RN, I have worked just as hard to save and care for patients who obviously have no means of paying as I have anyone else. The insurance industry has certainly taken on a life of its own, but please do not confuse health care with the insurance business.

Ms. Schiavo was unfortunately in a condition which would not have existed in the "good old days," because she would not have been successfully resuscitated from a cardiac arrest. As for wanting to live in a persistent vegetative state, depending on technology for my next meal or even my next breath, I for one have an Advance Directive which would prevent those interventions. Not everyone believes that having the technology is a sufficient reason to live under certain circumstances.

Her case was about a lot more than basic medical ethics, it was about the value our society places upon appearance over health (it is believed that bulimia brought about the heart attack which left her in that state); about taking control of your own future with a will, Living Will, and Advance Directive; and about whether parents and the government have the right to overrule one's spouse and chosen life partner in making difficult decisions.

While I applaud Mr. Alexander's suggestion of healthy lifestyle and certainly do my best to guide my patients to do the same, I must question his view that medical decisions are based on our perceptions of the patients' financial health.

For information about Living Will and Advance Directive talk to your primary care provider, local Health Dept, or local hospital to obtain the very simple forms needed.--Joanne R.
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Title Annotation:Country conversation & feedback
Author:R, Joanne
Publication:Countryside & Small Stock Journal
Date:Sep 1, 2005
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