Critical Condition

Canadian Death Panel Strikes Again

The Globe and Mail reports a terrible story today about two women with incurabable pulmonary disease being denied pescribed drugs based on cost. One is now near death:

Bonnie Cameron and Cindy Waters-Goodman do not know each other, but they have much in common. Both are feisty, small-town Ontarians who were young, busy mothers when hit with diagnoses of pulmonary arterial hypertension, an incurable heart and lung disease. Ms. Cameron’s verdict came after the day she felt constantly winded and her legs grew so swollen that she had to scissor off her jeans. A family photographer, Ms. Waters-Goodman found out after a flight of stairs at work rendered her faint, dizzy and slurring her words. Both were started on a regimen of drugs that are costly but slowed the pace of the disease, which is uncommon and often goes undetected. The province paid much of the tab, which the women estimate was about $100,000 a year each. Their lives improved drastically: They could play with their kids, cook meals and shower without fainting.

Then, last spring, out of the blue, both received letters informing them the province would no longer allow more than one medication. To continue receiving support, they’d have to stop taking combos. After much lobbying, Ms. Waters-Goodman won a reprieve and can stay on her combination of drugs for one more year. Ms. Cameron wasn’t so lucky. Forced to give up her secondary medication, she has suffered greatly, and this week slipped into critical condition after being moved to hospital in Toronto. With an intravenous line in her neck and several failing organs, she seesaws between life and death.

This is our future if we pass Obamacare and its attendant cost/benefit/best practices panels that will control the delivery of both private and public medicine. No one can say we haven’t been warned.

— Wesley J. Smith is a senior fellow in human rights and bioethics at the Discovery Institute. He also consults for the International Task Force on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide and the Center for Bioethics and Culture.

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