It was heart wrenching to receive a phone call from a friend who had to stand between her two brothers in the hospital waiting room last night. Her two brothers were ready to fight outside of the Intensive Care Unit where their mother lay on a ventilator. For three days my friend's family gathered as they heard the news of her weakening condition.
"You want to get a Do Not Resuscitate tattoo on your chest?" I asked, as one might say to a friend whose goal was to lose 50 pounds. You'd support it, but you knew it would never happen. "No, I have one," she said quietly, pulling her shirt aside modestly to show the skin over her heart muscle. I stared at it unbelieving.
Respecting individual rights is the best way to reduce health care costs, and perhaps this is one area where our political leaders can find common ground. One way to start might be a high visibility national effort, beginning with President and Mrs. Obama publicly signing their advance directives at the White House.