08/25/2009 08:50 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Pull the Plug on Grandma

This is my attempt at satire. Some of what follows is serious but most is just my fooling around.

Health care in our country was a mess, is a mess, and will continue to be a mess. Many are pleased to have it remain exactly the way it is.

Our President is at least trying to fix it as best as he can and is being impeded by those who would just love to see him fail at this as well as everything else.

After all, we know that if the President has his way with health care, it is the first step on the road to converting our country into a socialist state. Were you to doubt it just ask Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Rush Limbaugh.

Sadly, members of Congress hang out in "cloakrooms" with "for sale" signs hung around their necks. Money does indeed make the world go around, and unlimited campaign contributions help them a lot.

In the "good old days" those who were to legislate were scared out of their minds by a completely different set of people.

Today, our Senators and Congressmen are, in a manner of speaking, controlled by a gaggle of lobbyists representing a variety of industries, and as it pertains to healthcare issues, lobbyists have been retained by those who are thrilled to see the status quo retained. I know that it is difficult for anyone to imagine that they undoubtedly include those itsy bitsy pharmaceutical, insurance, and HMO companies.

What a travesty it all is.

What follows is of course a JOKE or more like my being a smart ass about very serious end of life issues. At some point we as a society need to accept that we (including Grandma) are mortal, and that we cannot save or extend everyone's life as long as we would like to.


Please forgive me!

Pull the Plug on Grandma

It all began for me on July 22, 1932. I was born on that date in the Bronx at Fitch's Sanatorium. I of course grew up incorrectly thinking that the word "sanatorium" was reserved for "crazy people" and ergo, I thought that either my Mother or I was nuts. With the passing of time I grew to know that it was ME!

As a result of this trauma, I have gravitated to similar crazy people in my life. One of them called me last night with an idea that sadly sounded very plausible.

He said that now that the Feds are discontinuing their "Cash for Clunkers" program that he had conceived what I say is a brilliant idea that can only come from a totally psychotic individual who I admire.

With revisions of our nation's health care crisis occupying our legislators, President, and media he suggests an approach that can help to resolve the "end of life" health care issues.

His new and innovative program is called "Disconnect a Loved One" (DALO). While he has not as yet worked out all of the details, he suggests something along the following lines would work for our country and become a worldwide model.

The system will create "end of life committees" (EOLC's) made up of a gerontologist, a Nun, a Rabbi, a Minister, two health care professionals, an accountant, a psychic, and lastly, someone from Medicare.

DALO, in the beginning test phase will only deal with health compromised men and women over ninety who are in hospitals, nursing homes or similar places who look after older non functioning adults.

Sadly, our "test" Grandma is 93 years old, is terminally ill, and has no hope whatsoever of ever leaving the hospital. It is estimated that Grandma will live approximately 73 days, and that caring for her will cost the system about $150,000. DILO will confirm the facts, and if the majority is in agreement they will offer the family one third of the &150,000 or $50,000 if they would be willing to "Pull the plug" (PTP) on Grandma.

The family has 24 hours to think about it, or negotiate and Get More for Grandma (GMFG) at a higher price, and if they say no, they will never be given another opportunity to PTP on Grandma.

This may sound cruel to you but think about it.

The system saves a lot money.
The process would free up badly needed hospital beds.
The family will make a lot money.
And Grandma of course will never know what has happened to her.

After a one year test with 93 year olds, the system will reduce the age eligibility by one year until it reaches eighty five and it is to go no lower.

Everyone wins with the PTP innovation, and I should receive a round of applause from everyone for my "out of the box suggestion."

Many undoubtedly will object to this, but what the hell. Social Security and Medicare were also scoffed at when they were introduced.

This is but only a first draft, and much work must be done in order to properly focus on DALO, EOLC, PTP, GMFG etc.

This is not as good a plan as Cash for Clunkers, but we can only deal with what we have to work with. After writing this, I will see if I can return to the Fitch's Sanatorium in the Bronx or comparable facility.

When I Googled Fitch's Sanatorium I found this comment from someone that I have edited:
"This hospital is now long gone.... but when I determined the name of the hospital where I was born I thought that I had been born in a "Nut House..."