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Disposable Society

By Bruce W. Robida
July 15, 2012



As we traveled along a busy road recently, my young daughter and I noticed a man waving a sign that said, “Expert shoe repair while you wait”. I asked my daughter if she knew what they called someone who repairs shoes. She did not know that “cobbler’ was something other than a sweet, steaming hot dessert. The shoe cobbler is a dying profession. It is rare to see such shops operating anymore. The reason is that most people throw away their shoes rather than have them repaired. Maybe it’s a matter of cost. Maybe we just like to wear new shoes. Whatever the reason, shoes have become just another item that is easily disposable. The same can be said for appliances and electronics. When was the last time you saw a TV or appliance repair shop? I know they are still out there, but like drive-ins, they are nearly extinct. Everything we purchase these days seems to last half as long as they did just twenty years ago. We have become a disposable society.

Unfortunately, disposing of used merchandise is not our only obsession. The concept of disposability has permeated our culture to such a degree that it even includes our fellow human beings. Take for example, the elderly. My father recently fell, breaking one of his hips and one of his arms. He’s seventy-eight years old. After a few weeks in the hospital, he spent a few weeks in rehab, and now he’s in a nursing home doing his best to heal his injuries. But during the course of his recovery, he suffered some setbacks; pneumonia, dehydration, bed sores, urinary tract infection, etc, all of which occurred in the very institutions that are supposed to be treating him. I understand these setbacks can sometimes not be avoided, especially with older people. But what came next was not expected. As a family, we were approached by the nursing home administration about the possibility of putting my father on “palliative” and “comfort” care. What does that mean? According to the staff, including the hospice doctor, it is care that is meant to give the patient a better quality of life while he is in their care. They made it clear that he would not be given curative care, only comfort care. That means all restrictions on what he can eat or drink and time out of bed would be lifted. It means that he could have all the pain management medications he needs when he’s going through some painful trial. It also means his life would be shortened since there would no longer be trips to the emergency room for those pesky problems like, pneumonia, dehydration, bed sores and infections. No, they would treat him right where he lay, until he finally succumbs to whatever was causing him trouble. Remember, he came in with broken bones. His hip was repaired immediately and is already healed. His arm is healing and he is working with rehab and is using it, although it is a more difficult problem. Those problems that require hospitalization are all a result of being bed-ridden in institutions that are meant to help patients heal. Yet, the administration at this particular nursing home was more than eager to recommend palliative and comfort care as opposed to curative care. The driving force in all of this is the cost of course. Who is going to pay for all of this care? Since my parents aren’t wealthy, Medicare and Medicaid are paying and I don’t think they really want to. I dare say, this goes on all across the country, and if it were not for the encouragement of my family, and the willingness to say “no” to the institution, my father would not be here today. We have seen him go down hill fast, only to recover soon after being treated by hospital personnel and then returned to his room in the nursing home. Don't get me wrong. I believe the quality of the care that he's receiving is top notch, usually. Technically, what they recommended was not euthanasia because that would be illegal, at least in this state.

But around the world, there is a loud cry for euthanasia to become legal under the guise of compassion, mercy and quality of life. In fact, euthanasia is already legal in places such as the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxembourg and Switzerland. And believe it or not, euthanasia is now legal in the states of Oregon and Washington. OK, they don’t call it euthanasia in Oregon and Washington, they call it assisted suicide. The only difference is, the doctor doesn’t administer the lethal drug but assists the patient in administering it to himself. Of course, nobody wants to suffer. And no one in his right mind wants to see or even know about somebody else’s suffering. So shouldn’t we have compassion on the suffering? Of course we should! While it might be appropriate to put a bullet in the head of a suffering animal, it is not appropriate to do it to a human. This is often the argument we get from the pro-euthanasia crowd. “We have no problem putting down a suffering animal, why would we have less compassion for fellow humans”. The difference is and contrary to what many people believe, humans are not animals. Humans were created in the image of God and are unique in the universe. Even among Christians this is sometimes not known. The solution to human suffering from a human (secular) standpoint is to allow them to die with dignity, i.e. without pain and suffering. Since euthanasia or assisted suicide is not legal in most states, the next best thing is to offer palliative and comfort care as opposed to curative care. Of course you know that the next stage in this evolution of compassion will be euthanasia, since “The patient is going to die anyway, why prolong it”?

And of course there is the hotly debated practice of abortion. Aside from the obvious abortion statistics (as of January 12, 2012, there have been 54,559,615 abortions since the Roe vs. Wade decision in 1973) there have been recent undercover investigations exposing Planned Parenthoods willingness to facilitate abortions for such things as gender selection and a wide range of potential abnormalities such as Down Syndrome and, oh yes, cleft palate. I say potential abnormalities because even though ultrasound and amniocentesis can be useful, they are often wrong with diagnoses that lead to abortions. China’s one child policy has caused more than 13 million abortions a year. The majority of those are girls. There is a concerted effort in the world to control the population and Americans are falling for it, hook, line and sinker.

So just as old shoes, appliances and electronics are easily disposed of, so too are humans. We are increasingly being conditioned to think of each other as disposable. And when certain individuals have outlived their usefulness, or maybe they have become a burden to their families or even society, the easy solution is to kill them (but let’s call it something nice like euthanasia or a woman’s choice).  

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