From the President's Desk

Please be sure to read the teaser at the end of this column.
This edition of the HALO Monthly is abbreviated because we needed a short break. Nevertheless, we wanted to bring you three important pieces. First is an exciting announcement of plans to build a life-affirming healthcare facility in Michigan. Next we have a tremendous victory to celebrate. Then we wrap up with an article about suicide contagion—how legalization of assisted suicide leads to increases in conventional suicide. If a bill to legalize assisted suicide is being considered in your state, use the facts about suicide contagion to educate your state legislators, and to warn your friends and neighbors.
Assisted suicide is not the only threat to patients’ lives. Sadly, medically vulnerable patients are being denied life-affirming care more and more frequently, and families are being traumatized by their inability to protect their loved ones from a healthcare system that views certain lives as unworthy of care. HALO’s patient advocates stand beside patients and their families as their allies during medical crises. For some medically vulnerable people, we are their last hope. They need us like a person who is drowning needs a life preserver.
Recently, Ron Panzer, president of the Hospice Patients Alliance and friend of HALO, told me,
We are seeing increasingly pervasive coercion of patients, forcing them to be admitted and agree to be admitted to hospice. No other options are offered, even when, previously, home healthcare or rehab would have been offered. It is all ramping up, and the patients that have nobody to speak up for them or explain things are simply eliminated quickly in the system. Those who have someone may fare better, but even then, patient advocates have to fight tooth and nail over almost every decision made at the physician’s office, the hospital, or elsewhere: to get a lab test, to have a medication prescribed, to get a diagnosis, to not be lied to, to have the lies withdrawn, and to get an accurate assessment of their condition. . . . It is war: war on the lives of the patients who are elderly, stable, and chronically ill, or disabled, as you know.
HALO is on the front line, standing between the medically vulnerable and those who threaten their very existence. Therefore, I have a critically important plea.
Many patients simply need time and appropriate attention to recover. But they are often denied these essentials by hospital administrators and doctors who are more concerned about containing costs than saving lives. And tragically, as Ron points out, patients without advocates are “simply eliminated quickly in the system.”
Please join with us to protect vulnerable lives. HALO needs your financial support in order to combat the powerful healthcare system, to help families protect their medically weak loved ones from harm, and to educate the public about the dangers they may face in our healthcare system.
Please prayerfully consider a donation to the Healthcare Advocacy and Leadership Organization. You may donate by clicking HERE or by sending a check to HALO, PO Box 324, Chisago City, MN 55103-0324. All donations are tax-deductible to the full extent of the law.
We, HALO’s directors, sincerely thank you on behalf of all who seek HALO’s help. If we can be of assistance to you or someone you know, please email and we will respond ASAP.
Teaser: “When you’re dead, you’re dead!!” I witnessed this shouted at my friend, John, by a hospice social worker who was frustrated that John hadn’t yet agreed to a do-not-resuscitate (DNR) order. Read the rest of the story in next month’s edition. —Joan

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