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House Calls Started This Year

House calls are meant for patients who are temporarily or permanently home bound, or for other good reasons can't make it into the office.

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Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Zeke Emanuel, Are You Serious?

The following is a letter to the editor I sent to the Westport News, which appeared on October 3, 2014.

Dr. Hezekiel Emanuel recently published a strong and lengthy, but controversial, article in The Atlantic, entitled Why I Hope to Die at 75,  an argument that society and families-and you-will be better off if nature takes its course swiftly and promptly.

Just a reminder: Dr. Emanuel, one of the architects of the Affordable Care Act (AKA Obamacare), holds many awards and respectable positions (including  Vice Provost for Global Initiatives and Chair of the Department of Medical Ethics and Health Policy at the University of Pennsylvania). His writings have many listening ears.

In the article, and interviews that followed, Dr. Emanuel further extends his opinion why life after 75 is not only for him, but also NOT for you.

Needless to say, the article generated a lot of criticism which justified in my opinion. This is concisely presented in a Forbes article of 9/24/2014, Should We Take Zeke Emanuel’s  Advice And Be Ready To Die At 75?

I’m not going through the back-and-forth arguments here, but suffice it to say that I strongly disagree with Dr. Emanuel. May be it’s OK for him to count down to the day of his death at 75, but it is not so for many others. The percentage of people over 75 who are independent, active and productive is impressively high, and increasing on a regular basis.

 Warren Buffet is 84, I guess he is now 9 years “overdue.” Winston Churchill was prime minister of the UK until the age of 80. Ben Gurion was prime minister of Israel until the age of 77 (and very active for years after that), President Reagan was in office until the age of 78 (“Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” at age 77).

And the 75’s and over are important to their families!

Dr. Emanuel is 57 years old; it would be interesting to see what he has to say when he’s 74 and ready to “fold it in.”

So where does it leave me and others in this age group? Are we living on borrowed time? Are we wasting public resources just because we live?  I don’t think so!

I’m here to continue with my plans: Continue to foster relationships, family and friends, and continue – and expand – the effort to treat the under-served.

I am already treating many patients who have no insurance, or whose insurance does not meet their needs, regardless of their ability to pay, regardless of their age. I think that no one should be denied medical care, and I intend to continue with that cause.

Twitter / Dr. Staw