"The latest conservative obsession - dutifully spread via Sarah Palin's Facebook page - is marked by the same alarmism and factual inaccuracy as the hysteria over "death panels."
According to this tale, America's veterans are being steered into ending their lives via a "death book" distributed by the government.
It all started with Jim Towey, the former president of the White House Office of Faith-Based Initiatives under George W. Bush, who penned an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal describing how the Department of Veterans Affairs was using an end-of-life planning document that was aimed at steering veterans toward choosing death."
Dr. Ellen Fox, the Chief Officer for Ethics in Health Care at the Veterans Health Administration, defended the use of the booklet:
Your Life, Your Choices is an educational workbook that was designed specifically for Veterans. The authors went to great lengths to ensure it would be meaningful and helpful to all Veterans, regardless of their religious and cultural backgrounds. I am impressed by the development process they used, which included extensive input and testing by different Veterans groups, religious leaders from 10 different faiths, elderly and disabled individuals, and experienced doctors and nurses. They even made sure to incorporate everyday language that Veterans commonly use to describe medical conditions, while at the same time providing accurate information from the physician's perspective. Over the past 10 years it has been tested through scientific research, endorsed by many respected professional organizations, and widely used throughout the U.S. health care system. It is one of many educational resources we provide to help Veterans and their families. As a Federal agency we have an obligation to be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars by maximizing the services we provide our Veterans. Providing an educational resource like Your Life, Your Choices at no cost to Veterans is one of the many ways we fulfill this mission. The whole purpose of this workbook is to encourage more conversations between patients, families, and health care teams. Anyone who is seriously interested in ensuring that Veterans receive the best care possible should recognize this."