Questions Being Raised in the U.K. About End-of-Life Care

Now some fresh pickings from the Political Grapevine:

Senior Stress

There has been a lot of talk about end-of-life care during the current health care debate. But across "the Pond," some serious questions are being raised.

A group of leading British doctors has written to The Daily Telegraph insisting that some terminally ill patients are being forced to die prematurely. They call it a "national crisis in patient care," explaining that medical staff under National Health Service guidance (the government run system) can remove fluids and drugs from patients, and put them on continuous sedation until death.

Dr. Peter Hargreaves of Palliative Medicine writes of the program, "It is supposed to let people die with dignity but it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy."

Last week, a report by the Patients' Association in England estimated up to 1 million patients had received poor or cruel care under the government system.

Uncivil Debate

Back here in the USA, a health care protest in California ended with a man needing health care fast to reattach his finger. Authorities say a protestor supporting health care reform in the town of Thousand Oaks walked over to a group of counter-demonstrators.

A heated argument and fist fight ensued during which the original protestor bit off the left pinky finger of a 65-year-old man. Authorities are still looking for the biter. Again he was a proponent of health care reform; the pinky-less victim was covered by Medicare.

Congressional Cantata

If congressional hearings are your idea of a good time, a theater in Philadelphia has a night on the town for you. The Wall Street Journal reports the "Gonzales Cantata" is a concert opera about former Attorney General Alberto Gonzales' Senate Judiciary Committee hearings.

Every word sung during the 40-minute choral work is taken verbatim from the hearings that punctuated the U.S. attorney dismissal firings back in 2007. The opera's writer, Melissa Dunphy, says she has had a bi-partisan response: "Republicans and Democrats come to the show and remark that it really wasn't about party politics. It's about a man who made some mistakes and is facing the music." Literally.

No reaction from the former attorney general yet.

— FOX News Channel's Lanna Britt contributed to this report.