Town Square

Dr. Walter Bortz -- health care visionary or a Dr. Quixote?

Original post made by Jay Thorwaldson, editor emeritus, on Feb 11, 2011

On a spring day in early 1982, I bumped into Dr. Walter M. Bortz, II, a longtime Palo Alto area geriatrician, outside the former Palo Alto Medical Foundation/Clinic building at 300 Homer Ave.

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Posted by Sean
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 11, 2011 at 6:58 pm

I want to booze, screw and dissipate to my heart's content. It is my personal freedom to do so. I also want to be able to check out (commit suicide) when I want to. If the medical profession would agree to doctor-assisted suicide, we could get beyond all this hugely expensive, end-of-life nonsense.

When will Dr. Bortz finally get aboard with the true economics of health care? It really doesn't matter that he is healthy, for longer than most, because, he will still have end-of-life, economy-destroying expenses, if he, or his family, cannot have the ability to end his life with an injection. It is a complete fantasy that healthy people cost the medical system less than unhealthy people. A type-II diabetic, or an obese person, or a heavy smoker costs less than a a healthy person who lives long enough to develop Altzheimer's disease, assuming that the former group dies at an earlier age.

There is no way that our health system can survive, unless we have doctor-assisted suicide.

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Posted by Bill
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 12, 2011 at 4:17 pm

A lot of words here .. but not much substance.

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Posted by Anon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:04 pm

I support Sean's right to commit suicide. ;-)

Whatever we (Americans) are doing, we are so superior and self-righeous and always trying to push it on others, talking about how rich, great and powerful we are ... yet we don;t bother to carefully examine the stats in public comparing us NEGATIVELY with ALL the other developed countries.

Health care is like most things in the US, it is a status symbol of a clique, a class, and elite, and this is our game that we think is so wonderful ... it's just might makes right or in this case money and guns.

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Posted by Sean
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 13, 2011 at 3:20 pm


You say you support my right to suicide, but it just isn't so! If I want to ask a doctor to give me an injection, as if I am on the operating table, then I should be able to do so.

Comparisons to other countries can be useful, on specific issues, but not others. For example, Sweden has almost twice the murder/attempted murder rate of the U.S. Each country is different, according to its own culture, but I just want a very decent thing: Doctor-assisted suicide. If it is not allowed on a voluntary basis, it will come down to a rationing model (death panels).

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Posted by More choice, not less.
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Feb 14, 2011 at 11:15 am

We have "pre-paid health care" not fee for service already.

It is called "Managed Care" insurance, ie: HMOs.

We are heading toward one huge national HMO with no other choices available to us.

I prefer fee for I get the service I want, not the service someone else has decided I need ( or don't).

So, with apologies for not reading the book and just commenting on this thread based on what Mr. Thorwaldson has written, I can see why there is no take-off on this book. Right now we have the choice to choose HMO or not, and there are many working hard to remove even that much choice from us..hard to support buying a book which pushes me into even less choice.