Daily Archives: October 15, 2011

Surgery Rate Late in Life Surprises Researchers

Surgery is surprisingly common in older people during the last year, month and even week of life, researchers reported Wednesday, a finding that is likely to stoke, but not resolve, the debate over whether medical care is overused and needlessly driving up medical costs.

The most comprehensive examination of operations performed on Medicare recipients in the final year of life found that nationally in 2008, nearly one recipient in three had surgery in the last year of life. Nearly one in five had surgery in the last month of life. Nearly one in 10 had surgery in the last week of life.

The very oldest patients were less likely to have surgery. Those who were 65 had a 38.4 percent chance of having surgery in the last year of life. For 80-year-olds, the chance was 35.3 percent, but the rates fell off more sharply from there, declining by a third by age 90.

Read it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Aging / the Elderly, Consumer/consumer spending, Corporations/Corporate Life, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicare, Pastoral Theology, The U.S. Government, Theology

PBS' Religion and Ethics Weekly: Mending Medicare

[BETTY] ROLLIN: Our medical system can’t keep everyone healthy, but it excels at keeping people alive, which is expensive. Twenty-five percent of all Medicare spending is for the 10 percent of patients who are in their final year of life. For the year 2012 alone, that’s expected to be $137 billion. Most of the money is spent in the last 6 months of life, which is often of little benefit, if any, to the patient. And the conversations between patients and doctors and family members which might make a difference, Dr. Forrow says, aren’t happening, partly because people are afraid to talk about death and because the part of the Obama health care reform plan, which would have reimbursed doctors for these conversations, was shot down.

DR. [LACHLAN] FORROW: Cheap, political, inflammatory comments like “death panels” and “pulling the plug on grandma” for cheap political points have terrified the American people in a way that I think””I think that’s immoral.

ROLLIN: Dr. Susan Mitchell, who has studied advance dementia in nursing home patients, has found that even though these patients can be treated and kept more comfortable in a nursing home, they are often hospitalized where they receive aggressive and sometimes painful treatment that is covered by Medicare.

Read or watch it all.

Posted in * Culture-Watch, * Economics, Politics, Economy, Ethics / Moral Theology, Health & Medicine, Medicare, The U.S. Government, Theology

(RNS) First Roman Catholic bishop charged with sex abuse cover-up

Bishop Robert Finn of Kansas City, Mo., has been charged with failing to report the suspected abuse of a child, making him the first active bishop in the United States to face criminal prosecution over the sexual abuse of children by a priest.

Finn’s Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph has been charged with the same offense, which is a Class A misdemeanor, Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced on Friday (Oct. 14).

“The fact that this is a misdemeanor count should not diminish the significance of the case,” Peters Baker said in a statement.

Read it all.

Posted in * Religion News & Commentary, Other Churches, Roman Catholic

(AP) Islamic hard-liners attack rival shrines in Libya

Islamic hard-liners have attacked about a half-dozen shrines in and around Tripoli belonging to Muslim sects whose practices they see as sacrilegious, raising religious tensions as Libya struggles to define its identity after Moammar Gadhafi’s ouster.

The vandalism has drawn concern at the highest levels as Libya’s new rulers seek to reassure the international community that extremists will not gain influence in the North African nation.

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Posted in * Economics, Politics, * International News & Commentary, * Religion News & Commentary, Africa, Defense, National Security, Military, Foreign Relations, Islam, Libya, Other Faiths, Politics in General

Australian Anglican rethink on sex abuse reporting policy

THE spiritual leader of Australia’s three million Anglicans, Archbishop Phillip Aspinall, is having “second thoughts” about mandating the reporting to police of child sex abuse complaints against church staff, and has ordered a review of the policy.

In an exclusive interview, the Anglican Primate said he had been swayed by concerns that the automatic referral to police of historic complaints – made by adults alleging abuse when they were children at the hands of priests or other church workers – could “disempower” the victim or even cause the person involved to suffer “re-abuse”.

“I’m having second thoughts about it,” Dr Aspinall said of the reporting process he developed as Archbishop of Brisbane 10 years ago. This was at the height of the scandal that engulfed his predecessor in the post, Peter Hollingworth, and forced him to quit as governor-general over allegations he had not done enough to investigate complaints of sex abuse while he was in charge of the diocese.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, Anglican Church of Australia, Anglican Provinces, Children, Law & Legal Issues, Sexuality

As Online Courses Grow, So Does Financial Aid Fraud

While serving nine months in a South Carolina prison on forgery charges, Michelle N. Owens capitalized on the explosion in online higher education to tap into a new ”” and highly lucrative ”” way to profit from fake documents.

Using information she gathered as she handled paperwork in the prison’s education department, Ms. Owens filed applications for admission and financial aid to Webster University’s distance-learning programs on behalf of 23 unknowing inmates. The applicants were admitted and granted the $467,500 in requested aid, including $124,821 for books, transportation and living expenses ”” though of course their room and board was already provided by the state. The aid was sent in the form of debit cards to the residential South Carolina address Ms. Owens supplied.

An alert employee at Webster in St. Louis, which has campuses overseas and on dozens of United States military bases, eventually noticed an unusual number of applicants from the same address in Florence, S.C. Ms. Owens, 36, who continued to make fraudulent applications to Webster for more than a year after she was released from Leath Correctional Institution in 2008, was sentenced on Sept. 29 to 51 months in federal prison and ordered to pay $128,852 in restitution.

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Posted in * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Blogging & the Internet, Education, Law & Legal Issues, Science & Technology

Churches Take Steps to Show Their Love for Animals

As a boy in San Antonio, Paul Flotron helped his family raise miniature schnauzers. He was there for the dogs’ births, and his family showed the dogs at competitions all over Texas. When he was 10, his family moved to St. Louis, where he accumulated “the Flotron Miniature Zoo,” including “dwarf crocodiles, African pancake tortoises, birds, boa constrictors, hermit crabs, fish, and always dogs.”

Today, Mr. Flotron runs Creature Comforts Great and Small, a St. Louis pet-care business, and leads Noah’s Ark, a pet ministry of Grace Church, a large nondenominational Protestant congregation. Noah’s Ark runs a pet-food drive, supports a no-kill rescue, brings pets to visit the sick and infirm, and hosts a grief group for those who have lost a pet.

“We actually have Bible study and discuss passages that are animal related,” Mr. Flotron said. “We make that our foundation.”

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Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, * Culture-Watch, * General Interest, Animals, Parish Ministry, Religion & Culture

(ACC Press) Meet the Internet priest

[In September 2011]…the Rev. Jesse Dymond began his work as General Synod’s first online community coordinator. A priest in the Diocese of Huron, Mr. Dymond brings a wide range of experience in parish ministry, theological reflection, technology, and communications.

Canadian Anglicans will be seeing more of Mr. Dymond as he tweets, posts Facebook updates, and finds new ways to connect people online. Since the focus of his ministry will be to cultivate online community, we gave him more than 140 characters (the Twitter limit) to introduce himself. Read on for the interview.

What do you do at General Synod?
For now, I’m working behind the scenes: networking, planning, and taking care of our involvement in existing communities such as Facebook and Twitter.

Read it all (another from the long queue of should-have-already-been-posted material).

Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, --Social Networking, Anglican Church of Canada, Anglican Provinces, Blogging & the Internet

A Prayer for the Feast Day of Teresa of Avila

O God, who by thy Holy Spirit didst move Teresa of Avila to manifest to thy Church the way of perfection: Grant us, we beseech thee, to be nourished by her excellent teaching, and enkindle within us a lively and unquenchable longing for true holiness; through Jesus Christ, the joy of loving hearts, who with thee and the same Holy Spirit liveth and reigneth, one God, for ever and ever.

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Church History, Spirituality/Prayer

A Prayer to Begin the Day

O Eternal Light, illuminate us; O eternal Power, strengthen us; O eternal Wisdom, instruct us; O eternal Mercy, have pity upon us; and grant us with all our hearts and minds to seek thy face, and to love thy name; through Jesus Christ our Lord.

–William Bright

Posted in * Christian Life / Church Life, Spirituality/Prayer

From the Morning Bible Readings

To the choirmaster. A Psalm of David. The LORD answer you in the day of trouble! The name of the God of Jacob protect you! May he send you help from the sanctuary, and give you support from Zion! 3 May he remember all your offerings, and regard with favor your burnt sacrifices! [Selah] May he grant you your heart’s desire, and fulfil all your plans! May we shout for joy over your victory, and in the name of our God set up our banners! May the LORD fulfil all your petitions! Now I know that the LORD will help his anointed; he will answer him from his holy heaven with mighty victories by his right hand. Some boast of chariots, and some of horses; but we boast of the name of the LORD our God. They will collapse and fall; but we shall rise and stand upright. Give victory to the king, O LORD; answer us when we call.

–Psalm 20

Posted in Theology, Theology: Scripture

CEN–Evangelical bishop under assault in America

The Bishop of South Carolina reports that he is being investigated by a church disciplinary committee for having abandoned the Episcopal Church.

One of the few remaining conservative bishops in the Episcopal Church, Bishop Mark Lawrence has been sharply critical of the Church’s embrace of the gay agenda and the new morality. While removing him from the House of Bishops would silence his voice, it will also provoke a constitutional crisis for the Episcopal Church, canon lawyers tell The Church of England Newspaper.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * South Carolina, - Anglican: Latest News, Episcopal Church (TEC), TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina

(Living Church) Episcopal Church Attorney in South Carolina Matter Recuses Herself

Sisters and Brothers, today I have accepted the withdrawal of Ms. Josephine Hicks from further participation in the matter before us regarding Bishop Mark Lawrence.

Ms. Hicks has withdrawn from all involvement in the Board’s investigation and/or consideration of the Bishop Lawrence matter because unanticipated circumstances have created the possibility of a conflict arising regarding fiduciary responsibilities for members of her law firm as matters develop. For reasons of professional responsibility, she is not at liberty to disclose any details concerning that possibility.

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Posted in * Anglican - Episcopal, * Culture-Watch, * South Carolina, Episcopal Church (TEC), Law & Legal Issues, TEC Bishops, TEC Conflicts, TEC Conflicts: South Carolina, TEC Polity & Canons