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    Your cost of dying

    The Cost of Dying - 60 Minutes - CBS News

    Great reporting piece.

    Something we are all saving up for.

    EDIT: BTW, like the woman featured on this piece they documented dying, as a family we decided to put my grandmother on DNR and fortunately, she was only in the ICU 3 days. It is a personal decision though.
    Last edited by Scanner; 12-16-2009, 02:24 PM.

    #2
    There will be even harder decisions to make in the future as medical technology continues to advance. These are indeed very hard decisions. The choices will have to be made though because the system absolutely won't be able to support the demand placed on it(think end of life with the boomer generation).

    Very tough and personal stuff.
    "Those who can't remember the past are condemmed to repeat it".- George Santayana.

    Comment


      #3
      Yes, and the problem is it's insidious even if you dont' want it.

      With my grandmother. . .she went in for difficulty breathing, her husband died of asbestosis. . .they weren't sure she had it. . .they opened her up. . .sure enough, that's what it was. . .that's when she took a turn and went into respiratory failure and then went on a vent.

      At that point, my mom decided DNR.

      Anyway, it's a slippery slope. . .would have preferred to not even get there but the exploratory surgery (I guess that's what it was) to diagnose it made her worse and decline into that "nether region" between life and death. I suppose years ago, the surgery would have simply just killed her. Mesothelioma is very agressive from what I have seen anyway so no hard feelings for maybe accelerating the process. . .it would have been better to just avoid the ICU altogether. She could have been on DNR in the ICU for a long time and that would have been expressly against her wishes and ours.

      It's just not as simple as saying, "I don't want to be hooked up to tubes and lines." The system is loaded against that.

      It's a shame but the system will releive a lot of us savers of our money on our death beds. . .how much is questionable.

      Comment


        #4
        Originally posted by Scanner View Post
        Yes, and the problem is it's insidious even if you dont' want it.



        It's just not as simple as saying, "I don't want to be hooked up to tubes and lines." The system is loaded against that.

        It's a shame but the system will releive a lot of us savers of our money on our death beds. . .how much is questionable.

        Scanner, I couldn't get the video to load but could you elaborate on your comments about the system? Let me just say that having been an RN for over 18 years, I have been a witness to end of life decisions more than I can count and there are often two scenarios:

        1) Physicians are not really clear about the patient's chances of recovery. They are human too and some of them are more comfortable discussing death than others. I've seen some of them dance around direct questions from patients and questions or speak in such technical terms about chances that they are left with a false hope or understanding, leading to prolonged and futile treatment.

        2) (most common) The family is not prepared to accept the end of their loved ones life or they are too afraid to take a stand and let them go lest they be labeled as "letting Mama die". The patients themselves are often matter of fact about facing their end, some write living wills, some won't but very few want to end their lives in the ICU hooked to the vent. How many times have we seen the patient and family agree to let Mama die a peaceful, natural death only for cousin Sally from Des Moines to fly in and insist that everything be done or they will sue the pants off the hospital, doctors and the janitors? The family then allows themselves to be bullied into revoking the DNR or living will or whatever. That happens more times than I can count and it's a crying shame. That's not a system problem.


        There is a big movement around hospice and palliative care. There needs to a lot more education about it but the foolishness we witnessed this summer with death panels and such caused us to be extremely sensitive about how we approach people about this issue. We always tell people, it is not enough to have a living will you have to tell everyone how you feel and say it like you mean it.

        Comment


          #5
          asmom, you make a great point. More often than not, the problem in this country isn't with the medical system. The problem is with the public not wanting to accept death. I can't tell you how many times I have urged a patient or patient's family to enter hospice care and they refused. I don't remember the exact stat but I think the average length of time a patient spends on hospice care is something like 3 days. That's what needs to change.
          Steve

          * Despite the high cost of living, it remains very popular.
          * Why should I pay for my daughter's education when she already knows everything?
          * There are no shortcuts to anywhere worth going.

          Comment


            #6
            Van Halen has a song called In and Out (I believe its on For Unlawful Carnal Knowledge).

            It is about being born
            and dying.

            The only two things each of us are guaranteed in our lifetime, and they don't come cheap.

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by asmom View Post
              Scanner, I couldn't get the video to load but could you elaborate on your comments about the system? Let me just say that having been an RN for over 18 years, I have been a witness to end of life decisions more than I can count and there are often two scenarios:

              1) Physicians are not really clear about the patient's chances of recovery. They are human too and some of them are more comfortable discussing death than others. I've seen some of them dance around direct questions from patients and questions or speak in such technical terms about chances that they are left with a false hope or understanding, leading to prolonged and futile treatment.

              2) (most common) The family is not prepared to accept the end of their loved ones life or they are too afraid to take a stand and let them go lest they be labeled as "letting Mama die". The patients themselves are often matter of fact about facing their end, some write living wills, some won't but very few want to end their lives in the ICU hooked to the vent. How many times have we seen the patient and family agree to let Mama die a peaceful, natural death only for cousin Sally from Des Moines to fly in and insist that everything be done or they will sue the pants off the hospital, doctors and the janitors? The family then allows themselves to be bullied into revoking the DNR or living will or whatever. That happens more times than I can count and it's a crying shame. That's not a system problem.


              There is a big movement around hospice and palliative care. There needs to a lot more education about it but the foolishness we witnessed this summer with death panels and such caused us to be extremely sensitive about how we approach people about this issue. We always tell people, it is not enough to have a living will you have to tell everyone how you feel and say it like you mean it.
              excellent post

              Comment

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