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avid

Should we just let em die?

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The health insurance/obesity thread got me thinking.

I saw this statistic several times, a little time on google should confirm it.  

approxametly 40% of the health care costs a person incurs in their entire lives occur in the last 2 years before death.

Pretty staggering.

In most western countries some form of healthcare is given to the populace but thier "standards" are often criticized as being below ours.  One of the cost saving measures widely employed thorughout the world is that the terminally ill are treated for pain and made comfortable but the huge expense of extended hospital stays, surgeries, and procedures are not pursued.  At least not at the insurers expense.  Yes, we all know that some people do recover from terminal prognosis, but most don't.  It keeps healthcare costs down.

My question is.  When several doctors have concluded a patients condition is terminal, should every effort be made to prolong/save the patients life, or should he/she be made comfortable and let nature take it's course?

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This is a tough question to answer. When speaking for the general population, one might agree to just make the patient comfortable and let nature take its course. But when its ones family member or them self the scenario changes quickly.

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I have often wondered the same thing, and I think that if it were me, I would say "just let it be my time" rather than seeking desperate medical approaches to simply delaying the inevitable, but there are certain instances where I would change that opinion.  For instance, my wife's grandfather died 10 days before our wedding, I know if there had been a "well, we could try this" treatment he would have taken it just to see his granddaughter walk down the isle, and I think I would to if that were the case.  Its a fine line no matter how you look at it and what your personal feelings are.

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Whoever's decision it is, it ought not be the insurer's decision.  The insurer would rather have you die than pay for life-extending treatment.  There was a recent article in the news where one insurer would not pay for life extending medication, but would pay for assisted suicide.  

That being said, the question is deeply personal, one that should be answered primarily by the patient, his/her family, and the doctor.  

Those that don't want their insurance premiums subsidizing someone's decision to stay alive may do well to remember that they may be in that situation one day, having to rely on others to subsidize their tough choice.  

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I have been working through this for the last several years.

Both in-laws have now passed. Neither had any "quality-of-life"

for some time. When it's my turn, pull the plug!

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When completing my will I also completed a document (don't remember the name of it, healthcare power of attorney?) that said that if I were in a vegetative state or terminally ill without being aware then they are instructed to pull the plug.  If I were cognizant of my surroundings but terminal and in pain, I would like to believe that I would let it end.

In my opinion quality of life is more important than length of life.

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for me I agree with RW.

If I'm suffering dont drag it out and put me through more pain.  

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I see this at work alllllllllll the time. There's a 93 year old being kept alive by machines with no chance of recovery because the family doesn't want to deal with their passing and the patient doesn't have a living will stating otherwise.

There are questions you should always ask yourself if you are considering yourself or a loved one. What will their quality of life be if they are taken off of the machines? Will they ever get better?

I don't want to be a financial burden on my family after I'm gone. I have a living will that states if I have to be put on life support for any reason. That life support will be turned off after three days on the 72nd hr. If this is after my 70th year of life then I am to be a DNR patient. DNR (Do Not Resuscitate)

I see to much unnecessary suffering that shouldn't happen. It's very sad to know that the patient is terminal and see them in so much pain and hear that the family can't agree to let them go.

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I have basically the same thing set up as Fluke.  However, I gave myself 5 days on life support instead of 3.  At the 24th hour of the 5th day, they have to pull the plug.  By that time, my family, that live out west could have come say their goodbyes, and what not, and then be here for the funeral/wake.  I also have a DNR provision after 70 yrs. old.

As for the other countries and how they deal with the elderly and the sick, in my opinion, never mind, that will lead to politics and religion,,,  :-X :-X

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I have a living will  

That is what I have to.  Healthcare power of attorney was wrong.

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I think he was asking about fighting cancers and other terminal conditions that aren't "immediately terminal", not being in a vegitative state. Fighting cancer, for example, can cost 10's, or 100's of thousands of dollars and more. Sometimes only increasing a lifespan by a few days or weeks. If you look at how many people have these problems very late in life, you see that there are probably billions of dollars involved. Sadly, much of the time, the quality of life is actually lowered by some treatmants.

I think the real question avid asks, is this: is it worth billions of dollars to prolong people's lives for such a statistically short amount of time? Realizing that on occasion, someone lives much longer.

It's a hard question. I watched several grandparents go through agonizing battles in the end. I want no part of it for me or the rest of my family. I fall on the "keep them comfortable and let nature take it's course" side of things. try to keep the highest quality of life left. My opinion is that a few extra days of pain or suffering aren't worth it, regardless of cost or savings.

With that, you must trust the opinion of your doctors.

I also think that every person should have a will, and a healthcare power of attorney.... they serve 2 different purposes.

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I also think that every person should have a will, and a healthcare power of attorney.... they serve 2 different purposes.

No matter where you stand on this, and it's definitely a tough one and very personal, I believe 100% in what flechero states... do it for your loved one's.

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Who determines who is terminally ill?

I like Kent recently went through this ordeal & totally believe it should be up to the family.

The Hippocratic Oath had it's plug pulled years ago ;)

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