End-of-Life Care is Often Futile, Costly

The folks at the Dartmouth Atlas Project have pointed out the elephant in the room—the enormous amount of far too aggressive, painful, costly, and often futile care, which too many doctors and hospitals provide during a Medicare patient's last days of life.

4 comments on "End-of-Life Care is Often Futile, Costly"
Karl Vanhooten (11/19/2010 at 11:49 AM)

One comment: MDs and hospitals get paid (by somebody) whether grandma dies or not. And the more they do to her, the more they can charge.
The Ratings Guy (11/19/2010 at 8:27 AM)

First of all, this was a sampling of 20% of Medicare cases. Secondly they only looked at those who died...so yes I guess ALL care would have been FUTILE. If you want to drink Dartmouth's Kool Aid, you will have to believe that providers are all evil, uninformed and stupid. This sampling never had any contact with the patients, so ALL of the commentary about what patients wanted or knew is conjecture. We all know that bad stuff happens at death, and Dartmouth has done nothing to inform anyone about how to manage or predict it any better. This is another example of spin coming out of the Dartmouth Working Group. Let me guess...and all of the patients expired too, wow, what a finding!
John Rosenstock (11/19/2010 at 7:09 AM)

Patrick doesn't have a clue as to what he is saying. It's not really the money being spent (alhough that has a side benifit) it's the futility of the treatment which is often painful and futile instead of having a peaceful death at home or in hospice with family and/or friends present. To die in the ICU hooked to life support is never peaceful and comfortable.
Patrick Plemmons (11/18/2010 at 3:59 PM)

"We're not talking about letting Grandma die here; we're talking about allowing her to have a death with dignity." Quite a statement, let's parse it. First, of course you are talking about letting Grandma die [INVALID] death with dignity is death. Period. Second, just who is "allowing" her a dignified death? Medicare? Kathleen Sebelius? Barack Obama? But wait, now I remember. Critics said Obamacare would lead to "death panels" and this sounds exactly like what they were describing. You never used that term, but it's the "elephant in the article". I value life, any life, a lot more than "precious healthcare dollars". Set up a voucher system, get government out of healthcare delivery and let Grandma and her family make the end of life decisions.


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