The U.S. spends over $55 billion dollars a year just to care the patients in their last two months of life, according to 60 Minutes. Is this care needed? Is it helpful?Â According to the CBS program, it is estimated that as much as 30% of this enormous budget is wasted.
Elderly, terminally cancer patients with only months to live are receiving $90,000 defibrillator implants. A woman in her 80’s, with only 2 months to live is seen by neurologists and psychologists – and the government is billed $40,000 for MRI’s and even a Papp Smear.
Because the patient doesn’t have to pay the costs go up and up. Because our politicians seem to only care about getting re-elected they do nothing to curb the costs – for fear that their rival will call them a granny killer.
Death and Dignity
The sad fact is that this end of life care is painful. The patient is often heavily sedated or strapped down to the bed to prevent them from pulling out the myriad of tubes and monitors.Â Medicine may succeed in delaying death … but is that the same as prolonging life?
It seems silly that in a country where the majority believes in heaven – nobody wants to go there! It takes an enormous amount of courage for a dying patient to “give up hope,” but death is inevitable. The only choice you have is in how you will accept it.
Medicare spends more on the last two months of life than it does on Homeland Security or Education.Â So, how do we deny the dying these services without the “death panel?”
Do we wait until we’re broke and unable to care for anyone?
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