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Lessons of a $618,616 Death

theodp (442580) writes | more than 4 years ago

Medicine 3

theodp (442580) writes "Two years after her husband's death, Amanda Bennett examines the costs and complex questions of keeping one man alive. The bills for his seven-year battle with cancer totaled $618,616, almost two-thirds of which was for his final 24 months. No one can say for sure if the treatments helped extend his life, and she's left with a question she still can't answer: When is it time to quit?"

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3 comments

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If only... (1)

eplawless (1003102) | more than 4 years ago | (#31385746)

If only he had lived in Canada, or somewhere else with socialized medicine.

Re:If only... (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 4 years ago | (#31386356)

If only he had lived in Canada...

Then what??? He'd have died in 4 years after a cost of only $250,000?

This isn't an issue of who pays the bills, it's that patients and loved ones have to pull their heads out of their arses, and doctors have to suck it up and say, "Do you really want to put your (whoever) through years of pain and misery just for the sake of keeping them alive?"

Re:If only... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#31387116)

Ignore the cost for the moment. Let's ask the question another way: if you look at the resources we have available for medical treatment, do we really lack the available resources to give everyone *at least* the care described in the article? Most of the cost went towards medications; do trial medications *really* cost that much per dose?

Disclaimer: I have serious doubts that socialized medicine represents an improvement, and even if so that its implementation will succeed. However, that's a question of design and implementation, not a question of resources. In the end, this comes down to an optimal resource allocation problem: with the exception of extremely limited resources such as donor organs, do we or do we not have the resources to treat every dying person to the best of our available technology?

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