For the elderly, surgery increasingly...

For the elderly, surgery increasingly an option

There are 1 comment on the Chicago Tribune story from Jul 12, 2009, titled For the elderly, surgery increasingly an option. In it, Chicago Tribune reports that:

Should a 97-year-old man undergo an expensive, dangerous open-heart operation to repair a lethal tear in a main artery of his heart? No, concluded the patient, Michael DeBakey, the world-famous cardiovascular surgeon who pioneered the operation.

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Since: Jul 09


#1 Jul 27, 2009
I work in health care and see frail, elderly patients all time who undergo surgery, ICU stays, and dialysis. Many end up on ventilators in nursing homes where they develop bed sores, contractures, and multiple infections, and then shuttle back and forth between the home and the hospital to tune them up, only to return to an existence that can hardly be described as "quality" life. Many are semi-comatose or non responsive, yet families want "everything" done. To what purpose, I am not sure. I do know there is pain and emotional suffering on the part of the patients, and sometimes the families. I do know it costs an excessive amount of money to care for these terminally ill patients. And I know that these patients contribute to the spread of infections that are becoming harder and harder to treat. And then they die anyway.

Americans somehow feel entitled to think they can live forever. I would like to see statistics about how these 80+ people fare, costs involved, and, yes, return on investment. Just because we CAN, doesn't mean we HAVE to.

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