The health care reform is all the rage right now. I’m still pretty confused about it though…I try to keep up with the speeches, the world news, the Newsweek and Time articles but am still, like the rest of the American people, at a loss. One article I read discussed how Medicare recipients spend 2/3 of their total life medical costs in the last few years of life. The author discussed how at the end his mother didn’t want anything else to be done to prolong this life and the doctors had a hard time agreeing to that. At least the author and his mom had their head on straight. I know we have all at one point or another taken care of a patient with a trach, a g-tube, and decubitus ulcers, who were totally nonresponsive and yet, still, a FULL code. I’m always baffled by the fact that when animals have a terminal illness or suffer a catastrophic injury, most people do the humane thing and put them down. We don’t want our beloved companions to suffer any longer than they have to. Yet, when it comes to our parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents we say “Do everything!” Even if “everything” means prolonging suffering to an unfathomable degree. I think part of it comes down to guilt. We never feel guilty for missing our dogs birthdays or getting too drunk at our cat’s wedding and saying something we regret. Yet we do with the people in our lives and so maybe on some level we prolong those lives hoping for a second chance. There are so many layers to the issue of end of life care—far beyond the tiny scope of a blog—but it is something to think about isn’t it?
- Rebekah Child
- September 17, 2009