Skip to comments.Aggressive care to the end: Who pays?
Posted on 06/05/2011 7:50:41 PM PDT by surroundedbyblue
Every night before closing his eyes, while lying on a hospital bed in his living room, Francis Massco pleaded to his wife of almost 60 years: "Pray that God takes me home tonight."
Three years after a diagnosis of prostate cancer, followed by costly, invasive treatments, Massco, 82, decided in February against more chemotherapy.
"I wouldn't be mad if I fell over right now," he told the Tribune-Review last month.
The one-time corporate attorney resisted a little-known tenet of medicine: Hospitals and doctors make more money by aggressively treating terminal patients than by keeping them free of pain and letting them die with dignity. Some doctors derisively call the practice "flogging" as in, beating a dead horse.
(Excerpt) Read more at pittsburghlive.com ...
If this isn't sugar-coating death panels, mercy killing, & euthanasia, I'm not sure what is. How disgusting.
my experience which is working in hospitals for over 35 yrs is that more often than not its the families gunning for every concievable treatment, not the patients, and not the doctors....
we have families that feel guilty for ignoring mom or dad all those years and now are in that hospital room demanding it all.....
we do have some families that want mom or dad to die quickly...I mean some of them really want them gone....always asking...."how long " when no one can properly answer that....
but its always the docs isn't it...the docs or the hosptials...or the evil nurses ...or the Catholics...
Disagree. When an ethical doctor and his peers know that death is inevitable(within a certain time frame) I see nothing wrong with this approach. That was the deal with my 84 year old mother, who, dying of cancer was told that chemo would give her a year, while palliative care would give her six more or less pain free months. She lasted seven decent, coherent months that allowed her to make peace in her life instead of puking her guts out for a year.
my exp with Hospice with my mom is not a positive one....and Hospice Btw MAKES money on people dying and getting no treatment....not entirely sure how it works, but they interest is in dehydrating the patient and letting him or her die quickly....they even encouraged my mom NOT to take her medicine that would keep her mind somewhat clear....they thought a confused mind was a plus....
Yes I agree. I know many people with a morbid obsession with death who work in hospice. I have considerable concerns about some of the “treatments” I’ve seen going on there.
I agree with you comments 100%. It was the choice your mom made. My mom, who passed away at 85, made clear to me what she wanted for end of life treatment. I did what she wanted. In her case at 100 pounds she did not want dialysis that would give her a few hours or days of extra life.
She went peaceably in her sleep.
I am very sorry about your mother’s passing.
But I have to respectfully disagree with you. This article, in my opinion, is painting a picture that’s not accurate. The first clue should be when it refers to death panels as imaginary. Yeah right. Tell that to the Weimar Republic.
They sometimes don't hesitate to demand every conceivable procedure for a few days more.
I wish they had an equal desire to find peace with their creator.
I watched family member go both ways. The one's who let nature have it's way tend to go happier.
It’s one thing to let a patient decide to forgo heroic care. But it’s certainly another to assign a dollar value to human life. What a way to gently “suggest” euthanasia. We are living in dangerous times here in the U.S. When people start judging quality of other’s lives, look out.
Terri Schiavo is a perfect example.
may be of interest to you ping
This was publish in the Pittsburgh Trib, owned by Margaret Sanger sympathizer Richard Scaife. Notice the pro-death overtones?
Buck, thank you for posting that. It wasn’t until one of the nurses explained to me how painfully difficult it was to my mom to have the further treatments she was receiving that they ceased. But it was a battle with another famiy member who wasn’t about to second guess the doctors.
The hard part is the family members IMO. When you have one who is the “appointed” one to correspond with the Dr’s etc.... Who doesn’t always have their hands on the pulse of the matters,.... it makes it difficult for other family members who want those ill to be as comfortable as possible..especially when death is so close to their door.
I was prepared to take leave of my work so my mother could be home, where she wanted to be, instead of the hospital. I was out-numbered and out-voted. So she remained in the hospital for over a month going thru one course of treatment after another. Once they stop the hospital wants you to move them into nursing home care.
She ended up leaving this world once she knew the family was preparing to have her transfered to a nursing home...and I can’t say I didn’t blame her a bit! She was sone and she knew it...and so did I.
God bless your Mom, and sorry for your loss. Luckily my sister and I (the only children) agreed on a course of action. Mom spent her last seven months in a beautiful assisted care home that at $7,000 a month was well worth the money. And it was thanks to the way Mom raised us to be successful that we were able to afford it. She was very content until the end, even voting for Palin and sneering at the Obama inauguration.
this is why it’s important to have a living will and a power of attorney. I see these dilemmas all the time. The patient can no longer speak or even think for themselves and the family at the bedside is torn apart by conflicting views on death and dieing. I see a lot of: “did you see that? She moved her eye lids when I asked her.....”. I think that unless someone has been through this at least once, they don’t really know what they’re talking about. Even as an RN, I didn’t fully grasp it all until I had to make my mother a Do Not Resuscitate patient thanks to metastatic cancer. There comes a time when it’s over. Typically, it’s very hard for family members to let go when that time comes. It is, IMHO, one of the hardest most gut wrenching tasks that a person will ever encounter in life-letting go of loved ones. You just don’t know until you have been through it.
God bless your Mom. She and my Mom would have agreed. Quality life at that age is paramount.
I wouldn’t mind the aggressive care if hospitals paid equal attention to pain control and comfort, but my experience is that they are incredibly stingy with pain meds. My friend’s mother went through hell as the doctors very aggressively battled her myriad of health problems. But they weren’t interested in making her comfortable or pain-free. They resusitated, intubated, and operated briskly, but they handed out pain meds like it was coming out of their own pocket. Finally they transitioned over to hospice care, and that ended. Hospice gives you all the pain meds you want.
Well that’s just beautiful you could do that for her.
I was fortunate to be with my mom when she died...everyone else had left earlier on...though the Dr. had said he didn’t expect she would make it thru the night...and she didn’t.
She and I had some touching smoments before she passed on...even though she was seemingly half here and half in another world. Being a nurse she knew the stages of death...was always looking at her fingernails to see if the signals were there yet.
I wouldn’t trade those last moments for anything. It was she and I... and the Lord.
My experience with my Mom’s hospice is quite the opposite. But these are kind of sensitive and squirmy topics in the sense that IMO there really are too many variables for us bystanders to have valid opinions, especially from a sample of one.
My Mom (93) is in hospice and she is much happier (by my reckoning) than when she was in a hospital. But of course, isn’t this ultimately a product of how accepting one particular person is of their placement in hospice in the first place? She has had very curt, abrupt, forceful nurses who were like Nurse Ratchett in One Flew/Cuckoo’s Nest, and she has had (lots more often) hospice workers who were very kind and chatted with her and brightened her day. I don’t think they are all the same, in fact, I’ll positively state they aren’t.
I just don’t think one can make pronouncements for an entire medical system from an example of one. From what I have read, most folks accept the experience of hospice very, very well, and are glad for it. Of course, that is at root a very broad statistic, and obviously some people totally hate it. YMMV.
In a free market system, the patient pays, and the doctor has a financial incentive to provide treatment.
In a “single payer” government system, the government pays. Treatment is then nothing but a cost center, and the incentive is to find every possible way to reduce the treatments provided.
I want a doctor working on the profit motive.
I work for a Big Pharma company and we have lobbied for almost 20 years to let the palliative care drugs be used under the proper circumstances. We’ve partnered with Ohio State Medical Center to advance our position and hopefully we’ll be successful.
That was the experience of my sister. I had flown home two days earlier (I live 1500 miles away) because of work and family. But my sister was like you...said it was a life-changing experience.