Quality vs Quantity

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I have seen it in my professional life, the feeling of relief when the sick person ‘makes it’ through the present threat of death. When the incident is over and we can breathe again, what condition is your loved one in? If it is not better than before the crisis, do you still tell yourself she will get better soon? When a person is at the end of life, a good clue that her dying may really be happening is to look at her level of functioning today vs. a month ago, 3 months ago, and 6 months ago. If it is continuing to decline, it may be she really is dying. When it is someone you love you don’t want to see them suffer. As the illness goes on and the agony of the crises, hospital visits, treatments, body/emotional/mental/spiritual suffering continues, what has been your experience with doctors, hospitals, friends and family? Is anyone listening to the person who is ill? Is anyone telling her the truth about what is happening? Do you have a gnawing gut knowing she is really dying? Has someone had a heart to heart with her to see what she really feels? I believe People know when they are dying.

The medical piece is this: is anyone on the team having clear, frank discussions about death? Or are they saying dying or terminal pretty fast and then talking at length about all of the life prolonging treatments…and then not discussing the life-limiting effects of those treatments? The biggest complaint among us in the medical profession is there is not enough time to educate. If there is not enough time to fully educate about the illness and the treatments, there certainly is not enough time to talk in depth about the ramifications of the treatments.(saving vs. prolonging life 01/25/09)

Health care costs have grown at record rates in the last decade, driven in part by the cost of new medical interventions. New and expensive cancer treatments typify this growth, with some experts estimating that chemotherapy spending increased at a rate of 15% per year over the past...
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