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Thursday, June 2, 2011

Fix Medicare Now

Here is what we have been saying all along. The great majority of healthcare expenditures come at the end of life, they are costly, and usually ineffective. As Cheryl says, Death Is Not Optional.

So let's start with living wills, DNRs, and doctor consults while every person still has a chance to plan the end in dignity and without pain.

Stop Aggressive Therapies

June 1, 2011

Cheryl Woodson has taught and practiced geriatric medicine for 30 years, spending 10 of those years also caring for a parent with Alzheimer's disease. She is the author of "To Survive Caregiving: A Daughter's Experience, A Doctor's Advice."

I think Medicare (and all other health insurance providers) should stop paying for CPR, dialysis and other aggressive therapies when patients have no chance for cure or recovering function.

Death is not optional: When we insist on assaulting people with futile technology, we prolong their dying.

C.P.R. is not the treatment for terminal cancer, heart failure or other chronic illnesses. Dialysis won't change the course for someone who is dying of lung failure, and feeding tubes won't cure dementia.This is not just about aging; we will have to make these difficult decisions on 25-week-old babies as well.

Death is not optional. When we insist on assaulting people with futile technology, we not only fail to prolong their lives; we actually prolong their dying. Hospice is a wonderful alternative to this assault; it allows us keep people comfortable and love them ... to death.

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