IT'S BROUGHT US BREAKTHROUGHS AND LIFE-SAVING TREATMENTS - ALLOWING MILLIONS TO LIVE LONGER.
SOME QUESTION... AT WHAT POINT IS IT TOO MUCH?
TONIGHT'S HEALTHCAST EXPLAINS WHY LIVING LONGER MAY NOT ALWAYS BE BETTER.
TODAY THERE ARE MORE WAYS TO KEEP US ALIVE THAN EVER BEFORE!
JUDY LUCAS KNOWS. DOCTORS TOLD HER HUSBAND OF 39 YEARS HE HAD FATAL PANCREATIC CANCER.
"We were shocked, absolutely shocked."
GEORGE DECIDED HE WANTED TO DIE - WITHOUT HARSH TREATMENTS WEARING HIM DOWN. IT'S A MANNER OF DEATH DOCTOR KEN MURRAY SAYS MOST PHYSICIANS WOULD CHOOSE THEMSELVES.
"These things, I think most doctors don't look at as prolonging life. They look at it as prolonging death."
HE WRITES ABOUT HOW SO MANY OF HIS COLLEAGUES, WHEN IT COMES TO THEIR OWN CARE, REFUSE DIALYSIS, VENTILATORS, AND MOST COMMONLY, RESUSCITATION.
"I've done it hundreds of times, and I can count on one hand, the people who actually did ok."
HE DESCRIBES AGGRESSIVE TREATMENT AT THE END OF LIFE AS "MISERY WE WOULD NOT INFLICT ON A TERRORIST".
"People are sicker now before they die than at any time in human history."
DOCTOR IRA BYOCK SAYS DYING IS BECOMING HARDER FOR PATIENTS AND THEIR FAMILIES.
"The fact is there are worse things than having someone you love die. Most basically, it's having the person you love die badly."
FOR GEORGE AND JUDY, HOSPICE CARE HAS MADE A DIFFICULT TIME A LITTLE EASIER.
"Yeah, it's been good. It's been good."
A DECISION ABOUT DYING WE'LL ALL HAVE TO FACE. WHAT WILL YOU CHOOSE?
AGGRESSIVE TREATMENT AT THE END OF LIFE IS ALSO EXPENSIVE.
IT CAN COST UP TO 10-THOUSAND DOLLARS A DAY TO MAINTAIN SOMEONE IN I-C-U.
BY LAW, MEDICARE CANNOT REJECT ANY TREATMENT BASED ON COST.
IN 2009, MEDICARE SPENT 50 BILLION DOLLARS FOR DOCTOR AND HOSPITAL BILLS DURING THE LAST TWO MONTHS OF PATIENTS' LIVES.THAT'S MORE THAN THE BUDGETS FOR HOMELAND SECURITY OR THE DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION.
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