Many Americans overtreated to death

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by Ugg, Jun 28, 2010.

  1. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #1
    AP article at MSNBC

    While many here have averred that medical costs have skyrocketed because Timmy has a sniffly nose and Mommy takes him to the Emergency Room instead of getting a regular Doctor appt. (I'm talking to you 'Rat ;) ) Costs have skyrocketed because disease in general is becoming more treatable and doctors and drug companies are pushing what are increasingly becoming snake oil treatments.

    The "Death Panel" corps during the health care debate have ensured that the drug companies are free to continue pushing their mostly futile treatments that often end up only torturing patients instead of helping them.

    If we're serious about reining in health care costs, we need to address this issue. Now, not tomorrow.
     
  2. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #2
    I'm a little confused. First, I'll admit by the title. I took it to mean that the treatment was the cause of death, not just occurring right up until the point of it (my own misinterpretation rooted in the fact that I read "to death" as necessarily being caused by the word preceding it).

    I also am not sure where you draw the conclusion that disease is becoming more treatable, thus more exotic treatments are being pushed. While that may be true, that's not what the article is talking about. It seems to suggest that expensive treatments that do little to no good are overused. The conclusion you draw would suggest to me that perfectly good treatments are being shunned in favor of more expensive ones (more treatable means more options).
     
  3. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #3
    Ugg, sorry, but while I've said that the sniffles crowd was contributory, I never said it was causal.

    And I have indeed pointed out the fact that we're living longer has increased the percentage of us Olde Pharts who wind up in the tubes'n'wires situation. (Me, I don' wanna, thank you.) And it's correct that the various new technological discoveries add to the costs within that last six months.

    Damfino. It's emotional, all part of the whole compassion shtick. Pick any arena: "Help the poor." "Alleviate suffering from illness." And on and on.

    While I agree with the idea of "Once is enough!" that's implicit in that article, what's the alternative, even, for what's 99% likely to be unsuccessful the first time? "Tough stuff, Olde Phart; you're gonna die. Go home."?

    I repeat: Damfino. When I was going through the radiation deal for my cancer, there was one poor old devil who was getting radiation for a brain tumor. Mostly what I recall were his moans of pain and what seemed to be a rather non-compos-mentis behavior. Maybe it sounds hard-hearted, but I recall thinking, "Why bother?"

    Trouble is, most folks don't really think they'll die, and never plan ahead. Never figure on what they want their last days to be. Quality of life beats hell out of quantity. Me, I'll sit on my front porch with a jug of Old Painkiller and crack jokes. What the heck? I won the Silver Tongue Devil award at a local liar's contest, so why change? :D:D:D
     
  4. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #4
    The issue of palliative care vs. life-extending care is a real one, at least to people in healthcare. Cases like the one listed above have mostly to do with diseases that are currently incurable, including mostly cancers but also some other kinds of diseases. The medications are approved based on demonstration of efficacy in extending lives, often without much consideration over the impact on quality of life. A typical scenario with these medications is that a person has a disease, say, pancreatic cancer, with a forecasted range of dying somewhere between 6-10 months from now. The medication might push that out to 12 months, but the likelihood of death is still essentially 100%, and there are sometimes alternatives that don't allow the person to live any more than the 6 months, but allow them to have more meaningful time (less pain, more ability to interact, etc) with others during that time.

    Right now, the way our (US) medical system is designed, the emphasis weighs heavily in favor of extending life over any other outcome. There is a cost issue there, but it really started out as being a quality of life issue more than a cost issue.
     
  5. Ugg thread starter macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #5
    I think the debate has become too fractured. To me, it all comes down to quality of life.

    My dad's mom made it to 98. One of her brothers made it to 99 and another to 93. All three of them had full use of their minds up to the end and for the most part were in reasonably decent physical condition. Although, my grandmother had a pacemaker, two artificial hips and a couple of other structural issues. She loved life, but also made it clear that when it was her time, she didn't want to die with a bunch of tubes sticking out of her body.

    The article mentions people in their 20s and 30s who succumbed to cancer but fought to the very last minute. I can understand going the extra mile at that age but what about someone in their 80s? Is quadruple bypass surgery or 10 rounds of chemotherapy in their best interest?

    What we need is to have a national discussion about this. I don't know how far it will get but at some point, quality of life needs to be a part of the end of life.
     
  6. chrmjenkins macrumors 603

    chrmjenkins

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    #6
    Any rational discussion will be drown out by shouts of "death panel!" I fear.

    Mohan, I definitely understand your point. I was just a little confused by what the article said vs. what Ugg originally said. I made my statement in an attempt to see if he could clear up what I was interpreting.
     
  7. mkrishnan Moderator emeritus

    mkrishnan

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    #7
    Yeah... even before the "death panel" thing, there was the problem that Americans like the idea that there's some greedy "evil" out there that's causing American healthcare to spin out of control, but we hate the idea that that evil is actually an agglomeration of daily situations we handle wrongly. Much like we love having inquiries into the dangers of HFCS (which we may indeed want to get rid of), but we distract ourselves from the fact that we are growing obese because we eat too much and exercise too little.
     
  8. MyDesktopBroke macrumors 6502

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    #8
    I know someone who works in Big Pharma, and you wouldn't believe the stuff they do/make. All the prescription drugs, vaccines, pills, research, what ever. The amount they charge versus the benefit is usually so small it's ridiculous. Look at how much America wastes on name brand drugs opposed to what we would be saving if we got generic ones from Canada.

    Vaccines are another racket all together. And no, it's not even about if they work or not (the science behind them obviously does). It's about inventing new vaccines for every possible type of symptom ever, or trying to create super vaccines grown on animal livers and mixed with rat poison and moldy eggs before being injected en-mass to newborns like a sick experiment.

    Health care in America (much like higher education) is a money racket, plain and simple. The debate about it last year should have proven that beyond a doubt. For ever sickness, ever symptom, ever hereditary discomfort, ever bodily peculiarity, there's a way to profit. Anyone with half a brain open to intelligent debate knows 99% of the anti-HCR rhetoric was total trash– all you need to do is look at other countries to see that. And really look, not on your political party of choice's favorite media outlet (both parties really did their best to look like they were doing something while doing nothing substantial at all). We're a country that values money over human existence, and if you don't have enough money, most people really won't care if you live or die. If you do have enough money, Big Pharma convinces you that you will die unless you give it all to them. And even the thought that health insurance companies could lose even a tiny fraction of their perspective buyers to a government plan that less than 2% of Americans would even QUALIFY to buy into sent them into pure panic mode. The same with Big Pharma on Canadian importation. But you know what? So many Americans, just like they blame HFCorn Syrup for their morbid obesity, were all too willing to buy into the boogyman of "death panels" and "socialism," without even stopping to realize they were actually pulling the plug on themselves. As long as it was some shadowy pseudo-government's fault and not their own McDonald's base diet that was the enemy.

    This person I know, that works in the pharma field, he never goes to doctors. He takes homeopathic remedies (so what if Big Pharma says they're glorified placebos? They cost less than 5 bucks usually, and make him feel better. Oh, and of course I'm going to trust exactly what Big Pharma says about their competition). He's a senior citizen that will never retire as long as he can work. No one believes his age. People want to card him when he tries to take advantage of senior citizen deals.

    Obviously there are people who literally need certain treatment to survive, but the healthiest people I know are the ones who wouldn't trust any medicine developed in the past decade with a 10 foot poll.



    Holy cow, if any of that made any sense at all, I'll be amazed.
     
  9. .Andy macrumors 68030

    .Andy

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    #9
    This isn't even remotely an accurate or objective illustration of how vaccines are produced or used.

    Their loss. Cervical cancer vaccine, monoclonal antibody therapies, rapid diagnostics for meningococcal, multislice CT, etc etc. The list goes on..... I guess it is easy to reject it until you need it. And the people you know who are sick are the ones that need it. Not the heathly ones. Perhaps you are trying erroneously to claim causation?
     
  10. Desertrat macrumors newbie

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    #10
    What Big Pharma does or doesn't do is irrelevant to this thread.

    mkrishnan makes an excellent point about the extension of life. As I and Ugg said, quality seems to us to be more important. (Though I gotta admit I don't want to check out early; I might miss something. :D)

    I dunno. It seems to be part of our societal fear of death and the euphemisms we use when talking about any aspect of it.
     
  11. Counterfit macrumors G3

    Counterfit

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    #11
    It's not just Big Pharma that says homeopathy is bunk, it's chemistry and physics too.
     

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