$50 Billion Spent On The Dying Last Year, Reports 60 Minutes On 8/8/2010

August 9th, 2010 - 8:05 pm ICT by Pen Men At Work  

min August 9, 2010 (Pen Men at Work): The mortality of a human being is a fact that most of us are reconciled to. But the enormous costs that are incurred in order to keep people alive that too until the last moment of their lives is something that leaves us astounded.

Medicare had in fact, spent a sum of $50 Billion on the doctor and hospital bills last year. This amount was spent on patients who had less than a couple of months to live. The amazing fact that strikes the mind is that it is significantly more than the budgets of the Department of Education and the Department of Homeland Security.

While not many would grudge the expense if it succeeds in saving a precious life, the reality is that almost 20% to 30% of it has no meaningful contribution to prolonging the human life either. The federal government continues to bear the expenses without a single murmur.

While the topic is a sensitive one, it needs to be addressed by the Congress as well as the President who are committed to making health care reforms. The costs are spiraling in the meantime and taking the country towards bankruptcy while the issue has become an explosive one, politically.

Ira Byock, the doctor attending the 71 year old patient Marcia Klish told the 60 minutes (filed under 60 minutes 8-8-2010) correspondent Steve Kroft about the infection and complications arising from a colon cancer that has kept Maria unconscious throughout most of the week. She is currently being kept in the intensive care unit of the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center, N.H.

Dr. Byock further says that the costs for keeping a patient in the I.C.U. are around $10,000 per day. About 18-20% of the Americans tend to die in a similar fashion. Sometimes the terminally ill are sedated beyond caring and cannot remove a tube or put up their hands in order to save themselves.

The doctor himself is engaged in counseling patients who suffer from advanced degrees of terminal illness. He believes that the medical science has now become technically so advanced that it prevents the patients from dying naturally.

Although an overwhelming majority of the people across the nation wants to die in the comfort of their homes they end up dying in a nursing home or hospital.

Dr. Elliott Fisher who is a researcher at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy revealed that getting the patients admitted to the hospitals is actually the path of least resistance.

A detailed study by the institute on the last two years of Medicare patients at the hospitals showed that 30 percent of the admitted patients do not really have to remain there for an indeterminate period of time.

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