Author Topic: Put the elderly on ice?  (Read 1253 times)

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Offline PeterTheAleut

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Put the elderly on ice?
« on: November 04, 2011, 02:46:17 PM »
No one has come out yet and explicitly suggested that old folks like me (I am about to turn 83) should be treated the way the Eskimos, as folklore has it, used to treat theirs: put on an ice floe and left to float away into the sunset. We are, however, coming dangerously close.

A recent study by Dr. Alvin C. Kwok and his colleagues finds that surgery is common in the last year, month and week of life. Eighty-year-olds had a 35% chance of going under the knife in the last year of their lives; nearly one out of five Medicare recipients had surgery in their last month and one in 10 in their last week.

The rest of this article can be read here:

I'm interested to hear your takes on this article and the subject matter covered after you've read it.
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 02:48:11 PM by PeterTheAleut »
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Offline bogdan

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Re: Put the elderly on ice?
« Reply #1 on: November 04, 2011, 03:11:54 PM »
"The capacity to recover and return to a meaningful life is the proper criterion."

Who gets to decide what a "meaningful life" is?
« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 03:35:15 PM by bogdan »

Offline LizaSymonenko

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Re: Put the elderly on ice?
« Reply #2 on: November 04, 2011, 03:17:35 PM »

I think it is wrong.  Why would we discount the life of an older person?  Because they no longer work?  Because they are no longer an asset to society?

We need to treat them as if they will live another 20 years, and help them if we can.

HOWEVER, having said that.....I would stress that the medical professionals be honest with family members and NOT perform unnecessary tests and procedures.

I speak from personal experience.  My uncle/godfather (age 74) suffered a stroke and for the next 6 weeks we had him in rehab, with a few hospital visits for various issues.  At the end of the 6 weeks, he got very lethargic and the doctor stated he had a systemic infection, etc.

The last days of his life he suffered a transfusion, stomach pumping, central line insertion, etc.  The whole time he was not talking, but, would definitely groan when someone poked something in to, he WAS there and feeling it.

On his last day (which we didn't know would be his last) one little Indian Lady doctor came in and took pity on me and my sister who were in the room with him.  She looked pitifully at us....and said "You girls do realize he's not going to get better, right?"  Wrong!  How would we know that unless someone in the hospital had told us?  I don't know the test results, nor what they mean.

She suggested we consider hospice care for him, and within 3 hours the hospice nurse showed up and when we were talking with her, he died.

So, not only did he suffer procedures he didn't need to suffer through....long after he passed away, we were still paying the bills for those procedures....that would never have "helped" him anyway....and the hospital knew that.

So, yes, FIX old people if you can....but, do not torture them if you can't.

« Last Edit: November 04, 2011, 03:26:34 PM by LizaSymonenko »
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