Reform Health Care Now: End-of-life costs are too high


By the time my father-in-law passed away last September, my wife and her extended family were relieved that his six months of suffering had ended. Paul's arms and hands were black and blue from numerous IV's, blood draws and various other procedures. His weight had dropped substantially, his olive-toned skin was pale, and he was bed-ridden.

Not one of his multiple medical problems alone was terminal, but the ten different conditions affecting nearly every system of his body, slowly but steadily took their toll. His physicians spent most of their time putting out the latest fire. The best hope was that they would be able to stabilize him and send him back to a nursing home. There was virtually no chance of regaining his ability to function at a high level. Over time, we hoped that he would find the strength to make it home, and there were some signs that this might happen. Then one day, things spiraled in the wrong direction, and the end came relatively quickly and painlessly.