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Medical technology

Allen Smith allens at yang.earlham.edu
Sun May 31 10:40:31 EST 1992


In article <9205282308.AA18139 at rust.zso.dec.com>, french at RUST.ZSO.DEC.COM writes
   :
> In reply to <9205282107.AA23251 at inet-gw-1.pa.dec.com> by
> Gerald M. Phillips (Professor Emeritus)
>
> Is it morale for society to make available an unlimited amount
> of expensive medical technology?   This is akin to offering an alcohaulic
> a drink to console his depression.  As humans, we crave to care for the
> elderly,  but doing so often reduces the overall quality of life for
> everyone involved.

        Let's let the elderly pay for such technology if they can afford
it. Don't offer the alcoholic a drink; let him decide to use it and pay
for it.
>
> A good example is my grandfather.  We sold the family farm to pay
> for his medical expenses.  And for what?  Due to Alzheimers disease, he
> could not recognize us.  He couldn't even recognize himself!  Now the
> farm that I grew up on, the place where my fondest memories came from,
> is gone and neither I nor my son will ever be able to enjoy it again.
> How did this improve the quality of life?
>
> I regret that the expensive medical technology and health care that
> kept my grandfather alive in an enfeebled state for a few extra years
> was available.  I'm sure that my grandfather would have agreed if only
> he could have forseen the suffering that my family would experience.

        Definitely, the right to die and living wills should be more
achnowledged. But that doesn't mean that a family shouldn't be able to
make the decision to pay for further medical treatment, unless the person
had said beforehand that they didn't want such treatment.
>
>
>> As a retiree, I fear the world looks very different to me than it does
>> to them.
>
> I'd like to hear what the world looks like from your perspective.  Should
> the elderly have unlimited access to health care even if the costs are
> increasing exponentially?   Should there be a cut off age?
>
> What would the ideal health care system for the elderly be like?
>
        Let them pay for it. If they're too poor, and are sick through no
fault of their own (not through smoking, etc.), then government payments may
be appropriate- and such payments may be limited by what is appropriate, such
as a cutoff for total dollar amount.
        -Allen




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