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french at RUST.ZSO.DEC.COM french at RUST.ZSO.DEC.COM
Thu May 28 14:36:51 EST 1992


> So anyone who is poor and has some rare condition can just go off
> in a corner and die, eh?  Thank you, but no thank you.  The public 
> doesn't agree with you, fortunately.

I doubt if anyone would enjoy sending someone off to a corner to 
die, but the simple fact of the matter is that the costs of keeping 
a person alive increase exponentially with age.  With new, and often
more expensive medical procedures becoming available at an ever
increasing rate, how long can we continue giving the best that medical
technology has to offer to all those in need?

The crux of the problem is that, currently, medicine targets fixing 
specific things that break rather than changing the rate at which 
they break.  The first apprach works fine if the rate at which things 
break increases linearly but not if it increases exponentially.  It 
follows that the greatest benifit to mankind will come from changing
the shape of the curve by genetically engineering more durable humans.

As for whether or not it is humane to deny health care to the elderly,
consider this...  My grandfather, who suffered from Alzheimers disease,
was confined to a nursing home for an extended period of time.  To pay
for medical expenses we sold our farm that had been in the family for
four generations.  And my grandfather couldn't even recognize us.
So what was accomplished?  Did it improve the quality of life?
Was it humane?

- Larry French









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