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Stayin’ Alive: How much would you pay?
At Exponential Medicine this week we met an extraordinary man who told us about his devastating 2012 brain injury from a cycling accident.
He credits his survival to a positive attitude, friendships, goal-setting, online support, and a team of healthcare professionals, among other factors.
But as he shared his inspirational tale, I couldn’t help but wonder, how much was spent on this man’s recovery?
He was adequately covered by insurance. And while uninsured citizens in most countries are entitled to basic care, few could afford the extensive and uncovered rehabilitation he had.
Which brings us to this week’s discussion.
And will the devices being conceived by members of this group lower the costs so dramatically that more can afford the care he received?
FREE WEBINAR FOR MEMBERS: Big Changes in Australia for Devices
November 18 http://medgroup.biz/TGA-changes but it will be recorded so sign up if it’s interesting for you.
That link again: http://medgroup.biz/TGA-changes
Discussions This Week
Is the Apple Health Kit a medical device (under EU MDD)?
Counterfeiting in medical devices
Republicans now control the U.S. House and Senate. What impact, if any, do you expect on the medical device industry?
Draft of German law about devices
Make it a great week.
P.S. Exponential Medicine (hashtag #xmed on Twitter) is live-streaming today and tomorrow at http://bit.ly/xmed-live
I recently picked a new primary care doctor.
When you don’t give a S… medical costs are at an end. I admire the woman who had the courage to end her life earlier this month. I hope we all have the same alternative to living too long in pain and without a mind.
Gert Jan Klok
I have a colleague whose seven year old son has just been diagnosed with Leukemia this week, cost does not come into it. He was diagnosed on Sunday, bone marrow transplant on Monday, a great society carries this burden and it is shared by everyone.
We all die eventually, all procedures just buy us time, so let’s not look at the number of lives, but the number of days. If childhood lymphoma treatment is successful 20% of the time, and those kids go on to live another 60 years, then on average that treatment buys 12 years. If respirators and intubation of end of life patients on average works 100% of the time and keeps them alive for 2 more years, that treatment on average buys 2 years. So we should consider spending more on the kids even though it “saves fewer lives” than the respirators. Of course, there are costs to consider, which may make respirator years cheaper than post-cancer follow-up years.
But we can’t use days extended alone for all care. Palliative care comes in some very economical forms and shouldn’t be completely rejected just because it doesn’t extend life. It extends the time a person can enjoy life and have meaningful relationships with family. Setting a broken bone probably won’t extend your life, but it significantly improves the quality of life. How would one measure the relative worth of a person’s days? That gets just as sticky as deciding life/death.
If you consider a person’s output as part of the equation, you may as well go back to a non-mandated system. High contributors are usually well compensated or well loved, and can either afford to buy into a well covered risk pool or collect donations for their care.
Diane Demet Tangun
This is a deeply disturbing question because a much as it sounds like a practical financial question, it actually brings up the philosophical question of “what is the worth of human life”… and “does the answer vary depending on who the person is”…
If the social system pays, one could argue that age and productivity of the individual would need to go into the equation… Your answer will definitely change if the elderly person that needs “saving” is your beloved mother or not! I won’t even go into the case of the cancer research expert that is “onto something” versus the criminal pedophile…
Thanks Joe for the thought provoking idea!
Gert Jan Klok
Worth repeating from your comment: “…and then there’s the crucial one: do they actually want help. I have too often seen a sick, tired person taking treatment only because the family and friends insist on it.”
I agree with Warren’s answer: I would think about it differently for myself than for my family members (spouse and children). For myself, I would not want to delay the inevitable and risk my family’s financial future for an extra couple of months. The only exception is a major life event such as child’s college graduation, wedding or birth of a grandchild (and only if was important to my child that I be there “at all costs”).
For my spouse and children, as long as there is a snowball’s chance in hell that prolonging their life could afford them time for a cure, its to “bankruptcy and beyond.” (so long as they are not suffering).
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