Monday, November 22, 2010

New York Advance Cancer Patients More Likely to Die in ICU

A study just published by Dartmouth College shows that advance stage cancer patients in New York state are more likely to die in an ICU than the average patient nationwide. In New York, more than 46% of these patients are dying in ICU, compared to 29% nationally.

The ICU care costs more and is a greater drain on state resources, and these cost issues are forcing the Healthcare Association of New York State to take notice of this disparity. So, we may have a case in which a bankrupt healthcare system is pushing us toward better end-of-life care for patients, in some instances. I think this section of the article sums the issue up nicely:

"Under pressure to cut costs, New York's hospital industry is finally welcoming a new focus on palliative care.

That means letting patients and their families know when medicine has reached its limits and spelling out the options, which include foregoing drastic interventions that would cause patients to spend their last days in expensive intensive care. Recognizing it's a sensitive issue, hospitals are making a point of saying they do not prevent patients from choosing interventions. The idea is to help people make the best choices for themselves, said Dr. Tia Powell, a medical ethicist at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx."


Simi Valley Hospice said...

This is a shame. Fortunately the benefits,including financial burden, of dying in a hospice setting is gaining recognition.

newton said...

The sick ought to receive good end of life care. Newton@ Kenyatta University School of medicine