Isn’t it amazing that only a short time ago Dr. Kevorkian was vilified for assisted euthanasia. And yet, now according to lead articles in JAMA and the New England Journal of Medicine, the cost of end-of-life care is being discussed as a potential way to cut waste expenditures in healthcare. This will be addressed by Berwick who was made head of CMS (centers of Medicare and Medicaid services).
Clinical benefit will be analyzed so that intervention may be denied when there is no expectance of recovery.
Whether or not to pay for life-support or maintain someone who has a degenerating condition may become “ethical” all of a sudden. The same goes for premature infants or cerebral palsy or just any noncorrective defect in a child. Where do we draw the line?
The difference between this debate and Dr. Kevorkian is that at least with Dr. K, only those who chose death or the absence of treatment were denied the treatment. Those who wished to receive treatment, still got it.
It is a matter of maintaining our dignity and our humanity.
- August 29th