WNPR

It's Expensive To Die In America

Feb 16, 2018

It's expensive to die in America. We spend upwards of $3 trillion on medical care, a large percentage of those dollars concentrated in the last year of a person's life.

High-tech treatments, diagnostic tests, and advances in medicine all contribute to the high cost of health care. Many offer hope and a path toward renewed life. 

Yet, many of the treatments offered in those final months don't extend life or improve the quality of the time that's left. Use of them can sacrifice patient comfort and closure when options like palliative care are available.

While medicine today offers life-saving options not available even a decade ago, we need to ask what we really need to do and when we stop trying. This is a big question with no easy answers.  

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Colin McEnroe and Chion Wolf contributed to this show.