Couple of thoughts on providing choice for terminally ill patients
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08-04-2015, 11:26 PM
Couple of thoughts on providing choice for terminally ill patients
I have a 40 year old friend recently diagnosed with stage 4 melanoma.
It's led me to do quite a bit of research regarding cancer. Stage 4 melanoma is grim. Expected survival rate is somewhere between 10 to 30 months. 5 year survival rate is 10-20%. If they can't cut it all out then 5 year survival rate is 3%.
Anyways, it has led me to consider what I would do if I were diagnosed with terminal cancer. I have two main areas of concern.
1. Euthanasia.
I think a terminally ill patient with little to no hope of survival and enduring negative quality of life should be given the option of choosing a humane and controlled exit. I cannot see any valid reason to outlaw euthanasia. The benefit is that a person forgoes dragging on a painful and hopeless life, the hospital resources are freed up for other patients, the family and friends don't need to see a loved one suffer for months.
2. Cost of treatment and offering a mutually beneficial incentive to choose to forgo treatment.
It is estimated that it costs around $2 million to treat a patient with cancer in their brain. I don't know what the cost is for treating it in the lung, bone, liver etc but imagine it could all add up. I guess the government is obliged to offer this treatment even though for many patients the benefit is minor (i.e. an extra 6 months of life) and no doubt it costs them a fortune. I don't know at what point the govt cuts it off and says it's not worth the spend and resources.
Personally I think if given the choice to spend 2 million dollars on treatment which would only extend life by 6 months to a year (but that "extra" life will be impacted by operations, chemo therapy sickness etc) or giving family $1 million or giving the patient $1 million to enjoy a little bit of "quality" life (bucket list perhaps) before the end, or $1 million to give to charity if so inclined. I think I'd choose to take the $1 million. It would benefit me, or my family or a charity and the government or insurance company (do insurance companies offer payout options in lieu of expensive treatment?) would save 1 million because the payout is 1 million rather than the $2 mill for treatment. The hospital would free up resources to use on non terminal patients. It may also provide competition which might drive down the costs of cancer treatment because at the moment with govt and insurance obligated to cover costs then the private hospitals and pharmaceuticals etc can name what ever price they feel comfortable with. If patients are choosing the payout rather than the treatment then big Pharm is missing out on revenue. If big Pharm lower their costs then that would mean the payout incentive will be less as a cost of 1 million will come with a payout incentive of only 500K. With the right balance some people will choose the care and some the money.
I think it would be a win/win situation.

Any thoughts?
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08-04-2015, 11:33 PM
RE: Couple of thoughts on providing choice for terminally ill patients
Euthanasia, and assisted suicide, should be legal.

As for grabbing a cool mil against the cost of treatment, it's great as an option, but not one I'd take. I don't reckon money means all that much to me, and I'm going to spend it, I'd rather spend it getting more days with my folks.
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09-04-2015, 12:45 AM
RE: Couple of thoughts on providing choice for terminally ill patients
(08-04-2015 11:33 PM)Thumpalumpacus Wrote:  Euthanasia, and assisted suicide, should be legal.

As for grabbing a cool mil against the cost of treatment, it's great as an option, but not one I'd take. I don't reckon money means all that much to me, and I'm going to spend it, I'd rather spend it getting more days with my folks.
Rather than give the money to your wife and children to help put them through school?
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