It's Time for 'The Talk' About Rationing Care

At end of life, openness reduces stress for all: Goodman
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted May 8, 2009 1:10 PM CDT
About 80% of people die in hospitals.   (Shutterstock)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – Two weeks before she died, Barack Obama’s terminally ill grandmother had a hip replacement. Obama said he’d have paid for the operation, but questioned whether society should have to. “I think you just get into some very difficult moral issues,” he said. But maybe morality and economics actually dovetail here, Ellen Goodman writes in the Boston Globe. It’s time, as a nation, we had “the talk” about dying.

Most people say they want to die at home, but 80% die in hospitals. “So much of our money goes to the kind of death we don’t want,” says Goodman. Studies show that patients who have living wills and less aggressive treatment have less stress and better quality of life as they die. “If this is rationing,” Goodman says, “I call it rational.”