Learn to say goodbye

Published August 3, 2013 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

It's unfortunate that we as a society cannot seem to have a sane discussion on end-of-life expenditures without people crying out about "death panels." There is a vast waste of resources expended on end-of-life costs.

Everyone dies, but there are choices available to limit how much it is going to cost to die. The health care system could better use those dollars to provide better treatment options for those patients who are actually going to live for several more decades.

I cannot begin to sum up the millions of dollars I've personally witnessed being spent while the machines I operated kept many patients on a life-support device another day or two, or three, or even a week, just so a family member could have time to travel in to witness a scene out of a horror movie, a scene almost everyone wishes later was not their final view of that person. Various machines keep the body technically "alive," but every health care provider with any experience knows this patient had zero chance to survive many, many days ago.

The inability of people to be able to say, "goodbye," or, "enough already," results in a tremendous waste of the limited pool of health care funds.

Victor Bowers