Saving Costs or Saving Life

BY: CLAIRE KIM

In an event where your father is in a vegetative state — half dead, half alive — would you continue to pay for medical expenses to keep him “alive” or would you let him pass away peacefully? In terms of hospital bills, many would probably opt to end his life here as they realize that such costs are not reviving him whatsoever. On the other hand, in terms of familial connection, many would probably be willing to pay the full expenses just because the idea of being in a vegetative state means that hope is possible.

This scenario tends to cause friction between patients’ families and doctors as both parties see flaws in both of their approaches. For patients’ families, hearing their doctor recommending them to let go of their family members often upsets them as they feel like their doctor has done an inadequate job. They point fingers at their doctor for not being able to relapse their family member which in turn causes the doctor to react out of frustration for being blamed. For doctors, advising the next step of the journey from careful examination often leads to headaches for the patients and further backlash towards themselves. Because both sides come from different perspectives, it is hard to come to an agreement. Of course, such events rarely happen for the average person, but if it does, I’m curious what would you do?

Who or what would you save?

Costs or Life?

Looks easy, but it’s actually really difficult.

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