“The High Cost of Dying”: What Do the Data Show?

December 1984 | Anne A. Scitovsky

Assertions that we now spend too much of our medical dollar on the dying often imply a ready target for cost-containment efforts: frequency and intensity of expenditures at the end of life, especially for the aged. But available, although meager data suggest there has been neither a dramatic rise in the last 20 years in the use of the hospital as a place to die, nor of widespread use of “heroic” interventions on behalf of those who die. Rather, very sick patients receive intensive and expensive care; our ability to project rates of survival vs. terminal patient status warrants caution in approaches to medical economy.

Author(s): Anne A. Scitovsky

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Volume 62, Issue 4 (pages 591–608)
Published in 1984