Savings Are in the Balance in Hard Choices in Health CareJULY 12, 2011
A new study by Penn researchers may signal our readiness--and reluctance--to rein in health care spending. To explore the issue of spending on so-called "futile" care for patients at the end of life, Scott Halpern, MD, assistant professor of Medicine and Epidemiology, and colleagues surveyed doctors and nurses who treat critically ill patients. "Many physicians and nurses are not ready to limit care to the dying, and it strikes me as probable that many members of the public would not want their physicians and nurses to be limiting care to the dying," said Halpern in an interview with WHYY Radio. "Even if there are substantial societal benefits to limiting the care they provide to individual patients, in the name of reduced costs or increase organs for transplantation, many people who work in the front lines in ICUs aren't ready to make those trade offs," Halpern said.