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Deciding When a Life is No Longer Worth Living

by Joanne Faryon

A report about the “vent farms” in Coronado, and the helpless people in it.

In California, 4,000 men, women and children are being kept alive with machines in special wards in California’s nursing homes. “The default in the system is to keep people alive at all cost — it won’t let you die without your written permission.”

“The number of people kept alive by artificial means has nearly doubled in the past decade, with advances in medicine now able to save people who years ago would have died. Doctors, sometimes afraid of lawsuits or pressured by families, are providing heroic treatment to people who have no chance of getting better. These doctors aren’t always paid to have, nor are they always willing to have, the difficult end-of-life discussions that a few years ago took on the politically charged name of death panels.”

“Health care administrators and doctors say if the government weren’t paying the bill, so many people wouldn’t be living this way for so long — in some cases, for more than a decade.”

“Subacute made so much money it subsidized the hospital’s emergency room and surgical unit.”

Read about “vent farms,” also known as subacute units.

And another article, “Guilt drove him to keep his brain-injured wife alive. What would she have wanted?”

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