From: firstname.lastname@example.org(Steven B. Harris)
Subject: Re: Disappointed and confused--don't know what to do
Date: 29 Apr 1999 02:53:08 GMT
email@example.com (Kurt Ullman) writes:
>> I still think that the most money is spent REALLY close to the
>> end of one's
> This is one of my pet statistical peeves. I would love to see those
>figures. My Mom had lung cancer and a bunch of money was spent on her
>over the last year of her life for chemo, etc. But she was healthy for
>the 54 previous years and never saw the doc except for yearly things like
>PAP smears, etc. So why does the last year make sure a positive impact on
>healthcare costs and the other years have no negative effects?
> My wife's uncle had a sudden heart attack and died after aggressive
>treatment (he was in early 40s at the time). Most of the money was spent
>on the last year of his life, true. But if you want to get REAL technical
>the money really went out the door in the last 4-5 hours of his life.
This stuff about some unseemly fraction of the money being spent in
the last year of life (the fraction varies according to folklore) is
interesting, but not very useful. If we could tell it was the last
year of life at the time (rather than in retrospect, statistically),
perhaps we wouldn't be so agressive (and in fact are not, in people who
manifestly have a irreversable and terminal condition).
It's sort of like the joke that your misplaced car keys always seem
to be in the last place you look. Of course they are. So?