The Huffington Post had an excellent article on end of life issues. Judith Johnson provides some interesting facts .
(1) Eighty percent of Americans do not put their personal affairs in order before they die.
(2) In 2009, Medicare paid 55 billion just for doctor and hospital bills for the last two months of patients’ lives. That’s more than the budget for the Department of Homeland Security or the Department of Education. And, it’s been estimated that 20-30 percent of these medical expenses may have had no meaningful impact. Most of the bills are paid for by the Federal Government with few or no questions asked. (“The Cost of Dying,” 60 Minutes, 8/8/10
(3) A vast majority of Americans say they want to die at home, but 75 percent die in a hospital or nursing home…18-20 percent of Americans spend their last days in an ICU.
(4) Most hospital patients, relying on doctors to advise them of their healthcare options, fail to take into consideration the vested interests of the doctors and hospitals. As a result, many terminal patients are given false hope by a frenzy of tests and procedures that do little more than protect the doctors and hospitals against potential lawsuits and provide financial benefit to the doctors, hospitals, insurance and drug companies while denying the patient the opportunity to transition into his or her process of dying.