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Afraid to die

October 19, 2009

Dr. Mercy Obeime, a doctor and the medical director of St. Francis Neighborhood Health Center at Garfield Park, made an interesting observation during a recent IBJ Power Breakfast on health care.

Obeime, who was on a panel of health care experts at the breakfast, noted how people have come to expect life-sustaining miracles even when a patient is old and near death. Often, she said, relatives insist, “Well, we’re not ready for this …  they can’t die, they can’t die.”

Those miracles are expensive, of course, and her comments came as the panel discussed how to avoid building too much capacity into the health care system. You can find her remarks and the thoughts of others on the panel here.

Death is a part of life. Does fear of death cause Americans to expect too much from our medical system when it comes to prolonging the lives of the old and infirm?

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