TED Conversations

This conversation is closed.

Why prolong life, if the quality of it is not worth living?

I look at things that we do as human beings, ones that make sense and others not so much. One of the things I observe is how in my life time, we spend millions if not billions of dollars to research and manufacture medical technology that might make us live longer. It is what most people want. My question is, Now that we are living longer, what is the porpuse of it if by our late 50's and 60's we require a grand cocktail of medication to help us through each day each one countering the others side-effects. Millions of people require machines like, dialsyis, pacemakers, cpaps, and so on. If our life depends on all these things why do we bother to exchange quality for quantity?

Share:

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Nov 4 2013: Could it be that taking these medications and taking advantage of these treatments is viewed by people using them as a small price to pay for the joys and fulfillment that their life brings?
    • thumb
      Nov 4 2013: Maybe so, but from what I have seen, some of the adverse effects of these medications are a very big burden on the patient's daily life. in my example of patients of dialysis they give up about 4 hours a day for at least three days a week. I work in a Nephrologist group and it seems to me that the quality of life its not worth the price.
      • thumb
        Nov 4 2013: What do your patients think of undergoing twelve hours per week of treatment as the price of enjoying the other 156 hours with spouse, children, grandchildren, and friends or to write, paint, hike, volunteer, listen to music, enjoy nature, or continue to work at careers that are meaningful to them?
      • Nov 12 2013: Giovanni,
        There is an interesting article I found in the Tampa Bay Times www.tampabay.com/news/perspective/how-doctors-diebrbr/1218984 titled: How doctors die. It discusses how doctors, who see their patients making all of these attempts to live longer only to amass huge bills that place huge burdens on the surviving members of the family, usually forego such treatments and die at home. It is more about the quality of life with the time they have left than the quantity of life especially if it is a life that is in suffering. There are also several research articles on "A good death."

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.