More Care, More Resources

The New York Times, Tuesday, May 1, 2001

To the Editor:

The article "As Technology Improves, More People Breathe With Machines" (April 24) details the economic pressures that health care institutions and clinicians labor under when caring for patients on ventilators.

As a physician observing the treatment of my own father since August, I know that many such patients risk developing complications and need a high level of care best provided in hospitals.

The current reimbursement system demoralizes all concerned and creates situations in which such care for patients can be rationalized as meaningless.

But even people who are severely debilitated and on ventilators can have meaningful lives with hospital-level care. As America ages, we run the risk of becoming a society that treats some lives as more equal than others unless the reimbursement system is changed to provide more resources rather than less.


Cambridge, Mass.