Throughout the years medical technology has increased tremendously. We have been able to transplant organs, increase the birth survival rate, and we are even able to clone animals. We are now able to live longer that ever before, trying to elude the inevitability of death. But, because of this quest consequences have arisen. In this essay I will demonstrate why I believe that physician should not use medical treatments to merely extend the life of an elderly person who is past the age of 85.
First of all, to extend life has become an economic burden. Medicare costs are increasing at an extraordinary pace, propelled by an ever-increasing number and population of elderly. The government spends six times as much on those over 65 as they do on our youth. The more that we give to the elderly the more we take away from our children. We are merely taking away benefits and necessities from our youth, such as, education and youth improvement programs. More money should be invested on our youth not on the elderly who have already fulfilled a natural life span.
This brings me to my next point. Medicine should be looking to improve the quality of life for the elderly not merely extend it. In the past aging and death were accepted as a human condition. Now, medicine is trying to conquer it by merely extending life. For example Jerome L. Avorn, M.D., of Harvard Medical school observes:
With the exception of the birth-control pill, each of the medical-technology interventions developed since the 1950s has its most widespread impact on people who are past their fifties—the further past their fifties, the greater the impact.
Today the highest proportion of death comes from those over 85. Because of this quest in trying to extend life will cause harm to all other age groups and to the old themselves. If this trend continues then there won’t be enough resources to care for anyone. In closing I’d like to quote Callahan from his article Aging and Ends of Medicine: “The indefinite extension of life combined with a never satisfied improvement in health of the elderly is a recipe for monomania and limitless spending.