New study on surgery for seniors in the last year of life

Rick Moran
There are many things wrong with this study on surgeries done on seniors in the last year of life. The author of this Time article notes one such problem;"[R]esearchers looked only at surgery patients who died; it's not known how many patients who had the same procedure survived." Another problem is that while documenting the number of surgeries in the last 12 months of life, the researchers failed to collate what kind of surgeries were performed and why. There must be many, many instances of a surgery being performed on someone where there is no hint of their imminent demise. Doctors aren't soothsayers and asking them to project outcomes 3, 6, or 12 months in advance is ridiculous. But there is some value to this study: Of the 1.8 million Medicare patients over age 65 who died in 2008, researchers found that a third had undergone surgery in the year before death and that 18% of those surgeries had occurred in the month before death. Nearly 1 in 10 had surgery in their final week....(Read Full Post)

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