When prolonging life becomes too cruel and costly

When prolonging life becomes too cruel and costly

Doctors and families are forced to make a choice: the life support machine or simple care on the ward (or at home). Photo: Peter Braig

The banal but terrifying truth is that we are all destined to die. Though death is unchanging, the way we will die is different now from at any time in history. Unrecognisably so. In the past 50 years we have invented life preserving and prolonging technologies that have contributed to more of us surviving to be the “old old”, once the province of the few. But for many, great age brings frailty, the accumulation of years of minor injuries and insults combining to limit our lives both in duration and scope.

And then we get pneumonia.
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