‘Too old for surgery’ a more complicated decision


Marie McCullough of The Philadelphia Inquirer takes a look at lifesaving surgeries performed on older patients, finding that “Age is no longer the deciding factor, even for invasive treatment such as open-heart surgery.”

McCullough reports that the growing population of elderly Americans and advances in surgical procedures are changes the way doctors approach some older patients. With elderly patients better able to survive major surgery, the question moves from the realm of health to that of economics and morality. McCullough explores both.

Blogger, author and doctor Lucy E. Hornstein extends McCullough’s conclusions, writing that “A cost-effective, medically appropriate way to address this issue is to curb overtreatment in those patients with advanced dementia and multiple co-morbidites, whatever their age.”

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