Life at any cost

Should the cost of emergency care be considered when a patient's life is at risk? And what will this mean for the NHS?
Cost of life

Evelyn was in her 70s when she was taken to the emergency department after having a heart attack. Central to and beloved by her large extended family, they all waited at the hospital for news. Her daughter Eleanor told me what Evelyn was asked minutes after hearing she’d had a heart attack.

'They asked her whether she wanted to be resuscitated. She said yes and was then asked: "Are you sure? It could break your ribs." She said yes again. They kept detailing the terrible things that could happen if she agreed, until I intervened to point out that she had repeatedly said yes. It was as if they didn’t want her to live.'

'They said, in effect, that care costs money and the trust was not wealthy, and that a do not attempt resuscitation (DNAR) is a medical decision.' Eleanor recounted how


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