CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
June 12, 2013 |
Sixty percent more money was spent in the Los Angeles area on chronically ill patients in their final years than the national average, according to new data on Medicare patients released Wednesday. Spending in the last two years of life was about $112,000 per patient in Los Angeles, compared to about $70,000 on average across the country, the report by the Dartmouth Atlas Project showed. From 2007 to 2010, Medicare spending on end-of-life care rose by 15% nationwide. The jump occurred despite more patients enrolling in hospice care, fewer patients dying at the hospital and patients spending fewer days in the hospital in the last six months of life.
May 20, 2013 |
With the strokes from three gubernatorial pens, Vermont on Monday became the fourth state in the country to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the measure in a state House ceremony in Montpelier, capping a decade-long effort on the issue in Vermont. Vermont is the first state to pass such a law through the legislative process. Oregon and Washington enacted their laws by referendum; in Montana, it was legalized by the courts.
May 10, 2013 |
A worrisome abdominal pain drove Jalal Afshar to seek treatment last year at healthcare giant Kaiser Permanente. The Pasadena resident and Kaiser member had lived for years with a rare condition known as Castleman's disease, which affects the lymph nodes and the body's immune system. But this was the first time he experienced such severe symptoms. Kaiser granted his request to see a specialist in Arkansas. But it ultimately declined to pay for his treatment there. By June, Afshar said, Kaiser was arranging for hospice care so that he could die at home.
May 4, 2013 |
Cathy Jamison lived four TV seasons with cancer, a stage 4 melanoma diagnosed at the start of "The Big C" on Showtime; " The Big C: hereafter ," a four-part series, airs Mondays. With Laura Linney in the lead role, Cathy's reactions, and those of her loved ones, ranged wildly as she learned to live whatever life remained. In the following Q&A, Dr. Vijay Trisal, a surgical oncologist at City of Hope and the show's medical consultant throughout the process, talks about some of the personal and social issues surrounding cancer.
February 9, 2013
Re "Quiet passings don't come easy," Feb. 6 This article is a sad and familiar echo. In April, a friend and fellow congregant lost her ability to walk. She was placed in one nursing home, then another. As time went by, she was shuttled around to three local hospitals and then sent back to the second nursing home, where eventually she entered hospice care. During that time, my friend seemed to decline a little every time I saw her. She never returned home, she never improved and, finally, she died in July.
February 5, 2013 |
For Americans with a terminal diagnosis, death increasingly comes in the places and ways they say they want it - at home and in the comfort of hospice care. But for a growing number of dying patients, that is preceded by a tumultuous month in which they endure procedures that are often as invasive and painful as they are futile. New research finds that the proportion of Medicare patients dying in hospice care nearly doubled from 22% in 2000 to 42% in 2009, an apparent bow to patients' overwhelming preference for more peaceful passings free of heroic measures.