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September 04, 2008


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You are a Christian, and Christian values would say that you must preserve life at all costs, therefore I would say that you should spend everything available to you to save your life.

Now, on the other hand, the practical side of me says that I would not want to spend everything I have and then still die, because then I would leave my family with nothing.

I doubt the amount of money is going to be a factor in making the decision. Being comatose will or will not be reason alone to let it end, whether the costs are all or nothing.

A more interesting question is how much would you pay to save your sister-in-law....

Not much. I'm worth a heck of a lot more to my family dead than alive. ;-)

A better question is how much your insurance company would spend aka a lifetime maximum benefit? I bet a lot of people don't know the answer to that.

Again, my answer is the same as for my pet: it depends a lot on what my quality of life would be after the procedure(s). If I'm a vegetable after, I probably wouldn't bother. Otherwise, I'd probably spend close to everything.

I really dont know the answer for me, but that answer (for everyone) should ideally equal to the amount of insurance that one should have. Take the emotions out, but thats the economic value of one's life.

I am a christian and I don't agree that you must preserve life at all costs. Some costs are too high. By this logic we should all contribute all of our money to medical care and research to save every person we can and all live a life of bare subsistence because we should save all life at all costs. Should we impoverish an entire nation to save a life, 10, 10 million. I say that's neither responsible nor Christian, and I find nothing in the Bible that compells you to spend money to save life, only that you cannot take or discard life without cause.

No one wants to admit it but its always a cost/benefit analysis. Benefit is you save/extend some/many lives. Cost is an entire nation lives in abject poverty. Anyone think thats a good cost/benefit trade off? And if you don't think its a cost/benefit analysis then how else would you argue against 90% taxes all devoted to medical care if its not a cost/benefit analysis?

For me it would depend on the economic state it would leave my family in after it was over, the odds of success, and the likely state of my life after its over.

If its an experimental treatment with 5% chance of success and its going to plunge my family into bankruptcy, I am likely not going to do it. The odds of success are just too low to risk that much. If the odds are only 5% and it only costs me 20-30% of my networth, then the tradeoff might be worth it even though the chance of success is low. But then it depends on what is all involved too. If it involves flying to exotic places and being treated with all kinds of strange things that make my life a living hell during the treatment, makes me unavailable to my family and still has only 5% chance of success, no chance I am doing that. If I can go into a clinic and pay 1 million dollars take 1 pill and 5% chance I am cured, then if I am not totally broke when its done I might try that. Reality is probably somewhere in between and you just have to do a total cost/benefit analysis.

Everything is cost/benefit, even things that are very personal and very human.


I don't think being a Christian necessarily means you should spend everything available to preserve your own life. If you're a Christian, why would it be so important to preserve your own life? Christ has already done that for us. Let's say it would cost $1,000,000 to keep me alive with a 5% chance of success. If I have that money, would the Christian thing to do be spend it on possibly preserving my own life or leave it to take care of my family if needed or donate it to charity otherwise?

As a Christian, I think it's easier to realize that doing everything in my power to preserve my own life is pretty meaningless. Not that I want to die or "kill myself" - I'll do what I can to preserve my life. But spending $300,000 to save myself seems foolish (especially if it leaves my family with little) when it could easily save thousands more in a third-world country.

Well, I'm single and don't have any children so I can't think of a single good reason not to spend whatever it takes. If I had dependents, it might change things a bit, but it's hard to say until you're actually put in that situation.

"Christian values would say that you must preserve life at all costs"

Naive understanding of Christian values. Life is important; so are many other things. There are many Biblical examples of someone giving up their life for something more important, and many Biblical calls to be willing to give up your life.

Mark B. wrote: "You are a Christian, and Christian values would say that you must preserve life at all costs."

Source please?

The entire foundation of christianity is based on making the "ultimate sacrifice" for the good of others. I doubt that spending all of one's resources to preserve one's own life, at the expense of all else would qualify as Christian behavior. Just my opinion.

Just taking this opportunity to remind everyone of the importance of having a living will and advance directives... You obviously have your opinions regarding how much your life is worth, and in the event that you are unconscious or unable to make your own decisions regarding your healthcare, it is imperative that you have it all documented and notarized. This is not only related to money, but things like feeding tubes, burial vs cremation, and all the other things that no one likes to talk about.

I think Kevin's answer is the right one, because it seems like the uninsured can rarely afford to pay for needed medical treatment or preventative care, much less the astronomical cost of life-saving medicine. The concept of choice here really isn't valid: the expense is high enough to eat up a year's salary just over a simple hospital stay.

It's not like someone walks into the hospital and gets the immediate high-cost diagnosis: by the time there's a decision to make, there has already been the expense of dr's visits and tests, and that alone can be more than what a person can pay. Once that line has been crossed, it's still just more than what you can pay.

I think where people make the decision isn't cost, but quality of life and chance of survival.

Since I am single, I'll spend as much money as needed as long as there is a chance of living with good quality of life.

It totally depends on how old I am, what physical/mental I am in (and likely to be in), if I have any dependents, and how much money I have.

If I had $20 million and I was 90 years old then I might spend $500K to save my own life, but no more. I'd rather that money go to my family and whatever charities I have designated than blow it on myself just to stay alive for another couple of years.

If however I was under the age of 40 or so, I'd probably be willing to spend everything I had to remain alive. I'd have plenty of time to accumulate more money and I'd have lots more living to do.

If I was between 40 and 90, I'd have to weigh my fortune, my health outlook, and my family's needs to come up with a figure.

This is a toughie. As a Muslim, I also have to preserve my life at all costs. Though my internal want would be to let my family off the pain of caring for me, should I become a vegetable.

I pray that I never have to face this decision in real life.

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