Intensive care treatment is often futile and costly, study finds

 Nearly 1 in 5 patients in a hospital’s intensive care unit gets care and treatment judged by the physician in charge to be ineffective, needlessly aggressive or pointless given the patient’s dire state, a new study says. And the financial costs of that care are steep as well, adding up to $2.6 million over a three-month period at a single academic medical center.

The study, conducted at an unnamed academic medical system in Los Angeles, found that of 1,125 patients who spent time in the ICU during a three-month period, 98 received treatment that their physicians perceived as “possibly futile,” and  123 received treatment that their physicians considered futile.

Written by a group of UCLA researchers, the study followed patients and their physicians and surveyed the latter daily on their view of treatments provided. That ruled out judgments of futility that were colored by a physician’s knowledge of a patient’s outcome.

The study was published in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine on Monday. MORE

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About The Rev. Thomas C. Jackson

Ordained to the priesthood in December, 2010.
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