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Elizabeth Cooney is a health reporter for the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Boston Globe Health and Science staff:
Karen Weintraub, Deputy Health and Science Editor, and Gideon Gil, Health and Science Editor.
Short White Coat blogger Ishani Ganguli
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
Nurse blogger: Her patient doesn't want to go on
Nurse at small writes on her blog about an elderly patient who returned to her Boston hospital last week after a stay in rehab. He has bed sores over much of his body, and he wonders what's next, for him and for his wife. He worries that his Medicare coverage will run out.
"He told me he didn't want to live like this anymore, in a bed that is basically sand with air blowing through it to prevent pressure on his cachectic body. He told me he didn't want to have these hour-long dressing changes every day," she writes. "He told me he didn't want to go on, he had nothing left to live for."
And he's afraid that when he dies, his wife will have to use their savings and sell their house to pay his medical bills, leaving her nothing. "He'd rather go now than see that happen to her," the nurse writes.
"I just wonder what it says about our system where we give so much free care, but when the elderly come to these difficult times the money runs out."