Medicare has made minor improvements since then, and in the House version of the health care reform bill debated last year, much better payments for such conversations were included. But after the provision was distorted as reimbursement for “death panels,” it was dropped. In my father’s case, there was only a brief informed-consent process, covering the boilerplate risks of minor surgery, handled by the general surgeon.
I believe that my father’s doctors did their best within a compartmentalized and time-pressured medical system. But in the absence of any other guiding hand, there is no doubt that economics helped shape the wider context in which doctors made decisions.
My mother was given more government-mandated consumer information when she bought a new Camry a year later.
Doctors don't get sued by families or patients whose lives they help extend long past usefulness, enjoyment, or managability. Doctors get sued by families of patients who die.
If the doctor, in this case the cardiologist, does not personally know the family, they may be likely to be unwilling to assume the risk should something happen and death result.
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