"[T]he mortality rate among patients over age 65 exceeded 26 percent, and almost all patients over 65 who needed mechanical ventilation during that period died."

According to a new JAMA article (which studied coronavirus patients in Northwell Health hospitals "in and around New York City"), reported in "Do You Want to Die in an I.C.U.? Pandemic Makes Question All Too Real/Sobering statistics for older patients sharpen the need to draw up advanced directives for treatment and share them with their families" (NYT).
A new study in JAMA Internal Medicine questioned 180 patients over age 60 with serious illnesses; most said they would trade a year of life if that meant they could avoid dying in an I.C.U. on life support.... “Many older patients we’ve encountered with Covid-19 have opted not to undergo ventilation and an I.C.U.,” Dr. White said. “No one should impose that on a patient, though if there’s true scarcity, that may arise. But patients might choose it for themselves.”...
While you're thinking about that, here's the ad the NYT served up for me in the middle of the article:

"More than 20% of Americans think vampires are real/More than 25% think climate change is not"... therefore you might want to donate $1,000 to the World Health Organization. We're supposed to worry that a fifth to a quarter of Americans are so science-ignorant that we should give money to an organization that may or may not represent good science. How would I know? Well, one thing is: I'm wondering if it is really true that 20% of Americans think vampires are real, because if they don't, then the organization is passing on fake statistics and that's evidence against its dedication to good science!

Here's a study from last year (at YouGov) that says 13% of Americans believe in vampires — 14% of Republicans and 8% of Democrats. And here's an IPSOS survey from last year that said "Almost half of Americans believe that ghosts are real (46%), and a third believe that aliens visit earth (32%), while only a small amount believe in vampires (7%) and zombies (6%)."

For $1,000, you need to do better with the statistics. And now I'm wondering about the value of the statistics about how likely you are to die if you're over 65 and end up on a ventilator. Just as the World Health Organization wants its donations, the health care system would benefit if you decline its services and accept home-based death.

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