Racial Differences in Willingness to Exhaust Personal Finances for Life-Sustaining Care

Medical Xpress, April 26, 2011

Minority races–especially Blacks–are more willing than Whites to expend personal financial resources to prolong life after being diagnosed with lung or colorectal cancer, even if it means using up all of their personal financial resources. That is the conclusion of a new study published early online in Cancer, a peer-reviewed journal of the American Cancer Society. Delivering quality cancer care that is in accordance with patients’ wishes requires a better understanding of the reasons for these differences in preference.

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The researchers found that 80 percent of Blacks reported a willingness to spend all resources to extend life, versus 54 percent of Whites, 69 percent of Hispanics, and 72 percent of Asians. After accounting for a host of factors including income, disease stage, quality of life, patients’ age, patients’ perceived time left to live, and other medical illnesses, Blacks were 2.41 times more likely to opt for expending all personal financial resources to extend life than Whites. The preferences of Hispanic and Asian patients were intermediate between White and Black patients. Determining the reasons for these differences in preference requires further study.

Several other factors were associated with a willingness to expend resources to prolong life: younger age, a lower number of individuals that they financially supported, divorced/separated marital status, a belief that life expectancy is in God’s hands, and a higher level of social support.

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  • rjp

    Could net worth and the amount of personal financial resources that would be expended be a factor?

    Shouldn’t this have been taken into account by the study?

    Take a look at: Average and Median Net Worth Data

    http://www.investingblog.org/archives/707/average-and-median-net-worth-data/

    It uses Federal Reserve Data.

    I point to the section Race und the column Median.

    Race ————- Average — Median

    White non-Hispanic $692,200 $170,400

    Non White or Hispanic $228,500 $27,800

    Median being of course the middle value, not the average.

    Now tell me net worth should not have been taken ito account.

    There is a big difference between blowing $150k to keep someone alive for a few months and blowing $25k — and “Non White or Hispanic” is probably being propped up by Asians.

  • olewhitelady

    Blacks may say they’re willing to deplete their resources for life-extending care, but what they mean and what they actually DO is spend the money of the government and insurance companies. I worked in health care for over 30 years, about a third of this time in a city that was almost half black. Many of the patients I cared for were on life support, and I noted that families of blacks were much more likely to insist that everything be done, even for people in a persistent vegetative state. I concluded that they were most likely as distrustful of the medical profession as they are of society in general.

  • rjp

    Could net worth and the amount of personal financial resources that would be expended be a factor?

    Shouldn’t this have been taken into account by the study?

    Take a look at: Average and Median Net Worth Data

    http://www.investingblog.org/archives/707/average-and-median-net-worth-data/

    It uses Federal Reserve Data.

    I point to the section Race und the column Median.

    Race ————- Average — Median

    White non-Hispanic $692,200 $170,400

    Non White or Hispanic $228,500 $27,800

    Median being of course the middle value, not the average.

    Now tell me net worth should not have been taken ito account.

    There is a big difference between blowing $150k to keep someone alive for a few months and blowing $25k — and “Non White or Hispanic” is probably being propped up by Asians.

  • Michael C. Scott

    I have a living will that demands no “heroic” care for any reason at all, but also allows no organ harvesting.

    I have the right to rot.

  • Anonymous

    Let me tell you what the final days of a person being allowed to ‘die naturally’ are like:

    1. They inject the victim with a very high power narcotic whose action suppresses body functions. The body fights back and a metabolic war ensues in which the body temperature spikes to such extremes that you cannot NOT notice how warm they are, just by touching the skin. Conversely, they get as pale as a ghost.

    2. The medical authorities refuse the victim any form of intravenous feed or even a squirt tube of water. Relatives of the victim -may- (some nurses wouldn’t allow me the privilege) be able to sponge the face and covertly squeeze water into the mouth of the victim whose lips are always dry and whose breaths are rasps of dehydration.

    3. When this does not progress rapidly enough they speed up the injections until the person is slowly toxified and their organs less quit than are cooked by very high doseages of these ‘pain killers’.

    I watched someone I loved very much thrash and moan and reach out desperately when I came in the room for about three days of this procedure. The final night, the overhead monitors stopped and I told her to go to the light and that I would be okay. Fifteen MINUTES of this, with the nurses’ desk right outside, manned by at least three competent nurses with the same displays I had, and they finally came in and adjusted the monitors for those diagnostics. The technology had hiccuped.

    And my mom was back among the living. Struggling hard to live.

    I couldn’t take it any more. I cried and when the nurse casually asked if anything was wrong I told her to get the hell out because I had just tried to convince my mother who still responded to my voice, to die.

    That nurse, before my very eyes, shot her full of another dose, not 20 minutes after the last.

    I drove home, I hadn’t but gotten in the door and sat down and they called and told me to come back, my mother was dead.

    There was no dignity in that. There was no understanding that is was time. There was no peaceful slumber deepening into eternal rest. It was a major medical center intensive care ward and my mother was slowly, methodically killed.

    Don’t pretend that ‘modern medicine’ deserves to be trusted for what it is. It has a _long_ ways to go before it ‘does no harm’.

  • Seneca the Younger

    This nothing nothing new. Whoop-di-do, they found human nature and common sense. Something that was known for several thousand years, but liberals have been trying to cover it up for the last 50.

    Sorry, but short of mass brain surgery, this will never go away. And try to give me any 1984-esque rehabilitation and you won’t make off my porch.

  • Chicagoan

    This study is nonsense. It just depends on what people say, not what they actually do.

    A real study would track actual behavior. In reality they would be more likely to spend other’s money to the hilt while pretending to have none of their own.

  • Anonymous

    Animals live in the here and now. Humans are mindful of the future.

  • Blue Willow

    Maybe some peoples’ net worth is about $10. What they really mean is they want to spend YOUR net worth.

  • Blaak Obongo

    Something is missing from this “study.” Where is the long, tortuous “explanation” of why this is all due to Evil Institutional White Racism?