Most people say yes, when asked if they would die to save even one member of their family. There are different kinds of saving. The medical costs of extraordinary measures to preserve vestiges of life in terminal patients are also extraordinary. Who wants their family members to die? Anyone? Of course not. WE don’t want to die either, but we will die, even though we don’t want to think about it or admit it will happen to us.
The emotional storm which comes with the prospect of death of a loved one more than fogs intellect and reason. The brain chemistry alone prevents most people from thinking clearly. People die despite our wishes to the contrary. The fear, hysteria, anger, confusion, and grief renders any normal person witless.
Historically, death, by itself, did no direct harm to the survivors outside of losing the income that person produced. But things are vastly different in 2017, when death, especially delaying inevitable death can kill the surviving family financially. And what is life without money in our society?
But, no one thinks of this when they rush to the hospital, or hear the pronouncement that their loved one has a terminal condition. Doctors do not describe anything as terminal any more. They use euphemisms provided by insurance companies and lawyers to give doubt and hope to the family, even though the doctors are pretty sure of the outcome.
Family members ask, “what is the prognosis?” The only answer that is forthcoming comes when the patient is dead. Cannot get around that one. That is the least threatening to the families’ financial welfare.
The threat arises when “extraordinary measures” keep the body warm, even though the soul has moved on. This penchant to “heat the meat” is driven by at least four factors: 1. Doctors do not like patients to die; 2. Families do not like family members to die; 3. Medical technology can sustain the semblance of life with heart and lung supplements; 4. The billings are huge.
The other side of “billings are huge” is medical bills are staggering, devastating, unpayable, and strangely enough, not the obligations of the patient, but of his “estate,” which means his family. How many families have an extra million dollars lying around to cover giant bills? Except for exempted items, most families lose everything and have to declare bankruptcy. Sad but true, what the insurance company will skillfully avoid paying lands on the grieving spouse, children, parents, or whoever would be a beneficiary of his estate.
The only approaches I have heard to dealing with this threat are:
- Amazing, triple-source, health insurance
- Multi-million-dollar life insurance
- Planning and legal documents
I can only point you to the issues. It is up to you to do the research and planning. If you have not considered this issue, consider yourself warned.