Tim Oakes

Made to make you think

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Value of Life

On the news this morning was yet another story of a drug that has amazing, special and secret powers to improve the quality of life to some cancer patients. Yet again there is controversy over its cost and which health boards will fund it. As we endeavour to research for better medicine, situations like this can only become more common. It seems to me that we are quickly reaching the point when our government will have to place a value on human life. My question is:

If and when it comes to it, how much will we be worth?

Will we be worth more if we live in the south?


  • At 7:42 am, February 23, 2006, Blogger Tim Oakes said…

    I just realised that 'amazing, special and secret' makes me sound like I'm cynical of this kind of medicine - I'm not.

  • At 7:48 am, February 23, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    I haven't read your post yet: I was just so stunned to see you'd written anything that I had to comment.

  • At 7:56 am, February 23, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    Some of us obviously have greater worth!

    It is scary though. The advances in medicine are huge and cancer is a terrifying disease - as are many others. Who wouldn't want to have the treatment? I guess we will go further and further down the road to America, without an NHS, where people pay for their own health insurance. And the rich get well and the poor die.

    When Mike had cancer, the NHS was brilliant, and I am so grateful - and glad that we didn't have to sell our home to pay for the cocktails of drugs he needed. (Not only to destroy the cancer but to help him cope with the side-effects of those very drugs.)

  • At 7:22 pm, February 23, 2006, Blogger benny said…

    I may be wrong but I think there may already be a value on life in some cost/benefit analsys things, depends on age, job, productivity and all that, I 'll see if I can find it!

  • At 7:35 pm, February 23, 2006, Blogger benny said…

    OK my five minute search didn't reveal a price although on some insurance documents its about £1 million. However if you get the chance go onto wikipedia.co.uk (a quality online encyclopedia I discovered during uni) and put in value of life, a good account.

    I don't know if I could put a price on it, although on the conversation of value I have been thinkning about abortion quite a lot recently. Any thoughts?

  • At 8:59 pm, February 23, 2006, Blogger jodes da princess said…

    ben take the abortion debate to your own page, its a whole other can of worms!

    I dont know about specifics, but I know that once you get over 80 dr's most likely wont treat you for anything much, or operate on you. so fighting for your country doesnt increase your worth.

    I'm not sure how healthy our obsession is with sustaining life at all costs is. the media bigs up these life saving/extending drugs but fails to mention some of the horrible side effects a lot of them have. is it worth extending your life if the extended part has no quality.

    surely bodies are meant to decay? I'm not saying if you have cancer/hiv you shouldnt accept treatment, but surely there is a line where you have to say enough?

  • At 8:46 am, February 24, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    A lovely man in our church did that. He had been through hell with treatment and another dose would only have extended his life by months (if at all) so he said no. But he was only my age. Personally, I would want to fight for as long as I could (but hope that I could, like him, say when it had to stop): I'm too young to die!

    But that's veering away from Tim's topic. I suspect that medicine like education will become the privilige of the rich.

  • At 5:10 pm, February 24, 2006, Blogger jodes da princess said…

    the NHS will become privatised pretty soon I think. it really cant go on as it is.but I think the government is really not keen to be the ones to make the chop because it'll go down in history. I cant really see how it will continue though. I'm definatly not in favour of privatisation but unless people are willing to pay more taxes (back to Jon's debate!) the nhs will crumble

  • At 5:26 pm, February 24, 2006, Blogger Tim Oakes said…

    Give me prices! I think we're all worth about £250,000. If it would cost more than that to save my life you'd all be better off with the money!

    Who much do you think you're all worth?! Come on lets see who's the cheapest and who's the most expensive and why!

  • At 8:36 am, February 25, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    Tim, you are priceless.

  • At 8:38 am, February 25, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    And me, I am 'worth far more than rubies.'

  • At 10:57 am, February 25, 2006, Blogger jodes da princess said…

    I am worth the most of all.

    In medical terms, a night in hospital costs about £1,000 once you take into account the staff, tests, bed
    +utilities etc.
    A night in intensive care is at least triple that.

    There are some antibiotics that cost a grand a dose, and people often need 3 doses per day for at least 5 days.

    And thats just the medical side. the average surgical operation costs about £3,000

    Cancer care is particularly expensive as you'll normally need an operation then v.expensive chemotherapy.

    So a 10 day stay in hospital could cost 25 grand or more depending on whats wrong with you.

  • At 9:25 am, February 26, 2006, Blogger Tim Oakes said…

    Using your infinite wisdom jodie - how much have I cost the NHS? I've had 5 stitches for being hit in the face with a golf club, broken my arm and had it in plaster for 4 weeks, had a kidney biopsy which involved staying in hospital overnight and taken a few drugs recently (I don't think they are £1000 a go though)! How much?

    After me someone else let Jodie assess your drain on the NHS

  • At 3:13 pm, February 26, 2006, Anonymous jodes da princess said…

    ok,but these are all guesstimations ( I hate that word!)

    stitches + a few hours in a+e = about £100.

    Broken arm and plaster cast (assuming you had fracture clinic and physio after) £350

    Kidney biopsy (assuming its under a general anaesthetic)£3000 (plus depending on what tests they did on the sample)

    the drugs really depend what they are. steroids arent too costly, maybe £20 a box.

    your health and happiness? Priceless.

  • At 3:22 pm, February 28, 2006, Blogger Tim Lovell said…

    for everything else, there's mastercard

  • At 5:21 pm, February 28, 2006, Blogger Liz said…

    Someone had to say it.


Post a Comment

<< Home