But it doesn't matter. You're sitting in a small room with dim lights and someone tells you that you have two choices:
1. You can die a certain death, within months, with very little pain, or
2. You can try some heroic measure like chemotherapy for a minuscule chance of a multi-year moderately happy, but extremely painful survival.
Humans are programmed to have hope, and, regardless of any logic, the vast majority will choose option 2. It's just like playing the lottery. Even now, as I think about those two options in good health, I am compelled by my nature to choose option 2.
You can write, read, and interact but only for a few hours each day. Pain and fatigue take over the rest of the time. There is also so many little things you take for granted you will not be able to do anymore, or will require assistance to perform. Eating can become a chore, you may have to be regularly plug to some gruesome apparatus, also loss of mobility. Think about the last time you were sick, or injured, think of the worse moment being your new normal.
I personally can`t imagine being happy in those circumstances. I choose #1.
Each person choices should be respected, and people should be better informed on the tradeoff of each choices, which I feel is not the case in our health care system.
The only case where I could see #1 being a reasonable choice is if #2 puts such hardship on those around you that their lives become much worse.
And thus with the help of the law people are made to live as long as it is possible even when they don't want to. I'm afraid that when the policy is reversed, people would be "encouraged" to quit as soon as possible (and being afraid of such reversal the society clings to the current policy).
Somehow the society just can't understand the simple thing that the decision to quit or stay is personal and not for the society to make/enforce either way.
Agree. And forget even chronic pain. Simply having a nagging pain, a bad cold, nausea, or a bad headache is certainly enough to take the joy out of many things in life. Even a drip in my throat can kill my buzz.
What I, and a lot of people like me, are doing now by not doing #1 is gambling we'll get to do it in the future. This is an easily lost gamble, but oh well.
But if the treatment allowed me to live over a decade longer I'd also choose the treatment even if there was no chance of a new cure.
If the treatment only allows you two or so extra years, unless something is already in the late stages of coming to market, there is just no way any kind of drug or therapy for humans will get through even the earliest stages of approval in that kind of time frame.
I don't agree that only by reading "studies about biases in affective forecasting" can you be good at predicting what makes you happy.
I know if I eat good food with good friends or family I'll be happy. I've never read that in a study, but it works every single time with me. I know plenty of other ways too.
People make all sorts of tradeoffs which are non-optimal:
* Extra commute to a better job with $XX,XXX more for +1 hour/day of travel (less time for good food with family/friends)
* Move away from good family/friends to pursue better job
* Pursue career X because it's more lucrative than career Y (even though Y is more enjoyable)
There are lots of biases like this, under the assumption the change will increase our net happiness.
"This is what economists call "the commuting paradox." Most people travel long distances with the idea that they'll accept the burden for something better, be it a house, salary, or school. They presume the trade-off is worth the agony. But studies show that commuters are on average much less satisfied with their lives than noncommuters. A commuter who travels one hour, one way, would have to make 40% more than his current salary to be as fully satisfied with his life as a noncommuter, say economists Bruno S. Frey and Alois Stutzer of the University of Zurich's Institute for Empirical Research in Economics. People usually overestimate the value of the things they'll obtain by commuting -- more money, more material goods, more prestige -- and underestimate the benefit of what they are losing: social connections, hobbies, and health. "Commuting is a stress that doesn't pay off," says Stutzer."
I basically echoed the principle of "know thyself" in a relevant context.
As you say, you are echoing a principle (which verges on a platitude), but not adding a lot to the discussion unless we are willing to trust your expertise without examples. Had you combined it with your more detailed followup, I wouldn't have felt this way.
I'm not really defending my vote, just explaining my thought process since you were asking. If it helps, I've evened out my actions up by upvoting this question.
No, doctors try to make you as fully aware as possible of the options available to you, so that you or your heirs don't turn around and sue them later for 'withholding information that could have saved your life' or something along those lines. Arguably, these suits are motivated in part by the need to defray the extremely high costs of care and pushing back at the physician or caregiver about the quality of clinical care is a powerful negotiating strategy because it plays well to a jury.
Structurally, our system is designed to over-treat. With co-pays, insurance, subsidized care, and contractual discounts, patients seldom are aware of the exact cost of treatment. How often do Doctors explain to patients up front both the tests to be performed and the line-item cost (both to you and to the payor) of each?
Most doctors don't, and realistically can't, know the cost for each patient under each plan. Usually, it's a binary decision for the doctor (covered or not covered).
Try it sometime. When your physician suggests a procedure, ask what the real cost is, and whether he/she thinks that the value of the results will be worth the expenditure compared to alternatives. It's simply not something that's "baked in" to the thought process of the medical profession either in medical school, residency, or thereafter.
As for Texas, you're quite right - indeed, medical costs seem to have risen since the 'reforms' were put in place: http://www.dayontorts.com/tort-reform-medical-malpractice-to... - according to a tort lawyer, but consistent with everything else I've read on the subject.
Given the choice between now and couple years of pain later, I currently see myself choosing the former. I don't want to go through the process of becoming a disease-worn shadow of myself, and neither do I want to be remembered as one. Maybe that will change with age.
Having had 2 brushes with suicide, and multiple times being reduced to destitution, I've since learned that life is not defined by happiness; it's defined by experience. And pain is just as valid an experience as any. In fact, I'd argue that a life without pain is a life wasted. There will be joy and there will be sorrow, but every second of every day, your life ebbs just a little. It's barely perceptible, until you discover to your shock that 10 years have somehow got behind you without you noticing.
And that's when you realize that it's far better to live a life of pain than to live a life of regret, or even worse, no life at all. A random chance ignited the spark of life on our planet. It's amazing you're even alive at all, let alone able to contemplate it. Life is allotted to you in limited quantity. Guard it jealously and live it fully, regardless of how it feels. There's no arbiter at the end, except for you, saying "I lived my life to its fullest."
"I lived my life to its fullest."