Intensive care treatment is often futile and costly, study finds

September 11, 2013 9:09 PM

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Intensive care treatment is often futile and costly, study finds

Nearly 1 in 5 patients in a hospital's intensive care unit gets care and treatment judged by the physician in charge to be ineffective, needlessly aggressive or pointless given the patient's dire state, a new study says. And the financial costs of that care are steep as well, adding up to $2.6 million over a three-month period at a single academic medical center.

The study, conducted at an unnamed academic medical system in Los Angeles, found that of 1,125 patients who spent time in the ICU during a three-month period, 98 received treatment that their physicians perceived as "possibly futile," and 123 received treatment that their physicians considered futil...

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