About Suicide Economics

Thinking the Unthinkable

By Dr. David Edward Marcinko; MBA CMP™

Staff Reporters

According to the Wall Street Journal, November 5, 2008, voters in Washington State just passed an initiative legalizing physician-assisted suicide.

Passed by a Margin of 3:2

A state measure known as “Initiative 1000” passed by a margin of 59% to 41%, making it legal for doctors to prescribe a lethal dose of medication for patients with less than six months to live. The law is packed with provisions intended to limit the practice. For example, patients must make two separate requests, orally and in writing, more than two weeks apart; must be of sound mind and not suffering from depression; and must have their request approved by two separate doctors.

The Oregon Experience

However, doctors are not allowed to administer the lethal dose. In Oregon, the only other state with a similar law, some 341 patients have committed physician-assisted suicide in the 11 years the law has been in effect.

Economics of Assisted Suicide

Decades ago, the economist John Maynard Keynes’s suggested that saving may be a private virtue, but a public vice. According to Keynes, a community that seeks to increase its rate of saving would end up impoverishing itself and actually saving less. But, the community that increases its consumption at the expense of saving would end-up being richer and saving more. This proposition is frequently stated in macroeconomics textbooks as the “paradox of thrift.”

Assessment

The average lifespan, in the US, was about 67 years when Medicare was passed. It is about 78 today. Rising healthcare costs are led by this longevity. In other words, death financially supports survivors.  

Conclusion

And so, is “Initiative 1000” a human socio-economic metaphor for the “thrift-paradox”; please opine and comment?

Speaker: If you need a moderator or speaker for an upcoming event, Dr. David E. Marcinko; MBA – Publisher-in-Chief of the Medical Executive-Post – is available for seminar or speaking engagements. Contact: MarcinkoAdvisors@msn.com 

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4 Responses

  1. On Physician Suicide

    Last month, two studies were published in JAMA on medical student distress — including depression, burnout and suicide — and how the learning environment both fosters and exacerbates it; and how offer disquieting views of the world in which tomorrow’s doctors are formed.

    Now, Pauline Chen, MD, writes in the NY Times her views on these studies and how they relate to practicing physicians:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/07/health/views/07chen.html?_r=2&ref=health

    Mark

    Like

  2. Dr. Marcinko

    Are doctors quietly opting out of medicine -or- they are leaving this life altogether?

    According to Medscape Medical News, as recently as March 2010, “The United States loses the equivalent of at least one entire medical school class (approximately 400 physicians) each year to suicide”.

    In other words: one, sometimes two, a day. Can this be true?

    Kathy

    Like

  3. How to prevent suicide in physicians

    http://www.kevinmd.com/blog/2011/03/prevent-suicide-physicians.html

    Kelly

    Like

  4. Job Stress Major Factor in High Rate of Physician Suicide

    Job stress, coupled with inadequate treatment for mental illness, may account for the higher than average rate of suicide among US physicians, new research suggests.

    http://www.ghpjournal.com/article/S0163-8343(12)00268-X/abstract

    Investigators at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that among individuals who died by suicide, having a mental health disorder or a job problem was significantly associated with being a physician.

    Kegan

    Like

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