Check this out. A really bothersome and thought-provoking little ditty about the guy pictured above. Ezekiel Emanuel, MD. Brother to Rahm Emanuel, recent two term mayor of Chicago. Head of the Bioethics Department at the University of Pennsylvania, and chief architect of Obamacare. Not an intellectual lightweight.
“Way back” in 2014, Dr. Emanuel penned a controversial article entitled “Why I Hope To Die at 75.” The URL I am sending you to today provides excerpts from an interview recently conducted with Ezekiel, basically asking him if he still believes what he believed five years ago, and asking if he has any further thoughts on the topic.
Read this piece and ponder the points being made. Basically, there are two. First, Ezekiel believes that beyond the age of 75, people consume so many scarce healthcare resources that they wind up depriving others, children for example, of appropriate access to care which would be more beneficial to them than it is to the oldsters. Second, and somewhat scarier, is his notion that since even vital people beyond the age of 75 are spending their time “playing” instead of working, their lives are not worth extending anyway.
No, Dr. Emanuel is not planning on “offing” himself on his 75thbirthday. BUT. He is planning on refusing medications and other treatments specifically designed to prolong his life as of that date, and believes that others reaching the 7.5 decade mark would be well served by doing the same thing.
I gotta tell ya! When I first read the Atlantic article, I was a mere child, aged 66. I had just really hit my senior years, and his article struck me as more of a curiosity than something that I should spend a lot of time pondering. Scroll forward 5 years, and December 5, 2019 will be my 72ndbirthday. Yikes. Only three years left for me in the Emanuel manual, so this time around I gave the doctor’s thinking some serious attention. BUT. I am still enjoying exercising several hours a day and working with Dr. Neale Martin on Habit EngineeringSMas an entirely new paradigm for pharmaceutical marketing and marketing research is some of the best and most important work I have ever done. SO…
Bottom Line. Although I understand where he is coming from, I believe that the variations in vitality, including both activity and productivity, make his theoretical end point of “health span” arbitrary enough to be declared incorrect.
At least I hope so!