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Survival, Hospitalization Charges and Follow-up Results in Critically Ill Patients

David J. Cullen, M.D., Linda C. Ferrara, R.N., Burton A. Briggs, M.D., Peter F. Walker, M.D., and John Gilbert, Ph.D.

The New England Journal of Medicine

Medical Journal

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Critical Care Physicians, General Medical Professionals, Nurses and/or Other Critical Care Medical Professionals

No

In 226 consecutive critically ill primarily postoperative patients, we determined survival and quality of life, hospitalizaron charges, and consumption of blood and blood products. The patients were physiologically unstable and required intensive physician and nursing care. By one month, 123 patients had died (54 percent), 70 were still hospitalized, and 31 were home; only one of 103 survivors had fully recovered. By 12 months, 164 patients (73 per cent) had died, 10 were still hospitalized, and 51were home. Twenty-seven of 64 survivors had fully recovered.
Hospitalization charges averaged $14,304 per patient. The total charge for blood and blood fractions was $617,710—21 per cent of the total hospitalization charge; $ 515, 71 (83 per cent) of the blood charge went to 164 nonsurvivors, whereas $101,939 (17 per cent) went to the 62 survivors.
These data document the use of increasingly limited resources in the management of critically ill patients. The medical profession must make difficult decisions to allocate these resources effectively. (N Engl J Med 269:982-987,1976)

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