Friday, October 22, 2010

Veterinary Care Versus Human Health Care

Frances Wooley has a touching and thoughtful post on this issue, one of my favorites. (It is after all one of the few ways to test the effectiveness of our various human health care systems.)
Is it right to equate animal care and human care? From a moral point of view, spending so much on animal care is problematic. The hundreds or thousands of dollars that I am spending on my dog's life could, if spent on mosquito nets or chickens or wells, measurably improve the lives of people - and surely human life is worth more than animal life?
Yet I have learned a valuable lesson from the animal hospital. Grief hurts. Some day I will lose Micky. But there are few limits to what I will pay to put off that suffering until tomorrow. And that time inconsistency - that discrepancy between what my rational self would have wanted, planning ahead and making choices ahead of time, and what I decide in the here and now - is a major barrier to controlling health care costs.
Post script: it is now three days since Micky's surgery, and so far he appears to be making a good recovery - thanks to the excellent care he received.
To the initial question - yes. And as someone who spent a lot of money on weird treatments to keep my already very old cat alive, I agree with the comment on there being few limits.
And yes - that post hits the biggest problem about controlling health care costs. Grief hurts big time.


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