End 'botanical gardens' of vegetative patients: doc
The China Post news staffTAIPEI, Taiwan -- National Taiwan University Hospital's traumatology chief Ko Wen-che (柯文哲) blasted the amount of public expenses being paid to keep alive patients in a vegetative state, a report said yesterday.
January 14, 2013, 12:01 am TWN
Ko claimed that Taiwan is now full of “botanical gardens” of such patients, and that the issue of inefficacious treatment needs to be addressed.
Taiwan ranks at the top of the world in terms of people in a vegetative state or on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO, 體外循環維生系統/葉克膜) undergoing hemodialysis, a medical procedure used to treat patients with renal failure, the United Evening News said.
ECMO is a method of life support that provides an external mechanism for heart and lung functions when the patient's own have failed. The ECMO machine performs normal circulatory and respiratory functions by injecting oxygen into and removing carbon dioxide from the patient's blood.
Medical ventilators, in contrast, help a person breathe by physically moving air into his or her body.
The U.S. Renal Data System (USRDS), an institute funded by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, ranks Taiwan as having the second highest incidence of patients worldwide for End-stage Renal Disease (ESRD) per million people.
Taiwan, at 361, was ahead of Japan (288) and before only the U.S. (369) in 2010, according to the latest in the latest USRDS report published 2012. The 2008 report put Taiwan at No. 1, with 384 per million people.
According to Radio Taiwan International, the number of people undergoing hemodialysis in Taiwan was at around 70,000 as of September 2012, and is increasing by 5,000 per year.