Terminally ill, but constantly hospitalized

“New York City continues to lag in serious ways with regards to providing patients with the environment that they want at the end of life,” says Dr. David Goodman, who studies end-of-life care at Dartmouth College’s Geisel School of Medicine.

The reasons they do this are many, but most experts agree that it has less to do with the unique characteristics and desires of people in New York and New Jersey than the health care system and culture that has evolved here.

At the end of life, all this translates to more people dying in the hospital, often in an intensive care unit on a ventilator or feeding tube; more doctor visits leading to tests, treatments and drug prescriptions; and more money being spent by the government, private insurers and patients themselves.

Specialists at the Dartmouth Healthcare Atlas maintain that one of the main drivers of this phenomenon is quantity: People end up in hospitals here so often, they say, because this region simply has a lot of hospital beds.