When there is little hope for medical recovery, a patient may find himself/herself being kept alive by machines. And so many people now live this way that an entire industry has grown up around keeping these patients alive.
inewsource discovered and exposed a world — little known even within the medical field — where more than 4,000 people are kept alive on machines. Reporter Joanne Faryon and videographer Brad Racino revealed a network of “vent farms” to the nation through documents, data and unprecedented access to a facility in San Diego County that is home to people spending years, sometimes more than a decade, on life support. Most are not conscious and haven’t tasted food in years. They are dependent on others to brush their teeth, comb their hair and change their diapers. More than 120 such places in California exist.
They are the end of the line, the place people go once medicine has saved them, but where there is little hope for recovery. This inewsource investigation, called “An Impossible Choice,” posed the point-blank question faced by an increasing number of people across the country: When is a life no longer worth living?
See the entire project at impossiblechoice.org/