Bioethics Blogs

What Is “Chronic Critical Illness”?

Check out the latest New York Times Well blog post by Daniela Lamas: “When the Patient Won’t Ever Get Better”


“In the early moments of critical illness, the choices seem relatively simple, the stakes high – you live or you die. But the chronically critically ill inhabit a kind of in-between purgatory state, all uncertainty and lingering . . . they move . . . from hospital to long-term care and back again, accompanied by a growing stack of medical records as things slowly fall apart.”


“There are about 100,000 chronically critically ill patients in the United States at any one time, and with an aging population and improving medical technologies, this number is only expected to grow. The outcomes of these patients are staggeringly poor. Half of the chronically critically ill will die within a year, and only around 10 percent will ever return to independent life at home.”

The views, opinions and positions expressed by these authors and blogs are theirs and do not necessarily represent that of the Bioethics Research Library and Kennedy Institute of Ethics or Georgetown University.