After my post last week re. dying with dignity you might think I'm on a death kick here, but really it's just coincidence. Just read this post at BookofJoe about an article in The Economist about an attempt to assess the dying process throughout the world:
Britain tops the table. For all the health-care system’s faults, British doctors tend to be honest about prognoses. The mortally ill get plentiful pain killers. A well-established hospice movement cares for people near death, although only 4% of deaths occur in them. For similar reasons, Australia and New Zealand rank highly too.
Some countries, such as Denmark and Finland, that normally score higher than Britain on human-development indices rank lower on the quality-of-death index. They concentrate more on preventing death (which they see as a medical failure) rather than on helping people die without suffering pain, discomfort and distress. America scores poorly because of the health insurers’ rule that they pay for palliative care only if a patient relinquishes curative treatments.