As Dodie Livingston has probably told you by this time she sent me a copy of your letter to her of March 19th. I have been
in pediatric surgery for the last thirty-six years and have watched the escalating cost of care and even though I consider
every human life precious enough to be worth it, I recognize that there has to come an end to technological advance and that
we will not always have an "infinite" system in which to practice medical economics.
If you do come to Washington, as you hinted, I would be most happy to sit down and chat with you. You might be interested
to know that we will be having a Surgeon General's Conference on certain aspects of this very subject in Philadelphia,
probably in December.
Long before Katie Beckett came to the attention of the President, my colleagues and I had gotten seventeen respirator dependent
children out of hospitals into their homes, which not only is cheaper but also a much better quality of life for the child,
siblings and parents. Just considering respirator care alone, if the 253 respirator dependent children in Pennsylvania (four
hours or more per day) were treated in intensive care units, the aggregate cost per year would be $7,000,000. The same care
could be provided at home for about $180,000. You would be most welcome at the meeting in December, although I regret that
we cannot offer to pay your expenses.