These conclusions come from a Harris Poll of 1,010 U.S. adults, conducted by telephone by Harris Interactive in April.
This survey found that among adults who have experienced the death of a parent, close friend, or family member in the last 10 years, more than a quarter (28%) say that, in at least one of those cases, the person had been on a life support system. What may be more surprising is that for most of these millions of people, rather than dying while on life support, death followed the withdrawal of life support.
The specific findings include:
- Fully 78% of all adults say that they had experienced the death of a parent, close friend or family member in the last 10 years.
- Of those, 28% recall that at least one of the people close to them who had died had been on a life support system before they died.
- And, of these people who had been on life support systems, fully 64% died only after the withdrawal of life support. Only 34% died while on life support systems.
- Of the estimated 220 million adults in the U.S. 48 million experienced the death of someone close to them who had been on a life support system.
- For 31 million adults, the death was the result of removal of life support.