When Breath Becomes Air.

In one of my classes, we learned about DALY scores. These are basically mathematic equations to quantify the burden of specific diseases. A DALY score is calculated by morbidity and mortality, or in other words:

years living with the disease + years of life lost.


How does one compare living years while deaf vs. being blind? Is hearing or seeing more valuable? How does one numerically compare living 50 years with a permanent hangnail vs. 50 years without a leg? How does one quantify the quality of the years spent living with a disease?

If you had to choose, which would you prefer?

Live longer,


Die better?




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