Delirium Plagues the Elderly, and Andy Rooney Won't Stop Working

Doctors say new evidence shows that episodes of hallucinations and delirium afflicting old people in hospitals can have long-term negative effects. Also, Andy Rooney vows not to stop saying things on television any time soon.

"Hospital delirium," in which elderly patients experience vivid waking nightmares and become irrational and violent, affects "a rapidly growing share of patients," the NYT reports. At the same time, CBS opinion-holder Andy Rooney tells TV Newser "I will work until I drop, or until I lose my head."

Doctors once believed that the hospital delirium that afflicted the elderly was a "reversible transient phenomenon" that would pass, and was not a great concern; now, though, they believe that it can seriously hurt patients' long-term health. Andy Rooney, who is 92, also says "I suppose I've made some concessions to age, but I'm not aware of them."

One geriatric researcher calls delirium of the aged "terrible, more dangerous than a fall." Simultaneously, Andy Rooney gave the quote, "How long am I going to work? How long am I going to live? That's the question."

Though dementia appears to be a risk factor for delirium among old people, even seemingly healthy olds can be struck by delirium with little notice. According to veteran newsman Andy Rooney, "Until somebody tells me different, I'm not going to quit."

[NYT, TV Newser. Pic: AP]