The Washington Post reports that a single day of life support in an intensive care unit typically costs between $2,000 and $4,000. The price varies according to the level of care that the patient requires, and 60 Minutes states that costs can skyrocket to as high as $10,000 a day.
According to The Washington Post, a patient on life support requires around-the-clock care from a team of nurses and physicians. The cost of life support includes the maintenance and use of hospital facilities and the operation of life-sustaining machinery. Patients on life support are bedridden for months or years at a time; therefore, preventive care and treatment of conditions, such as bed sores, adds to the cost.
Cleveland Clinic states that each situation calls for a differing degree of care. The lowest levels of life support are artificial nutrition and hydration where a patient receives sustenance through a feeding tube and IV. Typically when a person thinks of life support, he may envision the most complex levels of care, such as mechanical ventilation and kidney dialysis. These types of life support systems are used in situations where internal organs have shut down, and a patient is unable to breathe or process waste from the body on his own.