In this shocking retrospective look at robust Medicare data (54,771 person-years) by Barnato et al, 72.5% of the 534 beneficiaries undergoing mechanical ventilation (MV) died within one year of that hospitalization. An additional 12.5% of survivors were in nursing homes the following year. Survivors of MV had a slightly higher disability burden than those surviving hospitalizations without MV, with both being about 15-25% disabled the following year. The patients were a mean ~76 years old. These surprising findings deserve more than a blurb, so we asked Amber Barnato, the lead author, to tell us more. AJRCCM 2011;183:1037-1043.