Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interesting Post: How Doctors Die

I enjoyed reading this post at Zocalo Public Square by Dr. Ken Murray, clinical assistant professor of family medicine at the University of Southern California. Dr. Murray offers an interesting look at end-of-life care from the point of view of how physicians chose to spend their final days.

These two paragraphs give you the gist of the story, but I urge you to read the entire piece:

It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little. For all the time they spend fending off the deaths of others, they tend to be fairly serene when faced with death themselves. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care they could want. But they go gently.

Of course, doctors don’t want to die; they want to live. But they know enough about modern medicine to know its limits. And they know enough about death to know what all people fear most: dying in pain, and dying alone. They’ve talked about this with their families. They want to be sure, when the time comes, that no heroic measures will happen—that they will never experience, during their last moments on earth, someone breaking their ribs in an attempt to resuscitate them with CPR (that’s what happens if CPR is done right).
Have you spoken to your family about what you want done, or not done, for you if the time should come that you can no longer express your own wishes? Here are some resources to explore.

1 comment :

Anonymous said...

Thanks very much for the link. I'm gratified that this is provoking discussion on this important topic, end of life decisions.

Ken Murray

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...