Serving on the first “death panel”

Continuing along the same lines, I saw an excellent article a few days ago about end-of-life decisions.

These questions appeared trite and inconsequential compared to those I posed to Grace, but by the end of this tedious national debate it was easy for me to imagine that my questioning would quickly be met with suspicion and scorn. I feared that the complete breakdown in civility manifested by our leaders in politics and media would taint the real health-care issues I had to deal with daily.

Most of us in this little world of ours know the importance of these decisions. Unfortunately, most of the people we see at work don’t. The shameless political hysteria surrounding this issue does no one any good. The real point here is – no matter what your decision is – it’s important that SOMEONE talk to you and your family about this at some point in time before someone like me asks if there is a DNR or some form of advance directive. And then you say “no” when you wish there were.

In my experience in my little corner of the world, primary-care physicians who should be doing this have failed spectacularly at this, just like OB/GYNs have failed spectacularly at educating patients about safe sex and birth control. Over the last few years, I’ve grown tired of waiting for them to do it, and any appropriate opportunity I get, I talk to patients and their families. I’m sick of running codes that don’t need to happen. There is no dignity in an unnecessary resuscitation.

2 thoughts on “Serving on the first “death panel””

  1. The trouble with sex ed (by anyone) is that too many parents will assault you, file charges with the licensing board, or sue you when you mention STDs/AIDs/Pregnancy to their precious little children. Here in west Texas, we have one of the highest rates of STDs/teen pregnancy, yet all the schools can teach is abstinence! Foolish, but that’s the GOP way.

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