Good old Earl Blumenauer. A bespectacled and bowtied Congressman from Oregon. He of the “death panel” proposal. Thank God he’s still here. Presuming that the crazy talk over the provision in the Affordable Care Act that would have paid doctors to discuss end-of-life issues with patients is over, he has introduced a separate bill with this provision and hopes to get it passed in the next couple of years.
It’s a tough situation: you have a fatal condition. You require care beyond what family members can provide at home. But with a prognosis of more than six months to live, you are not ready for hospice care.
Talking about death — even thinking about death — is uncomfortable for patients and families. Nearly 80 percent of us would prefer to spend our last days at home, but the majority of us will die in the hospital, and only 20 percent of us have expressed our wishes in writing.
In theory, or in a more perfect universe, our family members wouldn’t have a hard time deciding what to do when we were near death. However painful the task, the decisions would be clear: We would have prepared a written document, an advance directive, stating what we wanted doctors to do or not do, and our about-to-be survivors would follow our instructions. Simple.
Quebec’s end-of-life bill makes palliative care more transparent
via Sign In.
As an intern admitting emergency-room patients to a Cincinnati hospital, I saw it happen again and again: Late-stage cancer patients in the midst of medical crises would roll into our ER in need of a ventilator as expected complications mounted.
Learning how to speak with patients about end-of-life topics is often anxiety provoking for medical trainees. However, it also provides a unique opportunity for personal growth. The surprising reward of having such a conversation is presented in this reflection.
In the present journal, I recently wrote an article on several of the differences between deep and continuous palliative sedation (DCPS) and euthanasia.1 In doing so, I also criticised certain views of a paper by Niklas Juth and colleagues.2 They answer back in a just-released article, in which they state that “Materstvedt fail[s] to provide an explanation of why there is a moral difference between DCPS and euthanasia” (italics in original).3
COMPASSION & CHOICES OF MINNESOTA will be hosting an event on Sunday, September 8, 2013, from 1:00 to 3:00 p.m. at the First Unitarian Society – Chalice Room, 900 Mount Curve, Minneapolis, MN. This event is free and open to the public as well as to Compassion & Choices members.