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    « Are Patients in Part to Blame When Doctors Miss the Diagnosis? | Main | Why Don't Doctors Wash Their Hands More? »



    Dying is part of living processes. From a few experiences it's better to talk than to balk. A feeling of emotional closure and satisfaction ensures after such "difficult" heart-to-heart talks. Conservation of dying dignity solicits conversation on end-of-living reality. Syed TS Hassan, 17 Sept 2009, Malaysia.


    I realized recently that one of my Dad's doctors has been subtlety laying the groundwork for this discussion for several years. Sometimes the words were jolting and uncomfortable, but I know one day this discussion will have an immediacy to it and starting the dialogue now gives us something to lean on in the future. I can't think of much that could be more important in medicine.

    By the time you reach the point of making end of life decisions, if you haven't thought about it and discussed it, at length, it's too late in some respects. People are scared and thinking in terms of prolonging life rather than realizing they are merely delaying death. Thoughtful discussion would allow people to be truly empowered in their decision making, rather than reactionary. It would promote the opportunity for ineffective interventional treatment to be stopped while meaningful reflection and closure for the dying person and their families are still possible.

    Sara Shollenberger RRT

    As a respiratory therapist,I can attest that physicians are often vauge to say the least,at the "bad news"conversation.Many times I have been the one to have this discussion with family members, often in the emergency room.I learned to do this as a young therapist, because no one else was, to prevent suffering and frankly to reduce my work load and my moral distress.I do it now because I know it's the right thing to do.I have no problem with setting up life support if it gives the family time to deal with a loved one's terminal situation. Thank You Dr. Chen for Final Exam!!


    Thank you, Sara, for your comment and for your work!

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    Final Exam: A Surgeon's Reflections on Mortality

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