living your best to the end

Pew Research Center:Views on End-of-Life Medical Treatments

 Staying Alive: what more of us want to do  “The share of the public that says doctors and nurses should do everything possible to save a patient’s life has gone up 9 percentage points since 2005 and 16 points since 1990. From Pew Research Center forum “Views on End of Life Medical Treatment.” That more adults want everything done to keep them alive at life’s end does not surprise me. Doing everything vs dying peacefully But, this may come as a surprise in light of reports saying we want to die peacefully, at home, which assumes fewer interventions. It also seems to fly in the face of numerous initiatives encouraging discussion – with the underlying hope that talking and normalizing the topic will have the effect of reducing the ‘give me everything’ approach. Where’s the disconnect? As I continue to talk about life’s end whenever I get the chance, I am constantly confronted with the reality that explains the disconnect: the assumption, presumption and possibly the expectation that we who are not immersed in the world of health specific to end of life will understand the context and repercussions of ‘give me everything’. Even healthcare professionals in areas other then end of life often don’t have a sense of or focus on effects of interventions, beyond the intervention. On the surface it makes sense: the promise of medical advancements combines with the medical professional’s mandate to heal and cure – often resulting in unrealistic hopes, expectations and goals. Dr Ken Murray‘s How Doctors Die lets us in on the fact that his colleagues adamantly forgo ‘futile treatments’. Then too,...