Tuesday, August 24, 2010

End of Life

New York passed a law requiring doctors to discuss prognosis and options with terminally ill patients. Is this compassionate care or "death panels" revisited?

I believe that people know when they are at the end, and that they ask when they want to hear. When they don't ask, I'd hesitate to say. Can a one-size-fits-all approach work?

My mom told us for months that, as soon as she needed pain meds and would be too out of it to function, she wanted to die. She died the morning after her first dose of morphine. Quietly, she just stopped breathing. She lived the way she wanted and she died the way she wanted.

I think options and prognosis and all available info are really important for family members, and if the patient wants to know, then they surely have that right. But I think they have the right to not know, as well. Jennifer

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