Monday, February 27, 2012

The limits of treatment and the need to plan for the end

Here is an excellent article on dying with dignity.

Why Doctors Die Differently

Careers in medicine have taught them the limits of treatment and the need to plan for the end


Charlie, 68 years old, diagnosed with cancer, was uninterested in a treatment that would give him  more months. He went home the next day, closed his practice and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with his family. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation or surgical treatment. Medicare didn't spend much on him.

In a 2003 article, Joseph J. Gallo and others looked at what physicians want when it comes to end-of-life decisions. In a survey of 765 doctors, they found that 64% had created an advanced directive—specifying what steps should and should not be taken to save their lives should they become incapacitated. That compares to only about 20% for the general public.

In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life.

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