Wednesday, June 27, 2012

On finality

You get to a certain point and you start to think about check-out time, not necessarily morbidly but with some close attention. Everyone I know of a certain age will tell you that the desideratum is not to avoid dying but to avoid dying slowly and miserably in the grasp of doctors and hospitals. If you've ever wondered how doctors feel about shuffling off, an essay in Zócalo Public Square by a doctor, Ken Murray, enlightens and maybe suggests a good idea for that next tattoo should maybe be 'NO CODE' across your sternum.
Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. He had a surgeon explore the area, and the diagnosis was pancreatic cancer. This surgeon was one of the best in the country. He had even invented a new procedure for this exact cancer that could triple a patient’s five-year-survival odds—from 5 percent to 15 percent—albeit with a poor quality of life. Charlie was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice, and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with family and feeling as good as possible. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Medicare didn’t spend much on him.
Read all here. It's really interesting.

1 comment:

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