Birnstengel, Grace Web Editor “One Doctor’s Plea: Consider Palliative Care An oncologist grapples with letting patients suffer when there’s an alternative.” November 9, 2018
Most Advanced Medical Directives ask you to choose some of the most basic treatments such as CPR, breathing machines, etc. They rarely include information about the implications or consequences of your choices So you are really choosing blind… without much information as to what might be either the side effects or the outcome.
This article describes the anguish of an oncologist who would like to see more people with cancer accept palliative care: a medical response which focuses on symptom relief and is tailored to what matters most to you. (You can watch a brief Ted Talk which describes palliative care. You will see Dr. Timothy Ihrig describe how patients lived 3-6 months longer with a better quality of life including less pain and fewer hospital admissions.)
Advanced Medical Directives also fail to ask you about what kinds of responses you might want in a broader sense. For example, you might want to consider whether you would want Hospice, experimental clinical trials, no more hospitalizations, etc. These critical issues and others are addressed in chapter 4 of my book, YOUR LIFE, YOUR DEATH, YOUR CHOICE.
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