“FRONTLINE follows renowned New Yorker writer and Boston surgeon Atul Gawande as he explores the relationships doctors have with patients who are nearing the end of life. In conjunction with Gawande’s…book, Being Mortal, the film investigates the practice of caring for the dying, and shows how doctors — himself included — are often remarkably untrained, ill-suited and uncomfortable talking about chronic illness and death with their patients.”
I’ve personally found Dr Gawande’s observations to be true in my own experience with terminal cancer and medical professionals. Doctors are trained to keep on doing something no matter what — they are not trained to help you decide how to have the best life possible as you die. They are not trained in helping the patient have the conversation about their goals and priorities for the end of their life. You can’t count on the doctor to lead the way, sometimes the patient has to do it. And you need to do it sooner than later.
Since I will most likely be having this conversation with my team on Friday I watched this Frontline piece again with revived interest. I have let my oncologists know on multiple occasions, over the past 3 1/2 years of dealing with stage 4 cancer, that I would rather live 3 good months than 3 years of feeling sick with debilitating side effects. In the Frontline film, Being Mortal, I want to be the man that planned ahead enough to die at home with quality of life and not the woman that was in denial until it was too late and she could never leave the hospital or take her granddaughter to Disneyland.
Click here for another great read on this topic, ‘How Doctors Die – It’s Not Like The Rest of Us, But It Should Be’ —by Ken Murray, MD, Clinical Assistant Professor of Family Medicine at USC
“It’s not a frequent topic of discussion, but doctors die, too. And they don’t die like the rest of us. What’s unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared to most Americans, but how little.” —Ken Murray
And this article, ‘How Doctors Die: Showing Others the Way‘ —by Dan Gorwnstein, Senior Health Care Reporter for the Public Radio Program “Marketplace.”
PS: I discovered the Dark Chocolate Ensure is really tasty — yum!
posted 23 March 2016: http://hopeandcourage.com