Wednesday, February 3, 2010

How we THINK about end of life decisions

Rosemary Flanigan
February 2, 2010

Thanks to you good doctors, nurses, and men of God for getting into the discussion about how we THINK when it comes to end-of-life decisions.

Mike the pastor said it well: “. . .belief and emotion trump Consumer Reports almost every time.” And that must make it so difficult for clinicians at the bedside.

In a NY Times article, the author asks her father if he wants to be intubated; he nods his head, and then “One nurse grunts and rolls her eyes dramatically. The other mutters, “Oh, brother—here we go again.”

That must be a microcosm of dailyness in the ICU: families’ responding from belief and/or emotion and clinicians from a totally different knowledge base.
So do I still want knowledgeable nurses empowered and flooding the end-of-life scene? YES!

I may be condemning them to hours of frustration, but they are well equipped to make the breakthroughs that I also hear happening every day. And chaplains as well, the only people in hospitals today (at least in my judgment) who have time.



Anonymous Elizabeth Uppman said...

I agree with your basic point, but as a patient and family member, I find the idea of "condemning" nurses to hours of frustration really weird. Isn't that what they get paid for? From a patient's point of view, nurses are agents of a system that is not just frightening but grindingly obtuse. They write things down about you and don't show you what they wrote. You ask a question and they say, well, let's see what the doctor says, and the whole issue falls into oblivion. Isn't it merely reasonable to expect explanations, instead of sighs and eye-rolls at the fact that a patient would like to stay alive, please?

Wednesday, February 03, 2010  

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