Friday, July 16, 2010

Respecting Living and Allowing Dying

Rosemary Flanigan
July 16, 2010

An editorial from the March, 2010 Journal of the American Geriatrics Society by Daniel J. Brauner, MD from the Pritzker School of Medicine, University of Chicago, was entitled, “Reconsidering Default Medicine.”

So instead of writing orders negatively (Do Not. . . .) how much better it would be to stress something like “comfort feeding only.”

So far so good.

But what does that mean—and here an ethics committee could provide valuable insights and appropriate language for a policy, I think. If the dying infant is making sucking noises, then of course give him/her a bottle; if the dying adult waves away the spoonful of whatever, then put the spoon back in the bowl.

We in the ethics world have lifetimes of work ahead of us encouraging people both to respect living and to allow dying. And in an over-technologically driven world, that “ratio”—balance—will demand ever more sensitivity.

Are any of you aware of hospitals or nursing homes that have “Comfort Feeding Only” policies?? I would love to read some of them. THANKS.



Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is very interesting, and I am surprised nobody thought to change the wording before. I think this slight change would make a huge difference for everyone involved in the decision process.

Saturday, July 17, 2010  

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