Tuesday, June 7, 2011

End of Life Discussion - Check

I know there are a lot of good reasons for this law, but I can’t help but sympathize with the docs on this one.

During my years with the Metropolitan Medical Society in Kansas City I saw law after law passed, combined with regulation after regulation from health plans and multiple measures to protect doctors from medical malpractice. Eventually, we’ve achieved what we have now in far too many cases – a doctor simply going down a checklist, making sure he or she has complied with said laws, regulations and lawsuit avoidance.

In my mind the question is this – do we want end of life discussions reduced to an item on a checklist?

Eager to hear your thoughts.

Link: Law on End-of-Life Care Rankles Doctors, Jane E. Brody, New York Times, June 6, 2011

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3 Comments:

Blogger Kevin T. Keith said...

Nobody says you have to do this discussion badly - only that you have to do it. Professionalism, empathy, and effective patient relations are up to you.

To put that another way: the thinking behind this law implies that docs won't do these discussions unless they're held accountable. Your reaction implies that they'll do them badly if they're held accountable. Which is more cynical?

Tuesday, June 07, 2011  
Blogger Practical Bioethics said...

Another comment from another source:

The real question is: Why did talking with people about their terminal illness earlier in their course ever come to the attention of the Legislature??? Answer: Because the medical profession has lowered its standards of care due to fiscal and time constraints, without addressing these problems in an effective way.

-- Ron Koons

Wednesday, June 08, 2011  
Blogger bruce brittain said...

The skills required to both know when such a conversation is warranted and how to do it effectively should be required curriculum in every medical school. End-of-life care, the recognition of where the blurry line is between futile and truly promising treatment and "difficult message" communication skills are nearly ignored in today's U.S. medical schools.

Saturday, June 11, 2011  

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