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We were promised death panels Print E-mail
Written by FHI's Week in Review   
Monday, 25 July 2016 00:00

An anesthesiologist describes his participation in an emergent exploratory laparotomy in a 7.18.16 KevinMD post:

The patient is returned to the ICU with a breathing tube in place, but with better numbers and better color than she had an hour earlier. With some serious teamwork, we did what was necessary. It was not easy, and I relied on our nurses, nurse anesthetist, surgeon, scrub tech, and others to contribute and help me keep her alive. We did a great job. 

But did we?

Hours later, family convened, and the reality of the situation was presented. Her condition was more or less incompatible with life, and she wouldn't have a heartbeat if not for earlier and ongoing Herculean efforts. The family chose to withdraw care, and she passed away shortly thereafter.

According to the author: 

While we may not need death panels, and we certainly don't need care rationed by governmental bodies as the term suggests, we could certainly benefit from further discussion and consideration of what we want done to our bodies when we are facing near-certain mortality. As a society, we should recognize the importance of having a plan in place, and as physicians, we need to help our patients face these uncomfortable questions before the answers become necessary. 

...When we fail to address end-of-life issues, we rob people of the ability to die with dignity. 

...We did what we had to do for her; I wish we could have done less.

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Last Updated on Tuesday, 26 July 2016 18:06

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