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I’m a doctor. Preparing you for death is as much a part of my job as saving lives.

by Shoshana Ungerleider on October 19, 2015 It wasn’t until just before graduation that we talked about what to do when a patient is dying. A single three-hour seminar with a group of specialists from the palliative care service; at least it was mandatory. The presenters were young physicians, and they seemed kind and thoughtful. But I wondered why anyone would devote their medical career to end-of-life care. My classmates …Read More

Helping Patients and Doctors Talk About Death – NYTimes Editorial

By THE EDITORIAL BOARD  JULY 25, 2015 Medicare announced plans this month to reimburse doctors for talking with patients about what treatments they want — and don’t want — toward the end of life. This sensible, long-overdue proposal is likely to have a very wide impact. About 80 percent of people who die in the United States each year are covered by Medicare, and Medicare policies are often followed by private insurers, …Read More

New guidelines may encourage more talks about end-of-life care – The Boston Globe

By Felice J. Freyer GLOBE STAFF  JULY 27, 2015 Susan Johnson was never afraid to talk about death. But whenever she tried to discuss her end-of-life wishes with her children, both in their 40s, they deflected the topic with jokes. And her primary care doctor never raised the issue. Then, a few years ago, a surgical complication left Johnson hospitalized for months. She felt death close by, and it scared …Read More

Last Stand – Pulse

Last Stand Friday, 24 July 2015 E. Wesley Ely The first time I saw Jessa, she lay crumpled in the ICU bed, paralyzed, expressionless and unable to speak. A military veteran, she had fought in Desert Storm, but she now was facing a deadlier and more inexorable foe: amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), aka Lou Gehrig’s disease. This disease causes progressive loss of muscle control, and Jessa was unable to speak, …Read More