Thursday, February 28, 2013

The Journalist, the Mom & the Decision


I have to read more by Charles Ornstein. Here’s a health journalist who “gets it” on many levels -- including the deeply personal.

In “How Mom’s Death Changed My Thinking About End-of-Life Care,” he recounts for ProPublica.org the ramifications of his family’s decision-making about his mother’s life support. 

A few insights and highlights:
  • “In all my reporting, I'd never realized how little the costs to the broader health-care system matter to the family of a patient.”

  • “You can know somebody's wishes and still be confused about the appropriate thing to do.”

  • When a doctor says, “We have plenty of money in the U.S. health-care system to make sure that we're supporting families in coming to a decision that they can all feel good about. I feel very strongly about that,” he leaves Ornstein to question: “Plenty of money? How did this mesh with his view that too much money is spent on care at the end of life? He said his concern is more about situations in which end-of-life wishes aren't known and cases where doctors push treatments for terminal illnesses that are clearly futile and that may prolong suffering.”

Read the full story here.


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