Saturday, December 26, 2009

The big decisions in medical care

There was an article in the New York Times the other day about the dilemma to provide more care to a patient who may never recover. Forget about the 'death panels' brought up by the opponents to the health care reform bill. This is not part of this discussion.

I have also wondered about this. When does a doctor or a patient say 'no more'? Every time I go in for surgery or a procedure, they ask if I have a living will (which I finally do) and I have discussed this with my husband and have my own thoughts on when I want treatment to end. But how does one make the decision? Is this a decision I will make on my own? Will a doctor make it? Will a doctor advise me? When does it become a case of throwing good money away?

The studies cited in the article show different sides of this issue. There is benefit to a point to keep on treating someone but how do you tell when its the wrong decision? And shouldn't the patient's wishes always be kept in the discussion and not ignored? This is the part where the living will comes into play. How's this for a nice morbid start for the day?

Anyway, we had a nice Christmas. And another dinner tonight. I think holidays are fattening.

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