Monday, August 16, 2010

"Letting Go"

Here is another amazing article by Atul Gawande. He speaks of issues that make us Americans very uncomfortable: end of life care. It is not surprising to anyone that a disproportionate amount of our health care spending goes towards those facing death; is it worth it? When do we say that enough is enough? While drawing concrete lines that such and such a procedure under x circumstance is wasteful doesn't seem so hard; it all changes when talking about a specific person. How do we create a fair, finically responsible and sustainable medical system? How do we do it while valuing each individual life as priceless? Thoughts?

My inner-anthropologist thinks that we need to come to terms with death being a natural, and sometimes even desirable, end to life. As doctor's we need to stop seeing death as failure on our parts, and need to start seeing palliative care as an alternative option. We also need to really listen to our patients, identifying what their true desires about end of life care and encourage them to share this information with their loved ones.

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