There are a lot of medical professionals who express uneasiness about prolonging the lives of already dying patients, so it’s no wonder that Doctor’s choose to ‘die differently’ than the rest of us. Surely this should change for all, I know it was excruciatingly sad to watch my fathers’ life be dragged out for far more month’s than was necessary, even he referred more times than I like to remember that he was ‘do not resuscitate’ ~ so how can they be allowed to continue to stretch the limits of this? Especially when the whole world is quite aware it’s simply about the ‘money’.
Yet another story recently surfaced about how doctors don’t die like everyone else. Doctors die quietly at home, surrounded by family—not in the hospital like most Americans. This difference has been ascribed to knowledge about the limits of modern medicine and experience with the horror of lingering deaths on life support, and there is doubtless truth in those ascriptions. As a physician and writer, I believe that there is also another more subtle but equally important contributor, and that has to do with the stories we tell ourselves about death.
The language we use about death is illustrative of our attitudes. We speak of fighting and overcoming disease, of courage and bravery, of beating the odds. We also speak of giving up, letting go, losing the battle. It’s as though we believe that death isn’t inevitable, that we have some choice in the matter. We even say to one another, “If I die,” and “If you die,” not “When we die”—as though our probability of dying weren’t exactly 100%. Continue Reading: What Doctor’s Know About Death
The following excerpt is from an excellent article also; ‘Why Doctor’s Don’t Die Like The Rest of Us’
Dr French recalls that when he was an intern, he noticed that he didn’t see any former doctors among the patients. “Where are the doctors?” he asked a staff man. “Hmm… come to think of it… I trained at Sloan-Kettering, we didn’t have them there either”, the staff replied.
Throughout his career, he hadn’t seen many doctors in the hospitals and nursing homes he had visited. “We choose to avoid the proverbial Last Six Months (Is that half our health-care bill, by the way?) and prefer to die at home with dignity”, he says.
Why do those doctors tend to stay away from hospital?
When will it become the ‘norm’ for all to ‘die with dignity’, as we deserve? Without the prolonged suffering often thrust upon us, simply for the $$$? With ‘Do Not Resuscitate ~ And I Mean It’ given new meaning: perhaps, not after 11 minutes, especially when it’s after many times, I would also state: no more than 3 times if it was an extremely serious illness, with no positive prognosis
Death With Dignity: How Doctor’s Die
Death: What are Your Choices (at ABC Australia)
4 thoughts on “The Doctor’s Choice”
I foresee dying with dignity (and all other terms & phrases for this) becoming a huge societal issue within the next ten years. Peace and strength to you in dealing with your father’s health.
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I would agree, the debate can only grow, as it’s been around for a while..
Thanks for your kind thoughts on this, yes, it was extremely difficult… mainly the feeling of uselessness in that it was almost the first thing he said to me when I visited him in hospital, not having seen him for a long time… “…. I wonder if they’ll let me go, next time…”
I looked around the room, with tears in my eyes, noting the dust covered, unused television, among many other things. Could not miss his utter confusion, as to ‘why he was still here’ emotion written all over his face. I didn’t have the heart to ask, ‘how many times’ they had ‘brought him back’, as I believe the answer may have been far too hard for me to handle…. Being the youngest of 5, I also found it very confusing at his funeral to be the only one who referred to being happy (& not ‘sad at his passing’) that he was finally away from his pain. To which, I had a friendly nod from the priest.
The situation has changed me forever now, I fully intend to try and organise my own ‘departure from this world’ with some very strict guidelines.
Thanks for your thoughtful answer and for sharing a bit of your personal experience. How long ago was the funeral?
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No worries, I find it’s somewhat of an ‘extension’ on my story, and if it helps anyone decide on their ‘course of action’, in a similar situation, then it’s worth it… and you never know. 🙂
He passed away early 2013, I’d ‘seen him’ though, month’s before this. Was also glad I’d called him on the phone, and we’d had a nice chat as well…. 🙂
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