How Doctors Die

What your doctor knows about dying might influence your end of life care decisions.

Shannon Brownlee’s book, “Overtreated: Why Too Much Medicine is Making Us Sicker and Poorer”, Bloomsbury USA; First Edition edition (September 18, 2007) sheds light on what physicians know about extraordinary measures used in the ER and in intensive care units and why many physicians opt out of such care.

Dying in a hospital bed attached to tubes is not how many in the medical field would choose to die.

Why would doctors be so anxious to avoid the very procedures they deliver to their patients every day? For one thing, they know firsthand that these procedures are most often futile when performed on a frail, elderly, chronically ill person. Only about 8% of people who go into cardiac arrest outside of the hospital are revived by CPR. Even when your heart stops in the hospital, you have only a 19% chance of surviving. That’s a far cry from the way these procedures are portrayed on TV, where practically everybody survives having his heart shocked and undergoing CPR.

Living Wills a Touchy Subject for Baby Boomers

Baby boomers avoid making living wills because they feel too young and healthy.

Who can even think of writing a will between yoga class and triathlon training?

Kathy Brandt says wills and health care proxies are a good idea for everyone whether they are healthy and young or older and not so healthy.

Brandt, a senior vice president at the National Hospice and Palliative Care Organization, said the two documents can spare families a painful fight and ensure that patients receive — or don’t receive — the medical treatment they wish should they end up in a situation where they can’t speak for themselves

Saving loved ones from making the tough decisions as we age could be the kindest gift of all at the end of our lives.

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