My dad had been in good health until this past February when he had two disastrous falls, resulting in a subdural hematoma which nearly killed him. Fortunately, a neurosurgeon was able to drain out most of the blood under his skull, beginning a long, slow recovery process. For several weeks my dad was complete assist, meaning he required help for … [Read more...] about Why Choose Holistic End-of-Life Care?
Ten years ago, I cared for an elderly man dying of heart failure in the emergency department. He refused life support and received comfort care. Still, the nurse and his wife took turns yelling, “Breathe . . . breathe . . . breathe!” The disrespect shown to this gentleman taking his last breath prompted me to “say something” through blog posts, … [Read more...] about Hanging Up Dr. H’s Clipboard: Human Nature Defies Common Sense
Lee, aged 75, had all the trappings of chronic illness: hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease and had a previous stroke. She wore a prominent “DNR” wristband. Staff at her care facility called EMS when she experienced flash pulmonary edema and was struggling to breathe. Lee arrived in the emergency department with a verbal … [Read more...] about Ambiguous Life-and-Death Decisions
Shortly after Rosie arrived in the emergency department, she was ready to return home. At age 89, she appeared to be a well-put-together woman and was aware of her surroundings and medical conditions. Before arriving in the ED, Rosie was experiencing difficulty breathing and alerted her daughter, Tara. With her mother having congestive heart … [Read more...] about Decision-Making for Oprah’s Caregivers
Wayne, aged 67, didn’t have a choice when his wife decided to not prolong her life after breast cancer was diagnosed 10 years ago. Wayne was now faced with a similar choice for himself. His cardiologist instructed him to go the emergency department to have fluid drained from his lung cavity that resulted from recent pneumonia that led to sepsis. … [Read more...] about Life and Death Require Strength and Courage
5 star review on Yelp: "On the morning of July 11, 2018, I took my husband to the ER at Abrazo Arrowhead Campus because he was having severe abdominal pains related to his Stave IV metastatic pancreatic cancer. We sincerely appreciate what Dr. Kevin Haselhorst and the staff did for us that day. The quality of care and the attention my husband … [Read more...] about Millie M.
Jerry and his wife, Pam, were not “medical people” and wouldn’t be considered high achievers. They seemed to be taking life in stride with a “mom and pop” disposition. Jerry had Alzheimer’s disease and was returned to his care facility after having a pacemaker inserted. The staff noticed Jerry slumped in his chair and called 911. Jerry’s blood … [Read more...] about The Lost Art of “Reassurance Medicine”
Imagine being John McCain and told you have an incurable brain tumor. What thoughts run through your mind? What’s your main priority? How would you want others to treat you? “I don’t know” is the most likely answer. Without question, John McCain served his family and country with distinction and deserved to be treated with dignity. But what … [Read more...] about Was John McCain Free to Die with Dignity?