Barbara Bush: The “Enforcer” of Dying with Dignity Last week Americans celebrated the life and death of former first lady, Barbara Bush. As the matriarch of the Bush family dynasty, she was fondly referred to as the “enforcer.” This term of endearment gained her respect and served others in knowing what she demanded. “What Barbara says, goes” is … [Read more...] about Barbara Bush: The “Enforcer” of Dying with Dignity
Other than taxes, the only other certainty in life is death. People don’t like to pay taxes or think about dying. But on April 16th, National Healthcare Decisions Day (NHDD) reminds people to complete their advance directives. Like a passport, an advance directive permits an individual to proceed from one world to another with an easy … [Read more...] about A New Directive for National Healthcare Decisions Day
At 69, Bob appeared to be a broken man. He left the hospital the day before and returned to the emergency department (ED) because he wasn’t “acting right.” Bob became upset when a second injection to his abdomen burned and family members were angry that the discharge instructions did not explain this. After four years of receiving treatment for … [Read more...] about When the Choice to Die is Not an Option
Anna knew she needed to stop drinking or suffer the consequences of liver failure. At 53, Anna came to the emergency department having a decreased level of consciousness, low blood pressure and bleeding from her nose and mouth. Her abdomen was the size of a basketball due to ascites – fluid in the abdominal cavity. Anna’s family members were not … [Read more...] about Don’t Let Doctors Treat Terminally-ill Patients
I overheard a colleague admit an 84-year-old woman to the hospital from the emergency department for a sizable mass in her uterus – no doubt, cancerous. I pictured a frail woman who’d been suffering for a while and was afraid to tell anyone about it, fearing the worst. Like most, she preferred to ignore it rather than have others tell her what to … [Read more...] about Should Doctors Be Required to Inform Patients of Their Palliative Care Rights?
“Driving Miss Norma” became a Facebook sensation two years ago after she was diagnosed with uterine cancer and told her doctor, “I’m hitting the road.” Accompanied by her son, daughter-in-law and their dog, Ringo, Norma took off across the U.S. and posted stunning photos of herself enjoying life to the fullest. She’s become the poster child for how … [Read more...] about Palliative Care: How patients can “live a little” with chronic illness
There is a stigma to hospice. Patients who qualify for hospice are often considered losers who have given up. It’s a shaming, derogatory word like “retarded,” used to malign those mentally challenged. These people began to receive better recognition and attention when others stopped referring to them as retarded or unworthy. Despite what hospice … [Read more...] about It’s Time to Replace the Word “Hospice” with Palliative Care
Nora had been experiencing horrific side pain from a recurrence of shingles. At age 93 she was debilitated and moved from her lifelong home to a skilled-nursing facility. She appeared to be deteriorating so her nephew, Tom – Nora healthcare proxy – thought it was best to have her transported to the ER and determine if there were any reversible … [Read more...] about Wintertime Reflections