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?
Be Willing to Fail Patients
“I remember you,” said Gracie with the look of having found a long-lost friend. “You gave my husband the option to be treated aggressively in the hospital or return home with palliative care. He chose to go home.” I hesitated to ask, “How did he do?” Gracie went on to say that her husband had passed in the last month, yet lived nine months … [Read more...] about Be Willing to Fail Patients
Don’t Let Doctors Treat Terminally-ill Patients
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
Should Doctors Be Required to Inform Patients of Their Palliative Care Rights?
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?
A Caregiver’s Code Yellow
Kara was a lovely 62-year-old woman whose skin color was flagrantly yellow. A pancreatic tumor was blocking bile secreted by her liver. Her gastrointestinal specialist was in the process of evaluating the spread of the cancer while considering treatment options. Kara was growing impatient while becoming more weak and nauseated. Her best friend, … [Read more...] about A Caregiver’s Code Yellow
Mindful Considerations Raised by Netflix’s “Extremis” – Part 2
The gut reaction to Netflix’s new documentary “Extremis” is the ICU is a hellhole. No one wants to end up there. Patients enter this purgatory after becoming sick and requiring a higher level of care. Patients enter the ICU from the ER, the hospital ward, or after surgery. Donna, one of the two patients featured in the film, has … [Read more...] about Mindful Considerations Raised by Netflix’s “Extremis” – Part 2
3 Issues Raised by Netflix’s “Extremis” – the Overview
“Extremis” means the crucial point before death. It’s measured by the level of stress and the length of time patients suffer as they die. You often hear people express consolation to the family with the kind words “at least he didn’t suffer” or “she died with dignity.” In the short-film “Extremis,” Dan Krauss brilliantly depicts how … [Read more...] about 3 Issues Raised by Netflix’s “Extremis” – the Overview
How to Draw the Red Line in the ER
Self-determination often escapes patients while not feeling well and being hoisted onto a stretcher: Ms. Lacy was 86-years-old and barely weighed 80 pounds. She had an anxious look in her eyes while having difficulty breathing. Her lung cancer was resistant to chemotherapy and had gradually destroyed her sense of well-being for 2 years. Her … [Read more...] about How to Draw the Red Line in the ER