Thoughtful Musings on EOL Care
First: EOL means "End of Life." This is a very thoughtful essay from Bloomberg about decisions made at the end of one man's life. He died of kidney cancer, but the specific details are far less important than the larger conversation. I have periodically written something about our national health care crisis, and I think that this particular piece is especially provocative and important. There are many hard topics in this debate, and anything about EOL is especially fraught with feeling. Remember all the ridiculous charges about "Death Panels" and ObamaCare. We all believe that these decisions need to be made by a patient/family and her doctor. Having said that, we all, or many of us anyway, believe that, as a country, we are going to have to develop some common goals and policies that will best serve us all.
Here is the beginning and then a link. I urge you to take a few minutes to read it and then a few more to think about what you have read.
End-of-Life Warning at $618,616 Makes Me Wonder Was It Worth It
By Amanda Bennett - Mar 04, 2010
March 4 (Bloomberg) It was some time after midnight on Dec. 8, 2007, when Dr. Eric Goren told me my husband might not live till morning.
The kidney cancer that had metastasized almost six years earlier was growing in his lungs. He was in intensive care at the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, and had begun to spit blood.
Terence Bryan Foley, 67 years old, my husband of 20 years, father of our two teenagers, a Chinese historian who earned his Ph.D. in his 60s, a man who played more than 15 musical instruments and spoke six languages, a San Francisco cable car conductor and sports photographer, an expert on dairy cattle and swine nutrition, film noir and Dixieland jazz, was confused. He knew his name, but not the year. He wanted a Coke.
Should Terence begin to hemorrhage, the doctor asked, what should he do? This was our third end of life warning in seven years. We fought off the others. Perhaps we could dodge this one too. Dr. Keith Flaherty, Terence's oncologist, and I both believed that a new medicine he had just begun to take would buy him more time.