Sunday, January 3, 2010

To sleep, perchance to die

Anemone Hartocollis reported on a Hard Choice for a Comfortable Death: Sedation.
Discussions between doctors and dying patients’ families can be spare, even cryptic. In half a dozen end-of-life consultations attended by a reporter over the last year, even the most forthright doctors and nurses did little more than hint at what the drugs could do. Afterward, some families said they were surprised their loved ones died so quickly, and wondered if the drugs had played a role.

Unless you're prepared to assume that being told your loved one will be made comfortable means this is the last time you'll see them alive, I suggest you press for a clear and complete explanation. You might, for example, want to know more about the attitudes of the physician you're talking to. Take Dr. Edward Halbridge, a hospice medical director, for example.
“Do I consider myself a Dr. Death who is bumping people off on a regular basis?” he asked. “I don’t think so. In my own head I’ve sort of come to the realization that these people deserve to pass comfortably.”

1 comment:

  1. It's useful to remember the Principle of Double Effect.