May 20, 2013 |
With the strokes from three gubernatorial pens, Vermont on Monday became the fourth state in the country to allow doctors to prescribe lethal medication to terminally ill patients. Gov. Peter Shumlin signed the measure in a state House ceremony in Montpelier, capping a decade-long effort on the issue in Vermont. Vermont is the first state to pass such a law through the legislative process. Oregon and Washington enacted their laws by referendum; in Montana, it was legalized by the courts.
March 20, 2013 |
Finding out what dying patients want and treating them accordingly leads to happier patients who are in less pain and who use fewer healthcare dollars, UCLA researchers said Tuesday. “You can improve care while reducing costs by making sure that everything you do is centered on what the patients want, what his or her specific goals are and tailor a treatment plan to ensure we provide the specific care he or she wants,” Dr. Jonathan Bergman, a Robert Wood Johnson clinical scholar at UCLA, said in a statement.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
December 19, 2012
A video of 97-year-old California doctor E.T. Rulison discussing his end-of life plans is available online, along with previous Steve Lopez columns.
November 13, 2012 |
Terminal cancer patients who receive information early about end-of-life care receive less medical care during their last days and are more likely to enter hospice, according to a study in the Journal of Clinical Oncology . The findings suggest that early discussion about the likely outcome of a terminal illness can dramatically change a patient's end-of-life decision-making. According to the study, which was carried out by a team led by Dr. Jennifer Mack of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, national guidelines suggest that doctors begin discussions about end-of-life care shortly after diagnosing a terminal illness.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
July 21, 2012 |
On the evening of July 2, Bill Bentinck, 87, was led from his Palm Springs home in handcuffs, in mourning and in shock. The body of his wife of 25 years, Lynda, was still in the house, but there was no time to grieve. After telling police that his terminally ill wife had chosen to disconnect her oxygen supply and put an end to her suffering from emphysema, he was arrested on suspicion of murder. Bentinck, a straight-talking man in the Jimmy Stewart mold, felt that he had made a difficult but compassionate choice in honoring his wife's last wish and not reconnecting the oxygen.
June 17, 2012 |
It was a talk we needed to have, but I didn't know that until my father's cardiologist insisted. Here's how it happened. In 2002, I took my 83-year-old father to his doctor to discuss the results of some heart tests. My dad's memory had been failing for several years. Now he was slowing down physically as well. The doctor seated us in his office and then broke the bad news. My father had a failing heart, and without valve replacement surgery, he wasn't likely to live more than a year.