April 25, 2013 |
In the days when American physicians dispensed oracular commands and their judgments were rarely questioned, a doctor could take it upon himself with few ethical qualms to keep from a patient the bad news of a terminal diagnosis. For better or worse, those days may be well behind us. But physicians have not ceased debating one of the stickiest and most universal ethical quandaries of medical practice: How, when and why does one inform a patient that he or she is dying? The latest evidence of that ongoing discussion was published Wednesday in the British Medical Journal.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
April 15, 2013 |
If you're going to talk about a subject most people don't want to talk about, why not do so over tea and cake and cookies? Why not gather in a sunny living room looking out on a lush tangle of green, where you can watch the breeze ruffle the leaves on the trees as you eat forkfuls of blueberry tart? Death comes to each of us, to everyone we love. Couldn't talking about it in a safe, comfy setting make the prospect less frightening? This is what Betsy Trapasso thinks. This is why she's asked friends to come - why on a Sunday afternoon, they've braved Topanga Canyon's twists and turns and climbed the dozens of wooden steps to her end-of-a-rural-road front door.
February 5, 2013 |
For Americans with a terminal diagnosis, death increasingly comes in the places and ways they say they want it - at home and in the comfort of hospice care. But for a growing number of dying patients, that is preceded by a tumultuous month in which they endure procedures that are often as invasive and painful as they are futile. New research finds that the proportion of Medicare patients dying in hospice care nearly doubled from 22% in 2000 to 42% in 2009, an apparent bow to patients' overwhelming preference for more peaceful passings free of heroic measures.
October 16, 2012 |
WASHINGTON -- George McGovern, former senator and Democratic presidential candidate, has been placed in hospice care in Sioux Falls, S.D. After several recent hospitalizations -- including admittances in 2011 for fatigue and an injury after striking his head in a fall, and most recently for testing in Florida in connection with frequent exhaustion and speech difficulties -- his family has decided to move him to the Dougherty Hospice House in...
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
October 4, 2012 |
We had to put Felix to sleep last month. I say "had to put him to sleep" because I can't bear the thought there might have been an alternative. I had two other dogs who lived to be 21 before dying at home. Toward the end, several people had suggested I look into euthanasia, but the dogs mercifully died before I had to. I believe animals shouldn't have to suffer because I can't pull the trigger. But I don't get how to tell when their time is up. Families once put pets to sleep if dad got a job transfer; now, the standards seem all over the map. Days after Felix's death, an article appeared in the New York Times arguing that death too often is used to end animal suffering when "much less aggressive possibilities exist.
CALIFORNIA | LOCAL
February 19, 2012 |
"I'm not sick; I'm only dying," a friend told Dr. William Lamers Jr. The man had inoperable cancer and wanted to go home to die, but his doctor wouldn't let him out of the hospital. It was the early 1970s, when most people with incurable illnesses died in a hospital, in a lonely room, attended by doctors and nurses with no specialized knowledge of the dying patient's emotional and physical needs. There was no system for caring for the dying at home. The experience opened Lamers' eyes to a major failing of the healthcare system.