Contributor & author: Marilyn M. Singleton, MD, JD, (California) board-certified anesthesiologist and Board of Directors member and President-elect of Association of American Physicians and Surgeons  (see bio at bottom of release)

Preview:

  • April 16th begins a week of National Healthcare Decisions Day. Hopefully this week will encourage honest discussions not only about a so-called “good death” but the value of an individual’s life.
  • These rationing systems devalue the benefits the disabled, elderly, or others with a lower life expectancy could receive from a given treatment.
  • A nationwide multi-medical center study revealed the inadequacy of written living wills or the generic check-the-box Physician Orders for Life-Sustaining Treatment (POLST). Based solely on these documents, physicians reached a consensus (95 percent agreement) on code status and resuscitation decisions in only two out of nine clinical scenarios.
  • And to my fellow physicians: ask yourself what you would recommend to the parents of a 19 month old deaf and blind toddler who needed extensive intensive care. Helen Keller’s parents have the answer.

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