Unhappy deaths in nursing homes and hospitals

US surgeon Dr Atul Gawande questions modern medicine’s treatment of dying patients. In an interview on ABC radio’s The World Today program, Eleanor Hall and Sarah Sedghi, report that: Dr Gawande says medicine needs to understand there are more important things than extending life, such as giving patients options and support to make sure they have what matters to them most when they are approaching death.

“The most critical thing is those vary from person to person. For some people, depending on their phase in life, they just want to know that they are getting help so they’re able to be at home more than in a hospital,” he said.

“Or that they have some ability to be with their family or to walk a dog or to finish their own personal life project or get to a wedding that’s really important to them. The most reliable way of learning what people’s priorities are is simply to ask. And we don’t ask in medicine.”

The book is Being Mortal: Medicine and What Matters in the End and the story can be found at: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2014-11-13/us-surgeon-questions-ethics-of-treating-dying-patients/5888964

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