It’s likely that you or someone you know has confronted a “life-and-death” situation. For many, that “threshold” experience seems to be a gateway to immortality; that brush with death, a doorway to another life. My colleague, Tony Lobl, writing for the July 7, 2015 edition of The News Hub, took the opportunity on July 7–the 10th anniversary of the London Underground bombings–to give us a thoughtful commentary on these life and death issues, including a glimpse of why many doctors forego end-of-life care. It’s an interesting read. Here’s Tony:
Today 7/7 survivor Gill Hicks praised “the power and brilliance of humanity”. She said “my life was saved by strangers, people who never gave up, people who risked their own lives to save mine.” That’s London at its best! But was there also another factor in her survival?…
When it comes to dying, doctors don’t always take their own medicine.
A poignant example is that of a highly respected clinician who was diagnosed with cancer and yet chose not to avail himself of chemotherapy, radiation, or surgical treatment. Instead, he closed his practice and spent some quality time with his family before passing on at home.
In a heartfelt blog a University of Southern California professor, who’d been mentored by the clinician, graphically describes why he and so many colleagues forego the costly and “futile” end-of-life care demanded by others.
“The patient will get cut open, perforated with tubes, hooked up to machines, and assaulted with drugs. All of this occurs in the Intensive Care Unit at a cost of tens of thousands of dollars a day. What it buys is misery we would not inflict on a terrorist,” writes Dr Ken Murray, MD.
Considering that heart-wrenching description of what it takes to gain that extra few hours, days, weeks or even months, why would any of us choose such a course of action? Perhaps we believe it’s the only way we can cheat mortality and prolong our lives. Would it make a difference, though, if we were convinced death wasn’t actually the end?