Charlie Gard was a one-year-old boy who had a rare genetic disease leaving him blind, comatose, and unable to breathe on his own. This metabolic disorder can be fatal and has no known cure. Charlie’s parents wanted him treated with experimental drugs in the hope that a miracle would happen. As reported in the press, the British medical and legal community considered this care futile and blocked ...

Read more...

Sheila’s jaw is clenched. Sweat is beading on her forehead. I make a slow audible inhale, non-verbally inviting her to do the same. We’ve been talking about the nightmares which started shortly after she began receiving help with personal care. I remind her that she is safe — the day she was raped is decades in the past. Her conscious mind knows this, of course, but for people with posttraumatic ...

Read more...

My partner Judith had pain in her sinus cavity caused by a tumor called a plasmacytoma. After her biopsy, her surgeon called Friday afternoon with the results. She asked him to wait fifteen minutes until I could be home with her to get the news. He had no flexibility and said he could speak either then or Monday. She chose to speak with him then on the phone still alone. ...

Read more...

He had cardiomyopathy and CHF for over 20 years. At the time, doctors told him he could die at any time. That was 20 years ago. His EF was 10 percent — barely livable. Two decades later, this admit kept him on a see-saw with respiratory distress, a bad heart, bad lungs, atrial fibrillation with RVR and heart rate in the 140s all day long. He progressed from nasal cannula to ...

Read more...

My husband, the anesthesiologist, came home one evening, he was solemn, affected, not himself. His patient died in the recovery room. It was sudden and unexpected for my husband. Despite the team’s swift efforts and perfectly executed code, the patient died anyway. It’s relevant to note that his patient was an almost 90-year-old man with significant congestive heart failure, probably chronic kidney disease, and complete occlusion of one of his ...

Read more...

There have been recent discussions in the lay media about a growing trend of litigation cases focused not on the “right to live,” but rather on the “right to die.” These cases have involved patients who received aggressive treatment, despite having documentation of their wishes not to receive such aggressive treatment. Although unsettling, it is not surprising that this issue has arisen, given the national conversations about the exorbitant cost ...

Read more...

Dr. Leon Pedell discusses a topic that physicians of all ages often find difficult: dealing with hopelessness, end of life care, and the actual death of a patient. Courtesy of Before the Floors.

Whether you believe in science, God, neither or some combination of the two -- we can all agree that death is inevitable. Due to the finality of our lives, each of us should understand and prepare for that moment not only for ourselves but also for our loved ones. As medicine continues to advance and people live longer, we have a generation of baby boomers who are now entering their ...

Read more...

My friend and neighbor died last week.  In his early eighties, wiry, opinionated, well-read, he never tolerated schooling. He built an excavating business with a perfected aesthetic for contouring soil and also built a few homes in town including mine.  When he saw the architect’s lower pitched roof framed on the garage, he had it torn off because: “It just wasn’t right. It looks like a tiny bowler hat on ...

Read more...

I was covering for my partner over the weekend and saw his patient with end-stage liver disease, a consequence of decades of alcohol abuse.| He was one of the most deeply jaundiced individuals I have ever seen. His mental status was still preserved. He could converse and responded appropriately to my routine inquiries, although he was somewhat sluggish in his thinking. It’s amazing that even after the majority of a liver ...

Read more...

33 Pages

Most Popular