I am certain that many of you might be familiar with the intelligent, vibrant young lady named Brittany Maynard. Brittany's story was so compelling to the world that it reached the most outstanding and historic numbers through digital media. Ms. Maynard was only 29, diagnosed with terminal brain cancer and decided that she would end her own life "when the time seemed right." Maynard was an advocate ...

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Brittany Maynard was diagnosed with grade 2 astrocytoma, a form of brain cancer on January 1, 2014, her cancer also returned in April 2014, where her diagnosis was elevated to grade 4 astrocytoma, also known as glioblastoma, with a prognosis of just six months to live. She decided to take lethal drugs prescribed by her physician to end her life on November 1, 2014, at her home in Portland, Oregon. Under Oregon's "Death ...

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It's Monday morning, and I'm the attending physician starting a week of inpatient service in the hospital. On my patient list is a man named Earl, age ninety-one. He's outlived his siblings, his first and second wives and all of his peers. After seven decades of smoking, his lungs are failing; he carries a diagnosis that reads "severe emphysema." The sign-out note from Earl's previous doctor reads: "Daughter and son-in-law met ...

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“For the rest of my life, I’ll never see her again or smell the scent of her unwashed hair. I’ll never hug her soft squishy hips or sigh when she tells me to stop sleeping, get up, and enjoy the day.” This runs through my head before I start sobbing in my car. Most of the time I feel fine, but when I confront the finality of my grandmother’s existence, tremendous ...

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"Before I leave, I want to talk to you about something very important. I want to make sure that nothing is ever done against your wishes, so it doesn’t matter if you’re 18 or 98 years of age, if you’re a patient being admitted to the hospital, I need to ask you some questions. You’re stable — so I hope I don’t alarm you with this discussion. Have you ever ...

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On my first day of medical school, my father, a dentist, told me he'd just been diagnosed with stage four pancreatic cancer. Cancer had crept back into my life — except this time not into my body. At age 12, I was diagnosed with brain cancer. After an aggressive surgery, I was tumor-free for 10 years. Then, at 23, I received the news of an inoperable recurrence. While going through radiation and ...

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Because of my father When you lose a parent during childhood, it effects just about everything you become.  Decisions about life naturally stem from enduring this trauma.  Some try to form families early and replace that which they feel has been lost.  Others spurn close connections and create a wall so firm that no one else can encroach.  An attempt to protect against pain.  Because of my father I ...

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On a curiously warm morning last February, the minister arrived at my childhood home to guide my father to the other side. When he approached the bedside where all of us were gathered around with the Eagles Pandora radio humming in the background, my dad emerged from a semi-conscious state and sat up as best as he could. “Listen. I am not dying,” he declared. As an early-career researcher focused ...

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Many of us have moms and dads or older friends and relatives in nursing home facilities and care very much about their well-being and the supports they receive. But who’s caring for the care aides who do the bulk of the frontline work in nursing homes? Their welfare is almost entirely overlooked in the health system. And it turns out, the health of the care aide affects the Read more...

Let’s say your loved one is at the end of life. She’s 84, with advanced cancer that is no longer treatable. A decision has been made to put her in hospice -- which is a level of care more than an actual location. (Most hospice actually occurs at home.) The patient waxes in and out of consciousness, sometimes lucid, but mostly not. While no one is ready for her to die, this end-of-life ...

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