Being Mortal

(Martin Jones) #1

theterminalcancerpatients intheCoping withCancer
study reported having had no discussion with their
doctors about their goals for end-of-life care, despite
thirdwho did havediscussions were far less likely to
undergo cardiopulmonary resuscitationor be put on a
ventilatoror endup inan intensive careunit.Mostof
them enrolled in hospice. They suffered less, were
physically more capable, and were better able, for a
longer period, to interact with others. In addition, six
months afterthese patients died,theirfamily members
depression.Inotherwords, peoplewhohadsubstantive
discussions with their doctor about their end-of-life
preferenceswerefar morelikelytodieatpeace andin
control of their situation and to spare their family

Alandmark 2010 studyfromtheMassachusettsGeneral
Hospital had even more startling findings. The
researchersrandomlyassigned 151 patientswithstageIV
lung cancer, like Sara’s, to one of two possible
approaches to treatment. Half receivedusual oncology
care.The otherhalfreceivedusual oncologycareplus
specialists in preventing and relievingthe suffering of
are dying or not is required. If a person has serious,
Theonesin thestudydiscussedwith thepatientstheir
goals and priorities for if and when their condition
worsened. Theresult: those who sawa palliativecare

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