Monday, December 12, 2011

A family doc's perspective on the best way to die

As a former family doc, I loved Ken Murray's essay on how doctor's die.

Is it true?

I suspect it's mostly true of family docs and some surgeons who are older and whose children are grown. I don't think it's true of younger physicians, especially those with children. My physician friend Tom fought his glioma very hard. He probably got an extra 1-2 years out of his suffering, and for his young family that was worth a lot.

I think I'd put myself through a lot to get my young kids a year or two.

When the kids are grown though, my physician wife and I have always imagined the kind of management Ken describes. Like most physicians, we're skeptical about how much medicine can really do for most end-of-life conditions. There's a difference between treatments that are statistically beneficial and treatments that make a really important difference.

After all, we know how the story ends.

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