Are “culture of health” and “culture of death” mutually exclusive? Ask most refugees from 1930s socialist Europe, and my guess is their answer will not only be “no,” but more likely “the former ushers in the latter.” That is to say, it is difficult to imagine a culture that assigns a value on human beings based upon their health, without questioning what that culture does to human beings who are judged to be “not healthy.” Continue reading
Category Archives: Informed Decision Making
Bernard Shaw — Poster boy for shared decision-making?
How perfect. Bernard Shaw as the spokesman for decision aids for terminally ill patients.
I’m sure the irony was lost on the author of “The Judges Have Spoken: Decision Aid Upgrade Design Challenge Winners Announced” as she opened her story with a quotation from Shaw.
The article announced the winners of a contest sponsored by California HealthCare Foundation (CHCF) to develop new tools to coach cancer patients and their families in treatment decisions. Not surprisingly, the shared decision-making tool that won first prize from CHCF coaches the patient toward palliative care. Continue reading
Former White House health policy advisor: Get the public on board
In case you missed it, this was Chris Dawe last year, shortly after he left the Obama administration, and before he joined Evolent Health — a consulting company founded by the Advisory Board and the Univ. of Pittsburgh Health Plan “to help health systems move towards providing value-based care.” (Advisory Board, which consults for C-TAC, was founded by David Bradley, now Chairman of Atlantic Media.)
Here Dawe is addressing the Campaign to End Unwanted Medical Treatment (which is in fact a campaign to gin up the public to demand less life-saving treatment. Talk about perverse.) Continue reading
Distinction without a difference? Guidance from the NCBC
Last month the National Catholic Bioethics Center posted an article that was meant to guide Catholic clinicians on what to do when a patient or proxy or government requests treatment that the clinician considers to be morally wrong [“Transfer of Care vs. Referral: A Crucial Moral Distinction”]
The subject is important and timely, and I looked forward to reading the piece, but unfortunately it misses the mark when it comes to issues where withholding/withdrawing treatment and palliative care would be involved. Continue reading
University of Geneva invites Ezekiel Emanuel to make the case for dying at age 75
Ezekiel Emanuel is taking his I-Hope-To-Die-at-75 road show to Switzerland at the invitation of the University of Geneva, where he will be speaking today.
In an interview with Le Temps, Emanuel emphasized that he is opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide: [translation from French with the help of Google Translate]
I am opposed to euthanasia and assisted suicide. I feel that people who want that recourse mainly suffer from depression and fear of losing their dignity; we must first provide them with care and compassion. I will not put an end to my life intentionally. But I will not try to prolong it either! From age 75, I will accept neither predictive tests nor care – except for palliative care that reduces pain. I’ll do no more cardiac tests. I will not take more antibiotics and I will not be vaccinated against the flu. If I have cancer, I will refuse any treatment.