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Reckoning With End of Life Care

Tuesday, February 10, 2015 - 05:35 PM

We turn to doctors to save our lives -- to heal us, repair us, and keep us healthy. But when it comes to the critical question of what to do when death is at hand, there seems to be a gap between what we want doctors to do for us, and what doctors want done for themselves.

In our segment, The Bitter End, Jad and producer Sean Cole delve deep into why this schism exists. (If you haven't yet, we highly suggest you listen to the episode before going any further.) After the show aired, WNYC colleague Brian Lehrer invited Jad and Sean into the studio to talk about what they learned in reporting this story.



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Comments [4]

mark dean - ex paramedic from Sisters, Oregon

Ok. Nurses are at the patients bedside while they are dying, but why go through all this? Why have them on a respirator? Is there any quality of life or prognosis for recovery? I'm like the doctors and would not want it. The average cost to be on a respirator in the hospital is $5000 per day. Could not the money and resources be better used somewhere else? To help save a child and keep her medical cost down?

Jul. 29 2017 09:55 PM
Ellen Kaufmann from WAMC

I tuned in when the discussion was about the very expensive medications that people are offered with little stats to back them up re outcomes.

It was argued that the meds cost lots of money in research etc. But I don't think the program ever offered figures on the profits made by the manufacturers of these meds. Major Money in profits for pharmaceutical companies.

Feb. 24 2015 03:26 PM
Mark Kennedy from Brooklyn Park, Minnesota

Your story mentioned that only 3% of people who receive CPR have positive outcomes. Yet, I had an uncle who had CPR twice and both times live a good life afterward. His last 6 months were not so good as his heart finally failed for the last time, but we had him in our lives for several "extra" years because someone on the street administered CPR while an ambulance was summoned. You never know.. . .

Feb. 14 2015 04:24 PM
Norma Osborn, Nurse Practitioner from Arlington, MA

It was inadequate reporting/description/editing to say that a person on a ventilator is paralyzed but still awake. It would be substandard care and complete negligence for a person to receive a paralytic medicine and not also receive near continuous sedation. A break from sedation would come only periodically to test neurologic responses. Also, this situation occurs in an intensive care unit with an expert ICU nurse caring for the pt. No anesthesiologist is present monitoring the pt. I agree that such a situation is very sad but it is not worse than waterboarding or stripping a prisoner naked and putting a dog leash on them for photos. Please also include interviews with nurses as we are the people who are at the bedside near continuously while people are dying, not the MDs. Your reporting made the role of the nurse invisible.
You also failed to mention that state laws vary on whether an advanced directive is legally binding. For example, advanced directives are NOT legally binding in Massachusetts but a Health Care Proxy designation, a person to make medical decisions in the event of incapacity, is.

Feb. 14 2015 04:22 PM

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