March 09, 2012

To hospice and when

This is an issue that every patient with advanced cancer faces at some point. When will I know that I've had enough treatment, that my life would be better spent with hospice support, pain management and no more crappy chemo side effects?

I'm not in this place of deciding now, but I know it's coming some day.

Why Doctors Die Differently
By Ken Murray 
Years ago, Charlie, a highly respected orthopedist and a mentor of mine, found a lump in his stomach. It was diagnosed as pancreatic cancer by one of the best surgeons in the country, who had developed a procedure that could triple a patient's five-year-survival odds—from 5% to 15%—albeit with a poor quality of life.

What's unusual about doctors is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. 
Charlie, 68 years old, was uninterested. He went home the next day, closed his practice and never set foot in a hospital again. He focused on spending time with his family. Several months later, he died at home. He got no chemotherapy, radiation or surgical treatment. Medicare didn't spend much on him. 
It's not something that we like to talk about, but doctors die, too. What's unusual about them is not how much treatment they get compared with most Americans, but how little. They know exactly what is going to happen, they know the choices, and they generally have access to any sort of medical care that they could want. But they tend to go serenely and gently....

Read the full, great article here.


  1. What a fascinating article you have posted. Thanks.

  2. Thanks for posting this great article. Fascinating.

  3. Interesting Post. Thanks for posting it.