end of life care

16 Stories

Doctors Significantly Overestimate How Long Patients Have to Live

Review of research finds that doctors almost double the amount of time patients really have left

(Newser) - If you're given a terminal prognosis by your doctor and you ask how much longer you have left, chances are, you'll get an overestimate of your remaining days on Earth, a new overview of research finds. Doctors and nurses apparently dread having to give patients bad news, the... More »

5-Year-Old Gets Her 'Heaven or Hospital' Wish, Dies at Home

Girl with terminal illness wanted to spend final days at home, not in a medical facility

(Newser) - It started with a conversation last year that Michelle Moon had with her terminally ill daughter, Julianna, about where she'd want to be if she got sick again: in the hospital or at home. Julianna picked home , even if it meant she'd die there, and that's where... More »

The 5 Worst Places to Die in the World

'The Economist' ranks end-of-life care

(Newser) - There's no avoiding death—but some places are "better" places to die than others. The Economist looked at 80 countries and ranked them for "quality of death," looking at factors including the overall palliative care and healthcare environment, the availability and training of healthcare professionals, the... More »

Experts: Brain-Dead Girl May Not Be 'Alive'

Doctors want another assessment in unique US case

(Newser) - Brain-dead or not brain-dead? The question of Jahi McMath's health status has drifted into unknown territory now that she's been hooked up to machines for nearly eleven months, the San Jose Mercury News reports. Jahi, declared brain dead after a disastrous tonsillectomy in December, was found by five... More »

Not Dying? Hospice Wants You Anyway

Recruiting healthier patients for profit, 'Washington Post' reveals

(Newser) - Hospice care is for the terminally ill, yet the number of "hospice survivors" jumped 50% in California between 2002 and 2012. Something to celebrate? Not quite: A Washington Post investigation into the $17 billion industry now dominated by for-profits reveals hospice companies recruit patients who aren't dying because... More »

Death Panels? No, But It's Time for Life Panels

Essayist: We have to find a way to help people end lives with dignity

(Newser) - Watching his elderly mother spend three miserable years in a hospital bed in need of 24/7 care before her death prompts Bob Goldman to float an idea today in the New York Times : "life panels." A twist on the political poison of "death panels," the idea... More »

Sometimes, Resuscitating the Elderly Is Just Cruel

Doctor: Patients, families need to have conversation beforehand

(Newser) - Last week, a British doctor made headlines for his belief that hospitals give up too early on way too many patients declared dead. Now, another is arguing in the Daily Mail that he sees too many elderly people being resuscitated when it makes little sense to do so, all because... More »

'Death With Dignity' Should Become the National Norm

And it may, thanks to proposed Massachusetts act: Lewis Cohen

(Newser) - “It is time we became pro-choice at the end of life,” writes Lewis M. Cohen, and Massachusetts’ Death With Dignity Act, poised to pass on Election Day, could finally make that happen. The ballot question, if approved, could “turn death with dignity from a legislative experiment into... More »

We Should All Die the Way Doctors Do

Many 'go gently' rather than opting for extreme measures: Dr. Ken Murray

(Newser) - You'd think a doctor with, say, a terminal illness or a weak heart would have an inside edge over the rest of us and opt for the most whiz-bang, no-holds-barred treatment available. Just the opposite, writes Ken Murray, MD, in the Zocalo Public Square (as spotted by Andrew Sullivan'... More »

Elderly Stunningly Likely to Have Surgery in Final Year

Doctors question if we're operating on the old too often

(Newser) - Elderly patients are stunningly likely to have surgery in the last year, month, or even week of their lives, according to a new study from Harvard researchers, who looked at 1.8 million Medicare recipients over the age of 65 who died in 2008. According to publicly available records, nearly... More »

Olbermann: My Dad Asked Me to Kill Him

Passionate plea to pols at summit to give Americans health care help

(Newser) - Keith Olbermann made a very personal appeal last night to the pols debating health reform today, speaking for almost 15 minutes about his father’s 6-month medical struggle. “Last Friday night, my father asked me to kill him,” Olbermann began, launching into a recap of the surgeries,... More »

Seniors Spooked by 'Kill Granny' Health Bill Campaign

(Newser) - Conservative radio hosts are scaring America's seniors with a campaign against an end-of-life counseling proposal in the health care reform bill, the Washington Post reports. Under the proposal doctors would be reimbursed for consulting with elderly patients about what medical interventions they would prefer as the end nears, but opponents... More »

Dying Doc: Don't Keep Me Alive

ALS patient explains why he chooses quality of life over quantity

(Newser) - Martin Welsh considers himself a lucky man, with a loving family and innumerable friends. “Life has been truly wonderful,” the 55-year-old doctor writes in the Los Angeles Times. But soon, that life will end, and he doesn’t want his doctors to do anything to prolong it. Welsh... More »

Dying Patients Helped by Docs' End-of-Life Talks

But only a third of terminally ill receive them, study says

(Newser) - While only a third of terminally-ill cancer patients received end-of-life talks from their doctors, those who did fared better, a study has found. Doctors who hedge may think they’re protecting their patients, but patients who got the talk were no more likely to get depressed, avoided living their final... More »

Slow Medicine Lets Elderly Go More Gracefully

Approach prefers less aggressive stance in fighting signs of aging

(Newser) - In a medical culture seemingly aimed at reviving and resuscitating, the slow medicine approach instead allows elderly patients to weigh the risks and burdens of treatment against the likelihood that it will significantly extend their lives. For many seniors, the philosophy offers the freedom to choose comfort over cure, dying... More »

Thompson Calls Right to Die a Family Decision

After daughter's death, candidate won't make issue 'political football'

(Newser) - Fred Thompson opened up yesterday about the 2002 death of his daughter, saying end-of-life decisions should be made by families, not governments. Betsy Thompson Panici died at age 38 after an accidental prescription drug overdose, ABC News reports. The GOP hopeful said the kinds of choices his family had to... More »

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