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.
Serenely and gently. That’s for me.
Doctors don’t want to die any more than anyone else does. But they usually have talked about the limits of modern medicine with their families. They want to make sure that, when the time comes, no heroic measures are taken. During their last moments, they know, for instance, that they don’t want someone breaking their ribs by performing cardiopulmonary resuscitation (which is what happens when CPR is done right).
This blog covered the issue several months ago in a post I titled “The Best Way to Die.” That particular post has become one of the most-read. Now, this article by Dr. Murray underscores my pleasure in knowing that I’ve got the written instructions in place – with my family, my healthcare providers, my executor – to die like a doctor. Yep… a very good thing.
Here’s the full article — first published in Zocalo Public Square — from which the WSJ piece was taken: How Doctors Die.