Early today we posted an article about health care reform by Lawrence J. Schneiderman, M.D, a Professor Emeritus at UCSD Medical School and Visiting Scholar in the Program in Medicine and Human Values at the California Pacific Medical Center in San Francisco. His new book, Embracing Our Mortality: Hard Choices in an Age of Medical Miracles, looks at end of life decisions from both the medical and philosophical perspectives and advises on how to best make tough decisions. In the excerpt below Schneiderman emphasizes the importance of communicating your end-of-life preferences.
One of my patients, Earl Adams (not his real name), an African-American in his late seventies, was afflicted with severe Parkinsonism. Not only could he no longer play the organ for Sunday church services, he could barely move and relied on his devoted wife for even the most basic needs. She got him out of bed in the morning, helped him to the toilet, bathed him, fed him, kept him upright during the day, and returned him to bed at night. So successful was she at these tasks that whenever she brought him to see me he was always clean-shaven and meticulously dressed, complete with jacket and tie. (more…)Add a Comment