I had meant to post a link tothis excellent piece,My Patients Are Dying...And I've Never Been Prouder, by Bob Wachter posted to Wachter's World on November 27th. Here are just two good excerpts:
"By naming and legitimizing the field, defining its competencies, promoting research, and training experts, we have made clear that this part of medicine is a crucial part of being a great doctor."
"[W]e spend less time on a narrow and largely irrelevant discussion about “would you want us to shock you if your heart stops” than on a much broader dialogue about two different philosophies of care: doing everything to keep you alive longer, with all of its attendant burdens . . ., versus focusing on keeping you, and your loved ones, as comfortable as possible during your final days. We have that discussion now because a) we’re all much more at ease with the concept; b) we are now relatively well schooled in how to conduct these conversations; and c) we can bring to bear resources and experts to help us out – both in having these discussions and in implementing the plan when patients and families choose comfort over cure."