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Should New York State’s Medical Society Oppose Mandated End-Of-Life Discussions With Patients?

Posted Aug 25 2010 5:56pm

Posted on | August 25, 2010 |

Nearly 30 years ago, when the consumer health movement began in earnest, health professionals responded with extreme caution, concerned that their authority and control over patients and the health care system would ultimately be challenged. To the credit of most doctors, nurses and health care leaders, caregivers have evolved, accepting that the best patient is an educated patient and that mutual decision making leads to better decisions. (1) But as with all great sociologic movements, progress is not linear but filled with up’s and down’s.
Witness as a concrete example The Medical Society of the State of New York’s opposition to a new law enacted last week that requires physicians caring for terminal care patients to inform them regarding their palliative care alternatives including pain management and Hospice. The problem? A fear that the law provides a “legislatively designed standard of care” and would trespass “unnecessarily upon the patient-physician relationship”. (2) But the public advocacy group that drove the legislation said it was necessary because too often terminal patients and their families suffered needless agony and pain, as well as financial disaster pursuing expensive and invasive treatments that were neither helpful nor advisable. (3) Their not so subtle message to health professionals – get with the program!   (CONTINUE….)

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