MDs know limits of treatment and the need to plan

Some of us were talking at last night’s caregiver support group meeting about whether MDs, in general, seem in favor of or opposed to feeding tubes, and whether MDs will honestly answer a family’s question as to their advice as to what they’d do if their family member lost the ability to swallow.

There’s an article in last Saturday’s Wall Street Journal ( about one person’s view of these matters.  The author, a retired physician, believes that doctors tend to choose less treatment at the end of life for themselves, and are reluctant to impose their “views on the vulnerable” when families ask “what would you do?”

Here’s an interesting statistic about CPR from the article:  “A study by Susan Diem and others of how CPR is portrayed on TV found that it was successful in 75% of the cases and that 67% of the TV patients went home. In reality, a 2010 study of more than 95,000 cases of CPR found that only 8% of patients survived for more than one month. Of these, only about 3% could lead a mostly normal life.”

Here’s a link to the article:  (there may be a charge to view the full article)

Life & Culture
Why Doctors Die Differently
Careers in medicine have taught them the limits of treatment and the need to plan for the end
By Ken Murray
Wall Street Journal
February 25, 2012

It’s worth reading.