Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

Doctors’ secret for how to die right

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Interesting factoid: Doctors frequently recommend courses of treatment for their patients that they would not choose for themselves (because they’ve observed the treatment in action). Melinda Welsh reports at

Dr. Ken Murray wrote an essay for the web-only magazine Zócalo Public Square,thinking he’d be lucky to attract a few dozen readers and generate an online comment or two. Instead, the physician—a UC Davis medical-school graduate who taught family medicine at the University of Southern California—drew an avalanche of responses. In fact, what he wrote put him center stage in a swirling debate about life, death and doctors.

What did he reveal that was so groundbreaking?

He claimed that a vast majority of physicians make dramatically different end-of-life choices than the rest of us. Put simply, most doctors choose comfort and calm instead of aggressive interventions or treatments, he said. Another way to look at it is that doctors routinely order procedures for patients near the end of life that they would not choose for themselves.

What do doctors know that the rest of us don’t?

According to Murray, physicians have seen the limitations of modern medicine up close and know that attempts to prolong a life can often lead to a protracted, heartbreaking death.

Murray’s 2011 “How Doctors Die” was translated into multiple languages and written about in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post and The Sacramento Bee. Thousands of people commented on it via the scores of newspapers and blogs that reprinted it. Readers told of “near-dead relatives being assaulted with toxic drugs,” said Murray, being offered “painful procedures for no good reason.” Among the responses were hundreds of anecdotes from physicians and health-care professionals that backed Murray’s thesis.

“Most of the stories were heart-wrenching,” he said.

Data that prove the divide aren’t hard to find. . . .

Continue reading.

Written by Leisureguy

16 October 2013 at 10:14 am

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