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The conversation : a revolutionary plan for end-of-life care

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"There is an unspoken dark side of American medicine--keeping patients alive at all costs. Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions tethered to machines and tubes, even though researc...

"There is an unspoken dark side of American medicine--keeping patients alive at all costs. Two thirds of Americans die in healthcare institutions tethered to machines and tubes, even though research indicates that most prefer to die at home in comfort, surrounded by loved ones. The question How do you want to live? must be posed to the seriously ill because they deserve to choose. If doctors explain options--including the choice to forego countless medical interventions that are often of little benefit--then patients can tell doctors how they wish to spend the remainder of their lives. A doctor's heroic efforts to prolong a life can instead prolong that patient's death, and these traumatic measures also bankrupt the healthcare system. One third of the Medicare budget is spent on the last six months of life, often on technological interventions that are not helpful and inflict more suffering. Through the stories of six patients and six very different end-of-life experiences, Volandes explores the trajectory of events and treatments that occur with and without this essential conversation. He argues for a radical re-envisioning of the patient-doctor relationship--including videos to spark discussions--and offers ways for patients and their families to talk about this difficult issue to ensure that patients will be at the center and in charge of their medical care"--

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