Friday, October 22, 2010

Facing Death

PBS Frontline will have an episode entitled, "Facing Death" that runs the week of Nov. 23. I haven't seen a preview copy of the whole thing, but have watched this trailer, which focuses on the ICU. Our culture and society is not good at talking about limits. We need to learn how to have thoughtful conversations about the tradeoffs between what can be done, how much what can be done will benefit the patient, and at what cost, both financial and emotional. Currently, even asking these questions--much less answering them--is demonized politically.

We will all die. It is only a question of when, and from what.

Leaving aside the macro-policy decisions these sorts of questions bring about, Thanksgiving week many families will be together. This Frontline special could be useful in helping families and individuals think through their preferences, and to make those known before the onset of a serious, life-limiting illness. My mom will long for the days when I only brought up politics at Thanksgiving dinner....

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