A Must-Read: “Why are doctors afraid of the word ‘death’?”

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We have an absolute must-read to share with you.  The Washington Post just published an op-ed written by Aaron Kheriaty, an associate professor of psychiatry and director of the medical ethics program at University of California Irvine School of Medicine.

The piece gets into our overwhelming fear of death, especially when it comes to losing a loved one.  Tragically, this is a problem for the medical community as well.

This writing explores how that fear of death in doctors can have upsetting consequences.

In this piece, Kheriaty says the point on all of our minds: “The movement to legalize assisted suicide is a symptom of the current problems that plague end-of-life care.”

We have to stop seeing end-of-life-care as a series of bad options that can only be avoided by rushing into death.  We know that comprehensively providing good palliative care options is just one step toward making end-of-life care less torturous.

Without recognition that it’s possible to improve this situation, the idea of assisted suicide becomes acceptable to patients.  When that happens, patients looking for a measure of autonomy will end up with the opposite: there will be a false choice between death and suffering.

This piece gets into why there’s another path, and we need to explore that for all of our sakes.


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