Tuesday, March 8, 2016

In the last months or days, these treatments can make things worse - The Washington Post

"A woman with ovarian cancer who came to see internist Leslie Blackhall was very upset. The woman’s oncologist had told her it was time to discontinue treatment — that it was doing more harm than good. Blackhall knew that the effects of more chemotherapy would be intense and would compromise this patient’s immune system while buying her only a bit more time. So she asked the woman, who was in her 60s, what she would do with more time. The response: Have more chemo, on the chance it might let her live longer. Medical advances bring the promise of extending life, but some of the treatments used in a person’s last months, weeks or days — such as CPR for failing hearts, dialysis for failing kidneys and feeding tubes for those unable to nourish themselves — often do not provide more time and can worsen quality of life. Yet saying no to more treatment is tremendously hard to do, whether that decision is made by patients or by relatives for patients who are too infirm to express themselves. "


In the last months or days, these treatments can make things worse - The Washington Post

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