News Headlines Article

When It’s the Doctor Who Can’t Let Go
The New York Times

Sometimes it’s the doctors, not the families, who can’t let a patient go.

My elderly patient had lived much longer than seemed possible at the time of his cancer diagnosis. Ten years later, though, his relapsed lymphoma had become medically unstoppable.

The palliative care team was called in to manage his growing confusion and discomfort, and to discuss what we call “goals of care.” That’s what palliative care does: It focuses on keeping symptoms under control for the seriously ill and, for patients who can’t be cured, addressing how they want to die, including the option of hospice care. Now that this patient’s disease could not be restrained, what did he want? He could no longer answer, but his wife and son, sad but cleareyed, chose to stop all treatment aimed at curing his cancer.

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