Anaximperator blog

Blogging against alternative cancer treatments

Letting Go – What Medicine Should Do When it Can’t Save Your Life

In an important article in The New Yorker, Atul Gawande writes about what medicine should do when it can’t save your life:

Modern medicine is good at staving off death with aggressive interventions—and bad at knowing when to focus, instead, on improving the days that terminal patients have left.

In his article, Atawande asks the most important question of all: when is enough enough?

Studies find that although doctors usually tell patients when a cancer is not curable, most are reluctant to give a specific prognosis, even when pressed. More than forty per cent of oncologists report offering treatments that they believe are unlikely to work […..] We imagine that we can wait until the doctors tell us that there is nothing more they can do. But rarely is there nothing more that doctors can do. They can give toxic drugs of unknown efficacy, operate to try to remove part of the tumor, put in a feeding tube if a person can’t eat: there’s always something. We want these choices. We don’t want anyone—certainly not bureaucrats or the marketplace—to limit them. But that doesn’t mean we are eager to make the choices ourselves. Instead, most often, we make no choice at all. We fall back on the default, and the default is: Do Something.

Read Letting Go

One response to “Letting Go – What Medicine Should Do When it Can’t Save Your Life

  1. Pingback: Monday, Oncologist’s PA, and Surgeon for hernia | Colon cancer Blog

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