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Welcome to the nexus of ethics, psychology, morality, philosophy and health care

Friday, June 13, 2014

Teaching doctors when to stop treatment

By Diane E. Meier
The Washington Post
Originally published May 19, 2014

Here is an excerpt:

For years I had tried to understand why so many of my colleagues persisted in ordering tests, procedures and treatments that seemed to provide no benefit to patients and even risked harming them. I didn’t buy the popular and cynical explanation: Physicians do this for the money. It fails to acknowledge the care and commitment that these same physicians demonstrate toward their patients. Besides, my patient’s oncologist would make no money from the neurosurgery required for the intrathecal chemotherapy procedure.

It seemed that giving more treatment was the only way the oncologist knew to express his care and commitment. To him, stopping treatment was akin to abandoning his patient. And yet the only sense in which she felt abandoned was in her oncologist’s unwillingness to talk with her about what would happen when treatment stopped working.

The entire story is here.
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