Don’t allow your doctors to limit their consultation to the relative merits of their treatment plan. Instead, ask them the following questions:
Focusing only on the positive outcomes of a therapy versus no therapy limits one’s understanding of end-of-life issues to relative comparisons but ignores the absolute bigger picture of success without treatment, failures with treatment, and the inevitability of death coming for all.
- If I were your mother or father, would you put me through it?
- If I live longer because of the treatment, will the quality of my life be reduced?
- If I choose the treatment path, am I more or less likely to lose control?
- Am I more or less likely to end up in an ICU?
- Am I more or less likely to be in pain?
- Is doing nothing reasonable?
All good questions.
Here are just a few of my posts on the subject over the past few years:
- Surgeon and author Atul Gawande on really matters at the end of life
- Helpful tips for critical end-of-life conversations
- Top five regrets of dying people
- Another call for less medicine, more health
- The best way to die
- Could I hire an end-of-life healthcare enforcer?
- Palliative care, not life-sustaining procedures
- Our last dying days: how will we spend them?