04 October, 2014

End-of-life care: Helping hands | The Economist

End-of-life care: Helping hands | The Economist: Rightly, doctors have abandoned the paternalism that used to lead them to conceal terminal prognoses. But they have failed to find a voice and the courage to guide their patients through the various treatments between which they are supposed to choose, too often hiding behind “informed consent”. That too few geriatric specialists are being trained has not helped; in America only 300 graduate every year. Meanwhile, for those people who live long enough to become frail before dying, a nursing home that puts safety before anything that might make their final days worth living awaits. “Our most cruel failure in how we treat the sick and the aged”, says Dr Gawande, “is the failure to recognise that they have priorities beyond merely being safe and living longer.”