Archives for May 18, 2006

Medpundit signs off

Medpundit has decided to end her blogging career, at least for now:


So Long, Farewell, Auf Weidersehen, Adieu: Last week, during an interview about medical blogging, I found myself speaking about Medpundit in the past tense. It surprised me a little, but not completely. Whether or not to go on with this blog is something that I’ve been mulling over for several weeks. I didn’t want to admit it, but hearing myself refer to the blog as "was" and "has been" made me realize that deep down I had made my decision.

And so, it’s with regret that I take the necessary step of closing down this blog. It’s been fun, and I’ll miss it, but there are other things in life that need – and deserve – my attention more. So long, farewell, readers. The pleasure has been entirely mine.

According to her archives her current blog (she’s used Blogger the entire time!) started in March of 2002, a terrific run (and two months longer than mine).  I just looked, and there’s references to Medpundit at least 20 times in my blog posts.

I thought I’d made the big time when I got a mention in her blog in August, 2002, and I’ve been a long-term reader and fan of hers.  She’s what people think of when you say "medical blogger": she commented on medical news and ideas in a meaningful, substantive way.  That doesn’t mean she’s been opinion-free, far from it, and that made her blog more interesting, not less so.

Certainly, I hope she’s just burned out (the blogosphere is replete with bloggers who quit, only to find it’s part of them and they cannot give it up) and will come back, and definitely hope she leave the blog up, if for reference and historical purposes only.

If not, thanks for the free entertainment, Dr. Smythe, and I wish you all the best with your family and your practice.

Do Not Resuscitate tattoo

There’s been others who have done it (I blogged about it before, but now the Yahoo News link is dead), but, via BoingBoing:

  This is a photo of a tattoo that Mary Wohlford, 80, has emblazoned on her chest. Wohlford, of Decorah, Iowa, got the ink in February to hopefully eliminate the possibility of any Terri Schiavo-esque controversy about her medical wishes should she become unable to communicate them directly. From the Des Moines Register (photo by Mary Chind):  

If all else fails, if family members can’t find her living will or can’t face the responsibility of ending life-sustaining measures, she said, then doctors will know her wishes by simply reading the tiny words that are tattooed over her sternum. 

So, would this stop ME from doing CPR? Yes, I think it would, though there’s some blatheration about "a copy of an advanced directive in the chart":

Would Wohlford’s tattoo stop an Iowa doctor from resuscitating her?

"According to Iowa law, the answer is no," said Dr. Mark Purtle, who works in internal medicine at Iowa Methodist Medical Center. He said Iowa law spells out when caregivers are permitted not to resuscitate a patient, and a tattoo wouldn’t be good enough. He suggests a living will or an advanced directive, with a copy placed in the patient’s medical chart, as well as discussing your wishes with trusted family members.

Lawyers agreed with Purtle. "Just having that tattooed on your chest and doing nothing more, I’m not sure that’s going to do you much good," said William Bump of Stuart, who has expertise in living wills and estate matters.

I’m betting that, despite having expertise in living wills and estate matters, he’s never been staring at an 80ish year old patient in an ED with no medical records and wondering what that patients’ desires would be. It’s goofy to think that someone would go to the trouble of having the entire words "Do Not Resuscitate" tattooed on their sternum as a prank or a stunt; if it’s there I’d take it seriously. Really, I’d prefer a tattoo like that over the copy of a copy of a crinkled out of hospital DNR form that sometimes accompany the patients. Maybe I’m alone on that point, but there you are.

End of life decisions should be made early and discussed with everyone you reasonably suspect would be called to act as your surrogate. And, if you want to do this, hoping some caregivers prefer flesh to paper, then I don’t see why not (just be aware this would be a little less revocable than signing a piece of paper).

None of us get out of this alive; sometimes we can choose how we go.

Hat tip to Mike (who needs to get back to blogging) at FFM for the link.