Knowing when to stop trying to save people is hard, especially when that’s how you’re trained, and innately wired. It’s been a frequent theme on this blog.
Movin Meat has a good post on the subject today (weeks ago, just found this in my drafts folder), and it’s remarkable for two reasons. First, it’s a well written account of doing the right thing, even though that’s much harder than the easy thing, and secondly, the power of convincing medical writing to influence the actions of physicians.
Movin Meat specifically cites thinking about the recent Atul Gawande piece in the New Yorker, which helped him make sure the option of how to die was presented to the patient and family. That’s good writing, and it’s something the world could use more of (as long as it’s not preachy, or gratuitously political).
The World Death Rate is steady at 100%. There’s nothing at all comforting, comfortable or holy about dying on the vent in the ICU. Talk with your family about what you do, and don’t want.