How Do Physicians and Non-Physicians Want to Die?
A recent RadioLab podcast titled The Bitter End identified an interesting paradox. When you ask people how they’d like to die, most will say that they want to die quickly, painlessly, and peacefully… preferably in their sleep.
But, if you ask them whether they would want various types of interventions were they on the cusp of death and already living a low-quality of life, they typically say “yes,” “yes,” and “can I have some more please.” Blood transfusions, feeding tubes, invasive testing, chemotherapy, dialysis, ventilation, and chest-pumping CPR. Most people say “yes.”
But not physicians. Doctors, it turns out, overwhelmingly say “no.” The only intervention that doctors overwhelmingly want is pain medication. In no other case do even 20% of the physicians say “yes" (see the data here).
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